Saturday, September 20, 2008

Auld Acquaintance, Not Forgot (2008 Update)

Bothy Cat at the Theatro Verde, Birr Castle Demesne
Ms. Kitty on the Birr Castle Demesne, August, 2006.

She doesn't have the international fame and acclaim of Ceiling Cat. She doesn't have the attention of the small, power-clique cognoscenti that Mojo el Jefe does. But she does have a nice little internet presence that manifests itself once in a while to Diane and me and lets us know that she's okay.

Bothy Cat at the Bothy, Birr Castle Demesne, Co. Offaly

I refer, of course, to the Bothy Cat.

Eleven months ago, we heard from a Canadian-Irish knitter that Ms. Kitty was doing fine (click here go to that part of the SherWords archive.) Today, we received this e-mail from "Margaret," who, we presume from her aol address, is an American planning a trip to Ireland next year:

Mr. Harrington,

I just wanted to say that I very much enjoyed stumbling upon your photos
of your Ireland trip. We have rented the Bothy cottage for a week next
June and I was looking online for some commentary from others about the
place. Actually the Bothy cat page was the first one I found online.
What a marvelous surprise and extra bonus to find the cat in residence.
In emailing Lady Rosse to secure the reservation, I asked if the cat was
still there (at my 12 year old's insistence) and I am pleased to report
that it is. I'm betting that of all the things we doing in Ireland, the
cat will be what she remembers most when she's older!

Your pleasure with the time you spent there is evident in your
descriptions and photos, which made me feel better about reserving the
cottage "sight unseen" so to speak. Thank you for posting your
photographs online.


This is so cool.

I know from the server log that the Ireland, 2006, part of Diane's and my photo album website has received tens of thousands of hits courtesy of search engines, but a vanishingly-small fraction of those actually contact us with questions or thanks or whatever. And three-quarters of the ones who do contact us mention the Bothy Cat.

We will go back again, and, when we do, I hope she's still around to ignore us for the first week. Thanks to Margaret's e-mail, I know that right now she is, and that's good enough for this instant.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mom & Me (Two Old Photos)

As noted before in this space, I've been spending a lot of time in this short summer's vacation populating my Flickr account. Most of what I've been posting there has been spiffied-up images from Diane's and my digital collection from 2000 to now, but I've put up a lot of my Dad's old slides (repaired and reconstructed), too. While doing so, my heart was melted twice by images of my mother.

Mom was a remarkable woman (as of course are all moms -- as Bullwinkle memorably said once, "I think that I shall never see/ a pome as lovely as a me/ for pomes are writ by fools, you see/ and only Mom can make a me.") But my Mom was especially so because she was my Mom, you know? I'll write part of her story here some day to convince you doubters.

Meanwhile, here are the two photos that puddled me up (click on each to be taken to a much finer view):

Heating Fuel Delivery, 1953
Gathering Wood for the Fireplace, 1953.

Mom and Me, 1965
About to Leave the Nest, 1965.


Monday, September 8, 2008

On Idle

Sausalito, September, 2008.

My college is one of the very few in California that is on the quarter system, as opposed to the semester system. This leads to oddly out-of-synch feelings at two times of the year: in June (when almost everyone's school year is over, but we're still dieseling on) and September, right now. I'm still on summer vacation (and will be until a week from this coming Thursday), but just about everyone else associated with any kind of school around here has been back on the job for weeks.

That makes me feel a little strange, but it makes me feel that little strange every year, so I have developed some coping mechanisms. The first is to work on preparing for the fall quarter, and there's plenty of that to do because I'm facing some interesting new challenges this year. The second is to work on preparing the Fort for the oncoming rainy season, and there's always plenty of that to do. And the third is to play.

A lot, that third. Play a lot.

Last year, we went to Disneyland. September is great there, because very few of those annoying short, young people are underfoot, and grownups can hog the rides all to themselves. HAH! This year, though, we're staying significantly closer to home, for a variety of reasons (one of which is travel costs, of course, but another is to save up for... well, I'll be coy about that for the time being.)

Looking toward San Francisco from Sausalito, September, 2008.

We took a day trip up to Sausalito last week as part of that playing. Someone was nice enough to park a pretty sailboat right in front of our favorite park viewpoint toward San Francisco:

Why the Italian flag, I don't know.

... and other boats posed delightfully on that late summer day:

Yachts in the Sausalito Marina, September, 2008.

View from our dinner table at the Spinnaker Restaurant (notice the reflections in the upper-left of the frame) -- the food was pretty forgettable, but, hey: location, location, location, not so much so. The tops of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge can be glimpsed at upper-right.

Inside Petri's art gallery, Sausalito, 2002.

For years, one of our favorite stops in Sausalito has been Petri's Gallery, where we ogle wonderful home-decoration sculptures, mostly glass, and purchase little trinkets. Glass art has been trendy in the San Francisco area this year because of the wonderful exhibit of Dale Chihuly's work at the DeYoung Museum. We didn't expect so established and proper a place as Petri's to try to cash in on that... but we didn't expect this, either:

No dogs either, probably.

We chatted with the gallery owner, as usual, for a while, and he was very circumspect about the "No Chihuly" sign on the door -- to paraphrase, he said that, well, he didn't want people to be disappointed, but, when we asked him about what he thought about Chihuly's work, he responded, after a long pause, "He's very good at what he does."

Which is exactly what I used to say -- pause included -- when people used to ask me what I thought of the late Carl Sagan. And probably for the same reasons. (Envy ain't one of them.) So I laughed hard, and he didn't know why.

Wally Nose-On.

We bought a trinket, as usual, but this time it wasn't a glass trinket -- it was a little bronze work by Tim Cotterill named "Wally." (Wally has 499 clones out there, so we don't have the only one by a long shot.)

Wally from the Left. In this election year, I'll leave it to someone of another persuasion to capture him from the right.

We have been tickled by Cotterill's frogs at Petri's for years, from back when they cost only about 1/5th what they do now, so we figured we should stop whining about how expensive they've become and just get one for hevvinsake. Besides, we had a perfect place for Wally:

Wally in Context.

Yep. He's at eye level for some of us. Here's lookin' at you, Adam.

Note the red container on the shelf above the water tank. It's a can of Faberge men's talcum ("Woodhue") that has been stalking me for my entire adult life. It was given to me as a high school graduation present 43 years ago by a friend of the family, and has followed me ever since I moved out of my parents' house to go to college, and through all ten moves since. I don't consider it a good-luck charm, it's not a particularly meaningful trinket -- but, damn, at this point I'd feel completely weird if it weren't around. It'll probably have to go into the ground with me at the end.


Photos note:
Another thing I've been doing during this odd time off is populating my Flickr account. If you have one, please let me know, and I'll make yours a contact.