the story of a cat

I keep forgetting to post this story from February 2009.

My friends and I were on a small trip to central Italy (Umbria). We were staying in a small villa in the middle of nowhere, by ourselves, and making day trips to various nearby towns to explore whatever they had to offer.

One bright day, we were wandering the sloped streets of Spoleto on a Saturday when we happened across a cute cat outside of an art/framing shop:

The cutest little cat...

She pranced back and forth, demanding attention. Each of us in turn gave her a scritch, which she accepted proudly before moving down the line to the next person.

During this action, we attracted the notice of the shop owner, who had been sorting his collection lazily. I looked up and noticed he was looking at us petting the kitty, realizing it was either his, or one he at least looked after regularly.

He put down his framed poster, smiled the largest smile I’d seen that trip (and there had been many!) and shouted two words through the panes of glass at us to our endless amusement:

“Prima donna!”

Prim Donna!Wish I had a better picture, but what a facial shape and markings! Good memories.

argentina’s charms

I have recently returned from my second trip to Argentina for my current employer..

While the work is generally hard, and I don’t get a lot of time outside of the office, what little time I do have to enjoy Buenos Aires is spent eating.

Here is a perfect summary of that experience, amazing writing, the sort I wish I had time to craft myself: Argentina on Two Steaks a Day.

I disagree with some of the opinions expressed; for instance, dulce de leche is fantastic in alfajore cookies and spread on your Sunday morning biscuits.My experience with mate is that I don’t get jittery like I do on coffee, and I don’t get tachycardia unless I drink 15 or 20 gourd-fuls, but Iwillingly admit it’s full of caffeine. (I suspect I’m sensitive to one of the other thousands of alkaloids in coffee that’s not present in mate. Why the obsession with just the one alkaloid, anyway?)

A worthwhile read, which should make your salivary glands kick into action (except you vegetarians out there. And you should read this anyway, since the Argentine approach to animal rearing is vastly more humane and reasonable than the North American approach.)