I’ve been thinking almost all week, “I’ll be so glad when Friday gets here.” While I am certainly not looking forward to going to work today, it should not be a bad day. All of the major things I’ve been dealing with at work are now past me, and I can just look forward to the weekend. Just like I don’t have anything on my agenda today, I also don’t have anything planned for this weekend.
It’s going to be a hot weekend. While yesterday’s high was a mere 67 degrees, this weekend, we are looking at near 90 degree temperatures. We are also forecasted to have high humidity this weekend. In other words, it’s going to be miserable, at least as far as the weather is concerned. I plan to do my best just to relax and do as little as possible.
This week has been incredibly busy. Actually, work has been busy for the past few weeks as we get ready for the students to return to campus. I am teaching more classes this upcoming semester than I’ve ever taught at the museum, and I have more programs planned than I ever have before. The classes are basically set in stone, and I’ve been working my tail off trying to get the speakers for the programs set in stone. I’m having limited success getting people to answer back, but slowly but surely, it’s coming together. In addition to all of that, I have several student fairs where I have to represent the museum, and homecoming is a month away, and that’s always a crazy time at the museum.
There’s a lot going on and I’ve had little time for anything but work. Usually, I can check my personal emails, look at Facebook, or play on my phone. All of that has been limited these last few weeks. I have barely even had time to talk to colleagues about anything other than work. I was in meetings almost all day yesterday. Today, I also have several meetings plus a tour for foreign dignitaries. While I have nothing on my schedule for tomorrow, that in no way means it is going to be an easy day. I seem to be constantly coordinating with other people on campus, answering emails, and basically putting out fires so things run more smoothly. I’m not sure when things will slow down again. I know they will eventually, but there is no light at the end of the tunnel right now.
Have you ever feared a black cat crossing your path? This is from ancient superstitions where people thought this meant bad luck. For many cultures and historical settings, black cats were actually meant for positive things. So, to try and dispel these myths about black cats, National Black Cat Appreciation Day was created to be celebrated on August 17 every year. Today, pop culture loves black cats. There’s the sarcastic Thackery Binx in Hocus Pocus, Salem, in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Pyewacket in the classic Bell, Book, and Candle, and Isis from the Star Trek episode “Assignment: Earth.” Black cats are seen as loyal companions, and this is what they were seen as for a lot of cultures in history too.
So, who’s to blame for this negative black cat spin? Superstition! But mostly because during the Middle Ages, people (mainly the Catholic Church) saw witches as shape-shifting black cats and the damage was done. From then on, black cats were seen as evil entities for years and years to follow. The reputation for bad luck and evil is not warranted.
Since 2011, cat lovers around the world have celebrated Black Cat Appreciation Day on August 17th. It is a day to celebrate and appreciate the black cats in your life. Today, I celebrate my little companion, Isabella, a beautiful, sleek black cat. Black Cat Appreciation Day was created by a man named Wayne H. Morris, in honor of his late sister, June, who passed away at age 33, a few years before the first official Black Cat Appreciation Day. This date was chosen as a memorial of June’s passing. June deeply loved her own black cat, Sinbad, who lived to be 20 years old.
Black cats are often the least adopted and most overlooked cats in animal shelters, resulting in many of these wonderful animals being euthanized when they can’t find a loving home. Thank goodness many animal shelters these days are “no kill” shelters. Because they are less likely to be adopted from shelters, they need a special holiday in their honor to bring awareness to this issue, and to encourage people to adopt these amazing animals. Also, many shelters will not allow adoptions of black cats in October because people adopt them for Halloween and then discard them afterward. The life of a black cat in shelters can be very sad because there are several stupid and silly reasons why people looking to adopt a cat are less likely to adopt black cats.
Black cats are beautiful creatures that make a wonderful addition to any home. In some countries, including England, Scotland, and Japan, they are considered good luck. In Japan, it is believed that a single woman who owns a black cat will have many suitors. In England, they are commonly thought to bring good luck to anyone who crosses their path. In Scotland, it is said that a strange black cat arriving at your home will bring good fortune and prosperity.
Many cat owners agree that their black cats are often the most affectionate and playful cats they’ve ever had. Isabella is not very affectionate in the traditional sense, but she’s very loving and affectionate in her own way. She wants to be near me most of the time and sometimes wants to lay on me, but she never cuddles and hates to be held. Others claim black cats are known for their unique personalities and cuddly dispositions. Some researchers also claim that black cats are more resistant to disease. There is some research to suggest that at least two genes associated with melanism, i.e. what gives them their black color, may also help them resist certain diseases.
So if you are looking to adopt a cat, consider a black cat. They need the love, and they will love you back. Isabella might not be the most affectionate, but she constantly shows her love and appreciation for me, and isn’t that what we all want from our pets, especially our cats who often seem so indifferent to their human companions. Isabella is rarely far away from me. I’ve had cats in the past who show how mad they are at you for leaving them for any amount of time. Isabella has never been that way. Most of the time, she greets me at the door, and if she hears me in the hallway, and I don’t come into my apartment quick enough, she makes her impatience known. She is a wonderful little companion, and I feel so blessed to have her.
By George Santayana – 1863-1952
The low sandy beach and the thin scrub pine,
The wide reach of bay and the long sky line,—
O, I am far from home!
The salt, salt smell of the thick sea air,
And the smooth round stones that the ebbtides wear,—
When will the good ship come?
The wretched stumps all charred and burned,
And the deep soft rut where the cartwheel turned,—
Why is the world so old?
The lapping wave, and the broad gray sky
Where the cawing crows and the slow gulls fly,—
Where are the dead untold?
The thin, slant willows by the flooded bog,
The huge stranded hulk and the floating log,—
Sorrow with life began!
And among the dark pines, and along the flat shore,
O the wind, and the wind, for evermore!
What will become of man?
About This Poem
“Cape Cod” first appeared in Santayana’s Sonnets and Other Verses (Stone & Kimball, 1894). As Santayana recounts in Persons and Places: The Middle Span (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1945), the poem originated in a fishing trip with friends to Cape Cod, during which he “never held a rod in [his] hand, and never meant to.” He explains, “I wrote some lines on Cape Cod, of which the poet William Vaughn Moody said that there for once I had been inspired. But that inspiration came only by the way, as on returning we skirted a beach in the gathering twilight. Cape Cod in general has the most cheerful associations in my mind.” The scholar Newton Phelps Stallknecht later wrote about the poem in George Santayana (University of Minnesota Press, 1971) that “language, rhythm, and imagery yield fully to the sense of forlorn exile that is throughout. The scene becomes a haunting symbol of loneliness, an end of the world, whose beauty lives in its very desolation.”
About This Poet
George Santayana was a philosopher, critic, essayist, novelist, and poet. born Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás on December 16, 1863, in Madrid, was a philosopher, critic, poet, and novelist. He was the author of many books, including The Sense of Beauty: Being the Outlines of Aesthetic Theory (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1896) and Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante And Goethe (Harvard University, 1910).
He received his PhD from Harvard, where he taught Conrad Aiken, T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, and Wallace Stevens. In 1912, Santayana moved to Europe and never returned to the United States. He died on September 26, 1952.
I had such a fun weekend. My friends and I went up to Church Street in Burlington Friday night, just as we planned. The only hiccup was that traffic was terrible on I-89, so it took twice as long to get up there, and that did not leave us with much time to check out the sales during Church Street’s annual sidewalk sale. We basically went to two stores. First, we went to Kiss the Cook, which, just as it sounds, is a kitchen store. All three of us enjoy cooking. Well, I enjoy cooking; they enjoy baking. They got a few things, but I didn’t buy anything there. Then we went to Ten Thousand Villages. There, I bought something. They had the cutest coffee mug with a black cat crawling up the sides. They also had some black cat bookends, but I did not buy them. The coffee mug, though, I coudl not resist.
After that, it was time for our dinner reservation. I have eaten at Sweetwaters many times, and it’s always busy. Friday night was no exception. However, it felt like because they know they are closing, they aren’t putting in as much of an effort. The food wasn’t as good as it was in the past. Our waiter was very nice, and I doubt it was his fault that service was extremely slow, which always seems to have more to do with being understaffed and whatever goes on in the kitchen.
Saturday, we went to CiderFest, which was a little bit of a letdown. Right away, we knew there wasn’t going to be much to it. The description had said they would have BBQ and cider slushies. It must have been a typo because they had a BBQ, and in the North, BBQ can mean hamburgers and hot dogs, which is what they had. We decided to go to Prohibition Pig, which is a very good BBQ place nearby, but the restaurant part was closed, and only the Brewery was open. The brewery menu is not BBQ but tacos. It’s really an odd thing. My brisket tacos were good, but there were only two really small tacos, just enough to get you hungry. My friend’s jerk chicken tacos were not as good. After eating, we went back to the CiderFest and got some apple cider donuts and a cider slush, but we did not stick around for the bluegrass music.
Yesterday morning, Isabella had me up as usual, and I got up and fed her and had breakfast myself. Then, I went for a hike. It was the same place that has the little waterfall, but it was a really nice hike. I enjoyed being out all alone and in nature in the early morning. It was about 49 degrees and the crisp temperature was exhilarating. After I got back, I took a shower and then went to the grocery store to get a few things. The rest of the day was spent relaxing. It was a good weekend.