Miscellaneous

I Like Iceberg

So, just a few random things from this week to take a break from reading about being hot in Italy.

First, a little story about nature.

I like cats. I really do. Folks say that you are either a cat or a dog person, but I don’t truly believe that, at least, not as a blanket statement for everyone in the world. I like both, and I’ve owned both, along with an iguana, mice (the pet kind and the home-invasion kind), a parakeet, guinea pigs, fish. If I could own chickens, a horse, the squirrel in my yard which is missing a tail, and a cow, I’d own them too.

Anyway. I like cats. But, they can be not-so-nice when they want to “play.” And by “play,” I mean batting at and torturing other smaller and not-so-savvy creatures in their vicinity. The first time I witnessed this phenomenon is in my old house, where my two cats ruled the basement. We also had some other small visitors who had the misfortune of attempting to invade Catdom. One day, as I was descending into the Netherworld basement to do my laundry, I saw a mouse wobbling around and walking in circles. It was certainly not scurrying, and mice are generally known to scurry. It was frightening and fascinating at the same time. I realized that this was the result of being batted around/pounced on by one or both of my cats. I don’t know if this was just a dazed mouse, or if it had suffered irreparable brain damage, but, it wasn’t nice.

Now, I get the whole food chain/circle of life thing, even if I still can’t appreciate it when I watch a video of a sickly/injured/young wildebeest (it’s always a wildebeest, isn’t it?) being taken down by a mighty (but also hungry) lioness.

Young Cathy: This is awful!! Why isn’t the cameraman trying to help the animal?

Dad: Because then it’s interfering with Nature.

Young Cathy: This is horrible! Can’t he help just this once? If he promises not to do it again?

Dad: No, because it’s interfering. The lion has to eat, too.

Anyway, my issue was that my sadistic cats weren’t actually eating the mice. They were just playing. Or practicing for when the next wildebeest wandered into town. I suppose I should be grateful that I didn’t have to deal with seeing disemboweled mice or the trace of a tail slithering into the maw of one of my feline companions, but still, I was somewhat dismayed by this “nature” thing.

So, moving on to present day. We have a few outdoor cats in our neighborhood, one of which is a Siamese cat which likes to sun itself on my front steps (Morty loves this), and basically saunter back and forth under the car and into the bushes at the front of the house. Recently, Morty was lovingly expressing his delight at the presence of something (could be anything…a truck…the mailman…a leaf…) out front, so I looked out the window to show him that I’m the Alpha and I can take care of things.

I spy the aforementioned cat on the lawn across the street. It is looking at something, you know, in that bemused, catty sort of way. I further see that nearby, there is a small animal hopping in the air in erratic fashion. It looks to be a chipmunk. The cat pounces a little. The chipmunk jumps some more.

Now, I’ll try not to go into a tirade here, but chipmunks are somewhat the bane of my existence. I love them, they’re ridiculously cute, but they also tunnel in my lawn (along with who-knows-what-else), are probably ruining my foundation, and cause Morty to dig giant holes in order to find them. However, I’m not sure I can just look away at this torture show going on across the street. I decide that I am going to do what the cameraman should have done, and intervene on Nature.

I walk across the street, and try to shoo Cat away. Chipmunk is confused and probably more horrified about the giant human thing waving its hands, and runs/hops/wobbles away from Human and towards Cat. Cat is somewhat wary, but is more interested in Chipmunk. Cat goes to pounce on dumb chipmunk. Catherine tries to shoo (or call, either will work) Cat and direct Chipmunk, using Chipmunk commands such as, “you go this way…no…this way….here’s your chance to get away…..!” Chipmunk is still confused and likely terrified, and now adding heart failure to its probable brain damage.

Finally (I’m sure, to the fancy of my neighbors), I’m able to get the cat to somewhat walk away behind a nearby tree (dumb human, I’ll just hide here and get that thing when she leaves), and get the chipmunk to run in the opposite direction. I stand there, in my all-powerful goalie stance, to assure that Cat understands that Chipmunk will live another day to gleefully create additional holes in my foundation.

As I’m walking back across the street, glancing back occasionally to make sure Cat understands that I won’t tolerate any funny business, I see Morty watching me from the front door. It’s probably one of the funniest Morty-related things I’ve seen, mainly because of all the thoughts I imagine he’s having after seeing this show. Is he pissed? Is he in awe of his mighty Alpha, showing dominance over Cat and Chipmunk? Is he confused? Yes, I think he’s confused, or at the very least, unimpressed. But, I’m his Alpha-now-relegated-to-something-way-lower-based-on-this-fiasco, and he’s stuck with me.

Morty, impressed.

So now that I’ve warmed you up, and about to proceed into something wholly unrelated to cats/dogs/chipmunks, but it is the title of this post, so stick with me, I’m going to admit something here and now, and this may be shocking to some: I like iceberg lettuce.

Why is this shocking? Because, as we all know, iceberg is the lowliest of the low in the “greens” category (I have to say, “greens” because the only other “lettuce” we sometimes eat, which used to be the main thing in salads, is Romaine, which had a very bad year after that whole e.coli thing…. now we eat “greens”). I remember the first time (I think I was at a wedding) I saw a bunch of stuff that looked similar to the weeds I used to pick to make my pretend “salad” when I was a kid, and someone said, “Ooo, this is the fancy stuff—this is a new thing.” “What is it?” “I don’t know, it’s fancy.”

And when I tasted it, I was sure that there must be some mistake. Bitter, weird, not tasty, and so many different shapes and sizes that it was difficult to control with the fork. I couldn’t identify anything on the dish, except for something I was sure was dandelion weed (which yes, yes, I know, it’s been edible for years). Fancy=weeds from the lawn. Excellent.

Anyway, I know that iceberg lettuce allegedly doesn’t taste like anything, and that it has no nutritional value and all of that, but the individual leaves are at least big enough to put on a hamburger or chicken patty sandwich (decidedly un-fancy) without everything falling out all over the plate. And it’s not bitter and creating a whole ‘nother taste to interfere with my sandwich. Now, I have grown to tolerate “greens” and even almost like them when I’m looking for something flavorful (bitter and weird) to have in my salad, but they just do not work as well on a plain old sandwich.

I know it’s scandalous, and cheap, and un-fancy, but I like iceberg lettuce.

And cats.

And dogs.

And I guess chipmunks.

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