Category Archives: Kitties

Happy Tax Season 2013 Mom!!!

My mother grew up on a farm. She did chores, missed out on social outings, and was in the middle of eight children who were all trying to hoe a row of their own in this crazy world. She happily said “no pets” while we were growing up (i.e. no pet related chores) and my allergies to anything with fur helped keep that policy in place.

She was slow to warm to the furry family members Dave and I added when we adopted Maki and then Panther. But now she loves them like they are her grandchildren. Just ask her!

Mom, this post is for you. Maki is showing you how to relax, just in case you forgot during tax season.

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Finocchietto Selvatico and frustrated cats

Finocchietto Selvatico is wild fennel – a wonderful Italian addition to the vegetable palate. Say it with me like you say pinocchio “finocchi-et-toe” “sell-vah-tee-koh” – then get ready to say “Mmmmmmmm.”

Tonight, we prepared finocchietto selvatico in a cultural hybrid recipe – incorporating Calabrian sausage, fresh ricotta, and (for me) Sicilian oranges with the fragrant wild fennel. The cultural hybrid was the grain – quinoa. The recipe that sparked this dish called for pasta, but we substituted quinoa and used about half of the recommended meat portion.

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Fresh bundle of finocchietto selvatico, wild fennel

I washed the fennel and snipped the ends of the stems before throwing the fennel into a pot of boiling water for ten minutes. The delicate anise-fennel scent that arose from the snipped ends was intoxicating.

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As I removed the fennel from the water (reserve the water!) – Dave was browning the Calabrian salami (a fresh salami, akin to sausage), and mincing the cooked fennel. In the meantime, I measured out the reserved fennel water for cooking the quinoa (and did the dishes). The quinoa calls for a 2:1 water:quinoa ratio. Eventually, we mixed it all together for a final mesh of flavors in the cast iron – only 1-2 minutes for that final flavor mesh.

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I opted to add a few bites of fresh oranges, too.
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As you might have noticed in the photo above, we also had fresh ricotta on hand – go ahead, hate me now…I will be reading this in two years and will probably shed a tear for the ricotta!!! Anyway, so we added the ricotta tableside.
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It turned into one of those – “uh, yea, let’s go ahead and try this…” dishes into an “oh wow, I’m full but I want more” dishes in the amount of time it took me to chew halfway through my first bite. We managed to set aside enough for lunch tomorrow, but it was tough! Another wonderful gift from the Sicilian countryside – finocchietto selvatico. Yummmmm!

For anyone who is still waiting for a laugh at this point, check out the link below…
While I was typing this post, Dave was giggling at this:

This is Why the Job Search Sucks.

Buona sera a tutti!

Ciao,
Jill

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The Maki-bear

Like other omnivores, the Maki-bear prowls through deep forests foraging for sustenance.

Total immersion is required by the Maki-bear; he was so focused on his task that this is the only full face shot the photographer was able to obtain.

Finally satisfied with his labors, Maki-bear settles down to enjoy his final blade of we-thought-those-were-chives grass.

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I’m a serious artist.

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Hot, hot, hot

For all of you in the U.S. feeling the heat wave, welcome to the pool!

No, I don’t have a pool here! I’m saying c’mon in, because Sicily is hot, hot, hot. July 1st marked three months of non-stop heat and humidity here. Nighttime lows in the upper 70s, midday highs in the 90s and 100s, humidity in the 60% and above. Whoo, hoo! Although I am enduring some growing pains in the way of a very light heat rash (just the prickly feeling, no bumps or red splotches so far).

Maki and Panther have been shedding like crazy over the past few weeks, in a desperate attempt to prepare for this weather. Fortunately, Sicilians build for this kind of weather. The stone walls that were so cool and formidable in winter are now a barrier to the sun and heat. The heavy wooden shutters block out the strong Sicilian sun and keeps the house relatively cool. Okay, it keeps it “not hot” during the day, and it cools off in the evenings when we open things back up to let the breeze push through.

Panther still loves to take in the view, and pose intimidatingly, no matter the weather.

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National Federation of…Affordable Care Cat?

While I was anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision on the Affordable Care Act, I knew that no matter the outcome, this would be an opinion to geek out on just like law school days.

Back then it was more about whether water-boarding is torture (yes) and if John Yoo should be disbarred for ethical absence (what do you think my opinion is?).

Now, I have fewer friends nearby to join the discussion, but I still chat with them via email, skype and facebook, plus my curiosity grew when Chief Justice John Roberts not only penned the opinion (as I expected) but also led the affirming opinion (/”;9’dbapaps – I didn’t see that one coming).

Thus, here I am on Friday afternoon soaking up Sicilian sunshine and digging into the opinion.

20120629-175136.jpg It’s my terrace, and I’ll sunbathe nude if I want to!

Unfortunately, the case title is long, cumbersome, and completely boring. National Federation of Independent Business et al. v. Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al.

Uh, yeaaaaaa, I don’t want to say that a whole bunch of times. I also dislike the commonly used “Obamacare” because it is a misnomer, it is political, and it gives too much credit to one person.

Misnomer because Obama is not actually providing any care and pretty much thousands of people worked for decades to come to a place where this legislation was even plausible.

Political is obvious, I dislike that because despite the acerbic reality of society, this type of move shouldn’t be political at all, it is not only good public policy healthwise, it will also push for innovation and fresh ideas in healthcare industries erected and sustained by crusty wealthy people. The world changes and so should business models and profits. A stagnant nation is a declining nation. Plus, a lot of people say “Obamacare” with a distinct sneer on their face and that just ain’t pretty.

Too much credit to one person – I touched on this in the misnomer section, but it runs deeper than that. Even with all the background legwork by others, some would say, some are already saying and some will say that it was only because of Barack Obama’s unique leadership that the bill was passed. I do not deny the extraordinary role he played, but he is still just one man and we are a nation of the people. I applaud him, I credit his incredible contribution, but I stop short of deifying his name into legislation his way.

After this reflection, I was still without a good shorthand name for the opinion.

Then, I got an email from my law school buddy Mel. She shared this with me:

Catty puns about the affirmation of the Affordable Care Act? That is a trifecta of pleasure!!!

I will think of it as the ACA opinion, or Affordable Care Act opinion out of reverence for its importance; but in my mind, I will be thinking of that “cat a tax” every time.

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The White Idiot…

…looks a lot like Panther.

Thanks Dave & Jac!

Check out Jac’s blog by clicking on the link – she recently explored Istanbul and is an artist living in Sicilia.

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