Archive for August, 2012

From kitten to cat

Posted in Cats, Journal at 14:20

Today is Miss Susuwatari’s – soot sprite’s – first birthday! She’s gone from being a bright-eyed kitten to an equally bright-eyed young cat. Following is a retrospective over the past nine months that she has been with Kanoko and I.

Susu - first day    Susu’s first day with us, two months old (I had been told she was older; usually it’s best to wait until a kitten is three months old before separating it from its mother) – 29 October 2011

Miss Susu Long-Legs    Two months later – 1 January 2012

Susu    Eight months old – 29 April 2012

Susu one year old    One year old today!

And now for those adorable eyes.

Susu's eyes of mischief    Two and a half months old – 5 November 2011

Susu's eyes    One year old today

Just over four years ago, Mister Puff-Ball, Kanoko, had been found by a neighbor, abandoned in an apartment building entry. No one ever claimed him. Here’s how much he’s grown and changed in that time – his fur really was dull at the start; he probably hadn’t been fed very well.

Kanoko    26 July 2008

Irresistible Kanoko    Today, 25 August 2012. Amazing how he’s blossomed, isn’t it?

They’re both utterly adorable lovebugs, such wonderful companions.

Villa Kerylos

Posted in La France, Travel at 12:34

Villa Kerylos, Triklinos - wall and ceiling

As my vacation continues, I’ve been able to visit some local sights that I had often heard about, but not seen until now. One was the Villa Kerylos, a “reconstruction of Greek noble houses built on the island of Delos in the 2nd century B.C.” The Greek word kerylos means halcyon, a bird of good omen, also able to calm the seas, thus our English expression “halcyon days“.

The villa was built by banker and archeologist Theodore Reinach, and architect and archeologist Emmanuel Pontremoli, who was born in Nice. Imagery surrounding the goddess Nike can be found in the villa, no coincidence as Nice’s original Greek name was Nikaïia after the goddess, who is often depicted as having wings, which also fits well with the legend of Alcyone, a nod to the villa’s name meaning.

Villa Kerylos, peristyle - Nike and Phygele

Villa Kerylos, Nikai

My Villa Kerylos photoset has several other photos of the beautiful home. One of my favorite areas was the downstairs sculpture corridor, with several well-known statues. Before visiting, I was only a little acquainted with the myth of Athena and Erikhthonios / Erichthonius, depicted in this sculpture. Erichthonius, “son of Earth”, was born as a serpent when Hephaestus attempted to rape Athena, who took a scrap of wool and wiped his seed off onto the ground. Some legends speak of Gaia, goddess of the Earth, then handing Erichthonius to Athena, who hid him in a basket and raised him in secret.

Athéna à la ciste

Another side of Nice

Posted in La France, Nice at 19:50

Nice

A few days ago, three friends and I decided to try out a path we’ve heard about over the years, along the Canal de Gairaut in the north of Nice. While Niçois acquaintances and colleagues of mine had often talked about it as easy to find, it was not actually so simple… Nonetheless, we did eventually reach the beautiful Cascades de Gairaut, waterfalls once overseen by the Compagnie des Eaux, or water board. You can also reach them by car or by bus, as there’s a parking area a few hundred meters from the site.

There was a great view of Nice, and the falling water chilled the otherwise hot and stuffy summer air. Below are some other photos from along our walk. The decorative building was the guard house, Maison de Garde, used by the Compagnie des Eaux.

Old truck, Vieux Chemin de Gairaut

        Cascades de Gairaut      Maison de Garde

Maison de Garde

Les vacances

Posted in Cats, La France at 20:56

Kanoko and Susu

C’est les vacances ! Three weeks of vacation started for me on Monday, following a brief health scare that sent me to the emergency room (on recommendation of my GP) the week before. I’m fine now, and for anyone curious about the logistics of it – I didn’t need to pay anything and haven’t received any bills. I did go to a private clinic, since the public hospital was overflowing (I waited there for an hour and only saw two people registered, while 20 others waited in front of me), so I do feel the need to use a qualifier just in case: it was probably fully reimbursed. Especially as I haven’t received any bills two weeks later. I’ll know for certain when the detail of reimbursements comes in the mail, and plan to write a post on it since this is only my second time in a French ER, and my first in a private clinic here.

As for my vacation, it’s going very well! It started off with a lot of vintage patterns arriving in the mail, as well as a couple of books I’ve since read. One blue maxi dress has been finished, a vintage dress started, and plans for visiting the area with friends have been made.

I haven’t yet gotten a bat house; instead I plan to make one, if I can find the right type of wood, which would be a hardwood rather than soft pine. Meanwhile, the cats are kept under surveillance when outside. I also started using a video editor, Kdenlive (I’m currently running FreeBSD with KDE), so that clips of the two furballs are hopefully a bit more interesting. No fancy effects, just snipping unnecessary bits and adding music. Behold, my very first video project, starring Kanoko the Water-Loving Maine Coon.