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All Dressed Up…and Somewhere To Go

How exciting to attend High Table after the first day of class! A small group gathered with some of our tutors and staff at a sherry reception prior to dinner. Fascinating students included the Amsterdam couple who have participated eight years. A Texas grandmother brought her 16-year-old granddaughter to Exeter College for two weeks of pre-law while she took two courses at Christ Church. As the rest of the people entered the Great Hall, they followed tradition and stood until the High Table guests sat at their nameplate.

After we were seated, the director of studies David Beard (who started The Oxford Experience 27 years ago) delivered the grace in Latin. Here is translation: In the neediness of our human condition, which invites your compassion, almighty God and heavenly Father, we give you reverent thanks for the food which, in your kindness, you have lavished on us for the sustenance of our bodies; and we also beg that we may use it without greed or excess and with enjoyment. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

High Table on Dais

High Table is just what the words imply. The table sits on a platform or dais above the main floor. It is at the top of the Great Hall furthest from the screen passage. During the Middle Ages, the lord of the castle could indeed “look down” on his household. His servants or subjects had designated seating in vertical rows of perpendicular tables according to status. Nobility and high ranking guests sat at High Table. They were served first and had the best quality food and drink. In 2017 at Christ Church, everyone in the hall enjoyed the same delectable food with turkey saltimbocca as the main course. Harry Potter or the Hogwarts teachers were not there! However, the Harry Potter films built a replica of the Great Hall in their London studio.

William Murray Over Door, Student 1723, First Earl of Mansfield

Many members of Christ Church were there in spirit. Ninety-two portraits grace the four walls of the Great Hall. Henry VIII oversees all as he is positioned on the High Table end of room in the middle. He founded Christ Church in 1546 as a dual foundation of college and cathedral. Cardinal Wolsey established Cardinal College in 1525 and his foundation is the original of Christ Church. His portrait is hung to the right of Henry VIII. Queen Elizabeth who united Christ Church and Westminster in 1561 is to the left of Henry VIII. The bust of the Queen Elizabeth II is below Henry VIII. I sat facing these formidable characters and felt their presence.

Other famous scholars of the college include Thomas Locke philosopher, John Wesley theologian, William Gladstone statesman and Lewis Carroll writer. Thirteen prime ministers studied at Christ Church.

Evening End Revelation

For me, the evening was steeped in great history, tradition, friendship and conversation. As shadows flirted with the exquisite stained glass windows, the ambiance of the Great Hall changed. A new reflection here, a new reflection there. For me, that is what education is all about. Members of Christ Church have sat at High Table in centuries past conversing and debating the challenging issues of the era. I know 2017 is no different. Later this year a second female portrait will keep company with Queen Elizabeth in the Great Hall, Professor Judith Pallot who joined the college in 1979.

As I leave High Table and meander through the hall (not wanting this to end), I follow a row of portraits. In my mind’s eye one causes me to pause. I see the sixteen year old pre-law student all grown up, and she is gazing at me with a faint smile. I return her smile, but I am beaming!

Next Travelogue Post: Class Time Free Time

Blessings!
Linda

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Christ Church College

As the Chinese proverb goes, a journey of a thousand steps starts with a single step. Sometimes, a journey starts at the train station as my trip to Oxford did. London Paddington is a bustling station and Sundays are no exception. I like to ride trains and have done so on other trips using a BritRail pass. It is an easy and efficient way to travel. The scene at Paddington is hectic and fast paced. Travelers stand in mass staring up at time table boards that will eventually indicate a platform number from one to fourteen. An inbound train may only be in the station minutes before departure. So a stampede follows the instant the platform is known. I dashed off to platform 1 and a kind, observant man offered to lift my suitcase onto train. Oh, the perks of being a senior!

Tom Gate Christ Church 

Sixty-three minutes later I arrived in Oxford and taxied to Christ Church, one of thirty-eight constituent colleges in the University of Oxford system. I was about to embark on The Oxford Experience where I would be a student for six days. The impressive point of entry is known as Tom Gate. After being greeted and given a welcome packet, a scout (member of domestic staff) escorted me to the Meadows building. My private suite was on first floor which is second floor by American standards. The view looked out over a meadow, and I thought I was in the country. The exquisite blue sky was a beautiful backdrop for my photo shoot of architecture.

Later in the day following a short orientation meeting and wine reception, we had our first meal in the Great Hall of Christ Church. As I entered the hall, I was mesmerized. I commented later to a dinner companion, that if The Oxford Experience had ended at that moment, it would have been worth it. I am still at loss for the right words to describe my feelings. Being in a room where Henry the VIII and countless other historic figures have dined, was a pinch me I’m not dreaming moment!

Great Hall Christ Church Founded 1546

 

Great Hall Christ Church

A little background on great halls….They can be found in palaces, castles and large manor homes in the Middle Ages and in country homes in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Colleges at Durham, Cambridge, St. Andrews and Oxford also have great halls for dining. In the Middle Ages, the hall was a living space where the household of family and servants ate and slept together. The hall was typically a long rectangle room, roofed in timber and entered at a screen end with a high table at opposite end.

After dinner, we were escorted to our classroom by our tutor Nick Doggett (which is what the professor is called) for a short get acquainted meeting. The aerial photo at top of this post gives you an idea of the massive space Christ Church covers. We were hopeful we would find our way the next morning for the official start of class. The eclectic class of twelve students included three married couples from California. The rest of us gals represented New York, Ohio, Florida, California again, Germany and New Zealand. Many of us have had (or still have) education careers. Two are architects, and I suspect they will add an interesting perspective to the Country Homes course. Class dismissed!

Entrance from Quad & Christ Church Cathedral

Next Travelogue: My High Table Dining Experience

Blessings!
Linda

Sacha commented to me in 2016: “Of course you will write and speak about it, because to do anything else is not you.” So here I am writing poetry, but I am shocked the “it” is Sacha. Hurricane Irma altered my plans to attend her Celebration of Life in Buffalo where I hoped to share my poem Tribute to Sacha…A Glimpse of the Divine. Thank you for reading. I appreciate you sharing with her family and friends.

Linda Sacha’s Artwork

 

Tribute to Sacha
A Glimpse of the Divine

By Linda A. Mohr

She left in a flash
Sudden, unexpected, shocking
A powerhouse jolt to my being
Stomach swirling
Soul numbing
Heart cracking
Pain scale to infinity
Avalanche of tears forming
A pool of radiant memories

She left in a flash
Causing me to ponder
Why her
An extraordinary woman
Who mattered
A visionary
Love personified
Living her calling
With zest and joy
A gifted life coach, mentor,
guide, teacher, adviser,
cheerleader, author and artist
An angel in my midst

Sacha’s Book Changes Lives

Her laser beam thinking
Insightful questions
Intuitive spirit
Compassionate heart
Limitless confidence
Boundless love
Enlightened me to stop pushing
a noodle up a mountain
To creating my path of passion

Finding Sacha Anthology Story

She left in a flash
Causing me to wonder
Why now
When there are
Books to write
Poems to pen
Music to score
Portraits to paint
Photos to snap
Plays to direct
Degrees to earn
Companies to launch
Products to market
Obstacles to remove
Commotions to calm
Health to heal
Lives to live

Sacha Coaching Result
Book Published 2007

Like a grad student
searching primary sources for a thesis
I dove into seven years of coaching notes
Twelve years of correspondence
Markers of moments
Looking for answers
Looking to solace my cracked heart

Historical Sacha References
2005-2017

A memorable name—Sacha
She had a unique conversing style
A greeting—Hey Toots or
Linda, Linda, Linda Mohr
A closing X & O
How many a surprise
Upper and lower case a mystery
In between—juicy conversation
Oh what magic

Birthday Note in her Artist Card 2017

Her stamp of approval
Ooh this sounds so you—how divine
So luv how you keep history alive and love it so well
Yikes, they are lucky to have you as a guide
You are doing a critical piece of your life’s work
You are something
Of course you are going to speak and write about all this
because to do anything else is not you

St. Helen’s Book Fair 2011
Linda Sacha and Linda Mohr

Her applause
Yea for you
Fab, fab and more fab
So darn exciting
Wow, what an honor
I celebrate you
I am beyond thrilled
I had a wonderful cry
reading your note and beautiful Omega poem

Powerhouse Dining, Linda Sacha, Linda Mohr, Nikki Sweet at Season’s 52 in 2010

Her treasure trove
Profound soul stirring nuggets
I dubbed
Sacha…isms
Bound to jazz her

Her Treasure Trove of
Sacha…isms are Magic

Imagine a little more
Act a little less
Let mind and heart go nutty for 2 to 7 seconds
What are the possibilities

You are an event waiting to happen
You have to allow it to happen, not force it
You don’t have to know the how
Universe is cooking something up

You + God + Universe = magic in motion
Yippee feeling is where something
sits in your heart twinkling
Oh you want more
The better it gets, the better it gets

Surrendering is important
Ask God to take over this piece for now
Guardian angel is always with you
just waiting for an assignment
When stuck, ask your angel to reveal

Through gratitude your cup is filled
Through gratitude your vibration is raised

Meditation is a daily vacation from your mind
Meditation is a pause from the wackiness of life
taking you to source energy

Death serves a purpose
Throws living into reflection
Every tear is a tribute
Intensity of grieving is equal to intensity of love
All is in divine order—even sadness
Everything happens for the evolution of the soul
Everything happens for the expansion of the soul

And finally her signature request
We are grateful for anyone past or present
who can show up to help

A Glimpse of the Divine

And show up for me, they have
Higher consciousness messages
of protection, wisdom and nurturing
I am here and always have been
When you think you feel him, you do
When you feel his presence, you do
It was my time to journey on
I can help you more from this place
I can be with all of you at the same time
All can feel my presence

More of Sacha’s Joyful Artwork

As the sacred work
of her soul expands exponentially
I embrace my next assignment
with gratitude
Like an exquisite web of strands
We remain eternally connected
Her heart to my heart
My heart to her heart

Once in a while like magic
I sense a tiny tug
followed by an unforgettable voice
“Well, aren’t you something”
That’s my Sacha shot
And all is as it should be
In all ways and always

Blessings!
Linda

British Reception at The Chesterfield Hotel Mayfair

As my British Airways flight touched down 6:30 a.m. at London Heathrow, I said to anyone awake, “I’m home.” I have always experienced this feeling in my favorite city in the world. As the taxi cab driver made his way to The Chesterfield Hotel with me ogling over all the familiar sights and sounds, my happy soul acknowledged again, “I am really home!”

In a few days I will head to Oxford for the primary focus of this 2017 jaunt. But I simply could not bypass the opportunity to return to London for the eleventh blessed time. So for now I will stay at The Chesterfield Hotel in Mayfair for several reasons. I have a history with The Chesterfield Palm Beach as that is where I held my book signing party in 2007 for Tatianna-Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend. Chesterfield Mayfair is located in one of most beautiful areas of London, is within walking distance of Gray’s Antiques and is authentic British.

I luckily arrived without jetlag and spent Friday morning having a wonderful English breakfast in the hotel, exploring the area on foot and getting access to my room around noon. My little cozy bedroom was a joy.

My Serenity Retreat

Later I explored Gray’s Antiques where multiple dealers have their wares. I’ve joked that my car automatically stops for garage sales, thrift stores and antique shops in the states. When I am in London, the vintage markets call to me and off I go on foot.

Scottie Dog Buttons & Brooch

 

I found some sweet little Scottie dog buttons for my eBay customers and I added a brooch to my personal collection. Love brooches with faces! I appreciate how the “hustle and bustle” in London is offset by peaceful parks and wide open spaces like my favorite St. James Park. This trip I sat in a park at Trafalgar Square a few minutes from the hotel.

 

Antique Treasure Hunt Begins at Notting Hill

I would not be in London and not go to Portobello Market on Saturday. It is billed as the largest street market in the world. My feet agree! The eclectic one mile market includes antiques, vintage stuff, collectibles, food, clothing, flea market items and more. As my cabbie dropped me off at 9 a.m., my heart is racing and I can’t wait to begin the hunt. What will I find? I walked miles and ate at a little Italian café where one cook prepared all the food just a few feet from patrons. So entertaining! I bought lots of buttons (but sadly no cats available) for resale from a lovely British couple that have had a button booth for 21 years at Portobello. They take a bus and train every Saturday morning for an hour to get to their shop. They have attended National Button Conventions in America—yes, there are such meetings! And yes, some collectors specialize in cat buttons, myself included!

Little Art Pictures

I arrived back at The Chesterfield after an exhilarating market day, welcomed an impressive room service dinner, repacked my suitcase cubes and prepared for my next adventure.

Next Up: Arriving at Christ Church in Oxford

Blessings!

IMG_0986

Lexie Lee 2004–2014

I need a happy ending. I need a break from hurricane talk! Hurricane Irma, eye wall, devastation, Cat 5, path, hurricane force winds, evacuation, animals, storm shutters, batteries, canned food, water, gasoline shortage, price gouging…………… As Hurricane Irma comes closer to Florida, I am reminded of the impact of previous hurricanes on a cat and me. Is it possible to have a happy ending? So into the archives I went.

In September of 2004, a stray cat hung around my tropical backyard after back to back Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Jeanne. Sometimes the cat drank out of the pool or slept on a patio chair. I suspected she was displaced by one of the hurricanes, and I wondered what the beautiful Maine Coon mix had endured. Besides missing her bushy tail, her left ear was tipped. I asked around, but no one knew anything about the most likely feral animal. Whenever the cat heard me, she ran. Months passed, but I only caught glimpses.

Then in the summer of 2005, the cat appeared on my property daily. First, I set out a bowl of water.  Water led to leaving food out. Then I sat quietly by the pool and talked to her. After several weeks, the cat jumped into my lap and let me pet her. She was on a mission, and she had captivated me. One night I coaxed the stray into the house. The first attempts were nothing more than the cat coming in and running outside quickly. Gradually, the house visits were extended to a few minutes before departing.  When I moved the food inside, the cat stayed longer. The cat cautiously explored the three levels of the house over several weeks. We were slowly bonding. What I didn’t expect was that our bond was going to be tested by another hurricane.

In October of 2005, I had to make storm preparations for Hurricane Wilma’s visit. While the cat was in the kitchen finishing her breakfast, I ran up the lower level stairs. When she heard me hit the top step and saw my black shoes, I frightened her. She bolted out a weakly latched back door and vanished!

The neighborhood was buzzing with sounds of power tools installing hurricane protection. She was highly sensitive to noises. I was frantic and could not believe she had escaped the day before the storm. My efforts to find her were futile. She did not come back to the house in the evening at the usual feeding time. The unrecognizable patio had been stripped of every table, chair, pot, and plant, and the house was shuttered.

Hurricane Wilma hammered us the following day. I could not stop thinking about the cat and wondering where she was. I prayed for her safety. My neighbors saw her clinging to a tree during the storm, but they had not seen her in the aftermath. I could not imagine her hanging onto a limb during the powerful winds and surviving. Two days later, as I cleaned leaves out of the pool, my dear sweet kitty emerged from the landscaping. I was stunned. I scooped her up in my arms and carried her to the house. Thankfully, she was unharmed.

My stray hurricane cat was still nameless. After the cat survived the storm, she had me! Having recently read True Believer by Nicholas Sparks, I was intrigued with the librarian’s name, Lexie. I learned Lexie was of Greek origin and was the feminine form of Alexander. It meant defender or helper of mankind. Well, the cat had certainly been defending my backyard for a long time. She also helped me complete the grieving process for my cat friend Katarina. Maybe I was on to something!

All my previous cats had been named singular names like Noelle, Tatianna, Taittinger, Marnie and Katarina. I wanted a unique two-part name and added Lee. The two names were lively and suited the stray cat’s personality. It was also fun to shorten Lexie Lee to Lex.  So Lexie Lee settled into exclusive indoor living quite naturally after clinging to a tree during ferocious winds and being blown into my yard not once but twice. We were blessed to share an extraordinary bond for ten years.

The above story was published in the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University Catnip Newsletter in January 2010, and I adapted it for this blog

Blessings!

On one of my farm vacations, I watched Boots explore a hay field during mid morning. He was hunting for field mice, playing with the other kitties and poking around at the bottom of a hay bale. All of a sudden he leaped on top of it. I was fortunate to snap this action shot. I never knew what captured his attention. Later I created a haiku and discovered the joy of a photograph prompt.

Hang on Boots

Morning mission hunt

Prowling cat in alfalfa—

Hay bale distraction

Photograph and poem originally published in “Summer laJoie 2016”

Blessings!

NationalPoetryMonth_download

In celebration of National Poetry Month, today’s feature “Morning Visitor” is a cat poem I wrote after my beloved Lexie Lee’s passing in 2014. She was a feral who found her way to my home in 2004. She bravely survived hurricanes and fought lymphoma.

Morning Visitor

Unexplained lightness on bed
One week after your passing
Spot where you use to snuggle.

Did you return to your beloved home?
Is this the sign I asked you to send?
A sign that you are safe.

My life is so different without you
My life is so rich because of you
Ten years my fur baby, my muse.

Unexplained lightness on bed again
Ten days after your passing
I whisper Lexie Lee.

I turn over to look at you
Lightness is gone in an instant
But you are forever safe in my heart.

My welcome home greeter
My napping buddy and lap kitty
My kindred spirit.

“Morning Visitor” ©2014 Linda A. Mohr

This poem won Cat Writers’ Association Muse Medallion in Poetry category in 2016.

IMG_0986

Lexie Lee

Blessings!

If you only say one prayer in a day, make it ‘thank you’.

~ Rumi

 

My Bedroom Farm View

My Bedroom Farm View

In keeping with my annual Thanksgiving month tradition, here is my 2016 ABCs of Gratitude list. My list is a culmination of the year. But gratitude is a daily ritual. Before I get out of bed each morning, I acknowledge one blessing. I do the same at the end of the day. I’ve discovered that I can’t be in gratitude and be unhappy.

Wayne Dyer believed that if you get to a place of gratitude you will experience peace. Be in a state of gratitude for everything because there is something to learn in everything. Be grateful even for the pain because there are lessons to be learned from it. According to Ingrid King gratitude is a wonderful way to raise your vibration and shift your energy. The vibration of gratitude is a powerful force. It can shift your mood and your thoughts from a place of scarcity to a place of abundance.

Anthology Essay…Finding Our Wings

Blanco…poetry mentor

Country View…soothing and peaceful

DAR…8th year of membership

eBay…top rated seller plus

eBay--Grandma's Flower Garden

eBay–Grandma’s Flower Garden Quilt

Felines…FL house & MO farm

Girlfriends…special luncheons

Health Essay…state DAR winner

Inn…Veranda House at Rhinebeck

Joe…unwavering life partner

Angus on Guard

Angus on Guard

Kravis Center…Bridges of Madison County

Laundry Room Renovation… stackables

Muse Medallion…Lexie Lee poem

Ninth Anniversary…Tatianna book

Omega Institute…life-altering

My Cabin & Writing Retreat

My Cabin & Writing Retreat at Omega

Physical Therapist…Dr. Adam’s amazing results

Quincy Airport…easy peasy

Retreat Speaker…female veterans

Sweet Peas…blooming in MO in November

Sweet Peas in November

Sweet Peas in November

Tai Chi…class 2 minutes from house

Universe…providing healing energy and hope

Vacations…NY, AZ, OR & MO (3 times)

Rhinebeck, NY

Rhinecliff, NY

Weinberg…healthy spine

X-rays…digital accuracy

Yoga…every Thursday

Zebra sweater…thrift store find

What are you thankful for–today and this year?

Blessings!

 

 

 

tatianna_coverDo cat books have nine lives? What I know for sure is Tatianna–Tales and Teachings of My Feline Friend published on October 29, 2007 does! Does award-winning cover art showcasing the beautiful watercolor work of Drew Strouble continue to be appreciated? His website featuring Tatianna artwork as well as other incredible feline portraits speaks for itself!

If you are looking for a book for the cat enthusiast on your holiday shopping list, this autographed book is one to consider.  I love to give and receive books for Christmas and always have several titles on my wish list. I will autograph the Tatianna book and provide complimentary gift wrapping and shipping. Both hard and soft cover editions are available. Hardcover books are $23.95 and soft cover books are $13.95. Please email me at lindamohr7@bellsouth.net with questions or to arrange a purchase.

I want to thank all my readers and followers for their support, recommendations, reviews, and referrals the past nine years. Many specialty shops have kindly carried the book. I appreciate the bloggers and radio personalities who have interviewed me and the libraries who have invited me to speak.

The Tatianna book is the winner of the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award in 2008 plus six other awards. The Merial award is judged on the Cat Writers’ Association entry that best reflects and promotes the strengthening of the human-animal bond, highlighting the bond between a cat and owner, as well as their relationship with their veterinarian as another direct caregiver. Visit Linda Mohr for further information.

Tatianna continues to work her magic as evidenced by your support and generosity. As stated on Tatianna’s jacket cover, “I feel connected to the faithful Tatianna who has never left my side—she is simply in another dimension.”

Thank you.

Blessings!

 

What do costumes, candy, candles, cords, and commotion have in common? All are potential hazards for your cats during the Halloween season.

Costumes: Dressing your cat as Snow White may be enjoyed more by you than your pal. Keep in mind that the costume should in no way constrict movement, seeing, hearing, breathing, or meowing. Check for dangling pieces that may be chewed off and swallowed. It should be non-toxic and non-flammable. Simple costumes like a t-shirt or hat are best. Consider doing a dress rehearsal. If the cat resists being put in the attire or tries to tear it off, forget it. Your cat should always be supervised if dressed in a costume. Your witch outfit may spook your cat. A dress rehearsal may also help your cat get accustomed to the disguise.

assorted colorful candies

Candy: Halloween candy should be kept in the cupboard or in covered containers. The shiny wrappers are interesting to cats. I have to select a high cupboard out of the reach of Chauncey as he chews through any package left in sight or paw’s reach within minutes. He also knows how to open the pantry door, so that is off-limits for the candy stash. Contact your veterinarian or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888)426-4435 if your cat gets into candy that is chocolate or is sugar-free and contains xylitol. Foil wrappers may cause an intestinal obstruction if ingested.

cat-sniffing-candle-190x190

Candles: This time of the year we love the aroma of apple spice and pumpkin harvest candles. Candles light our jack-o’-lanterns. Cats are drawn to candles like moths to a porch light. Curious cats can knock over pumpkins and candles and start a fire or get burned. Cats may get singed when they swish their tail through the flame or get too close with their whiskers. Never leave candles and cats alone–even if you think the candles are out of reach. They probably are not. Since flameless candles are available in a myriad of sizes, shapes, and aromas, I have replaced traditional candles with flameless candles.

Photo Credit Donna Donald

Photo Credit Donna Donald

Cords: Halloween decorations with wires and cords should be kept out of the reach of your cats to avoid cuts and burns or electrocution. Dangling, snake-like, and thin cords attract a cat’s attention. These are just the kind of cords you will find on Halloween lights. Cats can also be strangled if caught up in a jumble of tangled cords. Take time to tape, wind up, or hide cords. Use cord protectors. Unplug lights when not in use. Whenever the routine changes, Chauncey and Grace take notice. Earlier this month when I decorated the Halloween tree, they wanted to be in the middle of the lights and ornaments.

witch in scary halloween concept

Commotion: Ringing door bells, frequent knocking, strange voices, and masquerades can scare cats. Changing the home to accommodate holiday decorations is disturbing. Consider moving your cats to a safe haven during trick-or-treat time or a party. If you have house guests, let them know about the off-limits room or put a sign on it. I take Grace and Chauncey to the master suite a half hour before I expect the first goblins at my door. I set up extra food along with a couple of their favorite toys. They are safe and comfortable giving me peace of mind that they will not bolt out of the house when I hand out KitKats.

Halloween can be fun for the whole family. Please take to heart these simple precautions and have a safe Halloween.

Blessings!

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