February 2nd 2011 4:12 pm
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Lilly, Sweetheart, of course I will play, as best I can. I'm not as playful as usual. I'll explain later. But for now, five things that my humans do to annoy me.
1. They put me to bed. Who's ever heard of a cat being put to bed? I have my own bedroom, with a variety of beds, blankets, heating pads, and a tiny table the right height for me to look out the window. But I still have to stay in my room. Mama and Daddy have to open their own door at night and Daddy is allergic to cats, even me. Lately, I've suggested using a fireplace screen to keep us out at night, but Daddy insists on a closed door to our room. That might change soon.
2. They select treats for Sirenita's taste and then if I like it, I can have some, too. Who ever heard of serving some wench before the pope?
3. This is a biggie. Mama hasn't picked me up in months, not for more than 30 seconds at a time. She's got some ridiculous disease called degenerative disc disease, where her back is all messed up. In fact, the doctor just fused the whole lower part. She just got permission to pick me up for as long as it was comfortable. We had our first cuddle last night. But I don't trust her. First it was an artificial hip, now it's a fused spine. What next? A disappearing shoulder? At least she talks to me while I eat. I hate dining alone.
4. Allergies. Who invented allergies? And if we have to have them, why Daddy? It doesn't stop him from holding me on his shoulder and having an epic cuddle, but then he has to put me down so he can take off his shirt and wash his face and hands. You'd think I was contaminated or something.
5. The butcher block. It's this thingy on wheels about the size of a small table--or a cat tree. Why should I not jump on it? I'm not planning on taking it to pieces. I just want to relax there for a while. It's a piece of furniture just the right height for me to view the kitchen. Well, to be honest, there is a cat tree right in the center of the kitchen. Mama grumbles that the butcher block belongs there but you know how selfish they are. Obviously, the cat tree belongs in the middle of the room. But I'd like to get on the butcher block now and then. It's not that I can't supervise the kitchen from my cat tree, it's just that a cat needs a change once in a while.
I've tagged Wiggy, Pepper, Tweak, Pandi, and the inimitable Coffee. Now, tag five other friends and invite them to play!
February 2nd 2011 4:09 pm
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I played the game because of the affection I feel for Lilly. but the truth is, I'm sad and having a hard time playing. I haven't stopped crying for weeks--in a manly way, of course. Sirenita is dying. She has diabetes and the treatment is too intense for a cat who never quite got over being a feral. She'd have to go to the hospital several times and see the vet every week, not to mention twice daily insulin shots. She would hide and Mama doesn't want Sirenita to hide from her.
So we make her happy instead of trying to save her life. What we don't spend on medical care we spend on roast beef and fresh tuna. She could live 6 months or a year if we keep her weight up. The basement is Sirenita's territory, and she sits on a cushion and watches the backyard through the French doors. She doesn't have much energy. Mama used to go get her from the basement every evening so they could watch DVDs or TV together. Sirenita was in heaven. But Mama hasn't been able to pick up cats since her surgery in December. Thankfully, the surgeon recently said she could pick up 10 pounds, so Sirenita is a cinch. Actually, the surgeon was nice enough to move the limit up to 12 lbs to include me. Seriously, he prescribed picking me up.
Mama is almost sadder than me. Sirenita picked her of all humans to love. Being with Mama is pure joy to Sirenita. So Mama is doing the best that she can, touching and holding and feeding Sirenta from her own plate (a weird habit; humans eat cooked food), or even from her own hand. Sirenita will feel peace and love for the rest of her life.
January 17th 2010 1:58 am
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[Mama came down with the flu and didn’t post my dispatches all week, so they’re all coming at once. Silly humans. Fortunately, Lilly’s mom was more reliable.]
Day 1. Darling Lilly ran off with Tweak and Pepper on a reconnaissance of the shops. I grabbed the guys and did a reconnaissance of the wine shops. We came back to the hotel with arm-loads of bottles from the Burgundy, Bordeaux, Alcace, and Champagne regions. Did you know Champagne comes from a place called Champagne? It turns out the French are very serious about naming their wines after regions and nobody else is allowed to use those names. Well, they’re not supposed to. I can’t wait to tell Lilly all about Champagne while we sample one or two.
I also ran out and got us Batobus tickets. That’s the water bus that goes up one side of the Seine and down the other, stopping at all the important points: the Tour Eiffel, the Musée d'Orsay, St-Germain-des-Prés, Notre-Dame, the Jardin des Plantes, the Hôtel de Ville, the Louvre, and the Champs-Elysées. I got us tickets that are good for several days. You can get on and off the Batobus wherever you like, as often as you like. It’s a great way to get around Paris.
Day 2. Got up early and went looking for a flower shop. I bribed the hotel maid to leave a red rose on Lilly’s pillow. She disappeared with the other girl cats to go shopping. That let me sleep all morning, as I prefer!
In the afternoon, we hopped on the Batobus and took it to the artists’ quarter, St. Germain-des-Pres. I know girl cats like looking in shops, so I took Lilly to where there were lots of clothes, art and antique shops. Then we strolled through the awesome Rue de Buci food market. With all the fresh seafood, a cat could live there! Afterward, we rested our paws in a charming cafe on a side street, sipping cappuccino.
That gave us the energy to climb the Eiffel Tower. They have an elevator but it was more of an adventure to climb it ourselves. It’s not that much higher than my fence. I must say, Lilly was a little dubious, but she let me convince her that I would keep her safe. The view from our girder was magnificent but it was cold. We returned by way of the elevator.
Day 3. We got on the Batobus and rode it to Notre Dame, where all the clergy were amazed to see me. They were not expecting a papal visit, but I told them not to stand on ceremony. I was showing Lilly the various architectural features, when suddenly the Archbishop of Paris came rushing up, all apologetic at not having been there to receive us. He wondered at Lilly a bit, but I whispered to him that she was a nun of the Order of the Thong. I think he bought it.
That evening, we all decided we wanted a dinner out with them before Tweak and Dashy took off for Cannes. So after a nap, a quick wash, and a lot of dressing up, we went out for a 3-star meal. Here’s my review of dinner at Le Bristol with the annoyingly cute Chef Eric Frechon:
To start, we ordered appetizers. Lilly ordered “Homard Breton”, blue lobster from Brittany (considered the best in the world), served with curried cucumber, milded by a generous touch of coconut milk (showing its Thai influence). Tweak chose “Tourteau de Roscoff.” king crab from Brittany, served with pressed tomato, avocado flesh, and a divine tarragon-infused coral. Pepper opted for “Langoustines de Guilvinec,” lobsters roasted with citrus thyme, onions and mango jam, then perfumed with a light citrus juice. We all voted for “Macaronis Truffés.” macaroni stuffed with artichoke, duck liver, gratined with aged Parmesan, a specialty which made Chef Eric Frechon world famous. Since we’re cats and can walk on the table, we shared our appetizers. We all had glasses of Champagne with that course.
Our main courses were “Saint-Pierre du Petit Bateau” (John Dory fish), with pickled lemon, sautéed squid and zucchini, mildly perfumed with precious aromatic sweet pepper from Espelette, as well as “Bass from the Isle of Yeu,” smothered with an oyster tartar, accompanied with charlotte potatoes mashed with flat leaves parsley juice. We boys decided we wanted meat, so we asked for “Barbecued Country Bacon” with roasted charlotte, herbs salad, with mustard seeds extracts. Chef Eric Frechon, who came to our table to make sure we were happy, says he likes to serve “proletarian” products such as pork combined with caviar and truffle to an elitist clientele of rich gourmets, such as us cats.
Our pork was brought to our table on a trolley, still smoking over the gridiron, served with purple artichokes steamed with mustard leaves. Juicy and perfectly spiced, ideal for cats with hearty appetites. We asked the sommelier to recommend a couple of wines to go with what we were having, and she suggested Sancerre, Le Chêne Marchand 2002, a white to go with the fish, and a Saumur Rouge 2001, Foucault, Domaine du Collier, La Ripaille as a red to drink with the meat. Damn, those wines have names like show dogs.
For dessert, we were given a choice of Soufflé Chaud au Grand Marnier, Cuvée du Cent Cinquantenaire (a warm soufflée flavored by vintage Grand Marnier flavoured, with orange and lemon sorbet, "Pain de Gênes” (sweet Italian Ginger Bread) or “Abricots rôtis au Lait d'Amande (roasted apricots with almond milk, crumble, hot chocolate, and Amaretto ice-cream). Since we’re cats, we wanted simple creme brulee, more creme and less brulee.
Lilly and I slept a bit late the next day.
Day 4. Today, Tweak and Dashy take off for Cannes, and Wiggy and Pepper were all smoochy and wanted to be alone, so Lilly and I went out to explore.
We strolled down the Boulevard Saint-Michel. We started that morning at the Pont St. Michele, stopped in at the Sorbonne. Did you know I have an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the Sorbonne? Neither did they. We walked all the way to the Luxembourg Gardens, where we had a snack of duck confit packed by the hotel for us. Then we walked all the way back.
Day 5. Our paws were sore, so it was back to the Batobus. Sometimes it’s fun just to ride and watch the city go by. After a while, though, we got off at the stop for the Louvre. You can spend the whole day at the Louvre and not see it all. There are several different collections, including antiquities, painting, drawing and decorative arts. We concentrated on painting because it’s the most beautiful; there are many different galleries that represent different eras in art. The paintings were generally fabulous except for one thing. Have you ever noticed that humans have a really hard time depicting cats realistically? The cats in the Louvre all look sly or demonic. As an art critic, I really feel I must point out the major failing of Western art from the middle ages to the modern era.
Day 6. The cats were back together again, strolling around the Marais like true Parisians, shopping and checking out the museums. They have lots of museums in Paris, not just ones with paintings. We went to a magic museum, but I was wise to the tricks. As feline pope, I have to know if there are real occult goings-on or just sleight of hand. I hope I didn’t ruin it for the rest of the cats. I’m kind of a know-it-all.
Later on, after a restorative meal of pate de fois gras, I talked the guys into taking the girls on a quick shopping trip. I had invited Lilly for one more day of shopping, and I wanted to pick up presents for Coffee and Pandi, who weren’t able to come. I’m a rare boy cat--I like shopping, looking at dresses and suits and hats and thinking, “this would look lovely on her.” I did need Lilly’s help to pick out lingerie, though. Heh heh. I wanted to see what she thought was cute, so I could go back later and get it for her.
We went to Galeries Lafayette, my favorite shopping venue in Paris for one reason--the view of the Basilica of Sacre Coeur from the fifth story housewares department. Sacre Coeur is modern, only about a hundred years old, but its style is a departure from the elaborate Beaux Arts architecture of the day. It’s a cross between tidy municipal solidness and Byzantine grace with its clean white stone and Eastern domes. It makes my heart glad to see it.