Friday the 13th

Two Cats That Pass In the Night
As often as I have my path crossed by black cats, I’m either cursed through about 13 reincarnations, or that old superstition might be a load of bunk. The only time it’s bad luck for me is when I don’t see one of them and trip over them!

If you’re the type to stay home on Friday the 13th, avoiding possible bad luck, at least there’s stuff going on this weekend to make up for a quiet Friday at home. This weekend is Museum Weekend all across the country. More than 500 museums will be hosting special events and lowering their entrance fees to just €1. We’re thinking of visiting the Geldmuseum or the Botanical Gardens, although after reading Aledys Ver’s post about the participating museums in Zwolle, I’m tempted to go there!

Don’t forget I’ve got an Utrecht Calendar of Events link up at the top of the page. You can see what else is coming up this month. There’s quite a bit of stuff to do in the next few weeks! In the meantime, stay safe, cuddle a black cat, and Happy Friday the 13th!
Symphony in Black

Vermeer Cat

So yeah, today isn’t Caturday, but I completely forgot about my plan to post cat pictures yesterday. For me, that’s what Sundays are for anyway. As I mentioned on Friday, our dining room gets some fantastic light, and that means our two black cats flock to the room. Often, they can be found on the sideboard sitting in front of the window. The way they lounge around, it looks like the cat red-light district! But sometimes they sit on the table itself, enjoying the view and the sun. The other day, Luna, my supermodel, was doing just that and I got some fun shots of her.

As always, there was some grooming:

And some yawning:

And a bit of evil eye after I took those shots:
The Look

But mainly I took photos of her looking beautiful and regal and peaceful:

I hope you’re all having an enjoyable weekend with a bit of crazy and a bit of calm.

Random Cat Photo

Cat and Shadow
This has nothing to do with anything other than I liked this photo and I guess it matches up with the sunshine we’re having! Today is a beautiful day, and it was quite a beautiful morning around 5:45, too, when I had to take our dog out. A beautiful indigo blue sky as the sun was verging on rising, and the half moon was glowing beautifully.

But this post is about the cats enjoying the sunshine. I took this one a couple of days ago when I saw Lola sitting contentedly in the sunshine. If you look at the bottom of the photo, you’ll see why I wanted to take this photo specifically. Luna, our other cat, is casting a shadow, as she was also enjoying the sun. I liked having both cats represented in the shot, even if you couldn’t see both of them at once.

Luna and Lola wish you all a day of sun-warmed tummies!

Foto Vrijdag 2.46 Lunar Birthday

Ten years ago today, Luna, my beloved little black cat came into my life. I adopted her from the ASPCA in Manhattan early one Saturday morning. It was love at first sight! Unfortunately, the ASPCA was short-staffed that day and I was a bit nervous over the whole thing — not helped by my reference who was supposed to be home, not being home — so in the end, I didn’t get to find out anything about her background. She was supposedly four years old, but I’m not sure if that was set in stone or just an estimate. I figure she’s between 12 and 14 now and still going strong!

I’ve always thought of Luna as the quintessential New York woman. She’s thin, dressed all in black, has attitude, and one hell of a loud voice! I figure she must have some Siamese in her. She’s got a similar build and has the loud, chatty voice that Siamese supposedly have. In fact, the day I got her, she was putting that voice to good use! I had originally planned on taking her back to my place in Queens via the subway, but considering how loud and persistent she was, I thought that might earn me a few dirty looks. Instead, I grabbed the first cab I could find. At one point, the driver was talking to the dispatch person on the other end of the radio, and suddenly I heard him say, “It’s a cat.” Obviously, even the dispatch person could hear Luna’s howls over the radio!

I adopted her the weekend before the American Thanksgiving, knowing I’d have a short work week, thus giving us more time to bond. Bond we did, over a cooked bird of our own. She still loves turkey and was always the first in line when I was going over the bones picking off the last bits of meat. She certainly gets her fair share. No turkey bones these days, but she still gets a bit of the meat. How could I resist her! I love her absolutely and am so lucky she came into my life. Happy birthday to my lovely little Luna!

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween
Happy Halloween from our Black Cat Brigade! Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays in America. I like ghost stories. I love black cats. I love Edgar Allen Poe. I love black and orange. I love chocolate. I wasn’t really a fan of dressing up in costumes for myself, but I enjoyed finding costumes for Pippo. Really, what is there not to like about Halloween! I had all sorts of fun decorations for the house, but sadly, I left them all behind. Halloween is just another day here, really, although there have been a few Halloween-themed events this weekend.

Fortunately, it turns out a friend of mine is going to be sending me some candy corn, and I’ve always got my black cat familiars at my side, so all is not lost. I might read a few of my favorite Poe stories today, too. In the meantime, I wish you a happy and safe Halloween and leave you with a few photos of “the kids” Halloween-themed pictures.

Lola does her Dracula impersonation
Dracula impersonation

Which one is Luna and which is the decoration?
Cats checking out cats

Sunday Morning Bike Ride

Bike Path
Despite finally having a bike and getting a bit more comfortable riding, I hadn’t been out for a proper ride other than a quick circling around the small section where I live. G and I had talked of doing a ride, but inevitably it got put off because of weather or Pippo getting sick or sheer laziness. Today, however, we finally went.

I managed not to crash, fall off, or weave too badly, although I still prefer to bike where there are fewer people or cars likely to pass me. They throw off my balance a bit. Since I’m still wobbly at times, I figured it was best that I not take my real camera, so I went with the camera phone instead, since that fit one of my pockets. I’m so glad I did, because we saw some lovely buildings and an adorable cat.

We headed over to the area north of Biltstraat, heading for Poortstraat and the picturesque bike path that runs along the nearby canal.

View Larger Map
There’s a lovely house on the corner and a park that runs alongside it, with some beautiful flowers lining the pathway, as you can see in the first photo I posted. Further down, we came across a long row of these gingerbread-like houses with their lovely gables and cheerful yellow paint.
This Charming House
On the other side of the street was the Paardenkathedraal (Horse Cathedral), which I’ve been wanting to see after seeing someone else’s photo. It’s a quirky cross between a Tudor house and a castle. It used to be a horse-riding arena for the college of veterinary medicine, but eventually became a theater, which it still is today.
De Paardenkathedraal
A lot of the old college of veterinary medicine buildings are in this area, with many of them reworked to serve a new purpose. One of these is Snijzaal, which is now an atelier/open café/theater kind of place. Seems like when the animals move out the actors move in.
Red Door [Day 225/365]

Heading back to Poortstraat, we saw this fantastic old advertisement painted on a building. It’s an ad for butter and basically translates to say, “The right address for quality butter made from cream is H.J. de Groot”, followed by the old (short!) telephone number.

Toward the end of our ride, we passed this adorable cat, who seemed quite determined that she wanted inside. She was pawing at the window and meowing periodically. She looks so much like my own Luna, both long and lean and determined to get what they want.
Let Me In!

It was a fun ride through a beautiful section of town that we haven’t explored quite as much. Every time I wander through the area, I want to see more and more.

Heat Wave

It’s turned quite warm here in the Netherlands these past few days and looks to stay this way a little longer. Fortunately, our downstairs stays nice and cool thanks to the thick walls. The upper floors get a bit warmer, though. The cats are quite happy, spending lots of time in the warmth of the top floor, occasionally venturing downstairs to cool off a little. Within days of moving into this house, the cats claimed the upstairs bedroom as their very own. I admit that I haven’t heard the heart to fold up the bed since my parents were here. Luna and Lola just look so comfy and content, not to mention they always seem to be up there every time I think about getting the bed sorted out.
Girls' Bedroom
Pippo, not to be outdone, has become a sunbathing fanatic. He’s constantly out on our terrace, lying on his side in the sun, panting the whole time. He’ll come inside for a few minutes to cool off, and then it’s back out into the full sun! I was out on the terrace myself the other day and got this photo of him when he’d gone inside for a few minutes.
Later, after baking himself silly, he joined me downstairs to make the most of our little fan.
Cooling Off
To be fair, this is nothing new for him. Here’s a shot I took of him on our back porch in North Carolina.
Out Cold
Wherever you are, I hope you’re enjoying a lovely weekend. Don’t forget the sunscreen!