Dr. N.A.N.'s Blog

News, views, and how the world skews from San Antonio, Texas

Archive for cats


In musical vocabulary, words such as forte, piano, subito, diminuendo, ritardando, etc. are common, everyday words. To me, those words are important because they describe in simple terms, how to play a passage. But do they actually describe the character of the music?  Words like coquettish, menacing and joyful are much more effective at sparking students’ inspiration. How about fragile? Or despondent? Another favorite of mine is ominous. Hmmm, I also really like fierce. And caress. Now, how do you define the word caress to a 10-year old?

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The Narboni/Cole TNR program

100_0537As many of you probably know, I am an animal lover, particularly cats. I have been involved in some form of cat rescue for many years. When I moved to San Antonio, I was dismayed to find an overwhelming population of stray and feral cats in my neighborhood. So, I decided (along with my S.O. Heath Cole) to start our own TNR or Trap-Neuter-Release program. San Antonio is very fortunate to have many low-cost options for spaying and neutering including the San Antonio Humane Society. Their services are VERY reasonable and the process is uncomplicated. Drop-off kitty in trap in the early morning, pick-up after 4:30pm the same day.

So far we have trapped 3 cats–one male and two females. We decided to name the male Snoopy because it was his snoopiness that got him into trouble (aka the trap). After he was neutered and ear-tipped (international symbol of altered feral cat) , we re-released him into the neighborhood. Then we trapped Little Miss Muffett who had been hanging around the house every evening, asking for food. It took us weeks to trap her because she was very trap-savvy. We would set the trap and she would carefully stick her long neck into the chute, grab food and step back out, all the while avoiding the trigger. One night, she got a little cavalier and caught herself in the trap. Turns out when the veterinarian shaved her belly in preparation for the spay, she discovered a spay scar! Thus, we re-released Little Miss Muffett to the backyard, knowing that she could live a relatively safe and kitten-free life in our neighborhood. She continues to come to the back door every night in anticipation of dinner.

Our most recent score is a female named Little Miss Penny P. She had been living underneath the building of the Crossroads BBQ restaurant and I had spotted her several times while Heath and his band (The Coup Deville’s) gigged there on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We set a trap on a Sunday night while the restaurant was closed in hopes that she would be willing to come out while it was quiet. While we sat in the car about 100 feet away (Heath played Angry Birds and I read a book), she eventually crawled out from underneath the restaurant and immediately discovered the food. Eventually, she got into the trap and the rest is history. We will re-release her into our neighborhood once she has acclimated to our area.

Onto the next feral feline… Read the rest of this entry »

Tow it and they will come

Gino, another "PiT" convert

Another "PiT" convert

I don’t remember what 8 hours of sleep feels like anymore.  “Why?” you ask?  It’s called “Piano-in-Tow“.  I have spent more time on the phone, writing emails, practicing, making lists and whatever else I can think of in preparation for “PiT”.   In10 days, 1hour, 57 minutes and 1 second Penny (my trusted adviser, road manager and confidante) and I will hit the road.  First stop, Schuyler, NE where a group of 6th graders will be anticipating my arrival with a large grand piano.

Penny and I spent some time today decorating the backside of cardboard that will support my music–a couple of girls with magic markers, a box cutter, several feline assistants and lots of coffee.  A potentially very scary scene.

Then there is my father who comes into my parents’ kitchen yesterday sporting a “Piano-in-Tow” t-shirt.  May I say adorable?

I am going to play a run-through for a handful of piano students at UNL next Thursday.  It will be much easier to keep their attention than a roomful of teenagers…

I finally cleaned the grime off of the Yamaha’s keys today.  At least 10 years’ worth of it…

So, everyone, keep your fingers crossed that I don’t break a piano string between here and Petersburg, NE…

Penny and Rafaella working together on "PiT"

Penny and Rafaella working together on "PiT"

The Other Kind of Green

You know, it isn’t easy being a vegetarian.  I guess it’s kinda like Kermit being green.    I made the decision to go meat-less in 1992.   I still remember the conversation I had with a couple from Springfield, Missouri.  They didn’t set out to change my carnivore habits but simply explained to me why eating vegetables was a better choice.  In the 16 years that I haven’t eaten meat, I have eaten some fowl and I continue to eat fish (fish feed themselves).  I could never give up dairy products or eggs (my “world’s best chocolate chips” wouldn’t taste the same if I didn’t use eggs or butter).  For me, being a vegetarian is a personal choice.  I don’t expect anybody else to adopt my lifestyle choice.  The only problem is that my cats refuse to join me in my meat-free diet.  They insist on eating chicken and turkey and one of them even likes pork products!  What is a mother to do?

I love almost all vegetables with the exception of zucchini.  I have hated zucchini since I was a little girl.  My mother still doesn’t understand why.   I think it is the bitter taste that the nasty vegetable leaves in my mouth. I remember when she would serve her famous zucchini boats (even the mere thought of them makes me cringe), I would look for ways to “dispose” of my portion without her knowledge.  I spent many an evening waiting for her to leave the kitchen so I could quietly dump the boat in the trash.

I do like zucchini bread so go figure…

Did you know that eggplant in Arabic is zaalook?

That chickpeas in French are poi chiches?

That the word for chocolate is almost universally the same?

That fried tofu is actually very tasty?

Lots of Kitties

Mom and her Boys

Mom and her Boys

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: