Currently, I live in Canton MA with my wife, Nancy Weil, and our five cats. We have a daughter, Isobel, from my first marriage.
Nancy grew up in southern Illinois and is a journalist. She has worked at a number of newspapers, most recently, the Tampa Bay Times (then known as the St. Petersburg Times), where she specialized in education reporting. She now works for IDG News Service, which provides content to hundreds of print and online publications around the world.
Nancy is a wonderful human being and an avid reader who has become something of an expert on the history and present of race relations in the United States. She is also a life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan, though she has adopted the Red Sox as her AL team. And yes, if you know anything about baseball, 2004 and 2013 were difficult times in our house.
Isobel is our daughter. She graduated in 2012 from Canton High School, where she was a member of the swim team and cross country team, worked on the school newspaper, and so forth. She started as a freshman at Brown University in Fall 2012 and is concentrating in Cognitive Science. She also works for the Brown Daily Herald.
I'm pleased to say that Isobel is musically adventurous, so we have been able to share our love for music even as she has grown up. She's happy to join us at a Pat Metheny or Widespread Panic show, and we're happy to join her at a Coldplay show, or to go togther to the Dispatch reunion shows at the Garden (which were great, though Nancy doesn't care for them).
We have five cats: Joe, Snarfy, Lily, Junebug, and Grace.
Joe arrived at our house in 2002. He's a very, very large cat, in all relevant respects. He's very friendly, but still quite shy. When we first saw him at the Northeast Animal Shelter, he crouched in the back of his cage, apparently terrified of us, and it took him some time before he would let any of us near him. He's still frightened of people he doesn't know, but he's cuddly and sweet with those he does. Joe is gay, and he has a special thing for center fielders. He was devastated when Jacoby Ellsbury signed with the Yankees.
Lily and Snarfy also came from the Northeast Animal Shelter, arriving in December 2008. (Snarfy is the one on the left, with the white markings.) Lily is a female, and Snarfy is a male, though we originally thought he was a female and had named him "Gracie". Oh well. Snarfy and Lily were rescue kittens, and they were littermates. For the first several weeks, they always slept together, and always in what we called the "kitten pile". They used to hang out and play with each other most of the day. Now that they are grown, they interact more with the other cats, which can get pretty crazy. But you can still find them cuddled together, especially in the winter, and they both love cuddling with their humans, as well.
Snarfy came down with something of a mystery illness in January 2011, losing weight quickly and getting odd bumps under his skin, and eventually a badly swollen lymph node under one of his arms. An X-ray would eventually reveal that the lymph nodes around his heart were so swollen that they were displacing his heart and reducing his lung capacity. It looked bad for Snarfy, probably lymphoma, right? Fortunately, our wonderful vet, Dr Kristin Scott, of the Canton Veterinary Hospital, was able to figure it out. Snarfy had a fungal infection in his lungs, something fairly common in hunting dogs in the Ohio Valley, but almost unheard of around here. How he got it, we do not know. So Snarfy went on a whole cocktail of medicines and, to the amazement of all, fully recovered. Unfortunately, he had a relapse some time later, and now has been getting some weird kidney thing. But we know to watch out for it now, and when that happens, we just throw him back on his cocktail, and he recovers fairly quickly.
Our newest kittens, Junebug and Grace, arrived in September 2010. (That is Grace on the left.) We discovered them living at a makeshift sort of shelter housed in a Petco in Walpole, Massachusetts, and run by the Friends of the Plymouth Pound.
I first met Grace (then known as "Wilma") when I stopped into Petco one day and went to visit the kittens. She was meowing at everyone who entered, trying to get them to play with her through the bars of her cage. I fell in love with her on the spor, but we weren't in the market for a kitten, although Bob (see below) had recently died. By complete coincidence, Isobel saw her too, a few weeks later, when she was there with a friend of hers, and texted us to ask if we could get her as Bob's "replacement cat". It seemed like fate, so we did. And when I went to pick her up, I saw the newest arrival, Junebug (then known as "Emily"), whose beauty and funny manner made me fall in love with her, too. So, well, as we always say, kittens come in pairs, so I got them both.
The Dearly Departed
Cosmo died in October 2008 at the age of 18. She is twice a member of Baseball's Hall of Fame. Most recently, she was Casey Stengel. Before that, she was Ty Cobb. She always had a special thing for baseball players, but only for true stars. No benchwarmers!
Bob J Weil died in June 2010 at the age of 15. He was the Felyne J. Purski Professor of Digging at Brown University. Given his worldwide renown and importance, he rarely had time to teach classes, however. His major publications include Digging: The Why and the How, Digging at the Millenium: A Re-examination, and Digging Picasso, an inquiry into the role of excavation in the aesthetics of cubism. (Bob was especially expert as regards the artistic aspects of digging.) Bob's other areas of academic interest included the music of the Carribean, especially reggae, the wonders of sleep, and the peculiar properties of rubber when it is shaped like small lizards.
Bob ran for President in 2004, with Aretha Franklin as his running mate. (Their motto: "It's time to put some soul in the White House".) They won handily, but the election was, as is well known, stolen by George W Bush. Some other guy named Kerry was apparently involved as well, but Bob hasn't yet figured out who he was. "Cats", he says, "don't see things very well if they're not moving".
Finally, Bob asks me to make it clear that he is only technically dead, not really dead, and that he intends to run for President again in 2016.