Notes from a parish cat and his author Julie Mackenzie

My photo
I am Father Tom Fish, esteemed member of the religious team at Temptation of Christ Parish in the novels by author Julie Mackenzie. As to my background, I was invited into the rectory as a stray, laid on the charm, and was invited to stay, even honorarily ordained and no less spiritual than my sidekick Father Will. He dotes on me to high heaven and forgives all of my street cat proclivities, whatever the hell that means.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


This is supposed to be "Wordless Wednesday." Can't anybody read? Oops, wait a minute..

(just going through some old photos and came across this one..I remember Tom being highly insulted which meant, of course, that he could read..)

Monday, August 29, 2011

We're Okay

A message from Julie:

We just wanted to let you know we came out of Hurricane Irene in one piece, with less damage than expected. A lot of high winds, rain and branches all over the place, but it was sunny this morning. The nervousness is over, I did some cleanup today, but we did lose power around 4 a.m. and didn't get it back until just this afternoon.

You can see here where one of the paper birches fell into a squirrel's nest. Many of our trees are old, especially the birches, toppling over during storms.

Leaf clusters were falling like snowflakes in the high wind. I guess we'll begin raking early, green leaves scattered around instead of the usual brown in the fall. That's a "to do" for tomorrow.

And Tom, what was he up to? Well, the final manuscript had to be sent off yesterday, hurricane or no hurricane and Tom was making sure I kept my place for last-minute changes. Each of those paper clips represents an edit. There were about thirty of them! What a big help he was!

Friday, August 26, 2011

National Geographicat World: Caverns

In a rare opportunity to explore underground caverns as yet undiscovered, the team has stumbled upon the most unusual sight.

In the largest, most awe-inspiring cavern of them all, one junior explorer was heard to say, "Are those stalagtites or stalagmites? I always get those two confused."

Of course, once the giant cat closed his mouth and swallowed, it really didn't matter.


Jeez, all kidding, aside, Tom, I better get you to the dentist to get those back teeth cleaned.

You just don't want to say the word "vet."

You're right.

Anyway, that's next on our list.

Why do you get such a kick out of my yawns?

I don't know. I just do. They can say so much sometimes.


I even mention one of your yawns in the book. It helps to explain the relationship you have with the housekeeper's son.

I don't like him.


Here goes:

Young Father Will and Jerry are chatting in front of the rectory. The priest is on an errand and the young man has just arrived:

Will spent most free nights with a good book and the cat.

"Does he turn the pages?" Jerry laughed.

"No, he just adds to the plot."


"He sits and looks over my shoulder and his purrs get louder when there's suspense."

"That's pretty cool."

"It is. Once in awhile, we get disturbed, but not very often."

"I miss him. I can't have any pets in my new place."

Not a cat lover at the beginning, Will couldn't imagine life now without Tom. "I'm sorry to hear that."

The priest saw a couple cross over to their side of the street, then turn and point in the opposite direction. Looked like they were lost. Jerry hadn't noticed.

"Come on over later," Will suggested.

"I'd like that!"

"I'm sure Tom'll be thrilled."

Will and Jerry looked back at the front window just in time to see the cat in the middle of a head-splitting yawn, ears pinned back and teeth bared in a soundless shriek.

"Yeah," said Jerry, cracking up.


Everyone, please stay safe. At a time when we're all experiencing changes in our lives, we're facing a storm the likes of which we haven't seen in quite awhile. Thoughts and prayers are with all of you in the CB. We think of you any time there's news in your area. As for us here, we're a little nervous, but I'm putting lead weights on Tom to make sure he doesn't blow away.
Take care everyone!

Tom & Mom Julie

Friday, August 19, 2011

Looking for Home Sweet Home

A day late and a dollar short, that's me, but that won't stop my introducing some kitties in Fairfax, Virginia whose situation was brought up by Maine Coon Cat Rescue. I'm a proud member of that group since I was once a stray myself.

It was Black Cat Appreciation Day a few days ago and we missed it, but we want to tip our hats to a couple of beauties: the cutest, most adorable black furries ever:

While we're waiting for them to turn around and say hello, we want to introduce Sparky, a member of the black cat family.

He's a kitty just a kibble more handsome than I am at 5 years old. He's checking on his looks in the mirror just like I do, making sure they're still there. He was only 2 months old when he was left behind and found his home.

Now, we have the cute Sweet Pea, daughter to Peanut. Sorry, turns out mumsy's a bit camera shy.

Their dad, father to Sparky, too, has to give them up and he is heartbroken. He has to be out of his apartment by August 26th and would like to find homes for them by then. He rescued Peanut and Sweet Pea at an RV campground when the owner of the place said he would catch them (they were feral) and have them put down. That was a year and a half ago. Peanut, the mother, is 3 and Sweet Pea is 2. They both have their shots and are spayed. Sparky, too, has all his shots and is neutered. They have been kept indoors.

Their temperament? Sparky is a lovebug, but can be aggressive when he plays. Sweet Pea is shy until she gets to know you, and Peanut, is a sweetheart.

If you know anyone who would like to adopt them, keeping the mother and daughter together if possible, please email us.

Thanks a bunch!


Friday, August 12, 2011

A Word From Our Sponsor

I don't watch much TV, but when I do, I really notice the commercials.

There's one that asks you to find your own beach.

I've tried.

Where am I supposed to look? I sit on a Catholic rectory windowsill, for cod's sake! And, what about those people who sit in separate tubs? Nevermind, I'm digressing again..

I think about how wonderful life is, then somebody has to come along and tell me I need to be someplace else. I just don't know how to manage it.

I have thoughts about people on beaches.

They look quite happy.

I think of palm trees, sunsets and a little luau music.

All while I'm lying on my own beach.

Bring on the hula girls!!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Our Day Worldwide!

World Cat Day happens to fall on Mancat Monday. Purrfect!

Mom Julie has insisted on taking over this post for today. I'll sit off to the side while she writes, hoping to bask in the glow of praise and celebration.

Thanks, Tom.

In the show The Honeymooners, Ralph tells Alice, "You're a pip, Alice." Suspecting it's an affectionate insult, it happens often enough for her to take it in stride, knowing she loves him for all his foolishness. It's that way with Tom and me. The old cat may as well call me a pip because he knows he already has that soft spot in my heart.

He lets me think I'm in charge, but pushes my buttons and rules the roost. This is his day to celebrate this strange yet affectionate relationship, a highlight of all the things that make him a cat, a wonderful four-legged inspiration for an entire congregation all in my head. Imagine that. He's also been there for the challenges, the wee early morning hours of work, a few tears and the decisions. (He's seen me through an awful lot of stuff lately).

So cheers to you, Tom and all the kitty companions who make our lives a better place, or are with us in spirit.

Happy Cat Day!

I couldn't have done it without you!

For this picture, I had the camera balanced on my shoulder. His paw will be on my arm quite often as I move the mouse (his mouse).


Friday, August 5, 2011

Go Fish!

For your mouth-watering enjoyment, furriends---ta-da:

A new recipe from the parish kitchen!

I'm tickled to my whisker tips! The housekeeper has come up with a treat which is a real tribute to one of my passions--fish.

The only thing is, it doesn't taste like fish. It isn't grilled, sauteed, or fried. It just looks like fish or little fishies, actually, swimming around in their little pond.

It was so nice of her to make this for me, but not for a moment did I think they were really fish, or rather goldfish, especially since I was spying on her as she made it.

If you would like to create your own pond, here is the recipe:

Go Fish!

3 oz. box of lime Jello or any color you want the fish to swim in
a handful of baby carrots (the organic ones are more tapered)
celery stalk greens (optional)

In a small glass rectangular or round dish, mix the Jello according to package directions. Wash carrots and lightly peel, setting the "fish" into the Jello.

Put into refrigerator and every so often check on them, moving the carrots around to where they look most feline-yummy looking life like. Eventually they will set.

When they were first put in, it was funny because the carrots started acting like real fish in that they wanted to hang out along the edge of the dish or gang together on one end. Even when they were left alone, they "swam" when nobody was looking.