Shadow Cat, Couch Potato, & Sweet Potato

Ever since my daughter departed last Saturday, Cherry has not left my side except for a quick snack in the kitchen or a toilet break. She watched with horror when Maike came down with her suitcase and immediately ran for cover, probably thinking it was time to move again, just when she gotten settled and is beginning to love the house. Never underestimate house pets or non-human companions as some prefer to call them. They are incredibly sensitive and understand their human’s emotions down to a tee. It is almost uncanny how Cherry perceived that it was just the two of us from here on. She’s been shadowing me everywhere, even in the middle of the night to go to the loo, or jumps up to the counter to watch me chop vegetables. Sometimes I think she was a dog in a previous life because she tries to lead the way, thinking ahead of me and look utterly perplexed when I head in the opposite direction. Most of the time she is a happy couch potato in whatever chair or sofa is close by, either snoozing away or listening to her cat music, as long as I am in her line of sight. I have to be careful with my music selection now, so as not to offend the old lady’s auditory sensibilities!

For a senior cat of 15, Cherry is doing really well. Her strength is coming back and she has mastered the stairs around the house. She found her pace and no longer gallops down them at full carajo, not knowing how to brake in mid-stride, or else she would flip down the stairs instead. She has discovered that the outside cats consist of more than one visitor, and at times she is curious enough to peek out the door to check out the action, especially if the kittens are around (there are four of them!). It is quite a change from Berlin, where all she had were birds and the rare appearances of the neighbourhood cats. But here it is like Netflix for cats, never a dull moment.

Up until this afternoon, she was very reluctant to go out onto the rooftop terrace. She tried it once and hated it, especially after spotting the windmill on the hill behind the house. In her mind she must have equated it to a giant spider and she wanted nothing to do with it. She ventured out twice to the meditation area, but also refused to hang around. Until this afternoon. I went out to the tool shed to fix something and didn’t realise she had followed me out. So when I finished, I went back in and shut the door without any further ado. It didn’t see her for the next two hours and assumed she was fast asleep somewhere. When I went to collect the laundry from the terrace, an extremely grumpy kitty dashed back into the house without stopping to greet me. All I got was a cursory glare and a grunt that was an equivalent to “What the f%$# Mom?!” Oh boy was she royally unamused! A. I was out of her sight for so long B. The doors are soundproof and the walls so thick there was no way I could have heard her C. It was fairly windy this afternoon, which she doesn’t like, and D. were was no toilet out there. Madam is such a princess that she will only do her business where her royal bum belongs.

She has forgiven me in the meantime, after plying her with copious amount of kitty treats. The direct consequence of this little escapade, however, is that she sticks closer to me now, but stays away from the terrace door, lest she get locked out again.

Meanwhile, Cherry watched with great curiosity while I chopped and made a wonderful culinary discovery this weekend – the Portuguese sweet potato. Unlike its Asian counterparts, the Portuguese sweet potato lives up to its name in the sweetness department, but is also less fibrous and has a consistency closer to butternut squash. It is an absolute joy to work with, especially if you lean towards vegetarian or vegan cuisine. I went vegan this time, with sweet potato sautéed with peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins and goji berries. Many people would consider this a side dish but it was a full meal for me.

Sweet Potato Delight ©FrogDiva Photography

Living as remotely as I do means a dependency on delivery services. Not all of the delivery men or women are happy campers when they finally find the house though, and it is always amusing to see the look of relief when I confirm that they have indeed found the right house. Even more amusing, however, is the multiple variations of the pronunciation of my last name. You would think that being in Europe, Herzog is a fairly straightforward name, but apparently not so in the Iberian peninsula. I have yet to meet a delivery person who has gotten it right the first time. So I end up being Senhora Theresa most of the time because they just give up on Herzog altogether.

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