Vi's Art Gallery
Trying to make a difference in an indifferent world.
Words flow like water,
thoughts like the wind.
Truth is the space
they travel through.
We are the stones
worn smooth by their journey.
- - - - Phil
Picture of the Month
A tribute to my sister
Anita Marie Wendland
March 19, 1941 - June 17, 2005
Born in North Bend, Oregon in 1949, I was raised by loving parents, a lumber mill-worker and a housewife. At eighteen I selected a course unsuited to me. While my heart cried for escape, I was too frightened to make it happen. It seemed my life would never get better.
When the student is ready, the teacher always appears. Mine was Richard Bach. His book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, transformed me. I started college, ended my marriage, quit a menial job and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science from Oregon State University. I entered the field of social services and married again. My goal was to help others overcome their limitations, like I had. But working for the state, try as I might, the assistance I provided made little long-term difference in the lives of my reluctant clients.
Again my teacher appeared. This time it was horrific tragedy at the hand of my brother. He shot and killed four of his neighbors. Distraught, heartsick, I began writing about it. My second husband was ashamed of me because of what my brother had done. This destroyed our marriage. I focused harder on writing. The result was HIDDEN VICTIMS: The Other Side of Murder, published in 1993 by New Horizon Press.
My next growth step was ushered in by the sudden death of my sweetheart. This nearly led me to suicide. During this period I read another book by Richard Bach, ONE. Again, his words helped, and due to his personal kindness I found my first agent. After a healing period I met and soon married Phil, a fellow writer, and moved to a peaceful setting to write full-time.
In 2001 I found Jerry Yarnell's School of Fine Art on public television. He taught me to paint. My first goal was to design cover art for my books and my husband's books as well. Now, I paint for the challenge and joy of it.
Navigating my way through it all, I learned firsthand that lives are transformed where art meets the heart. It is my hope to inspire others to find this place within themselves and show it forth.
ADDITIONAL BOOKS WRITTEN since publishing the nonfiction work, Hidden Victims:
All the following books are
Represented by Literary Agent, Tom Lee.
The Tater Crone-icles
Take a little moonshine and add a smidgin of wacky tabaci. Dump in four crazy old women and apply body masks as needed. Toss in a French bulldog and a Zen cat and stir vigorously. Voilą, you have a recipe for changing everything. You don't believe me? Well, maybe not yet, but you might once you give yourself a chance.
To write this unique tale, I drew on the backwoods ways and personalities of my grandmother, Renie, born in 1871, Aunt Ida, born in 1892, and Aunt Lottie, born in 1903. Theirs are the shoulders upon which I stand. I love them. You will too once you figure out what they're up to. So have no fear, Ida Mae is here. She and her cohorts, Renie, Lottie and Ora Sue will teach you exactly what needs to be done and how to do it.
The Sword of Ruth
Despite my upbringing I did not believe in him nor was I ever likely too. But something happened that night in the community center that set it all into motion - the learning about who I had once been, the reason my brother, Demmy, committed such brutal crimes and why I loved Tad.
My name is Raven. A professional artist, as I began painting murals of Jesus' life, I did not know I had been part of it. Spanning two time periods, my quest led to my first husband, who according to available history, never married, my second husband and the insights Jesus actually provided - teachings counter to what we have been led to believe. Once I discover who these people are today, the story turns romantic, even violent.
The Grandmother's Cave Trilogy:
The Legend of Thirteen Women
I'd like to share a journey rooted thousands of years in the past. There are three legs to this journey--Sheeawna's, Arranah's and Peter's, Arranah's MIA brother, as he finds his way home. They belong under the umbrella of The Grandmother's Cave Trilogy: The Legend of Thirteen Women. Each of these works was inspired by my own struggles and heartaches, hopes and inspirations. They build on the theme of love, loss, ancient past life connections, planet change and the ancient internal matrices throughout the world.
Once Without Dying
Once Without Dying is the story of three young woman of different faiths, Sheeawna--a Christian, Akilah--a Muslim and Mali--a Hindu. It explores their differences as well as their similarities. As they help each other through heartaches, abuses, struggles and what they consider love to be, they transition into adulthood. In so doing they gain the courage to discover a unifying force, the fulfillment of a legend and a common purpose with those of other faiths. It is a powerful story of love, respect and honor at a time when the need is great.
In Ways We Can't Imagine
In Ways We Can't Imagine was born from the sudden death of my sweetheart. In my desperation, I sought a way to bring him back, for the loss was nearly unsurvivable. In this story, Arranah loses Kendal, a man she loves more than herself, and she nearly takes her own life. Instead, she learns of legends, a mountainous multidimensional conduit and a way to be with him...with a catch anchored in an ancient matrix set up thousands of years in the past. But first she has to learn of it's existence. First she has to learn to live without him. First she has to find the link she does not know exists and another woman whose life and love are also closely bound to the mountain.
The loss of my brother to mental illness triggered ThePacifist's War. If you don't remember who you are, how can you find yourself? This is Peter's dilemma. Losing himself in the heart of a war zone, he embarks on an amnesiac's quest to uncover his true identity. Wearing a name which is not his own, he is alarmed when he receives medals for atrocious acts. His search leads to a cave, encrypted writings, a dog named Emmanuel and a mysterious woman. Following what appear to be hallucinations, in a site that cannot be real, he uncovers the mystical woman's identity, an ancient cave and his part in The Legend of Thirteen Women. Characters from all three books converge at Grandmother's Cave to activate covenants on hold for thousands of years to help mitigate impending changes.
I am currently working on my seventh book.
Born in Salzburg, Austria in 1948, I emigrated with my mother and sister to Long Beach, New York in 1951. At the age of six, I discovered fishing - my first love. At the age of fourteen, I discovered poetry and the desire to write. Several thousand poems later, at the age of twenty the romantic in me was sidetracked by marriage. Needing a steady income, I spent 1968 through 1991 writing and designing computer software, becoming a Lead Analyst and Project Leader. I designed and wrote approximately eighteen major systems for the banking and insurance industry. Also during that time, my two daughters, Jessica and Corenna, came into the world. We all moved to California in early 1975. By the end of the year, the first wife claimed independence, taking my daughters with her. Needing new roots, I moved to Portland, Oregon in late 1975. Another wife came and went. My daughters decided they wanted to move in with me, permanently, in 1981. I was a single parent from then on. Between the stresses of the job, raising my daughters on my own and a few other factors, I came down with CFS. The CFS lasted 8 ½ years before I figured out how to beat it. In 1990, while fly fishing for steelhead, I met a writer, Violet Huntley. She rekindled my need for creative writing. Kidnaped and dedicating my future to that need, I retired from my stressful career in computers, married my kidnapper and moved to the country - where we now live with our cats, Lucy and Ethel and our adopted turkey flock, now headed by Rupert, the dominant tom - (Fleggy, Missie and Chester are still with us in spirit) . We asked my daughters if they wanted to join us, but they decided they were city girls and wouldn't be able to handle a quiet country life, opting instead for adventures in California - a pity, I think they would have enjoyed living here.
I am now a dedicated, full-time writer, Bugtographer, turkey-wannabe and webmaster (with occasional time out for fishing and building rustic furniture). I also have avid interests in astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, theoretical physics, quantum mechanics, palaeontology and Quantum Zen.
Through 1996, I honed my writing skills and wrote three and a half novels. Finally ready for serious writing, I developed Time Enough to Love. A novel inspired by meeting and marrying Vi, the story is set in various locales in the Pacific Northwest, forty-three years ago to the present. It is a myth-based adventure about reincarnation and twin flames . . . about The Mystical granting the ultimate, unforeseen happy ending.
A second work, The Cat Did It, soon followed - a novel inspired by the unasked question to Teri Schiavo and Karen Ann Quinlan, "Where were you while your body lay in a coma?" It is the mystical, sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, adventure of life's unavoidable journey into the afterlife and how human frailties and unknowing can complicate that transition.
Of late, my bug photos have been published in numerous scientific publications and regional insect field guides. I am also participating in several insect studies sponsored by various universities. In the non-Arthropod vein, I am studying and documenting the Rio Grande Wild Turkey population that call our yard their home.
aka Flegsy aka The Flegster aka Flegnarm
Fleggy, a red haired Manx with six toes on each front foot, was born in October of 1991 in Portland, Oregon. A stray kitty, she started showing up at my mother's house in early spring of 1992. Curious, affectionate, polite and well-behaved, she instantly made a positive impression on my mother. For a while, it seemed that Fleggy might have found a home, but my mother was concerned that with all the city traffic and Fleggy preferring to be outdoors, a better home would be in the country. On Mom's next visit - Vi and I live in the country, about forty miles from the nearest anything - Fleggy came along and instantly claimed our eleven plus acres as her new turf. Until recently, she was perhaps the best mouser a cat could ever be. She was also the best watch-cat I have ever heard of. Every day she would patrol the yard making sure we had no invaders or trespassers. When we worked around the yard, she'd join us, either watching diligently or getting in the way, all the while commenting on our work in her soft little Manx voice.
Last winter, however, while she was napping under one of her favorite fir trees, the neighbor's dog hopped the cattle fence, snuck up on her and bit her severely on the lower back. The dog drew blood and damaged her hip. The puncture wound healed, but she had irreparable nerve damage and started losing mobility in her hind legs. Slowed and limping but undaunted, she still took up her daily post as our trusty watch-kitty . . . until the raccoons decided she was a threat to their territory.
In June 2004 they decided she had to be dealt with, and four of them attacked her. Fortunately, she was on the deck and I was in the den directly under the deck. When I heard a commotion just outside the window, I ran to see what it was about. I heard Fleggy yeowling and a raccoon grunting and growling as three more raccoons came running up the deck steps. Still in my robe, I ran upstairs and found Fleggy under a pile of four raccoons. All I could see was a small red-haired patch under a mass of attacking grey and black. I think I took all seven steps in one bound to get to her. Not sure if I should grab the raccoons, barefoot, I started kicking the raccoons off her. The first raccoon I got square in the side and booted her a good five feet beyond the growling mass. I must have broken several ribs on the beast because it instantly tried to limp/run away. (I also broke a toe in the process.) In spite of my own bruise, I kept kicking at the remaining pile of raccoons. The next one got it square in the butt, and she too limped off. The ramaining two raccoons took off after the first two, but before they could get off the deck, I managed to connect with another, and it too went flying. The fourth raccoon got away unhurt. Unfortunately, Fleggy wasn't so lucky. She had a nasty bite on her hind right foot and was missing a few small patches of fur. I'm glad I was as close as I was when the attack occurred, and hate to think what might have happened had I not been so near. Vi and I cleaned up Fleggy, and for several days she seemed not too much worse for the experience. But the attack apparently did more damage to the nerve in her injured hip. She still has mobility in her back legs, but has just about lost the ability to walk. She also seems to have developed periodic seizures that come on when she twists to scratch herself, sometimes even when we pick her up. We have to be very careful with her now, not only for her sake but for ours as well. The other day I picked her up to take her outside. She had a seizure, unintentionally bitting down on my thumb and leaving a deep claw scratch on the back of my hand. I didn't want to hurt her, so I endured the two teeth embedded deep in my thumb until her seizure was over. When the seizure ended, she immediately let go. My hand was a bloody mess, and she seemed to realize right away what she had done. I've never seen a cat look so apologetic.
Some say we should put her to sleep, but as a trusted and faithful member of the family for over twelve years, that is not an option. As a result, Fleggy is now retired as our official mouser (Ethel has taken over in her stead, Lucy is only interested in cuddling, complaining when she's not getting cuddled and getting fat). Fleggy is, however, still our reliable watch-kitty. Her spirit unbroken, every day, weather permitting, she assumes her watch-kitty duties under the cherry tree in front of our house, protected by chicken wire fencing in her own private courtyard. We carry her to her post every morning and carry her back every evening, checking on her numerous times during the day. And at night, we help her groom and clean herself. You would think a cat that went through Fleggy's ordeal might give up and become a depressed little lump, mourning the lifestyle she was so enthusiastically following, but that's not the case. She still tries to keep up with her self-assigned duties, and we try to make sure she knows she's just as loved and cherished as when she was a fully functioning mouser and watch-kitty - after all, she is a central part of the family. I've heard that the Manx breed can live to be twenty years old. We look forward to her reaching that birthday.
We are saddened to say that Fleggy passed away this morning. She died quietly, in her sleep from complications due to the nerve damage suffered from the attack by the neighbor's dog last year. We trust that God knows her worth as we do and has given Fleggy, our guard-kitty, a special place by the gates of heaven - just as she guarded our front gate. May she always know the eternal bliss.
of a faithful and loving member of the family
we will always mourn the loss of
The house feels empty without you.
Born: October 27, 1991 Died: October 4, 2004
Condolences received from site visitors:
From Vlatka and Zoran - Parallel Gallery at //www.zugic.com/
Today 5. 10. 2004. we are sade.
Dear Vi and Phil we are with you.
Vlatka and Zoran
From long time friends of the family - The La Marca Family - Vince La Marca
Hey pal, was just back in your site and see where you lost one of your pets yesterday, sorry to read that. Been there & done that, it's not easy. Some of them do have a way of becoming part of the family, we've had dogs and cats who were truly missed when it was their time. Stay well and enjoy the memories.
From a member at Light Workers
I took a look at your website . . . Sorry about your cat, i was very touched when i read the story. I know how these little gifts from heaven can touch your heart in many ways, may be more than humans can.
From a member at Light Workers
My heartfelt thoughts concerning the loss of your cat, to you & your husband... Such a beautiful cat~*~ Violet Maya
Lucy and Ethel’s Bio
Ethel (left), Lucy (right)
I laid them over my heart. They purred soft and steady, snuggling beneath my chin, and as I sat back in the easy chair, I knew they had come to heal my heart. Two little black and white kitties, nearly the same, yet very very different, and so like my two dogs, made we wonder if Brandy and Cocoa had been reborn as cats.
That's what I'd said to Brandy shortly, after she died in the winter of 2001. I saw an image of her, just as I woke up, peering through the gate to our driveway. She seemed despondent, wondering why she was on the outside looking in. As I woke up, I said to her, "If you and Cocoa want to be with me, you have to be reborn as cats. See, Phil is so allergic to dogs that I promised I wouldn't get any more. Come back as cats."
First, it was Cocoa, my springer spaniel, and then Brandy, my cocker spaniel, my dogs of 14 years, who passed to the next level. Fleggy, who had been spending the night cuddling with them in the shed, was now alone. Manxes do like solitude - it's required of watch cats. But since she was getting older, it would be nice to have backup from someone young and strong, someone to snug up to during the winter cold, or so Phil and I figured. Even if she didn't like the intruders at first, she'd get used to them.
In the spring of 2001 Phil came home from fishing and told me his friend's cat had just had kittens. Born April 16, 2001 Lucy and Ethel entered a family with a nine-year-old girl who loved them. When they were six weeks old Phil's friend decided the kittens had to move outside - to become barn cats. Barn cats can become wild. So if we wanted a kitten before it became wild, we'd better get it now. Seeing them at play, learning that they always played together, we decided on two. We instantly christened them Lucy and Ethel, since we have such a hard time agreeing on names. (At first Phil called Fleggy - Flegnarm - a name I just could not call her.)
Two handfuls of kitties came home with us that day in June - little lover kitties that adopted me as Momma Cat. They slept on my chest. They snuggled in next to us in the easy chairs. Too small to make it up into the chair without help, at first they slept on my feet, dog-like. In fact, I learned early on that they had a lot a Brandy and Cocoa's characteristics . . . enough to make me wonder.
Initially it was hard for us to tell them apart. Gradually we detected differences in their markings and in their behavior. Lucy was definitely a munch cat - cleaned up whatever Ethel didn't want to eat. Both especially like chocolate chips. Their ration of three a day was eliminated when Lucy developed bladder crystals. Chocolate is not good for cats as it turned out. And they like cheese. Lucy responds Pavlovian style to the word. The summer they came home with us Phil began catching Chinook regularly, so the two cup-sized felines started their lives with healthy rations of fresh chinook, coho and steelhead almost daily (they prefer chinook).
Lucy aka Fat Cat aka Lucykins aka Lucybugs turned into a consummate cuddler. Mostly she's a house cat and likes to stare out the window or sleep on our laps or in a variety of places. During the winter she likes to sleep on our heads at night or under the covers. Lucy's a little pushy with Ethel and is irritated when Fleggy is in what she sees as Her Place on Phil's lap.
Ethel aka Skinny aka Ethelkins aka Ethelbugs is a hunter. She prefers to be outside chasing bugs or mice or birds. She does like to cuddle, but only on her terms and with her timing. She has an endearing way of turning her head to the side and snuggling upside down next to us. She's sleeping on my lap as I write this. She, too, likes to sleep on our heads or under the covers. Both cats would sleep in my hair if I let them.
As for becoming friends with Fleggy - they tried at first, but Fleggy hissed and swatted at them, enough times that they picked up the behavior. Now that Fleggy is incapacitated, the animosity is fading and hopefully the friendship can begin.
Even now I sometimes think I see my dogs in the eyes of our cats. Do we love our kitties? Yes, and they love us, regardless of what my biology professor said about being anthropomorphic. They are lover kitties, after all.
A bit about Missie
A dear little friend, Missie was the Matriarch of the local Coonie-Bear clan. Battle scared and worn, we assume she entered menopause this past year - her first season without kits. She used to be a daily visitor until shortly after Fleggy's death . . . they were obliging and tolerant buddies, often taking casual interest in each others doings. Early last winter, Missie disappeared but returned in late winter. She looked beat up and bedraggled, almost emaciated - half of her tail was missing and she appeared somewhat blind. She seemed afraid of every racoon in the area and ran away when they appeared. Seeing to it that she had a safe place to eat and relax, we nursed her back to health, and she visits again regularly, sometimes several times a day . . . and no, she only thinks she's now a dog.
Update - July, 2006 - Missie's Return to Motherhood
Fortunately, when Missie came back to us last year, emaciated and tattered, she quickly healed and regained her strength. Unlike the other neighborhood raccoons, she had no young ones. We assumed she was past the age of bearing young. But you know what they say about assuming. It's true. This year as spring progressed Missie seemed chubbier and chubbier - we hoped what we suspected was not true. Then all at once she was much thinner . . . we still hoped. Then one day a couple weeks ago she arrived for lunch with three squeeking young ones. They came in three sizes - a larger one, another one close in size and a tiny runt. We named the larger one Scruff, the middle one Doodle and the runt we named Hazel. Because of their gentle friendliness, Hazel and Doodle (both females) quickly claimed a place in our hearts. Hazel is spunky and determined. Sometimes it takes her several minutes to eat just one piece of dog food. She just gnaws and gnaws away until it's gone. Doodle has to wash everything - I think it's just an excuse for her to play in the little watering trough we set up for them. Scruff is a tough and ornary little guy, very aggressive and demanding. We'd taken to giving Missie peanut butter cheese crackers - one or two each visit - as desert, along with her staple, dog food. Thanks to Phil's mom we had a whole case of peanut butter crackers. Missie shares them with her kids. We added regular cheese crackers to the menu, and the little ones love them. We also throw out a handful of cat food each visit; it's easier for the little ones to eat.
On July 19th, three days ago, Phil was out in the yard down by the county road taking pictures and cutting low fir branches to make mowing the grass easier. All at once he heard a baby raccoon, screaming. He recognized the sound - we'd heard it when Missie was out of sight of her babies. They would call her with this noise, and she'd come running to see if they were okay. So when Phil heard it he went over to the fence. Across the county road on a pile of small logs he spotted a baby raccoon. It was still screaming. After a bit the baby crossed the road and disappeared into the brush of our wildlife habitat . . . the three back acres of our lot that we leave "untouched" for any critter that might want to live there. It stopped screaming, so he assumed (there's that word again) that it had found its mother. We searched for the baby, just in case, but could not find it.
The following day, the 20th, we were gone all day to my mom's - shopping for her and such. When we got home I called to Missie. She showed up moments later with four babies instead of three. Phil recognized the new one as the little guy he had seen crossing the road. The coloring on the new one is darker than Missie's and her kids'. The top of it's head is blacker. The tufts of its fur are also blacker. This one hung out with Hazel. It's about her size. So I thought, good she's got a friend now. Missie treated the new one as her own. We named it Newbie. Doodle and Scruff also accepted Newbie. Yesterday, the 21st Missie and four babies showed up again. Newbie dogged Missie, like she was afraid she'd lose this mother too. Caring and doting, Missie grunted reassurances.
And then there were five -
Today, the 22nd, Missie showed up with five babies. Five. Good grief! Again Missie was treating the little newcomer as her own. We named this one Flower - he seems to like sniffing the wildflowers at the end of the ramp. Flower is marked just like Newbie. They even sit close together like they are litter mates, comfortable with each other. I'm sure they are. Flower was hesitant on the deck as we fed them all. Newbie was already comfortable with the feeding arrangements and oblivious to everything but her food. Once they are both comfortable, I don't think we will able to tell Newbie and Flower apart - except when they stand upright on their hind legs. Apparently Missie had fed Flower earlier because when Flower finally mustered the nerve to check out the goodies, he did not appear ravenous - that will probably change by tomorrow.
Apparently, the gunshots we'd heard several days ago were Newbie and Flower's mother meeting an untimely demise. When the wandering, crying babies found Missie, she immediately adopted them - a raccoon with compassion, humanity . . . how about that? Whoever says animals don't have feelings is deluding themselves. Missie is an advanced Master - loving, caring, special, one of the best. We could all learn a lesson or three from Missie.
Update - April, 2007 - Missie is missing
Doodle is now a year old and the only one left. Hazel, Scruff and Newbie struck out on their own in early March. Flower followed his own path two weeks later. Missie seemed to encourage Doodle to stay, and Doodle started taking the lead as guardian of their turf - they were virtually inseperable. Since mid winter, Missie looked very worn and tired, looking more worn and tired each day. On March 30, Missie and Doodle missed their daily visit. Neither showed up for 10 days. On the eleventh day, by herself, Doodle returned and has been showing up every day since. I believe that Doodle stayed with her mother through the end, and Missie is now following her higher path. Though Doodle is on her own now, we encourage her to believe that she is not alone.
Missie, you have blessed us by sharing yourself,
and we are forever grateful.
May you always be One with Eternal Bliss.
A message received by Missie on 07/24/2006, From Tillie and Grace of Australia:
Hey Missie, well done, you poor old thing all those little ones to look after. And thank you for the lesson in love and compassion. You have 2 beautiful humans to care and love you.
You are one of our Creators special creatures.
Much love from Tilly and Grace.
PS - Say hello to the cats too please.
08-24-2006 - We were deeply saddened today to hear of the passing of Grace, beloved German Shephard and family member of Chela and Tilly, dear friends from Australia.
May Grace always know the Eternal Bliss.
In honor of the wonderful being, Grace, we offer Chela's words of love.
The Spirit of Grace
My German Shepherd, Gracie left this earth plane
Flying on the wings of butterflies, soaring through the ether's
Her big old body left behind, she bounded down the paddock
of white cloud and blue sky to meet her loved ones waiting
Gracie is a young dog again, romping and running, her Spirit is free
No longer restrained by her sick old physical form, her Spirit is free
The last alert words spoken just before she passed "I Love You"
My heart is sore just an ache in my chest and my eyes fill with tears
One of the many lessons my Gracie taught me was graciousness
Even in her passing she was full of grace and poise, her Spirit is free
She was so big, our little cottage is so empty without her
There is no one to meet me at the gate anymore,
my little world is so empty without her, time will pass
the grief will heal, sort of, her Spirit is free
We walked every morning before dawn, our time with the universe
She would run here and there, sniff, sniff, catch up to me
We got the know the owl, the possum, the spiders, the rabbits,
The horses, the odd kangaroo in passing, the birds stirring awake
We saw planets, stars, comets, meteorites, even the International Space Station
Prayers were said each day as we walked, prayers for friends and prayers for all
Our Spirit friends would join us and chant and even God spoke a few times
He whispered in our ears, keep love in your heart and dispel all fear
Never in all her 12.5 years did she turn against another
Gracie was pure love and gave that love to all, unconditional
Another lesson she taught me, unconditional love
I know I am a better person from knowing Grace
Her candle of Love will burn forever, my guide has passed over
but she will always be beside me, her Spirit is free
The cat is in pain just like me, but the cure for us both
Grace left behind, the pure love and grace to share in her name
Good bye my big girl and thank you for the gift of you.
Her Spirit is Free
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