What a delightful morning! Especially after yesterday’s pouring rain. Erik and I got up early to have breakfast at Rick and Ann’s–our first breakfast there together since our Clark Kerr days–and filled up on yummy food. Since we had to take the 51 bus instead of the 7, we had to do a little bit of extra walking, but that was such a pleasure with all the sunshine. Walking down Russell St, we realized one of the lovely big old houses was actually a museum… so we stopped in. It’s the Magnes Museum, a Jewish museum, based in SF but with some exhibits here. The people there were very nice, so we went in and looked around. It’s a really nice little museum, and a great house, so it was a good experience. I think really big museums are intimidating because there’s a feeling that they’re so big, you’ll never be able to see everything, so why try at all. But when there are only three exhibits, and the building itself is a wonderful, comfortable old house, well, it feels friendlier and more welcoming. So I think I’ll be going back there again at some point. Thanks to my research responsibilities (for my thesis) I’m slowly learning to talk to more people and ask more questions, so when a docent made her appearance I asked her about the history of the house itself. She told me it was built around 1906, for a lawyer and his family (eight kids, and servants, including a Chinese cook–which greatly interested me because of my research!), and the garden and landscaping were done by the same guy who designed Golden Gate Park! Not short of money, apparently, this lawyer (I think his name was Burke). Unfortunately she didn’t know anything else about the cook, or Chinese cooks in general, but she referred me to some books in their shop (a quick glance through the index of one of those yielded a potentially useful book and an amusing quote).
After we left the museum we kept walking down Russell, of course, and then I spotted an adorable white-and-peach cat a few houses down. (Note: I am now getting into a serious digression about cats. If you’re not interested… you’ve been warned…) I said to Erik, ‘Oh look, a kitty! Meow!’ The cat actually heard me because it meowed (I couldn’t hear it, I only saw it open its mouth in a meowlike fashion) and started toward us. Yay for cat hearing. It came over and proceeded to be utterly delightful. I love friendly kitties. When a woman came by walking two dogs, our kitty showed very little alarm, but hid itself as soon as the dogs got close. The dogs were only mildly interested, so as soon as they left the cat came right back out again. Smart kitty. Erik and I have begun taking an interest in cats’ meows, after reading the wonderful kids’ book Pinky Pye, about a smart kitten named Pinky. Pinky doesn’t ‘mew,’ according to the narrator, she says ‘Woe.’ Which I think is the cutest thing in the world, and Erik agrees (to the extent, I guess, that guys think things are cute). So we’re looking for a ‘woe’ cat. Erik thinks ‘mia’ (pronounced ‘mee-YAH’) is a more common cat noise, but I’m not sure about that. Tybalt hardly talks at all; in fact, he talks so infrequently that I don’t even know what his sound is. Moony says ‘Meow.’ Gracia was possibly a ‘woe’ cat, but I think actually she said ‘moe’ not ‘woe.’ This kitty we met today had a very small voice, a small voice for a cat of ample size and personality, and she said ‘yeow.’
[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]