Run, Forest, run.

My mamma was so warm and soft. I just nestled close to her and drank. I love her so much. She loves me so much. There are three of us. And our mamma.

I open my eyes and see that I have an older brother and sister. They both have grey stripes and white on their tummies. I’m the one who is most like our mamma. And my mamma is so beautiful. Her fur is long and warm and soft. She has a white tummy and a black and orange face and body and a striped tail. She is so beautiful.

There were two people who came to see us all the time. They kissed our faces and our tummies, and talked to us in soothing voices. I don’t know who they are, but they are nice. They have given us names. My brother is called Zorro. My sister is Tigger.

I am Annie. There was a little girl there when I was born, who kissed me that first day. Her name is Annie, and they wanted me to share her name. I have a special name!

I love my mamma so much. We stayed in a special space with her. Sometimes we walk around the space and sleep under the papers, but mostly we stay next to her. It is quiet and calm, and I don’t want to be anywhere else.

The man and the woman feel like my dad and mom. My mamma is the most beautiful and I love her so much..

As we get older, we start exploring. I’m not sure who got out of our space first, but we were in a big room with a high, cushiony place and a small area made from shiny metal bars with a metal floor covered in material. I wanted to climb the bars. I tried to climb it. It was fun at the top. I didn’t know how to get down and that wasn’t fun.

I liked the cushiony place. Underneath were boxes where we could hide and play and nap. The top was high and soft, and it’s fun to climb up the material on the sides and play on top. I could run and there were small cushions and places to hide. We played there a lot. And took a lot of naps there.

There was also a little box filled with sand. I slept there sometimes with Tigger. When my mamma told us later how to use the little box, Tigger and I laughed. My mamma laughed, too.

One day, my mom and dad brought some food. It was in little bowls with a white liquid they called milk. Zorro ate some right away, but I wasn’t sure. A few days later, Tigger tried some, too, but I wasn’t sure.

Then I tried some. I was sure. It was a new flavor, and I didn’t realize that I knew the liquid they called milk. I liked it and I ate some more. They call it crunchies and milk, and we eat it every morning.

When we weren’t sleeping, our mamma played with us and made sure we learned our lessons. How to hunt, how to protect ourselves, how to clean our fur. We still took lots of naps.

One day, a nice man and pretty woman came to give Zorro a new home. A time later, a lovely woman and little boy came to give Tigger a new home, and she said she would call my sister Wendy.

My mom and dad let me leave our separate room. We live in a big house with lots of places to explore and hide and run. Up and down the stairs and under the bed and in a closet. I’m the only one who can hide under the dresser, and then I tease my mamma with my paw.

I met Duchessa. She is the cat who lives in our home. She reminded me of Zorro and Tigger, so pretty with grey stripes and a white tummy. She lets me snuggle with her and sleep with her. Sometimes, when I’m very tired, I snuggle and kneed against her tummy, like I did with my mamma. I fall asleep as she licks my head. I love having her as my best friend.

I looked through a window and saw outside. Then I got to go outside. There is an place with smooth stones and an area with fragrant, green grass and a spot with vegetables and a little hill covered with flowers. And trees to climb. And a fence to climb. I can chase bugs and birdies and lizards and mice.

My mamma still plays with me outside to remind me of my lessons. There is a vineyard across the path, with an old shed that’s a lot of fun to explore. And behind our house is another yard and then the woods where it’s a lot of fun to run.

I love to climb, but I love to run even more. Running is fun and I’m really fast. I think I’m the fastest.

I’ve been stuck in a tree only once. I was scared because I have my mamma’s soft voice, and I had to meow and meow and meow before they heard me. They shook the bag of crunchies, but I was scared. My dad had to get a ladder. He reached up and scooped me into his arms, and I felt safe and secured and loved. The next time I was in a tree, they offered me crunchies. I found the way down all by myself.

I’m always sure to run home when my mom or dad call me. AAAA-NIEEEEEEE! I know there will be a treat. When my mom calls me for dinner, she calls out Run Annie Run! And I run home.

I like all the treats we get. Not just crunchies and milk for breakfast and moist chunks for dinner. Treats, too. There are bites of fish and chicken and beef and pork and cheese. And always milk. If I don’t get enough, I use my paw to pull another bowl closer so I can eat more. Cheese is the best. No, fish. No, chicken.

At the end of every day we go into the bedroom, and all sleep on the big bed together. I can snuggle with my mamma or Duchessa or next to my mom. If I’m tired in the afternoon, I take a nap on my dad. If I’m feeling adventurous, there’s a tall cabinet and it’s fun to jump way up to the top.and sleep on the suitcases. I’m the only one who can jump. I like that I’m the only one who can jump.

Sometimes they have other names for me. When I climb, they call me Monkey Monkey or Anna Banana. When my mom kisses me, I’m KITten, pronounced in a special way that makes me feel special. When I eat a lot, I’m Piglet or C3P1. Recently my dad has started calling me Bat Girl, and then he hums na na na na NA NA NA NA Bat Girl. I think it’s because I caught three bats. They’re fast and fun to grab with a paw. But I only killed one. He rescued the others. I like to think of myself as a cheetah, sleek and muscular.

A few months ago, a kitten arrived. She wasn’t a little kitten, but she was younger than me. They said she was Tigger’s daughter. I know she is because she has Tigger’s big voice. They call her Allegra. She was mostly white with grey stripes and orange stripes on her face and back. She is younger than me.

She is rather cute, but she is younger than me. I still feel like a kitten, and my mom say I will always be her kitten, her big kitten. She says KITten the way that makes me feel special.

She seemed quiet, and I didn’t know if she was happy or scared. When she came running for breakfast and for dinner, I knew she was happy. She likes crunchies and milk, so we will be friends. I only mind a little that she is younger than me.

Allegra and I now play and run together outside, and sometimes she follows me on one of my adventures to the vineyard and the shed or into the woods. I don’t mind that she is younger than me.

I think Allegra has had kittens. I haven’t seen them, but the door to the room where I lived when I was a kitten is closed. I hear itsy bitsy teeny tiny meow meow meow. And Allegra doesn’t eat breakfast or dinner with us or come outside to play.

My mom and dad say she had five kittens. I was one of three kitties. Allegra told me she was one of four kitties. Five seems like a lot, a lot of kittens. There are four of us now, so five is a lot of kittens. I know they are little. I hope they are nice. And that they will want to run and play.

It’s good to be me.

CHOCOLATE MERINGUE COOKIES

6 oz. chocolate, melted and cooled
3 egg whites
½ cup sugar
½ cup nuts, chopped
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup candied orange peel, chopped

- Preheat oven to 325°F (160° C). Line 2 cookie sheets with silpats.
- In large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Slowly add in sugar. Continue beating until stiff/firm peaks and shiny.
- Fold in melted chocolate until no streaks remain, then fold in nuts, chips and orange peel.
- Using two tablespoons, drop the soft dough onto cookie sheets.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cookies firm. (Sometimes they are more puffy, other times more flat … but delicious in either shape.)
- Let cool slightly, then remove from sheets.
- Makes about 36 cookies.
Enjoy!

Life … and cooking … in the Tuscan countryside.