Author Archives: Katya

Mending a Broken Heart…

After losing my mom and my little companion, Murphy, within a two day space, I was pretty heartbroken.

I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful woman named Jan Bowe many years ago. She loves the Scottish Terrier breed as much as I do and she moderates an online forum called Nothing But Scotties. When she found out about Murphy, she was on the phone with me. She understood how hard it was but told me that I needed to find another Scottie. Her logic made perfect sense as she spoke, telling me my love of the breed could only be filled with another Scottie. And, she knew of two Scotties that might be available….

After talking with one breeder (and a great one at that!) the breeder felt her little female puppy wasn’t the one for me. I have always had male Scotties and she felt it was a boy I was looking for. In the Scottie breed, males tend to be a bit more affectionate toward their people even though Scotties are known for their very independent nature.

Jan found another great breeder who just happened to have a little male puppy available. I contacted the woman who owns the mom Scottie and we talked. I had met her years ago when we attended a Scottie picnic and we remembered each other. The male puppy was indeed available and I could meet him at a Scottie picnic in Canada! I grew cautiously excited as the day of the picnic approached.

There is little that can begin to heal a heart as desire fulfilled! Mark was even more cautious than I about getting a new puppy. Don’t let your heart overwhelm your decision, he warned.

The trip to the Scottie Picnic was a terrific diversion from all the sadness of the past few weeks. As we rode along, I felt more at ease than I had in a long time. Arriving at the park where the picnic took place was like balm on a wound! Seeing so many of this lovely little breed made me smile as I had not smiled in many weeks!

I met the puppy as well as his parents and many of his relatives! What a day! We talked to a few people who highly recommended the breeder and his puppies. It became obvious we had found “the puppy”! Two days later, one sweet little boy came to live here in the Bristolwood!

2016 Was A Very Hard Year….

I have told about my father’s passing here on the blog. It was a tough day the day my mother called to say that he had passed away. But what followed caught me totally off guard and feeling quite down.

After my dad passed away, we found ourselves making lots of trips to Jamestown to help my mother sort through more paperwork. My, oh my….so much paperwork! It seemed like a never-ending exercise, filling out forms and figuring out policies and such, Thankfully, Mark has a tenacity that causes him to look mountains of paperwork in the eye and work right through them! Mark was a great help and Mom totally appreciated everything he did.

In August, Mom said she just had such a hard time…she couldn’t ram through her housework like she did previously. She confided in me during a phone call that she wasn’t her normal self. She made an appointment for August 15th to have a heart catheterization done to check her heart for blockage or see what was causing her to drag so.

When I found out about the appointment, I told Mark I wanted to go alone to Jamestown so I could go with her to the appointment. Mark wanted to know if I was sure I really wanted to go alone, but I insisted. I am so glad I did….

I can still see Mom walking into the hospital alone. Even though she had complained she couldn’t walk twenty feet without feeling the need to sit down, her determination to get this figured out far surpassed any fatigue she might have felt. At nearly eighty-six years old, she looked so stylish in her white jeans, black and white striped knit shirt and sandals.

I had the valet park the car and my brother and I ran inside to catch up with Mom. She fidgeted a bit, wondering what was taking so long. Finally, she was taken in for the procedure. I won’t get into all the details, but the bottom line was that the doctor said her heart just didn’t have enough “squeeze”. She made it through the procedure, but was admitted into the hospital.

Throughout her stay, we were called twice to say Mom wasn’t expected to make it through the night. We made the long journey the first time to say our goodbyes, but she wasn’t ready to let go just yet. The second time, Carly and her family traveled to be with her. Still, she wasn’t ready to leave planet Earth.

On the ninth day of her hospital stay, the doctor called us and told us Mom needed to be moved to a nursing home. Mark spoke with the doctor and I listened in to the conversation, feeling my heart sinking. There was no way Mom would ever want to be admitted to a nursing home. However, at the end of the call, Mark and I called the home where my dad had been for his last months of life and began to make arrangements.

Well, Mom was something else. She seemed to manage to get things done her way. I knew in my heart of hearts she would never, ever want to enter a nursing home. If that doctor had even mentioned a nursing home in her semi non responsive state, she had enough! That evening, I received “the call” that Mom had passed away. Even in the heartbreak of hearing this, I had to smile, knowing Mom had things done *her* way!

I had lost both of my parents within an eight month span of time.  It seemed so overwhelming, but I am so grateful that I had them so long!! Even though I miss them, I just thank God for every single day I was able to have them! My parents were such good parents.

The sadness didn’t end with losing both parents, though. Two days after Mom passed away, I had to make a trip to the vet to bid farewell to my dear little Murphy. He had been diagnosed with melanoma about eighteen months before and he awakened me in the middle of the night, crying out in pain and I knew it was time to say goodbye to my sweet little Scottie boy. I had held up so well at the time my parents passed, but when the vet tech came for Murphy, I felt as though my heart was going to break into a million tiny pieces.

I will end this entry here, as I hope I haven’t reduced you, dear reader, to tears. This was a year of some heavy events, but it was not all bad. In my next  post, I will bring some happy news!


A Little Fun Diversion!

Well, hello there! Yes, it has been a very long time since I have blogged. Far too long. Life got complicated and busy and I let this blog go. I have a great deal of catching up to do and I will do my best to do so.

Now, back to the subject!

We spend our Saturday afternoons and evenings with friends, celebrating the Shabbat (Sabbath) and breaking bread! Our group is small and we enjoy this time together so much. Mark plays guitar and there is singing and just lots of sharing and digging into God’s Word.

Last Saturday, Carolyn asked if I would like to attend a Victorian Tea with her. The town’s historical society had purchased a pretty Victorian house and has been restoring it. The invite sounded like fun, so I agreed to go along. We entered the house and were steered into a smallish dining area in which tables for four were set up. We took our seats at a table with a husband and wife. Soon after, a pot of hot water was delivered to the table and we were offered to select a tea. Carolyn and I both chose Salted Caramel. It was yummy! An offering of tiny sandwiches and sweets made their way to the table and we chatted away about pets and country living.

As so frequently happens, it was getting late and time to leave. We had such a delightful time and it was a nice little diversion from the norm!


Unexpected Blessings

In Matthew 7:11, the Lord explains that although we are sinful and evil,  we know how to give good gifts to our children. The verse further explains that if we love God, He gives good things to His children when they ask. What a precious concept.

I find that oftentimes I forget to ask for things I might need or want. I get too busy and just think it isn’t that important.

This year, our spring was so chilly, the leaves on the trees refused to come out until late May. Because of this, the peonies I planted so many years ago were able to grow better as they weren’t shaded.

How like the Lord to bless us with an abundance of my Grandma Manelick’s peonies the same year that Dad passed away. I went down and cut six of these delightful flowers and put them on the table.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. And sometimes He just blesses us to let us know just how precious we are to him!



Thinking back….

The last time I saw my dad was on the day after New Year’s Day, January 2. That was one week before he passed away.

Mom and I went in to see Dad. He hadn’t been in a wheelchair in many weeks. He could no longer sit up, so he was placed in a recliner on wheels. The first time I saw him in the recliner, it was all I could do from breaking down. His body seemed contorted in strange positions and he was propped up with pillows.

Mom always went to the second floor to get Dad and would wheel that big recliner into the elevator and take him downstairs to visit with him.  She would have a bottle of Ensure tucked in her purse. She placed a straw in it and told Dad it was a milkshake. He would drink it down so well through a straw. Then he would drink a cup of coffee through a straw. He rarely talked on these visits and just didn’t seem to be much interested in anything. I always struggled as I didn’t know what to say….Mom would talk to him and fuss over him and he seemed almost distant.

On the last visit,  Dad grabbed my hand in his. Somehow, I knew he was telling me goodbye. We went downstairs for our visit and when I spoke, he didn’t respond.  At one point, his leg  slipped off the recliner. Since I was sitting near his legs, I gently moved his leg back up. He didn’t complain when I moved it, but later, he drew his legs up and said his knees hurt so much. He told Mom and I that we had no idea of the pain he was in. It was all I could do to keep the tears back. When I had moved his leg back onto the recliner, I was shocked to see his calf wasn’t much larger than my forearm.

A couple of days after my visit, my mom called and said Dad was in really poor condition.  He had internal bleeding but was in such weakened condition, it would be hard to even do anything for him.

Dad passed away, very peaceably. My mom, two brothers, and my uncle (Dad’s brother) were talking in the room when he passed.

I will miss my dad. He was an amazing man, driven by his deep convictions….

I guess the reality of the whole situation has suddenly struck me now.  I am so grateful that my dad was with me all my adult life. I know so many people lost parents at a young age. I thank the Lord for all the wonderful times we shared and all the happy memories!


Don’t tell Ben I posted this!

Ben completed his first semester at SUNY Geneseo shortly before Christmas with outstanding grades! I was so pleased last autumn when he included a photography class as he needed a general course not associated with his business degree.

When I read the syllabus for the photography class, I cringed…not being exactly a “techie”, I was overwhelmed by things like podcasts critiquing photos, technical assignments, and the icing on the cake! The final assignment was a published photo book. My hands got seriously clammy even reading the word “stupendous”….the professor’s choice of words for an “A” on the book.

Ben chose the subject Barns of the Finger Lakes for his project. He went on photo shoots and I was able to point him to some cool barns I saw throughout my adventures. I was so pleased when his book’s grade was posted…he aced it with an A!




Dad and Fritzi

Yesterday, we made the journey to Jamestown for a memorial service for my dad. A sad occasion but we also had to be concerned about the lake effect snow warnings that flashed on signs as we made our way along I86. There were threats of up to 8 inches of snow likely to fall but we figured if the weather got as bad as predicted, we would just stay overnight.

We wound up traveling several  miles behind a strange getup…it was a snowplow with a “trailer” that was pulled behind that could actually be swung out to the plow’s right side and take up the entire two lanes of traffic, plowing and spreading whatever blend of magical potient that removed the snow from the highway’s surface. This contraption slowed us down a good ten minutes and made me fret we would enter the service late.  Thankfully, the trailer slowly backed off from the plow and pulled in behind it, allowing traffic to regain speed.

We arrived at the church with a few minutes to spare, enabling us to exchange a few hugs and words of condolence from cousins we had not seen since the last funeral.  Sad, but true…

The service went well…the pastor was so wonderful! Carly’s girls, Sarah and Erin, sang Amazing Grace, a’cappella and in harmony, perfectly! I wish I would have videotaped it….I read a tribute I had written the day Dad passed. I had felt the inkling to write it before he passed. Perhaps an unction from the Lord to do this.

For those who couldn’t be there, here is the content.

My name is Kae Manelick Catalano and I am Harry’s favorite daughter. Oh, I am Harry’s only daughter.

I think most all of us have heard the words of Ecclesiasties, chapter 3.

To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. Futter we read A time to weep and a time to laugh: a time to mourn and a time to dance. And verses 12 and 13 say I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.

My father,  Harry, did indeed enjoy the good of all his labor. He was a man who worked hard all his life. He was a man who deeply loved his family….if we ever needed help, he was always there. Dad loved working with his hands and always had a building project, or so it seemed. Although he wasn’t especially fond of farming, I remember the large gardens he planted in Youngsville and every spring he began working flowerbeds around the house that always produced abundant blossoms. He loved nature and his backyard was a sanctuary for birds… he was excited when tiny hummingbirds would return to his feeder each spring.

One of the most outstanding characteristics about Harry, though, was how I would best describe him. Harry was a man of integrity. He was honest, straightforward,and if he said he was going to do something, he always followed through.  These traits were not only evident to us, his family, but others saw them as well. As such, his employer,  MRC/SKF, requested that he serve as a loan officer at the credit union. He felt honored and accepted the position, spending lunchtimes meeting with the other officers. He was proud of Mom when she completed college and became a registered nurse and he supported us kids in our pursuits. He was a man of integrity.

I believe my dad’s parting words would be accept Jesus, follow God’s commandments, love your family, love your neighbor, and enjoy the good of your labor,  for it is the gift of God.

After the service, a luncheon was served in the parlour. It was wonderful talking to relatives and hearing stories about Dad.

We began heading home at about 3 and happily traveled dry roads. The dreaded snow never fell and we grateful for a wonderful day, remembering a terrific man.

On my way to the dentist…..



I could not believe my eyes! I saw “something” big sitting on the road from a distance. It was only when I got several feet away, I realized I was looking at an immature Eagle! I suppose it was as curious about me as I was about it….ot sat there for probably a minute before finally lifting off and flying away!

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