Saturday, July 25, 2015


I remarked that I would never let my house be taken over by pets, but that has happened: first by the dogs Sheba and Courtney and now by all the kittens and adult cats that I have saved from people who see our farm sign and drop off their cats. Some people are downright cruel! We have gotten approximately 60 cats neutered. Some females are so young when they are dropped off that they abandon their little kittens. If we find them in time, I take care of them with formula and lots of time and effort and love. You cannot nurse a baby kitten to save it without loving it. So now my house is a cathouse!

An unusual problem that has never happened before has developed with the kittens that I saved from the farm building. A few of the kittens had a virus, so they were taken to my vet and received medications, which I gave each one. They recovered. Shortly after bringing the sick kittens to the house, the older cats started getting sick as well. The nightmare began and now continues. Yesterday, $268 in vet’s bills later, another cat is on medications and needing vet appointments. I have to bring the cat back to the vet tomorrow. I hope that that visit will be for no charge.

Pretty Kitty
Someone dropped off, maybe 7 to 8 years ago, a beautiful cat that I called “Pretty Kitty.” She was dropped at the packing house, where we store and pack the apples. Pretty Kitty was probably abandoned because she was pregnant. She ended up having a litter of kittens in a stack of apple bins approximately 15 feet up off the ground. She and the kittens were found when we packed apples and the empty bins got stacked together.

The kittens could not be left there once they had been found. This became my first litter saved. I had never seen a litter with four totally different looking kittens: one black and white, one tiger orange, one gray with blue eyes, one a patchwork of colors. The black and white kitten went to a nurse. The orange tiger went to one of my granddaughters. The other two cats stayed with me, even to this day.

Pretty Kitty would take the food I supplied her, but she never allowed me to touch her. As time went on, the only way I could get her spayed was to catch her in the cat trap; my vet put her out cold while she was in the trap, then spayed her. I kept her in the cage for two weeks until she healed and had gotten all her shots.

Pretty Kitty’s legacy lives on in the next part of our story. P. K. had a kitten that none of us knew about, upstairs in the packing house. One day she came down the stairs with this beautiful kitten in her mouth and put it down on my lunch table. P.K. hid in the corner until the kitty was picked up, and then she went on her way. The kitten had a very large hernia on its stomach. I bottle-fed the kitten and took it to the vet. I was told the kitten must not run, jump, climb, or do much of anything until it was big enough to be operated upon. So I made a pouch for it for me to wear around my neck, papoose-style, and she went everywhere I went for five months.

I call her “Angel,” because she is one. She has big blue eyes, and she is very light beige with a dark head and dark feet. After Angel was operated on, she had to be kept in a cage in my bedroom, which was very hard on her, but even harder on me. She cried a lot. If I took her out to hold her and give her comfort, she was very upset with me…I guess because she was blaming me. It was a long haul, but we made it through, and she is sitting here with me now. Her mother was outside almost every day waiting to be fed; Pretty Kitty would sit outside watching me work in the garden but never trusted me enough to come close enough for me to pet her.

Everyone who lives around here would see Pretty Kitty walking up and down our driveway daily. A couple of months ago, when I went out to feed her and the wildlifethat is, the ducks, the woodchuck, the geese and the other birdsI called for her, but she did not come. Pretty Kitty hasn’t been back for all this time. I know she’s passed away. I just pray she did not suffer. I still call for her every day, even knowing she’s not here…haven’t been able to stop myself yet.

Pretty Kitty must have had kittens that grew up and then had kittens themselves a few months ago. Two baby kittens that have her markings and blue eyes were found at the packing house and brought to me to save. They are the last of Pretty Kitty.

My Wildlife
My wildlife are very important to me. I feed the wild ducks and geese every day. A mother woodchuck lives under my shed and brings her young out every year to teach them how to pick up a carrot and stand on their back legs to eat it, and this makes me smile. I have two raccoons that climb my trumpet vine and cedar tree to the roof of the porch, only 8 to 10 inches below my bedroom window. I feed them every night. This is the first year they have brought their babies up, three of them. They know they can trust me, so that makes me smile, too. The fish in the ponds follow me around as I am mowing, because I feed them also. It has taken many years to gain the trust of all the wildlife that are a part of my life…and that make me happy.

Saving More Kittens
I was writing about my love of animals. A few weeks ago a kitten was heard crying in the packing house. It took three days to find and get to it, as it had fallen behind a lot of pallets. By the time we got to the kitten, it was very weak. I brought it up to my house and started formula and antibiotics. It was very frail but then started to show signs of progress.

Three more kittens were found in the next week. One was terribly weak and full of fleas that were sucking the life out of it. I really did not think this kitten was going to live, so it was a miracle, day by day, to watch them all get better and better. The first one is in my room doing wonderfully well. The other three are in the bathroom, also getting stronger every day. Two of them already have homes to go to, which pleases me. I have to catch the mother as soon as possible to get her fixed.

I know I had lots of help with this batch of babies, as I had little hope for them.  Thank You, God, for Your help from above.

My Three Kitties
The three kittens that I saved are sleeping as I write this. They act more like puppies than cats. They have their own room upstairs that is strictly theirs. It is where they have their own food, and where they are together every night. When I am ready to come upstairs, all I have to say is, “You boys ready?” The three of them stop whatever they’re doing and run upstairs and wait by the closed door to their room. They are like little puppy dogs!

Sick Kittens 2013
The past few weeks have been a struggle. Losing my personal doctor of over 20 years has made me very sad. Now I’m in the process of losing my veterinarian, whom I love dearly. She has an employee who has pushed me to my very limits. I’m not sure if my vet knows just what this person has been doing, but she will know next week.

I have no doubt that this employee will not be let go, unfortunately, which makes it impossible to continue going there. She and the vet seem to be personally quite close. My vet has been very good to me through the years in many ways. She saved my dog, Sheba, and my cat, Angel, for which I will always be grateful.

For the last 3 to 4 months I have had to go to extreme measures to get care for my sick kittens and cats. Only by my passing another vet’s office every Friday to meet my writing partner, Dr. Cooper, did I decide to take a leap of faith and bring two cats there. I very seldom feel comfortable with anyone new, but in this case I felt confident  that this vet will take care of my animals completely fairly. That’s the feeling I have as I reflect on the vet’s words.

I believe everything happens for a reason: for example, my passing this vet’s office every Friday, an office which is in a stone house, and I love old stone houses. I don’t think I would’ve found him if it weren’t for that.

Today I am going to my kidney doctor. After that I’m taking my letter containing all the details of my interactions with her assistant to my former vet, as I feel she should be made aware of what has been said on her behalf by this employee. Unless my vet has changed drastically, I do not believe she has directed the employee’s actions. Within the last two weeks this rude person has cost me approximately $1000 in extra vet bills!

Sick Kittens Again, Fall 2013
Of course, we have new kittens. Some the mother takes care of. Others we care for. We try to catch them when they are old enough to be put on solid foods, and then we find homes for them.

There are always ones that are sick. I take these to the vet to get them meds; then I start feeding them formula from a bottle to help get them well. My brother is taking a small black kitten, one the vet named “Onyx.” Onyx will make my brother and his mother smile.

Trying to catch the male and female cats to get them neutered is a nightmare. No matter how many we get neutered, people keep leaving more off for us. It is a never-ending battle. I worry about what is going to happen when I am no longer here. Will someone take care of the wildlife and the cats and the sick kittens? I hope so!

Sick Adult Cats, Too, Not Just Kittens - November 2013
I am having a terrible issue with the newest cats that were kittens when they were brought here. They are tame in every way except when it is time to take one or two of them to the vet. I don’t even have the carrier in the room when I go to pick one up. I am still beaten up from yesterday trying to capture the five-month-old golden kitten.

Every time I would pick her up, she was like a wild animal! I have puncture wounds all over me. I finally had to call the vet to cancel my appointment. This only happens with the golden cats. Even they are fine any other time. In fact, one of them is sitting next to me right now.


We are serializing KIDNAPPED TWICE by Mary E. Seaman and myself, a memoir of her traumatic childhood and gradual improvement over decades. Mary's love of animals provides solace, even joy. The book is available from its publisher, Outskirts Press, and from [in paperback and ebook] and and other on-line booksellers.

You are invited to visit my site,

Saturday, July 18, 2015

From KIDNAPPED TWICE, Update Not Upbeat


Many weeks have gone by, and I still have not been able to get back up to see my sister.

Between medical appointments and tests, farm work, animal care, etc., I cannot seem to reach a condition allowing me to escape for a couple of days. The days are getting shorter, which has put me into a panic mode. I do not want to drive upstate in the dark.

There have been some very bad things happening with Alan’s daughter lately. He has asked me not to write about them. I will make that decision after I have the time and space to give it more thought.

I had dinner with my old police friend and his wife. I really love both of them, and we had a wonderful time. How nice to sit and talk to them! We need to get together more often.

Soon the snow and cold weather will be here. The wood stove will be going 24/7 trying to keep this 1881 farmhouse warm. Almost the only warm place in our house is the chair in front of the stove. The very high ceilings capture most of the heat, so if I could figure out a way to live up by the ceilings, we could stay warm. You might be thinking: why not fix it? When I win the lottery! Since I don’t play the lottery, it’s not going to happen.

This is my saddest time of the year. These feelings go all the way back to my life at the Lake. All my friends from summer would go back to their lives in the city, and I would not see them again until the late spring.

I visited my sister again this month. I had promised her I would be back as soon as the mowing was done for the season and before the Daylight Savings Time change, as I do not want to drive in the dark if possible.

I drove back up to her home last week. She seemed a little better, but not much. She simply does not want to live alone. I try to point out some of the advantages of living alone, as I lived for 25 years, but she does not want to hear it.

Both of our birthdays are in November, so I took her out to dinner, and her neighbors came as well. We had a good time. I actually saw my sister smile and enjoy herself. She has wonderful neighbors who keep an eye on her. Thank God!

Today is my sister’s birthday. I wish I could do something to help her more. I try to point out to her the positive things in her life, but she does not see them yet. The days when I was at my sister’s house, I tried to get her to take a walk with me. She said she couldn’t because she has a bad back, and the walk would get her back hurting again.

She has a deck that looks out onto the woods in her backyard. I asked her to come with me to sit on the deck and eat lunch. At first she said she wouldn’t, but then she came out and sat at the table where I was eating my lunch.

The squirrels and chipmunks were running around, getting ready for the upcoming winter. It was quiet, peaceful, beautiful. My sister was not enjoying what I was delighting in, and she wanted to go back into the house. She said that it was cold. I did not think so, but in we went. She also smokes, so to me the fresh air was wonderful. I think she doesn’t realize that a non-smoker could not live with her. Again, I wish I could fix all this, but I cannot.


We are serializing the memoir KIDNAPPED TWICE, written by Mary E. Seaman with my help. Published by Outskirts Press, it is available from O.P. and from online booksellers like and in paperback and ebook formats. See also

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Good News, Bad News


In June of 2013 one of my granddaughters graduated from high school. I was happy to attend the ceremony. Because my son and his family live an hour and a half from where I live, it is quite a drive. The day was beautiful. I enjoyed driving my little standard-shift convertible to the graduation.


I had one of my best days in a very long time a few days ago. I was invited to a picnic at my son’s father-in-law’s house. He has a beautiful home that he pretty much built himself, on a mountain, in the middle of the woods. It is a beautiful, peaceful place. He feeds the wildlife, as I do.

My three granddaughters sat with me on the porch as we ate. I am so blessed to know that they have a small part of me in each of them. All three are young women now, and the oldest will be leaving soon to go to college.

As we sat talking, I was remembering moments from the past about them. They make me proud. I pray that each one of them takes the right path in life and finds love and happiness.

After we had been talking awhile, my son sat down with us. We kept on talking for a long time. What a perfect day it was, one I will always remember!

FIGHT 2013

A recent incident has me very upset.

A family member who is 90 years old had a very bad argument with the farmer who lives across the road. This elderly family member’s son and our previous farm manager both witnessed the dispute. The son stepped in to stop it. This family member plants a garden every year and has a table out by our road to give his vegetables away. He also mows a very dangerous hill for that same farmer. In the winter he goes from driveway to driveway plowing people out. He never takes money for any of this.

The argument with the farmer ended up putting the 90-year-old into the hospital. Recently, I went to the hospital to visit our elderly family member, and as I sat there, I got more and more upset. To think anyone would yell at a 90-year-old!

I, too, had a bad encounter with this same farmer last year.

This time, when I got home, I decided to go across the road to try to make sure that this never happened again. I wanted his family to talk to this person so that he would think twice before starting another such argument. What I encountered was yet another angry person, who was just as disrespectful to me as his cousin had been with the 90-year-old. What terrible people!

The farmer who yelled at our elderly relative uses his diabetes as an excuse for why he frequently yells at people. I have diabetes, too; however, I do not go around disrespecting other people.


The call came from my sister last week that her husband had died at home. Marlene lives approximately two hours away, up in the Catskill region. It was a challenge for me to get all my medicines together and all the supplies that I use daily in order to be able to take the trip. As it turned out, I was on my way quickly, as I did not want to be driving in the dark. About halfway there I realized I had forgotten my clothes. The only clothes I had with me were the clothes I was wearing.

My sister was in bad shape! A neighbor had stayed with her until I got there. Both my sister and her husband had been off work for two years, Don because of his heart condition and lung cancer, Marlene because of stress. She is going through a terrible time.

I’m going to try to go back up there as soon as possible. She is afraid to be alone, which is a real problem. I have so much work to keep up with at my house this time of year that I don’t know what to do right now, but I have to come up with some sort of plan to travel up there as much as possible.

My sister tells me she had a rough day today. She had to pick up Don’s ashes. She brought them home and put them in a special place in her house to honor his life. After it was all done, she felt more at peace. He had chosen a place on their property where he wanted his ashes to be spread. When my sister is ready to follow his wishes, she will. But not now! My heart is with her, as she goes through this very sad time in her life.

As the days and weeks go by, I feel more and more useless trying to help my sister. She is afraid to live alone. Her husband never taught her to do the things she will have to do now. He also did not like to socialize, so most of their friends were lost through the years. She has good neighbors who are doing the mowing and keeping an eye on her, but she thinks she needs a friend living with her. I do not think the friend she tells me about is going to move in. I am so worried about her! This seems the first time in my life that I cannot fix the problem.

Even if I could move in there, that would not fix everything. Our father’s drinking and her mother’s emotional and physical abuse have affected my sister deeply. Yes, we talked about our lives, but I still can’t fix them.

I am not at a crossroads. I’m at a dead-end street. I can’t fix this! I never considered doing the things in my life that I had to do as showing strength, but I guess it did. I don’t know how, but I survived it much better than did my sister.


Many weeks have gone by, and I still have not been able to get back up to see my sister.

Between medical appointments and tests, farm work, animal care, etc., I cannot seem to reach a condition allowing me to escape for a couple of days. The days are getting shorter, which has put me into a panic mode. I do not want to drive upstate in the dark.

There have been some very bad things happening with Alan’s daughter lately. He has asked me not to write about them. I will make that decision after I have the time and space to give it more thought.

I had dinner with my old police friend and his wife. I really love both of them, and we had a wonderful time. How nice to sit and talk to them! We need to get together more often.


We are serializing the memoir Kidnapped Twice, by Mary E. Seaman and myself. It tells of her abuse in childhood and her slow recovery from it. You can get it in paperback or ebook format from or its publisher, Outskirts Press.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Brother and His Fiancee Break Up

A lot has happened in May and June of 2013. My brother and his fiancée broke up! They have a beautiful son, Cole, who of course is being fought over. Todd was the main caregiver for his son, as his fiancée pursued her police career. To have his son ripped out of his daily life has been very painful for my brother. Now the court fight begins, which is often a long and frustrating process. He hasn’t seen his son for two weeks, but has just recently been given brief visitation via the court.

I visited my brother’s mother, Anita, a few days ago. She took
care of her grandchild at least two days a week in my brother’s house with his fiancée. All this is very painful for everyone. I am so afraid for my little nephew, Cole. I have always felt that something was missing in my life, parental love. There is a hole that I could not fill. I fear my nephew will end up with the same feeling.

It always frustrates me when people go to court, and they find it necessary to lie outright or stretch the truth. My brother and his fiancée loved each other at one time. My brother was the main caregiver for their son. I will also state that his fiancée was a good mother. Why can’t they both share custody and save the thousands of dollars they will both spend on attorneys?

What do I know?

My nephew was such a happy child. I hope he stays that way and that life will be kind to him.

I was hoping that my brother and his fiancée would resolve their problems, but it was not to be. They are both very good-looking people, and they had a beautiful baby boy. The break-up has become a custody battle over their son. He is 16 months old, so he has no idea what is going on. His father was his main caregiver, as his mother worked, and my brother has been going to school, but only two days a week.

On those two days, my brother’s mother would drive down from her house to their house and stay over to watch her grandson. My brother’s fiancée was a police officer. She spent time with her son when she was not working. Everyone knew my brother was the main caregiver.

I could go into the problems that could not be worked out between the two parents, but my attention has centered on the beautiful boy who was being damaged, maybe beyond repair. I know a lot about what I am writing, as I was in a turbulent situation many times in my own childhood. I really don’t care what all the experts might say: unless you’ve been there, and done that, you can’t possibly know what is going on in that child’s head. His whole safe, loving world is gone! He cannot get comfortable with his father when he gets visitation, because he knows his father is going to leave him again. He is living with his mother and her parents, and he doesn’t know why nor where his home that he once knew is anymore.

Can this little boy feel trust in his mother and grandparents? Probably not. He has been treated almost the same way as with my own kidnapping when I was a child. One minute, Cole is with his father as he formerly was every day, and the next moment, the police come in and take him away. Then, he doesn’t see his father for quite a while. When he does, he knows his father is going to leave again. When my mother came back to kidnap me, I did not know who she was.

My brother is going crazy not being able to see his son. He has had visitation rights, but could not take the boy out. This past Sunday he was finally able to pick his son up in the city and bring him to his mother’s home. I wish I could have seen my nephew, but I could not.

This is a terrible time for everyone involved. The next legal step is to get overnight visits, as the drive to take the boy out and bring him up to Orange County is an hour and a half, making it three hours of driving round-trip, not quality time spent with his son. When I asked how the visit had gone, everyone agreed that the little guy seems different.

I tried to explain to them what is going on with Cole, but I think I came off too strong. My little nephew is only a year and half old. Although he is very smart, he cannot understand why all this is happening. All he knows is that he does not feel safe no matter where he is. I cry every day about this, as I know what my little nephew is going through. I just pray that it does not affect him for the rest of his life.

I am watching my brother and his mother and my little nephew go through a lot of upset and pain with this breakup. I can see the pain on all their faces.

While all the adults in this mess will be OK, I am so worried about my nephew. No matter who wins this custody battle, it is not in the best interests of this little boy.

We are serializing the memoir KIDNAPPED TWICE: Then Betrayed and Abused, by Mary E. Seaman and myself, which tells of her harsh childhood and the partial recovery she has made in the following half-century. Published by Outskirts Press, it is available in ebook and paperback formats from Outskirts, as well as,, and other on-line booksellers.

My writing-editing-coaching site is

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Write Yourself Free

 We celebrated Independence Day, the 4th of July, to commemorate breaking free of the government of Great Britain. Gaining freedom is always worth celebrating, at any time.

If you have something on your mind, you can worry less about it if you write it down, knowing that then you won’t forget it. Writing a book is like that. I wrote my memoir, Ting and I, to free myself from the fear that our love story would never be told and thus would be forgotten.

Several of my writing clients have found writing and publishing their books to be liberating:

Private Investigator Lenny Golino wrote his The Shield of Gold, to be sure his stories of being a New York Police Department homicide detective would not be lost. As a “thick business card,” it also frees him from having to explain at length to potential clients about his experience.

Mary Seaman wrote her memoir, Kidnapped Twice, to get the weight of past memories onto paper and off her mind. She found the experience of writing her book to be therapeutic, clarifying certain issues and putting them to rest. She dedicated the book to those least able to defend themselves, and felt that something positive came from her bad childhood.

Mike DeMaio is finishing a memoir, AMENDS: A Marine’s Journey Home from War, which he has found to be therapeutic, detailing his recovery over decades from PTSD due to the stress of a year at war in Vietnam. It has also served to thank his family for their forbearance and to thank those who helped him heal.

Judy Axtell had a political message that she wanted to “get off her chest.” Her political transformation memoir, But…at What Cost, let her feel she had finally gotten the opportunity to express what had been pent up inside her.

Kathy Shields had two manuscript versions of her memoir that she had not been able to complete and publish without some help. We worked together, and her book, Home Is Where the Story Begins: Memoir of a Happy Childhood, will be published this summer, to her relief and for her pleasure and the pleasure of friends, family, and friends-to-be.

If writing, finishing, and publishing your book might liberate you, possibly even exhilarate you, contact me at site   or email by July 3rd.

Later inquiries will be placed on a waiting list to be contacted if openings develop for my one-on-one coaching-writing-editing services.