Tag Archives: cats

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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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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Photo Montage, The Early Days

As Part I of this five part series of photos, here are my favorite photos from the early days of our arrival on Sicily. This is the time when I was struggling to master the manual transmission, worrying about finding a job, and sweating my ass off.

A familiar sight to many a Sicilian and ALL Sigonellans are the sheep-goat crossbreed that are shepherded up and down a road we use to go to and from base, and the base housing complex, called Marinai. Familiarly referred to as “geep.”

We took a day trip west to the hill town of Enna. Yes, Italy’s most famous “hill towns” are in Tuscany, but Enna has a special magic. We found this moving sculpture honoring the slave labor that erected several times over the castle structure at the top of Enna.

While I adjusted to living with a thin to heavy layer of sweat on my body at all times, I learned to relish the cool moments of dipping into the Ionian Sea. Here was a gorgeous swimming hole at the base of Aci Castello – just be careful not to cut yourself on the lava rock if you visit this location.

The cats, Maki (fluff ball) and Panther (sleek yellow-eyed), really hated our temporary lodging in Motta Sant’Anastasia (“Motta”). It was hotter than Seattle, significantly less space, and they had had enough. They were so exasperated that they finally truly bonded! Here they are mid-cat nap, it is sort of like the Sistine Chapel, no?

Finally, we found a home and left our friendly hosts in Motta. I was quite happy to settle into our own digs, but I would miss the welcoming walkway and friendly staff at the Motta Residence Hotel. Here is the entryway.

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Well, Panther finally climbed on the roof…

And he was pretty happy with himself all evening,,,


Dave couldn’t help laughing.


The sun was shining on us so strongly that I had to shed layers this evening. Twilight has settled in and the mountain is saying goodnight to the sea.


“Good night Neverneverland!”

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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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Dry – witty? Dry – not sweet? Or Dry – pissed off?


(Uno) 1. Cats! Yep, I love them. And, they are funny to see in unexpected places. Check out The Kitten Covers, a great website my friend Maya recommended and have a good chuckle.

(Due) 2. Learning more Italian. “Io mi sono asciugata” – basically it means I dried myself off. Also, say it with me “a-shoo-gah-tah.”

(Tre) 3. Learning that “seccato” is also a word that means “dry” – but not in the sense of not being wet. This surprised me because the base is the same as Spanish “seco.” Italians (er, maybe Sicilians) use “seccato” for dried fruits, but otherwise it means “really pissed off” – which is not a good thing!

(Quattro) 4. More cats – in Feline Agility Competitions. How do these owners find the time?

(Cinque) 5. Finding the long lost photo of the Freeky Fries. I wanted to include these photos yesterday, but they were lost in the magical, mystical media library of this blog. Now they are found. Italian junk food continues!

These were gross, by the way. Ewww!


If you haven’t figured out that I’m sort of into feeling grateful, or at least looking for the sunny side of the street, and lemonade, and cool patterns rain makes on my glasses (puh-lease, that one is actually SO annoying). The U.S. Thanksgiving holiday is among my favorites! Heck, I’ll celebrate Canada’s Thanksgiving, too, given the opportunity and any other opportunity to share community thankfulness. I am counting my blessings, so to speak, and let me tell you, given the right perspective, blessings are infinite. Perspective is everything, as this gentleman so adeptly illustrates as he describes his “American Dream.”


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Staying Home, Sick.


Since I am taking a rare sick day at home today, I thought I’d post about the important comforts you can enjoy at home that would be frowned upon at work.

(Uno) 1. Smearing a thick glob of mentholated ointment across your chest.

(Due) 2. (Warning: GROSS ahead) Hacking up thick globs of mucus as your mentholated ointment loosens it up.

(Tre) 3. Sitting out on the terrace wrapped up in hat and scarf and soaking up the sunshine.

(Quattro) 4. Taking a power nap any time I feel like it.

(Cinque) 5. Making a campchair playground for the cats, and watching them alternately play-attack and rest in the playground.

Panther sniffs around the new territory.

Maki prepares to make his attack! Er…uh, I guess he’s sniffing, too. Don’t worry, he made plenty of attacks from that location.

The sunny weather lured me outside, where it was approximately 57 degrees Fahrenheit (thanks weather.com! – search “Acireale, Italy”). The sun held out from about 10a-1p and so did I and the cats. To keep warm, I got up and moved around every 15-30 minutes, and a couple pots of hot tea helped.

Around 12:30, clouds were pretty consistently covering up the sun, and I looked for an upcoming cloud break (we called them sun-breaks in Seattle). There were clouds as far as the eye (my eye) could see coming in from the Ionian Sea and rolling across the sun and all the way up Mt. Etna. Actually, by this time, the clouds had completely obscured the lovely Mt. Etna I had gazed upon earlier in the morning.

As the clouds built up and settled into a thick dense mass of gray, Mt. Etna started to rumble and roar. I watched for signs of the eruption I suspected I was hearing, but either the clouds obscured my view or the daylight prevented it.

I had just gotten myself and the kitties re-settled inside the house when a heavy mixture of ash and rain started tinkling the rooftop and terrace. Perfect timing.

All the terrace playground activity produced two tuckered out kitties – how adorable!


Dear Reader,

It is my sincere intention to amuse you, expand your knowledge about Sicily, Sigonella, & living abroad, and to inspire you to comment (and to update Mom!).

If I never offend you, that is good.

However, what I am about to say may rub some of you the wrong way…

[wait for it]


[are you waiting?]


[Holding your breath?]


[If you’re counting, these brackets aren’t in the 100]


[Did you just skip ahead anyway? What’s the fun in that?]


[okay, thanks for waiting, here’s the rub…]

…I LOVE my Thighs. Yep. They are strong and toned (a little more flab in my 30s) – and they carry me on all the activities that I love: running, yoga, walking, hiking, they are great!

Jill W – The Cinquecento Project

p.s. Is there a body part you love, even if it isn’t model-perfect?

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