Saturday, 28 August 2010


Despite it not being a normal timing pause for grieving, we decided that, as this past weekend was the last completely free weekend until 9 October (and even then, we have a theatre excursion), we would have an outing -- or several -- to look for a kitty who needs a home. [Note: 9 October is exactly 1 month before the tea-leafed arrival of Squeak. Introducing a rescued creature into a home with a mere 4 weeks to 'settle', and followed by And Now For Something Completely Different seems a bit mean and thoughtless if it can be avoided.]

My attempt at being pragmatic allowed my planning skills to overshadow lingering sadness, which admittedly was (mostly) beyond the constant-reminders-of-Angus-leading-to-weeping stage by last Friday. The tinternet 'tis a v. good thing for coordinating spontaneous ventures such as this, to include the entire county of Norfolk -- although Eamonn had already had a bit of a peruse around and so She started with some Excellent Pointers in the right direction.

The RSPCA, the Cat's Protection League, and several animal sanctuaries. Looked at photo albums. Read bios (where available). Make initial choices for potential good matches (e.g., prefer no long hair; prefer no kittens; should not have been abused by children in previous habitat; etc.). Planned route. Called for appointments. Printed maps. Created agenda.

Cosmic; and Chilli & Pepper; Harley; Liquorice & Cappucino; India & Gem; and Jack were some of the named ones that we started with. We visited them and from that group (and a few others who just also needed to be petted), Chilli and Pepper, and India and Gem were our two (double) initial choices... Chilli and Pepper are a 1-year-old brother and sister pair, who are absolutely sweet and shiny and purry; Pepper also was born with only one eye -- making him a Pirate (!). India and Gem are 4-year-old sisters, who have only recently been neutered, and who are respectively shy and sassy. Personality is a must.

Our aim was NOT to try to replace Angus with another black (or partially black) cat. However, as I may have mentioned before: black and black&white cats are just 'not in fashion' now. Hence the reason that so many of them end up in shelters, according to our previous vet. I think this is utterly atrocious. 'Not in fashion', indeed. People with that mentality ought to be neutered AND banned.

A couple of years ago, Richard and Clem took us along to a charity event at a cat sanctuary at Beeston Regis, on the North Norfolk coast. This place was actually my first thought of a must-go-to place, as it had seemed at the time such a caring environment with great support of volunteers who help with socialising the cats, helping those who need it to psychologically heal, and caring for those who are simply unhomeable. It is a no-kill shelter.

We didn't know the full story, though.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a protective gatekeeper lady who took us inside the main house, because 'Everybody has to meet Ms. Rees before you can go look at the cats.' We went into the kitchen, where Ms. Rees was sat next to the Aga with a cat on her lap, cats in various baskets around the kitchen and on chairs. At one point my conversational attention was distracted by the top of the cabinet next to the ceiling stretching its little kitty toes over the edge. These are part of the cats which are unhomeable.

Ms. Rees doesn't move very much, and she can no longer go out to the cattery with visitors, because she is recovering from paralysis as a result of a broken neck. Her neck was broken by a male personage who runs a scam on the North Norfolk coast -- maybe in Aylsham. His chapter in her tragic story began when some kind soul found a cat roaming around, very hungry, thin, scruffy and in danger of being run over. The cat was brought to her, and she recognised it as a Bengal -- quite valuable. Ads were posted in the newspaper and notices given on the radio.

After several weeks, no one had come forward. So preparing the cat for re-homing began. This involves vaccination, neutering, de-fleaing, worming -- basically providing basic care for the well-being of the animal. Shortly after this, a man called her one day claiming, ' You've got my cat.' To which she replied, 'Well, actually I have about 60 cats, so perhaps you might tell me which one you think is yours?' His cocky reply that it was a Bengal... 'not that [she] would know anything about that' and her response that she did in fact have a Bengal (and knew very well what it was) and that he should come out and see if it was his.

His arrival and discovery of his cat in healthy condition (although missing some bits) resulted in his utter rage that she had 'cut the balls off' what was purportedly his 'stud cat.' He threw things maniacally around the cattery and at her and raged off saying that she would pay him the £5000 for his ruined cat, and more. 'More' being quite threatening.

Legal battles ensued -- but to no effect to his benefit.

However, in 2004, after the incident had for all intents and purposes run its course, she was attacked one early morning in her flower garden, shot with a stun gun, her neck broken, and a 70-ish lady was left for dead. She was completely paralysed and lay there for 2 hours until volunteers arrived to the cattery and she was able to be airlifted out.

After 6 months in hospital, the police had still not even visited the suspected culprit. Only at the insistence of her son was he 'visited' and he (of course) said, 'No. I didn't do that.' And the capable police left. The police refused to pursue it any further, claiming that since she had had her back to the attacker, her evidence was not credible.

She is no longer paralysed, but she has such a diminished quality of life now, even though she continues to run the charity that she has run for more than 20 years. She built the cattery as it now is with her own hands, however it is now a struggle for her to even go outside to see the animals she is helping.

Not for this reason -- I just wanted to share the brief story of the atrocity of one evil man and a corrupt culture which allows him to roam free and re-perpetrate (which apparently he does when people 'rescue' his set-up animals) and juxtapose that with the kindness and gentleness that people like Ms. Rees and her loyal helpers have to give -- but not for this reason at all, did we proceed to the Cat House (titter). Well, actually, we were 'Approved' to go to the Cat House.

And we met Jasmine and Patches and Lucky and Russett and LeAnn (she is very saucy) and Tiffany and Tessa and Blackey and the kittens and everyone.

And then we were led through this separate door (which looked like the entrance to a store room) off the main Cat Room. But no. This was no store room. This was the entrance to Inky's Annexe.

Inky is a funny cat, who does not approve of other cats. He has his own apartment, where he has lived for 2 years (and he is only 3 or 4 years old), complete with habitat room (with all amenities, such as bed, box and heater) and comfortable porch room overlooking both the garden and the Cat Room. Inky folds his tail over his back like he is a squirrel. He is quite talkative, very friendly, and I think he will be a cuddler. He allowed the Visiting Hoomins (well, the Lady Hoomin) to pick him up and hold him until her arms were tired and it was time to go. Inky is obviously black.

We had a good discussion on the way home, and were pretty much unanimous that Inky was Zee One. Chilli  Pepper were a very, very close second, but doubling all costs seemed a bit unwise.

But it really would have been fun to have a pirate cat...

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Tale of a Kitty

One week ago at this time was the last time I saw our beloved Angus alive.

He jingled jauntily (with his little bell collar) out the back door after his early morning cuddle and his kitty-breakfast with Radio 4. I cannot remember if we had some sneaky kitty meelks or not (his papa did not approve of normal Hoomin meelks for the kitty, but Angus was just not a big fan of Whiskas feline milk products).

That evening, the only part I saw of his lovely shiny fur again was the top of his head which Eamonn allowed me to see from the pulled back towels in which our kindly neighbor had wrapped him. Eamonn prepared him for burial in Angus's favourite Virgin Atlantic blanket, which always went with him to Pennyback Cat Lodge -- where he spent his kitty holidays during any long-term Human Excursions from home. We buried him in the back garden next to the hydrangea.

This past week, I have been intensely consumed and utterly bereft and mournful in a ceaseless paroxysm of repetitive and self-absorbed grief. Yes, I am aware that he was a cat. Yes, I have felt quite selfish in my grief. But I have also been completely helpless to the wishful images of him popping through the front hedge to talkatively welcome us home from work; or stopping just inside the dining room door for a quick stretch on the rug (and a pat); or his companionable presence in the bathroom (with a little scratch on the jute rug and followed by a nose up in the air for a kiss); or his overt preference for the Right Shoulder Hang (rather than the Left) and the ages he would just allow me to carry him about like a human infant.

The thing I miss the most of all, though, is the daily 5.30a.m. purr and headbutt-to-the-sleeping-human's-chin session, which always ended with him curling up in my armpit and lying his head onto my shoulder for one more little doze. Even though some people may think he was only a dumb animal (as in, 'without human speech'), his absence has left a great gaping hole in our family. And I am so sad that Squeak will not know who it was purring through my tummy to him all these months; I am irrevocably convinced that Angus knew someone is in there. He would have been a magnificent kitty with a baby.

Today, though, I feel finally ready to heal. And my persistent belief in fate is edging very slowly back into the room in my head and bringing rational thought and emotion. This will be much more pleasant indeed for Eamonn, who has had rounded many corners this week to discover his wife weeping.

The tale of this kitty began on Christmas Day 2008, five days after our wedding in Louisiana. Eamonn spotted him down the alley on Magpie Road as we walked past on the way home -- so, naturally I had to go and pet the creature with the fur. He was quite thin and gangly and collarless. He came to our back door later, and we had some more pat-the-kitty time -- outside, of course.

For days, he kept coming back to our door, despite a lack of food offerings. It was really extremely cold during January, and he was so scruffy and weedy (not a fortuitous combination for someone who is trying to keep Amrie from giving in to strong feelings for animal welfare). The night that it snowed, Eamonn relented and said Kitteh could come in... BUT ONLY for the one night and he would go STRAIGHT OUT at dawn -- the crack of.

Eamonn claims that he was the First One to give him food  -- some smoked salmon scraps left over from breakfast one Sunday (gruff exterior, indeed). Kitteh had become a regular visitor for about 2 weeks.

We asked some of the neighbours if  they knew where he came from.

We looked for signs of 'Lost Cat', but I was too righteously judgemental (and cowardly) of animal husbandry in our neighbourhood to put any 'Found Cat' signs up of my own.

We put a collar on him, in the opinion that if he belonged to someone, they would perhaps say, 'Oi! Who has put this collar on my animal (which I do not care for properly)?' and perhaps reclaim him as their own. This did not happen.

Kitty pretty much made himself at home at 112 Magpie Road from this time onward (including inside), and he was always allowed inside for bitterly cold nights (the bathroom doorway was a good lying spot as the heating pipes were under the floor). Particularly useful for maintaining body heat is the Leg Stretch with Toe Separation (as demonstrated).

Observant readers may also recall that Meester initially was interested in zee feesh, but fish really are kind of boring, and when you can't actually poke them, they are no longer in the danger zone and survived quite safely and happily through the initial Kitteh Months on Magpie and the move to La Village. Besides, there were more fascinating creatures to hunt here -- things with fur and feathers and tiny tails and beaks and squeaks.

Angus loved People and loved visitors (and even tolerated grasping and waddling small people), always making them feel at home and helping to warm (a small portion of) their freshly laundered and made-up bed. This is his most uninhibited welcome to his last holiday houseguest, Hiroko...

Apparently, he was run over on The Common (where it is impossible to go more than 20 mph -- oh. the irony.) and was found right afterwards by a kind soul who came round to the Main Road since she knew that one of our houses had a black cat. Our neighbour was home and went to collect him in a basket. At least Gillian spared him the indignity of lying in the sun all day.

The heartless, soulless person who hit him didn't even stop.

Thursday, 27 May 2010


This week is a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the evacuation of Dunkirk.

52 of the surviving 'Little Ships' are part of a ceremonial cruise to remember the volunteers and their boats who evacuated British and French troops from France in 1940, during the German invasion of France. In 9 days, more than 330,000 soldiers were ferried by pleasure boats, fishing boats, merchant marine ships and Royal Navy Lifeboats from the shore to waiting ships in deeper water. It had originally been thought that only 20,000 could be rescued.

There is just no comparison between the whiny culture of today and the bravery of most generations of the entirety of history. It makes one quite ashamed.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


So, today I got to hear Squeak's heartbeat for the first time!

It was pretty darn cool to see the heartbeat at the 11-week scan (like a prettily fluttering fish fin in the middle), but hearing the whoosh-WHOOSH leads me to wonder if I need one of those little dopplar things. I could become kind of a Sneaky Spy Mother before Squeak even enters the world (could anyone be eating paste in there?). Squeak was moving around quite a bit, indicated by the midwife's inability to keep track of the heartbeat in one place. To me, this indicates future weariness on my part. My mama and daddy threatened me with a hyper-active child when I was young; foolishly, this threat failed to calm me down then. Payback's warranted, I suppose. :)

During the appointment, I met two more of the midwives in the community team who are looking after me (there are 6 in all). They were absolutely fabulous and, even though my list of questions was a little long, we got on like a house on fire. In the past week (since hysterical giggling began over my 'Elderly' status), a complete change of opinion has swung. Originally, my thought was to definitely plan for a hospital birth since I am fully aware that I am old. However, after talking to a useful panel of people from knitting, yoga, work, and Ms. Teresa... I think it might not be unreasonable to attempt a home birth.

For any US readers I have at this point, the maternity culture here is quite different (AND has a more favourable infant mortality rate than the US, before anybody gets too uppity). It is not an obstetrician culture but a midwife culture. One may never see an obstetrician at all -- unless there are complications. When one attends pre-natal appointments, one meets with a midwife, and the midwives one meets over the course of the pregnancy are likely to be helping at your birth, which is quite nice. There are two types of midwives (I think): community midwives and hospital midwives. Community midwives are in teams attached to medical practices and will be sent out in teams of two to home births. Hospital midwives are (quite obviously) the midwives who work at the hospital and deliver whoever is there. One might be able to have one of one's community midwives at the hospital, but it is not guaranteed.

At a home birth, there are two professionals constantly monitoring the birth and who are probably going to more likely honour wishes in a birthing plan. If at any point, the mother feels uncomfortable staying home or the midwives note something concerning, then the whole thing moves to the hospital. We are about 10 minutes from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. It all seems pretty unintimidating. The only logistical kinks that could send me to the hospital are: 1) someone else goes into labour and gets the shift team before me or 2) there is no incoming cover if the shift ends before Squeak emerges. My 'head midwife' thinks that I seem perfectly normal (little does she know at this early stage) and that my  'elderly' condition is also laughable -- her confidence was the final seal of approval.

I think the most interesting thing about my mental state is that my absolutely concrete terror of birth, which for some reason has always been in my consciousness, has absolutely and concretely disappeared. It was not lurking about when my condition was determined not to be an exotic illness, so it has to have wandered off at some point during the first month. What an oustanding blessing is that?!

Today was also my second week at pregnancy yoga. I am the earliest phase person there (at only 16.5 weeks), but my OCD nature makes me happy to be starting early. Having never done yoga before, my brain had no idea what to expect last week, but it is really good and They say that the techniques learned can be helpful during phase one and phase two of parturition. There is no worship of foreign entities. There is a lot of breath control, which is good as mine is currently weak to non-existent, and lots of stretching, which I love. My knees are very bony.

This week, we did the Camel Walk around the room (to move the pelvis backwards and forwards for flexibility) -- and I must admit to almost breaking out in a fit of giggles at the thought of someone peering through the door to see variously pregnant women in leggings stalking around the room like a Monty Python sketch. Giggling, though, does nothing for one's balance (especially mine) and so this was quickly quelled before a trauma occurred.

Now I must rest.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Elderly Primigravida

This is my classification.

Revealed to me at knitting this week, we have all had a good giggle about it.

It means 'a woman older than 35 years who is pregnant for the first time'. One good thing of being an Elderly is that one theoretically gets more attention and monitoring. After all, if I weren't Elderly, we wouldn't have been able to have a scan of Squeak a month ago! Apparently, (after talking with Ms. Teresa) one is classified as 'elderly' in the US if one is much over 30 years.

Note: I shall expect due respect in deference to my elderly status, despite the elegant henna currently hiding my grey hair.

Now, my creaky self needs some sleep.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Two Babies and a Pirate

Right. So, this may be my bestest excuse for blogging laxity ever.

It has been mentioned (and honestly self-recriminated) that we all are tired of reading about squash blossom quesadillas. Well, the extreme mental exhaustion that fell over me during the Mexico marathon was not the unfortunate result of food-borne parasitic infestation, as we have discovered. And the abdominal muscle pulling feeling was not the positive side-effect of my cleverly-devised triceps brachii exercise of hanging upside down and half-off the end of the Hampton Inn bed (whilst watching a compilation of NCISCSI and Law & Order... of course) and hoisting my table display stands to a right angle to my torso. And the comatose state that tended to settle on me within 12 seconds of becoming seated or prone was not related to either the tsetse fly or to jet lag (yes, they say that the tsetse fly only lives in Africa, but flies are sneaky).

No -- this lethargy (and accompanying psuedo-exercise symptoms -- it was pretty amazing that the muscles were still tired a week after the last hanging-upside-down event) has been discovered to be the result of the presence of Squeak. 'Squeak' is the temporary classification I have given to the very small sentient soul who is currently resident behind the non-toned muscles of my tummy (It just is too horrible a nomenclature).

[Admittedly, the title of this entry does indicate the presence of more than just one Squeak, although this is not true. There is a long story: Lady Lindsey was unable to locate any non-sicky-sweet or non-ethnically-congratulatory cards, so she instead sent one congratulating us on our Triplets -- E only had a momentary swing towards coronary failure, I believe. Then the newest honorary Cousin, claimed to see definitely 5 legs in the ultrasound, leading to the query: 'So what's up with that? Two babies and a pirate???' And this has stuck. We are shopping for a parrot as I type.]

Shortly after discovering Squeak, several things became (and continue to become) clear(er):

  • initial distaste for wine was not due to an ulcer;
  • muscle tiredness is not always the result of feeble and ludicrous 'exercise' attempts;
  • even a being the size of a butterbean is capable of reducing bladder capacity to quite a significant degree;
  • the necessity to politely request that E take his beer to other side of room was not due to petulance, but to a psychotically heightened sense of smell (and accompanying nausea);
  • constant nausea is just as bad, or worse, than being physically ill;
  • Mamas know things when they are not necessarily supposed to, but they are polite and don't mention them when there are strangers around (mostly).

At this point, Squeak is at 13 weeks of development (but THEY claim it is the 15th week of Pregnancy). I am unsure if Squeak is 4.5 inches long and kicking or 'the size of a peach' (apparently peaches don't kick). Some more research must be done now that overseas work Travel is over for a significant while (and my biology textbooks are in storage in Louisiana), but it is so confusing -- e.g., exactly what kind of peach is this? Is this an early-season peach the size and texture of a baseball or is it a gorgeous, juicy gigantic Georgia peach the size of a grapefruit? And if a grapefruit, then the size of a Bruner orchard grapefruit or a piddly little Texas one? SOOOOOO many questions.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Adventures & Quesadillas

In the optimistic hope that my madre's tale of someone who suffered with an ailment for decades, which was finally discovered to have originated as one of the perils of foreign travel, I have eaten the looooveliest quesadilla con flora de [squashes] -- I think. Admittedly, when she asked, 'Flora, o spanishspanishspanish?', I was under the confused impression that she was asking me if my preference was flour, corn, or some new and exotic type of tortilla.
Proposition: One should always respond, 'Si!' when one is asked if one would like queso; so let it be written -- so let it be done.

My plan (unless some sort of gastrointestinal attack renders this idea a no-go) is to return tomorrow to the Belles Artes museum corner and try a different quesadilla with my superb travel companion, Jessica, who is as willing as your correspondent to toddle off in search of adventure and independent bravery (as a duo, actually, so it really isn't perzactly independent in the strictest sense of the word). Yesterday (after our Thursday breakfast of huevos revueltos and enchiladas), we ventured forth on a day of school visits, with my high-hopes plan to explore the Metro by riding all the way to the end of the Blue Line to Cuatro Caminos and take a taxi to the first visit.

On exiting the station, instead of the taxi rank Herself was expecting, we instead walked into a crossed hybrid of a cattle-market/bus-depot/tent-city-of-cheap-tat/Save-the-Children-commercial. I am pretty sure that people were sweeping crap in the street. After walking bravely past the arcade of video games with the shady caballero and not determining where in the name of Heaven a safe taxi might be, we then determined that we didn't know how to use our mobile phones to dial in-country. After looking quite shady ourselves while loitering on the corner next to the bus depot gas station, we made the joint command decision to flag a taxi -- the logic being that it had pink-and-white checker-board stripe on it. [We were also smart and demanded to see his identification.] He turned out to be quite the nicest taxi driver!

The counselor at our second visit dropped her jaw and said, 'Oh. My. God.' (in the best 90210 voice possible)  and faintly curled her lip when we asked for directions to the closest Metro station. And sent us for a posh patio-balcony lunch in Polanco at La Valentina.

Where we had our primeras margaritas. (and almost got stuck in an elevator by the consierge)

Our orders included taquitos, and panuchos yucatecos (kind of like chalupas), and tacos de chilorio sinaloense, and something else... (not on the online menu). Yesterday, I was reticent,  BUT escamole seems like it might need to be tried... pause, pause, pause.

Because of our fortitude, we chose to aim for the same Metro station to prove ourselves, walking through Polanco (which is quite comfortable-feeling and more than likely safer than much of the rest of the city) and then through a ginormous park. In this park live the bravest squirrels every, who are (as Jessica says) actually a little creepy in their super-intelligent expressions and mental telepathy of 'Feed ME!'

Their genetic make-up seems to be a hodge-podge of red and grey squirrel, and they are kind of not pretty. But they are so terribly cute and cheeky! They must be so because people feed them and local people do seem quite taken with them. I did not look at all out of place doing my 'Let's-Talk-to-Los-Animales' voice -- it is all part of my effort to be a successful flaneuse.

Possibly because there are museums in the park including the Museum of Modern Art, there are also quite a few interesting sculptures. Since my current book is Wicked, I shall call this 'Oz'.

And this one is Wuthering Heights in my world -- for no particular reason, just a feeling -- or maybe the voices in my head.

Upon reaching a large road bisecting the park, we proceeded to cross an 8 lane super-road. There was a median in the middle where we could wait for a break in opposite direction traffic. After having a suspicious park guard not let us through a locked gate and fail to understand the directions that he and a chillaxing taxi driver attempted, the taxi driver finally zipped us dangerously around the freeway below to the second shady Metro stop of the day.

One thing that is interesting about the Metro is that at some (note the use of 'some') stops, there may be a 10-ft tall sign indicating the near presence of transport. However, when one approaches this beacon of hope, one quickly finds that this tall edifice is actually nowhere near the entrance. In best flaneur-style, one must attempt to look like one merely needs to pause and consult one's mobile phone, whilst glancing around casually and with a bored aspect to figure out where people are disappearing into an unmarked hole in the ground. This is occasionally in the middle of a combination area similar to the description of Cuatro Caminos, above. And so one heads into the tent city of smells (some delicious, some disgusting, and some possibly dangerous) or, for example in El Zocalo, a completely unmarked hole set of stairs heading from sidewalk-level into the depths.

Once on the Metro, one should not expect there to be silence in a London Underground sort of way. If it were not sad, it could be slightly vexing -- there is a constant stream of noise: women and children walking through screaming, 'Chicle! Dos pesos!'; a blind old man tooting a harmonica and using his change cup to keep rhythm; a young blind woman with a sound system and microphone, singing, and with a 3-year-old child following her and holding on to her belt loop; the long-haired political activist shoving papers into people's faces and yelling about La Republica de Mexico.

And then there are the CD-mix guys -- these are guys (and blind women) who have strapped a speaker as big as their torso onto their tummies and who walk through trains incessantly selling various mix CDs. The CD player attached to the speaker is used to skip through snippets of the songs approximately 4.7 seconds in length. Sound level is at 11.8. When the alarm screams that the doors might be able to think about maybe shutting (this lasts for about 11 of the longest seconds ever), opera might start shrilling from one end of the car, and simultaneously Los Gran Cantandores de los 60's, 70's and 80's begin with some Depeche Mode followed by Juice Newton and Queen of Hearts. Some mixes have absolutely no rhyme or reason at all.

Jessica was unamused. [the red shirt is on the arm of a Speaker Guy]

To recover our sanity, and since we were not really thinking that dinner was necessary, we ventured to the Pasteleria across the street.

This is a fabulous cultural activity; such inter-cultural engagement and educative exercise is to be strongly encouraged by International Officers. It was also dangerous.

A Pasteleria is a cake shop. When one approaches the cake shop, one walks past the armed guard... and then one is meant to locate the large stack of pans (to L) and the bakery tongs. One carries one's tray through the shop, pincering far more cakes, cookies, jelly pastries, empanadas and bread products than one would ever consider for an evening's consumption in a normal situation. And then one tootles around the corner for a litre of milk (again, past an armed guard) and returns with one's stash to one's hotel room. Oh, the exotic life on the road!

So many cakes, so little time. And more are made every day! Hoorah!

In other news, my mind is relieved by the information today (from our lovely agent) that we are 2000m (or 6000 feet) above sea level. This would be the logical reason that I so quickly become similar to an emphesemic bovine creature when walking or climbing stairs. The feeling of bubbles in the brain could also be from this.

Note: I am also terribly amused by commercials with talking toothbrushes. Especially when said toothbrushes are Spanish speakers.

...and so on to the weekend of two 8-hour exhibitions.