It's the King's birthday today, and the radio is alive with birthday songs and wishes. As my Arabic teacher said, "the people love their King" (she said that in Arabic! and I understood her! after 3 tries... but still!).
So, despite the fact that Foreign Policy Magazine recently named Jordan one of 5 countries likely to become "the next Tunisias," I think we're safe over here for the time being. My prayers go out to our colleagues in Egypt and Tunisia - I'm guessing the RSO offices over there are dizzyingly busy.
But commenting on political events is far beyond the scope of this blog. Smarter minds than mine are trying to figure out what's going on in the Middle East; I'm just trying to keep my own personal house in order.
So, here's a little story I've been meaning to tell you since October:
I don't cook a lot of meat. But when I make chicken stock, which I do weekly, stray cats converge upon the apartment from every corner of Amman. They sit on the window sills and outer walls, staring in and licking their chops. Many of them are dirty, mangy little things, and I try to ignore their hungry eyes on me as I cook.
But one of them had a plan to get my attention. One day it came limping up on three legs and sat some distance from the other cats, which snarled at it until it slunk away again. It limped back the next day, but it couldn't quite jump up on the sill. I felt sorry for it, so I threw some chicken meat down to it.
The next day it came back. This time it hopped up on the windowsill (Was it cured? Or had it been faking a limp?) and sat there the entire day.
It watched me eat breakfast.
It watched me eat lunch.
It watched me sneak a snack out of the cupboard.
And finally, I just couldn't stand the reproachful gaze it kept on me. So I gave it the rest of the chicken meat.
And with that, the cat decided to stay. I don't even like cats. I pointed out the large dog in my kitchen. The cat just shrugged. I told him I didn't have any cat food. He pointed at the pot on the stove, indicating its contents would suffice. I told him he'd have to get neutered if he wanted to stick around. Still he stuck.
The vet paid a house call. Turns out, the cat, whom we'd nicknamed "Tom," was actually a girl. The vet spayed her right there on my kitchen table (all together now: ewwwwww). We locked her in the dog's crate to recover.
The next day she hopped out the window and ran away. But just for a day. Soon enough, she decided to lick her stitches and forgive us. She hopped back in the window and made herself at home in the crate.
And that is the story of how we adopted a cat - or rather, how a cat adopted us.
It seemed happy with the name Tom, but if it was going to be a girl, it was clearly going to need a new name.
Back when Yogi the dog came into our lives, Aidan was bitterly disappointed that we wouldn't let him name the dog "Peyton Manning." So, in an effort to appease him, I promised to let him name the next animal that came into the house. I figured he'd forget about the promise ten years hence, or whenever the next dog appeared. I didn't figure on getting a cat a few weeks after Yogi moved in. But of course Aidan remembered my promise.
And so: please welcome Kiwi the Cat to this blog.
The dog actually likes the cat:
Kiwi is particularly fond of Shay: