Saturday, August 27, 2011

12 Things Worth Knowing...

...About Mice.

1.      A baby mouse is called a pinky?  (In this measurement of scale, I would call a baby human a “foot”)
2.      Mice are scared of vertical heights?

3.      If you pick up a mouse by its tail the tip will fall off? (…. GROSSSSSSS…..)
4.      People worshipped mice in temples. (I doubt your mom would make you go to church if that was the only kind in town.)

5.      Greeks and Indians thought mice were lightning bolts. (The way I figure it, mice had shorter legs back then, so their bellies rubbed the ground to make static electricity.)
6.      In ancient Rome it was a delicacy to eat mice cooked in honey and poppy seeds (excuse me --- blleeccch)
7.      Mouse, or “mus” means thief (I totally believe it--- hence the incident where Guido stole my Panini sandwich)
8.      Five Famous Mice:

The oldest and arguably the most famous mouse of them all is Mickey Mouse. Created in 1928, Mickey Mouse is the figure head for the Walt Disney Company.
Stuart Little

First making his appearance in E. B. White’s children novel in 1945, it made its big screen debut in 1999 in the live action computer-animation film as Michael J. Fox as the voice for Stuart.

This mouse became a household name because of another cartoon. Itchy from the Itchy and Scratchy Show on The Simpsons became known for their extreme antics and being the prime chose of show for Bart and Lisa Simpson.
Jerry Mouse from Tom and Jerry

Gerald "Jerry" Mouse is a fictional animated character, one of the main characters in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's series of Tom and Jerry theatrical cartoon short films.

Three blind mice. Three blind mice.
See how they run. See how they run.
… you get the idea
9.   In 1895 he helped to found the National Mouse Club in England. The first mouse show was in 1895.

10.   Simon Cowell has a pet mouse- he discovered the baby animal hiding in his `American Idol` dressing room and took the creature home. Obviously, he knows a good pet when he sees one.
11.   Field mice can exceed to 15 mph at top speed.
And they can also flatten their body to fit through a crack that is as little as 1/4 of an inch .
And my personal favorite….
12.   Mice can bite through anything softer than bone.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

You wouldn’t believe it, but…

You know what really bugs me?
There is this little myth that animals don’t have facial expressions.

According to some scientists (who I imagined as pale little gnomes who live in an isolated cell in the middle of Antarctica, where it’s so cold that not even POLAR BEARS or PENGUINS or BACTERIA can survive),
animals have no capacity for emotion, feelings, expression, or attachments”.

Unfortunately, this makes Guido a true freak of nature. Because, just wait until you see this.


To those dear scientists: This is very frightening expression indeed. And this is what I am faced with when Guido has not had enough gelato… and demands it!  In fact, he lives with such a strong emotional attachment to Straciatella Gelato that he suffers massive bouts of separation anxiety when he has not had enough.

Guido has hundreds of other expressions too. Especially when confronted with THE DARK, TREACHEROUS NEIGHBERHOOD KITTY. In a span of 30 seconds he cycles through a total of six expressions.

The beginning:
Christine feels like a passionate, kindly person and decides to give Neighborhood Kitty a taste of Gelato.

Guido’s First Expression:  Thoughtful

Christine would never give gelato to THE DARK SIDE would she?


Huh? What? Who? There is TOTALLY something missing in the picture here…

Then snooty.
Well, who cares? I don’t need Christine anyways. I can get my own gelato just fine.


Seriously, this can’t be happening! I can’t believe this!

Then back to where we started:
GIVE… ME… GELATO…I’m hungry too!!!

Thus, I have successfully proven that Guido is capable of expression.

Not only is Guido able to give you hateful looks that leave you quivering with terror, but he is also able to melt you into a piteous, guilty puddle of goo when you do not follow his wishes.

Such is life with Guido.

The lesson to all the pale little gnome scientists: Get a mouse. You’ve got to see it to believe it.

Guido's Wisdom: I topi hanno sentimenti troppo ("Mice have feelings too").

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mus Pie

You know what’s American?

Pie. I should know. I love pie. In fact, I’ve tried practically every pie on the face of the planet (this includes pear pie, avocado pie, eggnog pie, cantaloupe cream pie, Kool-Aid pie, nectarine pie, zucchini pie, pomegranate pie, and even bacon bourbon pecan pie. My mom loved variety.)

Therefore, after four weeks in Italy, my homemade desserts being an endless row of lifeless Tiramisu and dry biscotti, I felt like I was going to go crazy. I had to have some pie. Homemade pie. AMERICAN BETTY CROCKER APPLE PIE.

It was the worst craving I’d gotten since my arrival in Italy. Worst even than my desire for deep dish pizza. Worst even than my incredible homesickness. I felt like my stomach was going to implode if I didn’t have a bit of something succulent, apple-y, and soggy… NOW!

So, Guido and I decided to make an American Apple pie.
My excuse to mia madre: “It would be a wonderful sharing of cultures for me to bake a pie!” (this was said with as much enthusiasm as I could muster on a stomach that was trying to invert itself).
Even though my cooking abilities were never stellar (let’s just say it took me many years to graduate past “baking” toast) I set up shop in mia madre’s kitchen by laying out an array of American cooking cups that I had brought with me. Guido (who Mia Madre had agreed to let in the house as long as he was clean) sat on the counter and admired his reflection in the toaster.

I’d found the easiest recipe I could find- one that involved a premade crust that you cooked and then dumped apples inside of. It was nowhere near the caliber of my Mom’s pies but it would work.

ME: Take that, oven!

ME: See? I can cook.

ME: Look at me go!

ME: Evil sense of satisfaction is growing!

At this point my brain had started to reach its straining point. See, the reason why I’ve never been a very good cook is because I simply can’t enjoy mixing random grainy things together for very long. I want instant satisfaction. I want something warm and yummy.
I can’t count the times in middle school where I would come home starving and set to work making the most delicious chocolate chip cookies ever and then… got tired after cracking the first few eggs and abandoned the messy globs, instead consolidating myself with some stale Oreos.
Such could have been the case of my apple pie experiment, as I was painstakingly scooping the ingredients into the crust like an unwound toy, had Guido not intervened and starting scooping up tiny granules and stuffing them in his mouth like a chipmunk. I was so bemused by this that I didn’t even notice what was coming out Guido’s OTHER END into the fresh pie crust.
Unfortunately, at the same time as Mia Madre and ALL of her friends from church walked through the door.

(In Italien)
Mia Madre: Look? My little American and her mouse are baking! Isn’t it sweet?
Me: (in panic; trying to desperately cover the disaster and unfortunately forgetting all of my Italien) heh, heh… urm… well…
Mia Madre: And just in time for my friends to have a taste! Let’s try it while it’s still hot!
Me: No, that’s definitely not a very good ide…

Before I could do anything—even scoop out a bit of retched contents, which I’m sure must have resembled tiny chocolate chips-- Mia Madre had scooped up the contents of the pie and was dishing up slices to every last one of her friends. I flew in a crazed frenzy around the room, desperately trying to convince them not to try it…
…while Guido sat on my shoulder with a sort of smug satisifaction as if he were saying “See? Any mouse can cook.”

I guess it would be unfair not to tell you that Mia Madre and her friends all ADORED “the American’s” pie (I politely refused a piece when they offered it to me) and all asked me for the recipe—which I gave in English, minus the “Secret Ingredient”.
For the next week I huddled in my room convinced that I would soon have the mafia or the police coming to my door and arresting me for poisoning all the nice little housewives in the city. My craving for pie had disappeared as I saw my future melting like a puddle of apple goo!

Guido, however, seemed strangely satisfied by his newfound cooking skills. For a whole week I kept finding him just sitting dreamily by himself in the kitchen and staring at the toaster (I still don’t know what mia madre thought about this).

And thus, Guido and I managed to create the most unusual/weird/disgusting pie in the history of sh*tty pies.

Forever live Mus Pie.
Guido’s Widsom: Vive per sempre la torta di topi