Category Archives: black cat

A musical weekend

So, I’m home sick today with this sinus thing that is apparently going around.  Maybe I had too good a weekend?  After I squared away reading and preparing for my literature classes and grading a stacks of papers, I managed quite the musical weekend.  Yang and I went to a concert of Byzantine Chants at the intimate and acoustically wonderful Brooks Concert Hall at Holy Cross! The Orthodox sacred music and the harmonic timber of men’s voices lulled all our tensions away.

Saturday night, we went the opposite direction with Dan Gable’s High Society Orchestra playing hot 1920s swing at the Point Breeze restaurant in Webster, on Lake Chargoggagoggmanchaugoggagoggchubunagungamaug.  I think I spelled that correctly.  Does anyone really have the time to check the spelling?  The music was popping and, although Yang and I are more ’40s-style dancers, we managed to get in a waltz ( a fast one!), a swing, a rumba, and what we refer to as the “Daddy dance” for “As Time Goes By.” Dan Gable has his bands in three incarnations:  the hot swing of the twenties ( High Society), 18-piece big band (Abletones), and the Dectet ( scaled down big band).  The playing is superb as is the vocalizing of Elise Roth.  You can just listen if you don’t want to dance – they’re that good!

Finally, we closed out the weekend with a concert by The Flute Choir at the Parish Arts Center in Westford, MA.  The music was wonderful, soothing the grading-frayed nerves of two professors. My friend Sue Thorne-Gagnon plays piccolo. Even better, Yang and I got to see her parents and her husband there, too. The program was just the ticket with both dreamy and lively selections to  aurally and spiritually delight – and, yes, “The Sleeping Bear” made me cry, damnit! They’re playing the same program this Sunday (4/30/16) at

Trinity Lutheran Church Worcester MA

73 Lancaster St, Worcester, Massachusetts 01609

Now it’s back to bed and trying to put this cold to sleep.  Move over Natasha!Natashanurse



Christmas Cat Tails


So, you’d think these two were little angels:  nice without a hint of naughty.  Christmas garlnd9Albeit, Rosalind looks a little worried about which of Santa’s lists she’s on.

Still, look at Natasha as “O Little Cat of Bethlehem” here.2015Chritmastree



Not so much.  2016Christmas blackHere, you have the reason for the Great Christmas Blackout of Bethlehem, 2011.



And of course Rosalind isn’t above diving into the fray to tear2015Christmas apart the pile of presents under the tree.




Popping out of a bag of wrapping paper scraps like the  creature in Alien has its appeal for Miss Rosalind as well.Rosy

We used to blame Rosie for knocking ornaments off the tree and batting them around, often to be found under the couch, sometime in July.  However, one day I came home to find Natasha sitting on the arm of the loveseat next to the tree, smacking down ornaments to her sister on the floor.  I was never quite sure if  ‘Tasha were doing Rosalind a favor or just setting her up to get blamed for striking down the bauble with which we’d catch her playing.2015Christmasmantel I don’t have any pictures of that, but I do have a couple of Natasha showing me 2015Chritsmatmantlethat the mantle piece is not off limits in her book.





Natasha is also quite sly about getting around rules.  One cardinal one is that cats are not allowed to walk, rest, or put even a paw on the dining-room table.  I’ve been fairly successful at ensuring they obey while I’m in the house.  Christmas basket2With the clever mind of a lawyer or a student trying to game the syllabus, Tasha found a way to sleep on the table without sleeping on the table.


So, there, Mummy!2016Christmas basket4





But at the end of the day, after gifts have been gnawed, paper has been shredded and disemboweled, turkey and gravy has been consumed, 2015Christmashangoverboth girls collapse together in a moment of holiday quiescence.





The Best of Holiday Cheer from


Christmas garland10

and Natasha!

Christmas Garland






It’s in the Bag!

So, the other night, my husband, one of the cats, and I were in the living room watching TV, when we heard a strange rattling commotion in the kitchen.  I bravely got up to check.  No, I didn’t see either Santa or eight tiny reindeer come early.  In fact, it took me a moment to pin point the noise, which came from some fancy paper bags Bag2 hanging by a hook next to the top of the refrigerator.  A single green eye peered out at me warily.




A call of my friend’s name, and Rosalind poked her head out defiantly, Bag1daring me to challenge her position.





Now, you’ve got to understand, these bags are hanging almost six feet off the floor.  Rosie the Riveter had to have jumped up on the counter on the other side of the refrigerator, climbed over the top of it, then slid into the bags.  Like her namesake, “She CAN do it!”Bag3How she plopped her nine pounds in there without the bags ripping and dropping her plop on the floor is beyond me.  Strong bags, I guess.  Here, I register shock as Yang commemorates the moment on, well, I guess not film – just digitally.


When we lowered her majesty to the floor, she was not amused. DSCN2583 Maybe she should train for Army Special Forces or the Navy Seals?




Natasha and Rosalind Give “Monster” Therapy

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein the creature created by Frankenstein  demands that humanity take their fair share of responsibility for their abusive treatment making him as much a monster on the inside as he appears on the outside:  “Am I to be thought the only criminal, when all humanity sinned against me? . . . .I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, kicked, and trampled on.  Even now my blood boils at the recollection of this injustice.”  How different things would have turned out for him (and most of Switzerland!) if, after his “father” Victor spurned him, the creature had been taken in paw by my cats Natasha and Rosalind.Halloween14a  They have nothing but tenderness, friendliness, and courtesy for the “monsters” – although mice are another matter.  Look at this adorable face!



Here is Natasha proudly keeping company with her new monstrous acquaintance.  Halloween2No contumely or spurning can be seen on her furry countenance.







Of course ‘Tasha is always solicitous of her companion’s Dscn1231well-being.  A well-timed nuzzle is just the thing to make a creature forget all about those nasty villagers and their pitchforks or flaming torches!





Most important of all, Natasha Rose knows that it’s important to listen and learn from others. Halloween3You can expand your horizons, and you build others’ confidence by validating that they have something valuable to teach you!  Here, she attentively follows the observations of a friendly Halloween death’s head.




And of course, sometimes it’s nice just to have a relaxing sit down with a screaming good guest in the parlor.

Hallowee11Or perhaps Natasha is giving him therapy.  “Tell me how you feel about people chasing you with flaming torches and pitch forks.”  Dr. Bob Hartley would be proud.



Not to be outdone by her big sister, Rosalind (aka Rosie Roosevelt Yang) makes the Scream feel at home with a lively game of hide and seek.  Play therapy?Halloween5



So, whatever kind of human or inhuman you are, try not to be too quick to call those you don’t understand monsters. Instead,– follow the leads of Rosalind and Natasha – except when it comes to mice.

Happy Halloween!Hallowee14


 Blog 16

The C.A. T.   Cat Assistant Teacher

One of my cats, Rosalind, has decided that I work too hard, so, she has elected to join me in returning to the classroom.DSCN2181  She will be my C(at) A(ssistant) T(eacher).  See, she’s already to head out the door.

I think she initially intended this as a surprise, as you can see from her surreptitious insertion of herself into my book bag.DSCN2178

She may also figure that this is a clever way to check up on people who may be cheating during quizzes. DSCN2179She’s good at catching mice and moles, so cheaters are probably in her repertoire as well.

Whatever the case, she will probably be grading some papers for me.  So, if you decide to complain about your grade, remember that she has not been declawed – and her fangs are pretty darn sharp.  have a nice day.DSCN2180