Tag Archives: Panther

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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Ode to Cat People – in Photos and Words

Cinquecento – Theme Day: Cats!

(Uno) 1. The family cats Maki and Panther bring me joy. There is no need to apologize to a society who mocks the “cat lady” figure, even if some people practically demand you explain yourself.

(Due) 2. I was just thinking about how to simultaneously introduce you to the kitty adorableness and speak up for the rationality of cat-lovers when I came across this blog post, over at The Wordy Thirties.

(Tre) 3. Preach, sister! Plus, the November theme at The Wordy Thirties is daily gratitude, similar to what I’m trying to do here. Pets are something to be grateful for – if you don’t agree that the benefits outweigh the resource drain, well, then you’re not a pet person and you shouldn’t have a pet. Cheers to all of the lovely cat people I know and love: Jenny, Claire, Leslie, IBKC, Anisette, Sarah (The Wordy Thirties), and all of you reading, too!

(Quattro) 4. Maki and Panther are not related and are about 9 months apart in age. Maki was my first love and I am reluctant to admit how much I love the “first-born” because I was a middle child myself, and well, I was bitter about the lack of Jill-attention for a time. (Mostly over it now).

(Cinque) 5. Cat fights! These are for real. There are claws, fur flies, and it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. From what we see, Maki and Panther have a healthy fight-love relationship and they enjoy their scuffles.

Cento – photos in place of cento words. (I have dinner reservations!)

Here are some photos depicting the unfolding of a cleaning session turned wrestle-mania (apologies for the poor photo quality…I was using zoom on my iphone, which I should never do again):

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Movie Review: “Gates of Heaven” Errol Morris 1978

Documentary

Personal Blurb-style Intro (aka “Why I picked up this book”):

Errol Morris made a huge impression on me when I watched “Fog of War” in the former theater at Midvale (Mall?) in Madison Wisconsin. The theater has since been torn down, but the memory lives on.

I have always been sensitive to animals. My mom grew up on a farm, so she was very sensible about animals, though perhaps more matter-of-fact that appealed to me. Though my allergies limited my pet access as I muddled through undergrad, traveled and domineered law school, I shortly thereafter indulged in pet ownership and have never looked back. Maki and Panther are a part of the family, and though I prefer cremation or another natural form of decomposition (as opposed to internment), they will be honored in death as they have been in life. I am grateful that I live in a time and society afforded such luxury.

When I met my husband, Dave, he loved Errol Morris and has been introducing me to his other work over time. The subject matter, a pet cemetery, intrigued me – more or less because I love my pets and because of my 80s fascination with Pet Semetary (remember the little boy, Gage?).  This movie is amazingly brilliant, with a simple and direct display of human understanding, emotion and complexity…ah, but now I’m slipping into review-mode. On we go!

Summary:

*This is a pretty long review for the relative amount of content in the documentary. However, the bits I’ve included are just a small part of what makes this documentary amazing. For the best results, just rent it /buy it and watch it for yourself. If you still need further persuading, re what I’ve said below.

Errol Morris portrays opposing sides, a rendering company against a simple farmer animal-loving sensitive soul, Floyd “Mac” McClure.

But don’t be mistaken that Floyd is so animal friendly as to be vegetarian, or vegan. In one scene he bitterly describes how the fumes from the rendering company interfered in his dinner;

Then, we slowly watch the plans for McClure’s ideal pet cemetery disintegrate as the financial interests conflict with the sentimental ones. We also see the tensions arising between pet-owners in the community over the status of their pet graves.

One of the most interesting parts of watching this documentary is the way the characters bare their souls, largely without agenda. It is easy to see that even the businessmen are operating without an agenda, especially when the manager of the rendering plant admits they lie about rendering zoo animals. In this day and age of reality TV, it is refreshing to watch these characters. Don’t worry, there are still the eye-roll-inducing characters – like the sons of the California pet cemetery owners. Maybe it was less pathetic back then? Or maybe just less awareness of the way entitled children sound so pathetic? (btw, I actually adore the younger son, he is so earnest.)

Best Lines & Watch for’s:

Floyd “Mac” McClure:  North Dakota guy (with suspenders and red pen in his lapel, scales of justice visible behind him on his right side and the bronzed shoes behind him on the other side) “[That]…was the most beautiful piece of land, as far as I was concerned, in the whole valley. And boy, I knew what to do with it. Make it into a pet cemetary.”

Watch for: Guy with the Coors can and ashtray in front of him every time he’s featured in the documentary.

Rendering Industry Man: “Rendering is one of the oldest industries. It dates back to the time of the Egyptians.  They can trace it back this far. Rendering. In the bible, ya know, way back in the old testament, the guy cut off the sheep skin, right? And put it over’im. Put the lamb fat on’im ta keep ‘im warm. It could be the oldest industry in the world. It could be. It’s possible.” [Jill says: keep an ear out for this guy, all of his words are gems. Probably because of his sunglasses on his desk, his matter-of-fact demeanor, and the amused look on his face. Genius play, Mr. Morris.]

“I want my mama!” (Woman holding dog on lap, singing to prompt dog’s response).

“And the next day you go out, take flowers,  maybe meditate a little bit, think of how often, maybe, you cried into her fur. ” (Woman in green and white, with poodle portrait displayed behind her).

Watch for: Artistic depiction of putting one’s heart over the dollars in a project.

Floyd: “I was not only broke, but broken-hearted.”

Woman in pink apron over blue/brown print housedress: “But you know he (her son) should help me more, he’s all I got. He’s the one who brought me up here. And then put me here by myself among strangers. It’s terrible when you stop ‘n think about it.” [Watch this entire segment! Amazing.]

Successful pet cemetery owner, (Bubbling Well Church of Universal Love, Inc. 1977), in straw hat and blue button-up shirt: ” “I would say that the pill is largely more responsible for the pet explosion than any other factor…It’s very simple…today the husband and wife both work…when the young mother comes home, she has to have something to fondle, something to mother, something to love.”

Watch for: The “R2A2” formula and it’s red-phone poolside inventor.

There are so many other rich characters and moments that I have to pause now and recommend that, if you are hooked by now, you should just go ahead and rent the movie.

Wait! The Eagle trophy guy just said “People never really get negative and they never really get positive.” GEMS, people! I tell you, gems.

Watch for: Prickly pear cacti behind the yellow-shirted and orange-tank topped couple – just like in Sicily!

IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077598/

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Enter Panther

5-100

  1. After our 5am wake-up call, I got to return to bed from 7:30-9:30am. Something about this rest was reminiscent of home, of Shell Lake, and of Wisconsin, all in one semi-sleepy-but-not-dreamy moment.
  2. Got a great relaxing run in today.
  3. Confronted some mild fears about having too much unscheduled time ahead of me (and scheduled some stuff for the coming days).
  4. Attacked my blogging to-do list.
  5. Loved and cherished my kitties. Our kitties. Yes, our kitties.

Maki “Macchiato” W was a feral kitten abandoned in our Bremerton shed. As we tended him, we fell in love. My understanding and compassionate husband deferred to me the decision of keeping our castaway, for I am allergic to cats. Maki’s tiny mews and ferocious spirit endeared him beyond daily allergy pills, chronic-tho-mild wheezing, and the cat-fur-everywhere effect. Maki soon needed a companion; enter Panther. Panther hails from Tacoma; he was a purrrr-ful shelter kitty from IBKC, who was warmly adopted into our Seattle home. His feisty spirit and agility quickly addressed any bug concerns, and merely raised rooster-imitation concerns.

 

Maki greets me with the morning sun at his back, and uh, yea, that’s Panther at his side.

Panther is so precious.

It is easy to forgive the early morning rooster cries of such a cute kitty.

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Food, glorious food.

5-100

  1. Basil pesto. Yummy. We had some pesto left over from pasta and I spread it on my sandwich with dinner.
  2. Caramelized onions. I made these at home tonight from onions we bought at the market. As they were room temperature when I started cutting, the air was ripe with the onion acid and even the kitties could not escape red-rimmed eyes (see Panther’s photo below). The deliciously sweet result made it all worth it.
  3. Back to Nature Nantucket Blend: Almonds, Raisins, Cranberries, Cherries, Pistacchios. 50 years of deliciousness and it all started in Madison, Wisconsin! How did Back to Nature escape my notice for the 10 years I lived in Madison?!!
  4. Post-run Gatorade I drank while skyping with my dear friend Z, thanks for getting up early to chat, Z! (Run was 1st training run: 1 mile warm-up, 4 x 250 repeats at 7.5 (8:00/mile), 1 mile warm-down.)
  5. Carrot & orange juice combo I sipped on while watching Evita last night. What a fun musical, and it was fun to watch Madonna in a movie when she’s not messing things up trying to act. Stick to singing and sing-acting, you are awesome at those!

Warning: More iphone love ahead!!! I promise I am not receiving any endorsements from Apple or iphone, it is just that I am really innamorata (enamored) with my smartphone. (Note: Steve Jobs resigned.) Specifically, yesterday I saved six articles, and then when I had a free moment, there they were in my pocket, just waiting for me to read them. Additionally, I bought Adele’s new album “21” yesterday and enjoyed the simplicity of ipod and phone in one! While I could have had these luxuries in the states, these discoveries are even more fun abroad. Now to start adding apps…

Panther recovering…

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Chicchirichi! (“kee-kee-REE-kee”) Or, cock-a-doodle-doo!

5-100

  1. Went to the Fish Market in Catania (see photos below).
  2. Bought bags of fresh produce:  tomatoes, figs, nectarines, limoni (no distinction between lemon or lime here), onions, basil, oil-cured olives, mortadella (a meat similar to bologna, but a bit more refined and with delicate flavor, our purchase was studded with pistacchio), ricotta salata.
  3. Ate my first fresh fico (fig) in Italia.
  4. G-chatted with my cousin Maddie, who is living in Prague.
  5. Watched “Il Postino” (great movie; slow and beautiful development).

“Chicchirichi!” says the rooster. “Miao,” says the cat. It is fun learning the animal sounds in Italian, even by necessity. We have a rooster. A block away from our hotel lives a rooster who crows every morning. And now, we have a kitten rooster – Panther. Yes, every morning, around 4:30am, Panther wakens us (and anyone else with ears) with his imitation rooster call. We’ve tried ignoring it (sorry neighbors) to no avail. Today is Italian Kitten Academy, Day 1; topic: “Il Miao.” We’ll cover the “hungry” miao, the “thirsty” miao, and the “ball play, please” miao. No more rooster crows!

 

And now, for some Fish Market pics…

Yes, that is a swordfish. She’s welcoming you to the market!

 

See that man in the black t-shirt? See the red guts he is swinging away from the swordfish? Yep, those were the innards.

 

Here’s something a little more appetizing, a smorgasbord of seafood – yummy!

 

Scooters, and sea urchins.

 

And, to finish things off, a lovely selection of shellfish.

 

I like the motion in this picture, it gives me a slightly woozy, disoriented feeling when I look at it. And, that’s sorta how I felt after walking through the market.

 

Ciao, bella!

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