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If you know me you know there are two things I can talk about on end: travel and cats. Often, cats I met while traveling. (See the cats who begged for food in Istanbul, the hostel kittens in Leon, my adorable Lek in Chiang Mai...

My birthday is next week. I'm pretty sure I'm finally reaching the age where the government is required to give me a cat. That's how that works, right? I'd have to check the bi-laws, but I think it was the landmark 1981 Supreme Court case of Fluffy vs. Shadow that established that states are required to provide cats to single 36-year-old women who can't afford their own or have commitment issues. Something like that. Don't Snopes me on it. Anyways. As I said, my birthday is next week. And there's still time to get this crazy cat lady (without a cat) a card...

I can pretend to write an informed post about what I did in Leon, Nicaragua. I mean, I did walk around town a bit and visit an awesome art museum. But, really, I am just going to talk about the kittens at my hostel. Because my hostel had kittens. Three of them. And two cats. And they lived in my room. And sometimes I would come back and find one of them playing in my backpack. Or on my bed. And I really wanted to take them with me when I left. Because I have become a crazy travel cat...

"Valerie," the woman at the front desk said, "the orange one died." She said it with a smile on her face, in the way that Thais always have a smile on their face. Even when they're telling you that someone you care deeply about is dead. And it makes it confusing to understand. Just like when you answer the phone at work to someone named Jennifer, who you assume is the Jennifer in operations who you've been doing web work for, and she tells you that dad has died and you wonder why she's telling you this. Until you realize that it's your sister...

I'm eating a lot of doner kebabs in Istanbul. It's a good meal, cheap, and can be eaten on the street, which is a plus for a solo female traveler like me. But you can't eat your doner on a park bench in Istanbul. It's just not possible. Because if you try to eat your doner on a park bench in Istanbul they will find you. And they will beg. And they will look damn adorable while doing so. They, of course, are the cats in Istanbul. They will surround you. They will beg. They will look so darned cute. And you...

When I was a kid I used to take pictures cat food ad kittens and glue cut-out pictures of human eyes and noses and mouths over their features. I made this example tonight to illustrate this: It took me about 2 hours and entirely too many magazines to find good kitten ad. There used to be a lot more when I was younger. I love my car because I now have automatic windows, which means that on hot days I can open them all and have wind coming in from all directions. I love Saturns because it was the first...