First, let me thank all who sent condolences when my cat Phoebe died May 1 and congratulations when I adopted my two new little kittens, Pepe and Sally, three weeks ago.
Many of you, however, asked why I gave Pepe a boy's name, since they're both girls.
It's even worse than you think. Sally is a boy's name, too.
Let me explain. New Haven, Connecticut, where I spent my college years, has the largest Neapolitan population in the country.
Which means it has the best pizza in the country. After all, Naples is where pizza was invented, right?
And the two iconic pizzerias in New Haven are Pepe's, which was founded by Frank Pepe in 1925, and Sally's, which was founded just down the street by his nephew, Salvatore "Sally" Consiglio, nine years later.
Both places have fanatical customer bases. Pepe's fans never set foot inside Sally's, and Sally's fans wouldn't be caught dead inside Pepe's.
Frank Sinatra, for example, was a huge Sally's fan. Whenever he played a gig in Manhattan, he's send his chauffeur up to New Haven before the show to buy a couple of Sally's "apizzas" and rush them back so they'd be waiting for Frank when he stepped offstage.
Bill and Hillary, on the other hand, were big Pepe's fans when they were at Yale Law School.
But to answer your question: The reason I gave my kittens boys' names is that pizza transcends gender.
So who makes the best pizza - Sally's or Pepe's?
To tell the truth, I have a hard time telling any difference. But I do know that they're better pizzas than any other I've ever encountered.
And that's pretty much the same way I feel about my new kittens.
Every day is a quantum leap over the day before. They love their new home and me, and I love them back. And to see how much they love each other just makes my heart sing. I feel happy in a way I haven't felt since my first cat, Eliza, died 16 years ago.
Don't get me wrong; I loved Phoebe very much. But she was a deeply traumatized, even paranoid, cat. It was my pleasure to take care of her, but there was little joy in it. Most of it consisted of my doing my best to make sure each day wasn't as terrifying for her as it might have been.
But my two Pizza Girls' joie de vivre is giving me a new lease on life. I am once again available for dancing in the streets.
But I'm still looking for a home for their brother Sterling, who in many ways is the most remarkable of all. He's absolutely gorgeous - a pure silver tabby – sweet, friendly and full of fun.
I would have loved to adopt him, too, but my apartment is barely big enough for two cats, let alone three.
If you're interested, Sterling can be visited and is up for adoption at Berkeley Dog & Cat Hospital, 2126 Haste Street. He's already been neutered and had all his shots, and he would fit right in a home with dogs, other cats or kids.
If you adopt him, please let me know. It would make me feel better to know he found a good home.