Archive for August, 2008
Anyone who has really looked around this blog knows that I love cats. Now, I actually love all animals but am particularly fond of cats, both big and small. I think the reason I’m partial to cats is that I grew up with them. (My family has always had a Mitzou (name adopted from the main character in the opera Madame Butterfly) and they are currently on Mitzou IV. Minou, Mitzou’s brother, is considered a cousin for lineage purposes.) Many years ago, several friends and I decided to start The Cat House–a not-for-profit, no-kill cat shelter in Lincoln, Nebraska. That was in 1999. The Cat House has come a long way since that first year. We have a free-standing shelter in downtown Lincoln, we maintain a feline presence at two different pet stores and we support a program called TNR for feral cats. Trap, neuter and release is a concept that has been around for quite some time and is the only truly effective means for dealing with a feral cat colony. The idea behind TNR is that by trapping, neutering/spaying and returning members of a feral colony to their previously established location, the colony will eventually cease to exist (through attrition) and a new colony will NOT establish itself in its place. The Cat House is very fortunate to have several volunteers dedicated to our TNR program. One of these wonderful volunteers has even started a blog about the cats in her neighborhood she has helped through TNR. Her name is Sheila and you can read daily updates and see pictures of the cats that have wormed their way into her heart. Her blogsite is:
Even if you have already seen this video on YouTube, it’s worth watching a second time.
My take on Fathers, Food, Felines and Francaix….
Most all of us have had at least one best friend. I know I certainly have had several . But, there is only one friend I have had through the years that has seen me through more life experiences (and stood by me through those experiences) than any other person. Her name is Penny. I first met Penny when I joined a local health club because I was in desperate need of exercise and knew the only way I was going to get it was to pay for it. (Guilt can be a tremendous motivator.) I naively signed up for Penny’s spinning class thinking to myself, “How hard can it be to ride a stationary bike?” Whoa. Little did I know how challenging spinning could be and then to add Penny to the mix only magnified the difficulty by 10x. Although that first class was very humbling, I knew I wanted more. So, I signed up for Penny’s classes as often as I could, knowing that Penny’s way was the only way. It wasn’t long after I started spinning that I approached her about riding outside. She kindly agreed and our first ride was a 24 mile trek on crushed limestone from Lincoln to Eagle. (For those of you familiar with the extensive trail system in Lincoln, NE, we rode the MoPac trail.)
Fast forward ten years later and thousands of cycling miles behind us, Penny and I are still riding, laughing, drinking coffee and yakking it up. Sometimes, Penny can make me laugh so hard that I cry. Frequently, in the late evening, I’ll find her logged on and we’ll start iming about the day’s activities. It is almost inevitable that our “conversation” will digress and Penny will have me howling. It is for this reason that I have asked Penny to be my road manager for “Piano-in-Tow“. I know she would be fantastic at engaging the students and keeping me in line. Now all I have to do is convince her to say yes!
P.S. I have also been pestering Penny to write a guest post for this blog. So, stay tuned…
Many thanks to Bill Stibor for giving me a platform on which to share the piano music of Jean Francaix! I thoroughly enjoyed our repartee during his “Friday Live” program for NET Radio. For those of you who missed it, a podcast can be downloaded at this address: netnebraska.org.
I would also like to thank my wonderful friend P for snapping some pictures while Bill and I were chatting!
Hello to all of you interested in my Jean Francaix antics!
This Friday, August 22, during the 9am hour, I will “sit” for an interview with Bill Stibor, host of the very popular radio program, “Friday Live” on NET Radio. Bill’s vast knowledge about classical music and his ability to ask insightful questions should make this a very interesting experience. I hope you can join us!
“Friday Live” can be heard at: netNebraska.org/radio
Every summer, my family and I spend a week in the panhandle area of Florida. We have been coming to Fort Walton Beach for 30+ years to drink margaritas or mojitos or whatever the adult beverage du jour is, walk on the white sand beach and generally do nothing. Sometimes we get lucky and the weather is sunny throughout the week and sometimes we aren’t so lucky. Since we always come at the end of the summer, our visit coincides with the hurricane season. Perhaps not the best planning but it’s tradition.
Our holiday always includes a trip to Nick’s Fish Camp, an unassuming bar/restaurant on the edge of the Basin Bayou. Nick’s is home of the “fried-fried”. This term was coined by my long-time friend Randy A. when he was describing a particular dish at another favorite restaurant of mine in San Antonio. I think Nick’s motto should be: “If it ain’t fried, it ain’t worth eatin’”. Highlights of the menu include fried shrimp, fried oysters, fried fish, fried hush puppies and of course, the ubiquitous French fries. A side order of coleslaw is available. I think the coleslaw is Nick’s attempt to round out the food pyramid. Another food tradition that we observe in Florida is the seven-layer bar. My Aunt Joanna always favors me (and my sister) with a pan of these thunder-thigh confections during our visit. Imagine a multi-layer pan cookie with a graham cracker crust and chocolate, butterscotch, coconut, pecan and condensed milk heaped on top which is baked to a gooey treat.
Another tradition that we enjoy is the company of guests that join us for the week. We have had friends visit from all over the country and world! Although the accomodations at this condo complex aren’t exactly Hotel de Crillon, we do offer the basics–cable tv, pool, laundry and pizza delivery. We rely on our guests to entertain us so if you come, be prepared to tell us stories, take us kite-flying, deep-sea fishing or anything else that will keep us occupied.