This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Intruder! Intruder!
Look closely. See the non-black cat on the other side of the window? Cute scene, right? My two black cats checking out the neighbor cat who has decided to perch on the window sill and be the typical curious cat. There’s no doubting it’s a cute cat, and one who has perched there many times in the past.


That’s not the only neighborhood cat that’s come for a visit. This ginger has stopped by a few times as well. Unfortunately, my two cats don’t like these trespassers. Lola, in particular, takes issue with them merely walking by and howls her head off and goes all puffy when they sit on her windowsill — or even think about it.

Cat Fight

Luna makes a bit of noise, but she generally leaves the real smack-talking to Lola. Here’s Luna tagging out, while Lola puffs up in preparation for an epic battle.
Tag Team
The next thing I knew, there went my curtains, as Lola launched herself at the other cat (who you can just spy behind Lola and the curtains).
There go my curtains
At the end of the battle, my curtains had various puncture marks and a few small tears in them. Not ideal, but things could have been worse.

In fact, they could be much worse. This is what happened this week when the ginger cat came back. Completely torn!
This is why we can't have nice things

I think I have enough of the fabric left over to remake the curtain panel, but I’ve been hesitant to try for fear that we’ll have another throw-down. As I said, this is why we can’t have nice things.


Happy Halloween

Plotting, Interrupted
Sadly, Halloween isn’t much of a holiday here. I always loved decorating the house for Halloween, dressing up Pippo, and hoping that we’d have some of the good candy left over after the neighborhood kids came by. I don’t bother with the decorations here, but with two black cats, it’s always Halloween in our house. Especially when I catch them looking as if they’re plotting some sort of horror to inflict upon us. Take this afternoon, when my leg and chest became the location of their reenactment of major battles throughout history. Or maybe they were reenacting the Spanish Inquisition. Either way, I think I have some new scars.

Happy Halloween from Luna, Lola and my bloody self!
Heat Hogs

Caturday: The Ginger Edition

Cat in the Window
It’s not uncommon to see a variety of cats out and about. They wander the streets, walk the walls by the post office, and curl up adorably in shop windows. Last weekend, while enjoying a drink and some bitterballen at one of the cafés near Neude, I spotted this adorable cat in the window across from where I was sitting. She’s got a perfect spot to do lots of people watching. I’m sure she’s never short of entertainment.
Point of Interest
In this case, she seemed quite interested in this Citroën that had pulled up briefly in order to load up some equipment. I joked that the open roof was tempting the cat to hop in and take the car for a spin.


Later in the evening, as we were walking home, I spotted another cat of similar coloring. Seen from behind, my first instinct was to SQUEEEEEEEEZE! It’s a running joke G and I have about our cat Lola, who is a bit more full-figured than our other cat Luna. Every time I see Lola, I want to squeeze and cuddle her. We’ve nicknamed her Charmin, as in “Don’t squeeze the Charmin“! But she’s too irresistible!

Must Squeeze!
See?! When I saw this cat, my hands immediately reached out of their own volition, ready to squeeze. Don’t you just want to hug her and pet her and love her and squeeze her? Just don’t mess up the fur. She just finished grooming, after all!
A Touch of Grooming

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.


The Cat That Never Rolls ...
Sure, I still have Queen’s Day photos to upload, and sure I still have a few more photos from Den Haag I could post, but instead you’re going to get a cat post. It’s my blog and I’ll post about cats if I want to! 😀

So, that creature in the top photo there, luxuriously rolling on the terrace is Lola. Lola never rolls, at least not in the house. Luna, our other black cat, is the roller. She’s never met a piece of carpet she won’t roll and twist around on, which is dangerous when I then go to pet her and we shock each other. Anyway, yesterday, Lola decided to roll around on the terrace. That’s when I discovered just how much pollen is still on the terrace, despite the recent sweeping. We haven’t had any rain in a while, so all the pollen just hangs out on every surface. That means that after Lola’s roll, this is what she looked like:
I suffer from allergies, so when I saw her, all I could think about was all the sneezing and misery I was going to be suffering if she got into the house like that. I quickly ran inside, shutting her out on the terrace, and got a paper towel that I soaked. She wasn’t happy, but fortunately she didn’t really fight the impromptu bath, either. I’m not sure Luna would have been so accommodating. Not that it really seemed to help. I still ended up with a bit of an allergy attack last night. I’ll blame that one on the dog. He’s been stretched out on the terrace, too.
Hey Diddle Diddle ...
Yes, that’s Lola leaping over Pippo. A very lucky shot!

Finally, I want to leave you with a photo I took of both cats the other week. We’ve been having some of that glorious Dutch light recently, especially early in the morning, and I was as entranced by the light as I was amused by the cats stalking each other.
Mommy's Little Monsters

Sunday Cats

Is Anyone Watching?
I was going to make a Caturday post about this cat we saw last week, but then I took the day off from computers and such yesterday and forgot about it. I’m sure somewhere in the world the word for cat somehow rhymes with a word for Sunday.

So yes, last Sunday as we were on our way to the Streekmarkt, I saw this cat looking quite intently at this tree. I couldn’t see if there was a bird that was the real source of interest, but you could tell that this cat was weighing up its ability to climb up that tree. I caught it looking around, as if hoping to avoid an audience, and also seeing if there was enough space to get a running jump. It didn’t seem inclined to make any move with us watching, so off we went. Maybe we should have walked back that way, just to make sure the cat hadn’t gotten stuck!
Can I Make It?

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!

Eggnog and Spirits

Homemade Eggnog
After thinking about it all week, I finally put up our Christmas tree today. Part of the delay came about because I couldn’t decide which eggnog recipe to try. I don’t think I’ve made homemade eggnog since I was little and tried the recipe for it that was in my Betty Crocker cookbook for children. Normally, the only time I drink it is while I’m actually decorating the tree, so in the past, I’ve simply bought a carton from the store.

Sadly, though, I’ve been without eggnog these past two Christmases in the Netherlands, as it doesn’t seem to be sold here. The Dutch have a drink/liqueur called advocaat, but I don’t think it’s the same. Can anyone who has had both eggnog and advocaat tell me the difference in taste (other than advocaat having the alcohol already added in)? Since it didn’t look like I was going to get any eggnog help from the grocery store, I figured this season I would finally make my own eggnog to help get me into the holiday spirit — with the addition of some spirits, of course. I searched foodgawker, looking at all the different variations of the recipe, going back and forth on which one to try. I eventually settled on a combination of a couple of recipes that seemed simple and that didn’t have quite as much sugar as the others. One of the reasons I rarely drank much eggnog in the US was because it was so sweet.

In the end, I was quite please with how the eggnog turned out. The addition of some dark rum made the aroma complete, taking me back to past holiday memories. With eggnog in hand, and Christmas music on the stereo, the tree went up fairly easily. I even got to dance with Lola to Elvis’ Blue Christmas, a tradition that I love to do, but I’m not sure she’s as thrilled with it. Especially when I pulled her off the heater today in order to dance. She had a death-grip on the heater, but I won in the end. I’m sure she’ll look back on it all with a laugh some day.
Merry Freakin' Christmas

Eggnog Recipe
serves 2 decent-size glasses or 4 small glasses

2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg or to taste
rum or bourbon to taste

Whisk together eggs and sugar in a sauce pan and then slowly add in the milk and then the nutmeg. Turn the heat on low and continue to stir until the mixture thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon. When it’s the right consistency, take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla, then refrigerate. You could add in the alcohol before you refrigerate it, or simply add it to the glasses when you’re ready to serve it up. It will take a bit of stirring to combine the alcohol and eggnog, so leave room in the glass. I like to top the glasses off with another light sprinkle of nutmeg.

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