I have landed!

It was a long trip from Chicago to Dobrzyn, beginning the grope of my nether parts (fore and aft) by the TSA, and then a 9-hour flight on LOT from Chicago to Warsaw. I chose two movies to watch out of a small and largely dire selection: “Interstellar” with Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain, with John Lithgow, Michael Caine, and Ellen Burstyn in cameo roles; and “The Descendants” with George Clooney. The latter movie was definitely the better, as I’ve never been a big fan of space/science fiction movies.

After arrival, a short drive from the airport to the train station, a two-hour train journey west to Wloclawek, and then a half-hour drive to Dobrzyn, where I’m now settled.

And all the elements for a lovely stay are here, beginning with my surrogate parents Andrzej and Malgorzata (already back on their computers):

Freshly baked cherry pie was waiting, and it was plundered (and pronounced superb) within 15 minutes of my arrival:

And, of course, The Furry Princess of Poland, here asking for food:

Oddly enough, soon after I arrived Hili made a cat tunnel on my bed, where slept for a bit, and then burrowed under my blankets, where she’s now forming a cat-sized lump:

The Cat Tunnel, very neatly made!

Now she’s beneath the covers. This is heartening as Hili has never before slept on my bed, though she’s often glad to have a nap on my chest on the couch:

Note the lump in the bed (I don’t know why cats don’t get claustrophobic):

The lump, slightly dissected:

Hiroko sent to Poland a copy of her new book on embroidering cats, along with some “cat’s snacks” for Hili. Note that Hili is on the cover, too, as an exemplar of a “hard to embroider” cat. I find it delightful that a Japanese woman has sent Japanese cat snacks to a Polish cat—this must be a first.

Here’s Hiroko’s video, which I’ve posted before, about embroidering Hili.  I once said I’d make Hili the most famous cat in Poland, and I’d say that this comes pretty close:

Hiroko’s book has gotten a glowing review by Mary Corbet at Needle ‘n Thread, including this encomium:

In order to answer the questions she received over and over again about how she manages to embroider such perfect renditions of cats, Hiroko has written a fabulous book detailing her style and how she accomplishes her pet portraits.

Embroidered Cats: Hiroko’s Style is more of a visual documentary of how she creates her cats with needle and thread, rather than a strict how-to manual. It’s a fascinating little book, packed full of cat (and some dog) embroidery, each displayed in a series of developmental photos.



  1. Taskin
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Beautiful pie and great photo of Hili. You have all the elements for a perfect holiday!

  2. Jenny Haniver
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    It’s obvious that Hili is delighted to see you again. No doubt she got wind of your dalliance with Honey, and now that you’re chez Andrzej and Malgorzata, rummaging around on your bed there is to let you know not only that she’s overjoyed to see you, but that you are hers exclusively and there must be no other non-human animals to claim your affections, certainly no two-legged feathered creatures that fly.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 3, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      And in honor of that scrumptious cherry pie, here’s a song of celebration — the original version of “Cherry Pie” from the 1950s

      • Hempenstein
        Posted September 3, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Powodzenia (for starts).

        Then, I don’t know why it never occurred to me to post this on one of your cherry-centric posts, but here, IMHO, is an example of the rare cover that’s far better than the original (above). As I recall your comment long ago re. Mando & the Chili Peppers was, “Why have we never heard of these guys?”
        (They were discovered in 1956 when a record producer’s plane was grounded in Denver due to a snowstorm. The album’s from 1957 and the car on the cover is a ’53 Packard limo. The group was from San Antonio, and almost all cuts on the album are Tejano covers of standards from a variety of genres.)

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted September 3, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink


          • Hempenstein
            Posted September 3, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

            Yep, good, aren’t they? I think every song they covered on that album – their only one, I believe – was an improvement or at least equally good as the original. The only one that’s not a cover is the opener, I Love to Eat Chili.

            To complete the elliptical to PCC[E], one of the guys in ZZ Top was for years embarked on a search for Mando, aka Armando Almendarez. Turned out he had been in Chicago most of the time, playing with Eddie Clearwater.

            He emerged from the mists in 2005, to play at the Ponderosa Stomp but I’ve never seen any footage or commentary on how that went. I fear that’s not a good sign.

            Still, they should be more widely known!

  3. Posted September 3, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    All warming and heartening. I had a cat that liked to crawl under blankets too and this reminds me of that.

  4. Posted September 3, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Glad to hear of your safe arrival!

    I thought The Descendants was pretty good. I also liked Interstellar because it had a most interesting than usual plot, in my opinion. (I too am not real big on SciFi/Fantasy — too easy to add magic to the story.)

  5. Posted September 3, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    My Lord, all I’ve managed to do since your last post is go to bed and have breakfast, while you have flown to Poland, watched two movies, caught a bus and train, and ensconced yourself in Dobryzn.

  6. rickflick
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Looking at those pictures, I get the urge to scratch Hili’s chin.

    I liked ‘The Descendants’ quite a bit. Glad you gave it qualified approval. It was well received and won nominations and awards including Best Actor for Clooney from Critics Choice Movie Awards.

  7. Randy schenck
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    A long trip away that is more like a trip home…

  8. Richard Jones
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Jerry has posted a number ofworks of art containing cats and as he has said, the cats are usually poorly painted, even by the greatest artist.

    How is it then that these embroideries are so lifelike and alive? Is it the artist (the Japanese are cat lovers) or the medium?

    It must be both and they are so beautiful.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 3, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Medieval and early modern European artists weren’t able to draw cats. It would be interesting to trace the evolution of Japanese cat art, but from perusing Google Image and this article https://www.tofugu.com/japan/ukiyo-e-cats-in-japanese-art/, it seems that the Japanese had no problem, at least from the Ukyo-e period on. However, I can’t find any images dating from the equivalent of our Medieval period, perhaps if I knew Japanese, the search would be easier. Here is a web page which has some interesting things about cats and cat lore in Japan http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/maneki-neko.shtml.

  9. Vaal
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    mild rant/

    I’m certainly not surprised that Interstellar wasn’t a compelling experience viewed on the tiny screen on the back of an airplane chair (or laptop or whatever).

    I guess I won’t be able to avoid some movie snobbery here, but I’m an old school movie fanatic, used to lining up for the opening day to see the movies on the biggest screen possible surrounded by the buzz of the crowd.
    Though I don’t get out to opening day much anymore, seeing movies on the big screen is still by far my chosen venue.

    I can not fathom viewing movies, especially epics, on a laptop as seems to be the norm these days. Admittedly I may have over-compensated insofar as I use a projector and screen for movie watching at home. It makes me feel less of a loss when I miss a movie in the theater – I missed Gravity in the theaters for instance, but on the big screen at home in 3D it was mind blowing.

    My brother in law visited with his wife and we were talking movies, when Gravity came up.
    I asked, enthusiastically, what they thought of it. They turned and looked at each other both giving a wan shrug “It was ok, I guess.”
    I asked where they saw it. “On our laptop.’
    Aaaaagh! Well OF COURSE it’s going to suck on a laptop! Especially because I work in film, it’s just dispiriting knowing the amount of work that goes in to making such movies, meant to be an immersive experience, only to be viewed on teeny screams, often crappy quality streams, or…worse…pirated. (Oh, don’t get me going on the whole watching pirated torrents of movies thing….I’ll be frothing at the mouth by then….)

    /stronger rant than intended.

    • Vaal
      Posted September 3, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      “only to be viewed on teeny screens

      (@#$ spellcheckers!)

      • Diane G.
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 1:29 am | Permalink

        Dunno, that seemed Freudian to me…


    • Posted September 3, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      The laptop is a big screen. Kids like watching movies on their phones.

      • Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        When you take into account the distance between your eyes and the screen, a laptop screen is quite big.

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 4, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          Oh, but it’s not at all immersive, to use Vaal’s most apt term.

    • James Walker
      Posted September 3, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, there are certain movies that lose a lot of their magic on the tiny screen. I saw Interstellar in the theatre and, apart from the sappy bits (“Love transcends time and space!”) enjoyed it for the relativistic aspects of the story (not usually explored in most mainstream SF movies). The soundtrack is also compelling.

  10. David Coxill
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Is that a Cat in your bed or are you just glad to see us ,hahaha.
    Talking of Ducks ,did you know there is a word for a fear of Ducks ?.

    • Posted September 3, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Well, I had to look it up and at first I thought it was a joke. But I don’t think it is:


      There are many kinds of seemingly irrational fears and phobias prevalent in the world. What might be laughing matter to people, is not so to a phobic. Anatidaephobia is one such phobia. A person suffering from this condition feels that somewhere in the world, a duck or a goose is watching him/her (not attacking or touching, simply watching the individual).

      While normal people might smile or laugh at the thought of being scared by a duck, to an Anatidaephobic, this fear is persistent and weighs constantly on the mind. Sometimes, the phobia is so extreme that it might even affect one’s day to day life. S/he might refuse to leave the home on account of encountering a duck.

      Lord, I would deliberately leave home if I knew I’d encounter a duck!

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted September 3, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        Lord love a duck.

  11. Posted September 3, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I admit I just “followed” your blog as part of my effort to establish my own new (cat’s) blog, and I am so glad I did. This post delights me! Enjoy Poland! I have visited Ukraine and wish to head to Poland next for genealogy research and general fun. And that embroidery video, and the Japanese treats sent to Hili…Lovely, lovely!

  12. Patrycja
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Welcome to Poland, I’m at the South West 😉 Me and two cats are saying hi

  13. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know why cats don’t get claustrophobic

    I suspect it’s largely a matter of scale. Small mammals lose body heat faster than large ones due to their higher surface-to-mass ratio. So they seek out enclosed spaces as a way of regulating heat loss.

    The question then is why humans do get claustrophobic. What’s the adaptive value for us of being wary of enclosed spaces?

    Scale may be a factor here as well. A human-scale burrow in snow or soft earth will not have the same degree of structural integrity as a cat- or rabbit-sized burrow, and will be much more prone to catastrophic collapse. So we have more reason to fear being trapped in such places than smaller creatures do.

    • Posted September 3, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Claustrophobia afflicts only a small percentage of the human population so there may be no adaptive value.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted September 3, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Someone had to guard the entrance to the cave. These were the ones who enjoyed it. Who knows? They may have gotten more food for working in adverse conditions.

        • Posted September 3, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          I’ve heard that also as a reason why old people sleep odd hours.

  14. Heather Hastie
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Ensconced back in the surrogate family home. Lovely! You deserve it after all the hard work you’ve been doing over the summer and your kindness to Honey and her progeny.

  15. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    … the grope of my nether parts (fore and aft) …

    Must’ve determined you were ship-shape, stem to stern.

  16. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Interstellar — not my favorite Christopher Nolan movie, nor peak McConaissance.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 3, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Agreed…but he made up for it in spades with Dunkirk.

      • Posted September 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        I thought he was much better in the miniseries True Detective Season 1 than in Interstellar. But I’m sure it had a lot with the storyline and the suspense.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 3, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          Mark was responding to the Nolan part, and you, the McConaughey part — and I agree with both of you: Dunkirk is great (although Memento is still my favorite Nolan), and McConaughey was excellent as Rust Cohle.

          • Gregory Kusnick
            Posted September 3, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

            If you haven’t seen Nolan’s 1998 film noir Following, you should do that before declaring a favorite.

          • Posted September 5, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

            I must try to see both your recs. Thanks.

  17. Mark R.
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Looking forward to your posts from Dobrzyn. What delightful pabulum will be in your future?

    It’s 10pm now in Poland…you’re probably in the land of nod.

  18. Posted September 3, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what Hili makes of your sudden arrivals and departures and long absences. I wish I knew what she and the likes of Honey cogitate about.

  19. Posted September 3, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Welcome in the ‘hood, Jerry (sort of). 😀

  20. Posted September 3, 2017 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    We have a Burmese cat who really likes sleeping under blankets which his staff have conveniently provided for him on the bed and a chair. 🙂

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