So we can begin this conversation properly introduced.
The Cat is the personage you see up there in the masthead. Here’s another pic right here. The name is Monsieur Bougarabou O. Hooligan, “Bugs” to you.
painting by the magnificent Ouida Touchon
an edgier photo by Erika Wilhite. Bugs younger, possibly a bit freaked out? Maybe not so much. It might be the flash. See his relaxed tail.
The “Bougarabou” bit comes from a West African drum. The bougarabou has a sound all its own because it’s covered in cowskin, rather than the goatskin of the more-treble djembes. You can hear just one bougarabou boop-booping underneath a whole herd of the motormouth djembes. So the bougarabou has a unique bass voice all its own. That’s one reason to name Bugs like that.
The other reason is that when he first showed up in my life, six months old (give or take) on November 28, 2009, this was one rowdy little stray. A street-fightin’ West Side Story Shark kind of dude, with switchblades for claws. He’d scamper around the wood floors in the house, on the qui-vive for the next rumble going down, and I’d hear that rhythm. Bougarabou bougarabou bougarabou. So that’s the bougarabou bit.
The O. Hooligan bit speaks for itself. A cat with Afro-Irish roots.
The human over here is me, Anita Schnee. I am a transplanted Detroiter, alive and well in the comely Ozarks, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I love playing African hand-drums (you could maybe guess that). That’s me in the center bottom, with my drum-and-dance tribe led by the fabulous Ivoirean Angelo Yao, in the Afrique Aya Drum and Dance Company. To keep Monsieur Bugs in
Science Diet fresh organic chicken, I write legal briefs. (The thinking on the diet question, as on so much else, has evolved as I have learned. At the paws of M. Bugsereenoh.)
And I’m a practitioner of the school of movement education called the FELDENKRAIS METHOD®. And I’m a devoted friend of Marshall Rosenberg’s NONVIOLENT COMMUNICATION®.
Before Bugs deigned to permit me to care for him, I thought I was allergic to cats. Plus I could not, for the life of me, see why anybody on this good green earth would want to keep a semi-wild animal around. Some shadowy creature of the night, skulking around who knew where, showing up only to be petted, admired, and fed? by human slaves? then wafting off to parts unknown? without a fare-thee-well?
Oh-ho! What I didn’t know. What I didn’t know.
And that’s why I’m blogging over here. About what I didn’t know. About what Bugs knows, born as he is to this unbelievable grace. And about what this conversation between us is like.
Thank you for coming along.
(The ® mark by the FELDENKRAIS name denotes that it is a registered service mark of the FELDENKRAIS GUILD®, a professional association of which I am a member. The ® mark by NONVIOLENT COMMUNICATION denotes that Dr. Rosenberg has trademarked his work. For my own attitude about copyright matters and your quoting this blog, see the “license” widget over there in the upper-right-hand margin. It signifies that you may quote whole bits as I’ve written or shown them, without changing any part of them; please be sure to credit me, Anita Schnee, and link to this blog, https://catself.wordpress.com; and please don’t be making money off what I write or depict. Otherwise – feel free. Let’s hear it for the wide-open spaces of the Net. Thank you.)
Well I finally found the beginning! No wonder we love y’all! When I was a (very white) nine-year-old, I asked my (very very white) dad for a conga drum for Christmas — and actually got it! It became a plant stand, but I still love the sound of drums. So cool you are involved with a group! I used to be a massage therapist, but still haven’t explored Feldenkrais. It always sounded wonderful. I loved the meeting with Bugs and the decision to keep him. I look forward to learning more…from the beginning.
Dear Dawn, it’s astonishing how we can overcome the accident of time and place, and meet up like this. It’s just thrilling! I’m cracking up at the conga plant stand. And thinking back on your own beginning, with the little Panther — what stories we have, to tell each other and to be warmed and amazed by. Connecting with you and your little feline is a total pleasure for me, in so very many ways that are full of fun and meaning. I totally salute this!
Oh, Anita! YOU are a joy! And Bugs, too! Looking forward to much more! Connecting with you two is such an honor and great pleasure! Thanks for finding us! I am so grateful!
Me too, and three, and four.
Hi, I finally found the info that you asked for about Ouida Touchon. http://www.ouidatouchon.com
I hope that this helps you contact her, and so sorry that it has taken me soooo long to answer you…
have a Blessed day,
Janet and Pluma
Wow, Janet and Pluma, I really appreciate your time and care! Thank you! I’ve written to Ouida immediately. Again, thanks!
How did I do this? How did I start to follow each and every post you make without ever having the curiosity of checking out the very first introductory post? Oh, silly me… I’m so happy now that I know all of this about you, Anita! 🙂
Oh so great, Ivy. And you know, when I wrote this post, I had not the remotest, faintest clue that this blog would ever become what it is today. With YOU joining me! What a joy. x0x0x0x0x0x!!! –Anita, yup, my name!
Me too! I’ve been wondering and wondering and FINALLY did what Ivy did! >:-D Can’t wait to read and read. And big thank you for having a pic of yourself, Anita!
You bet, Lahgitana! I mean, after all — your adorable face beams out every single time you post — I could at least return the favor. Once. Twice max. That’s my limit!