Monday, April 5, 2010

My Cat Loki, Paschal Triduum and a Few Other Things

This is something of a 'catch-up' post, but first I'm going to get my sad news out of the way.

On March 17th, we had to put my cat, Loki, to sleep.

She was 14 years old, and this is the second time she's died.

We found her in a trash can when she was a kitten. She'd climbed in there trying to find food, and we brought her home. She was so tiny she fit in the palm of your hand, and her tail was so long it could wrap around her. She was all tail, this little ball of fluff. She sort of started a 'cat-valanche' in our house, and before we knew it we had six cats. :)

Loki was definitely *my* cat. We got her during the years before they diagnosed my thyroid problem, and I was sick a lot. We bonded curled up in bed, sleeping. Her favorite spot was on top of my head. :) Her favorite 'game' was to lay on her back, tummy exposed, inviting you to pet her soft, fluffy fur. And when you fell for it, gullible human that you were, she would attack! All four paws and her teeth, going for your arm. Never breaking skin, just letting you know she could have ripped you limb from limb, should she choose. And then deigning to allow you to pet her.

About six years ago, she developed these things called subdermal hematomas (the lining of her ear and the outer layer of skin on the inside of the ear separated and filled with blood) in her ears. The first one, we didn't know what was going on. Her ear was just suddenly *huge* and swollen. We took her to the emergency vet and they opened it up, drained it, and then sewed the two layers back together. Of course they bandaged it up, and her ear healed crooked over like that. The second time, we knew what it was (it happened on her other ear) and took her to our vet. She had a bad reaction to the anesthesia, and died on the table. My vet revived her. Which is...unusual for animals. Typically, when they die, that's it.

We waited for a week to see is she would recover. When we brought her home she couldn't walk, she was mostly blind, and I had to feed her baby food through a syringe. We were waiting to see if there was permanent damage, and what it was. She recovered completely, and was her old self again after a few weeks.

So. I had her for six more years.

*sigh* And now for less depressing things:

As of the end of March I have lost 30 lbs. Only 12 million more to go. On the other hand, I can lift more weight than a lot of the men at my gym, and I can do an hour of cardio (bike & treadmill) without keeling over and having to be carried to the locker room anymore. :)

As of the end of March by books read total is up to 60. :)

I made it to all three services of Paschal Triduum.

On Thursday we have the Mass of the Lord's Supper. It commemorates, of course, the Last Supper - the institution of the Eucharist and the institution of the priesthood. We have a Mass, and during it the two priests commemorate the washing of the disciples' feet by washing the feet of twelve congregants. Two priests con-celebrate this Mass. This year it was our Parochial Vicar Fr. Anthonio and the...roving priest Fr. Pray (yes, that is his name. No, I don't know if it's his first or last name. He's an adorable old grandpa kind of man.) I wore dark brown. Brown knit top, brown linen skirt with light brown stitching, sensible brown shoes, and a light brown/gold scarf. Thinking back, I realized that I wore brown last year for Holy Thursday. Apparently it's a brown kind of day. After the Mass, they have a procession around the church with the Eucharist, ending in the chapel, where it is placed on the smaller altar there, for Eucharistic Adoration.

Good Friday is the Celebration of the Passion and the Veneration of the Cross. What happens is that we have the Liturgy of the Word (the first 'half' of the Mass), but no Liturgy of the Eucharist. It's a very solemn, sorrowful occasion, of course. We read the Passion (if you've never been to a Good Friday service or a Palm/Passion Sunday service at a Catholic church, instead of the Gospel reading being a simple reading performed by the priest or a deacon, the Passion is broken out into parts, with the deacon reading for some, a lectionary reading for others, the priest reading Christ's parts, and the parts marked 'crowd' being read together by the congregation.) and the priest gives a brief homily. We had Father Pray this year, and he did keep it brief. After all, as he said, if we have been paying attention to what we've just read, what more is there that he can say? Now, as I said, there is no Liturgy of the Eucharist on Good Friday. Instead, we have the Veneration of the Cross. What happens is that the priest has a large, blessed crucifix, and the congregation lines up to venerate it. What's that mean? Most people kiss the body of Jesus on the crucifix. (For the record, the priest has sanitizing wipes and the corpus is wiped between each person.) Some people genuflect, bow, there's a certain level of variation from person to person. But we're all there to pay honor to Christ and His sacrifice for us. After the Veneration of the Cross, we receive Communion. How, since we had no Liturgy of the Eucharist? Eucharist from Holy Thursday's Mass is reserved for Communion on Good Friday. The Catholic church believe and teaches that once the bread and wine have been transformed into the Body and Blood, they remain so. The one thing I missed this year that we had last year was the Litany. We had Fr. Anthonio last year, and he's a bit 'old school'. :) For instance, when they process in at the beginning (for the Good Friday service), the priests and deacons are supposed to prostrate themselves. Fr. Anthonio goes whole hog, flat out on the floor (and the deacons have to follow suit.) Fr. Pray (& Fr. Pat) don't do that, they prostrate, kneeling, faces and hands on the floor (Fr. Pray, bless him, needs to use a cushion! Our floors are hard!). Anyway. Last year, Fr. Anthonio had a litany (and I can't recall which one), and that involved a lot of 'Let us stand.' 'Let us kneel.' After each petition. Wonderful, but hard on the knees. :) As appropriate to the somber occasion, I wore a gray top, plain black skirt, nice black flats (in anticipation of the litany) and a black scarf (which had colors woven into it - somber, but hopeful).

Holy Saturday we have the Easter Vigil Mass. It begins at 8 pm, because the church calendar is based on the Jewish calendar, so a day is from sunset to sunset. Therefore, technically, the Easter Vigil Mass 'counts' for your Sunday obligation. Sadly, it means we don't have a Holy Saturday Mass... The Vigil starts out with the entire church dark. All the lights are off. And then, the priests, deacons, altar servers, and the catechumens (those being received into the church - we had nine this year) process in. The service actually starts outside, with the presiding priest (Fr. Pat) lighting the new Easter candle (which lasts the whole year, from Vigil to Vigil) and bringing the light back into the church. It's a long service, about two hours, with something like eight readings, as opposed to the normal three, plus we have the baptisms, and the confirmations of the catechumens. Also, there's chanting. Normally the deacons read everything, but the very beginning of the Vigil service is chanted. :) I went with black and red for the Vigil service. Long black skirt with red flowers, a red top with a small black jacket, black shoes, black tiechel, and a red and black shawl (last year I got cold at Vigil. This year, I was sweltering. Can't win.) My sister said I looked like a cherry, but I disagree. :p

I went to Easter Mass as well. It's a 'regular' Mass, especially at 7:30 in the morning, when I go. (I do that on purpose to avoid the throngs of people that go to the later Masses. It's a mad house, I tell you!) But it's a very celebratory Mass, of course. The whole church is brighter. :) White skirt with small flowers and leaves, very spring-y. Pink tank top with a light weight green sweater and a white scarf with green trim. Very Easter. :)

And...that's about it, I think. The kinder have Easter weekend off, so nothing to report there.


  1. I offer my condolences on your kitty-loss. :-(

    And yay on your continued weight-loss/heroics at the gym!

    Pascha - yes, one either freezes or burns up. Takes turns.

  2. I'm so sorry about Loki, but it sounds like she had a wonderful life with you! I enjoyed reading all the memories you shared about her. She sounds like such a fantastic friend. My condolences.

    Yay for losing 30 pounds and for increased endurance and strength! Yippeeeeeeeee!

    Sixty books? Any worth sharing about?

    Thanks for sharing all that you did on your services last week. I've never been to a Catholic service so it was great reading about them and experiencing them a bit through you. It was also neat to read what you wore to each occasion. "Somber, but hopeful" -- I like that! A LOT!

  3. Anna,

    Thank you. It was rough there for a while. :(

    And yes, the gym antics *are* heroic, aren't they? *strikes Herculean pose*

  4. Susanne,

    Thank you. She was a great friend.

    30 lbs is great, but it's getting to the part where I'm having wardrobe 'malfunctions'. Not on the level of Janet Jackson or anything, but things don't fit the way they used to, so adjustments are being made to *avoid* embarrassing myself like that.

    Hmm...I'll have to review and get back to you on that. (The books).

    You're welcome. If you ever get the chance, you should go to a Catholic Mass. It's different, for sure, but beautiful. :)

  5. I am sorry to hear about your kitty. It is so hard to lose a friend.

    Also, CONGRATS ON THE LOSS OF 30 POUNDS!!! You go girl!!!!

    Missed ya!

  6. Mamajuliana,

    Thank you. I do miss her, but I think it's getting better, slowly.

    And, thanks! It's great. I've actually got to go through my closet this weekend and get rid of some clothes that are too big! That's a wonderful thing to be able to say. :)


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