Friday, December 07, 2007

Belle and Andrea's Misundersanding

Belle wishes to clear the air regarding the November 11th post of 2007, entitled "The Inexorable Subvolution". Belle wants everyone to know that said post was unauthorized and unwarranted, and also nonfactual. And she also would like to add that Subvolution is not a word, or at least not any word that she approves of.

The post in question was the result of a serious miscommunication between Belle and Andrea. Belle was telling Andrea about what her parents were going to name her if she had been a boy.  And no, her parents were not going to name her Beverly if she was a boy!  They were going to name her Bilbo Lee.  You see, Belle's mother is a huge Lord of the Rings fan and her father is a big Bruce Lee fan, hence the delightful combination of Bilbo Lee.  Apparently if you say BilboLee fast enough, it can sound sort of like Beverly.  

So you may be wondering, why did Belle's parents choose the name Belle?  Well, in addition to being a big Lord of the Rings fan, Belle's mother was also a giant fan of a little movie called Beauty and the Beast.  Maybe you've heard of it.  

You may also be wondering what Belle's middle name ended up being.  The answer, of course, is Yun Fat.  So putting it all together, Belle's full name is 'Belle Yun-Fat Poley-Briggs'.  It just rolls of the tongue, wouldn't you say?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Inexorable Subvolution


Let it be known that I now wish to be addressed solely as Beverly.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Forlorn

Poor Belle. No one has posted any entries to her blog for almost a whole month. This lack of blogging activity has made Belle rather depressed. She claims that she doesn't have much energy these days. As Belle puts it, "why should I bother doing anything cute or adorable if no one is going to blog about it?" It's a valid question.

And so Belle has been lying around on the floor day in and day out, looking supremely pathetic, as you can surely see yourself from this picture. She barely has the energy to drag herself over to her food bowl at dinner time. As Belle put it, "why should I eat, when no one will ever read about my adventures again?" Nevertheless, Belle always DOES end up dragging herself over to her food bowl, where she slowly forces down her food, only because she has "a small and constantly dwindling hope that my blog will be resurrected and that I will return to my rightful spot as the Internet's favorite kitty-cat".

And so, here I am writing Belle's first entry for August, and we're only 25 days into the month. Not bad, eh? Fortunately, I do at least have multiple excuses for this inexcusable offense. First off, Andrea and I were on vacation from August 1-11. And no, Belle did not come on vacation with us. But please, let's not get into that -- it is a sore subject around the apartment (who knew Belle liked the ocean?). My second excuse is that I started working again on August 13. So whereas before I used to have approximately 16 hours per day to write about Belle, now I only have about six. And trust me, it's tough to write a good blog entry in anything under seven hours.

But August has not been all vacation and work, no sir! As a matter of fact, August 2007 is somewhat of a historic month for Belle the Kitty, as her first [short] movie premiered at a film festival, where it was very warmly received! More details to come in my next post, which will occur before the month ends. Guaranteed!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Long Day On The Set

Belle has recently completed filming her first major motion picture, which is titled 'Belle'. The filming was quite an ordeal, so much so that the budget nearly tripled and the filming schedule went from two weeks to two months. Whoever said kitties were easy to make movies with was a big fat liar. This picture was taking during a particularly long day on the set. Belle was yelling at me to get her some bottled water in between takes. Now that she's a hot shot movie star, she refuses to drink tap water, the little prima donna.

'Belle' (the movie, not the cat) is a short film, about seven minutes long. It was written, directed, filmed, and edited by Andrea. It stars Belle and some Barbie dolls. The voices are done by Andrea, myself, and our friend Hans. If I were not so prevented by my extreme modesty, I would tell you that it is a work of cinematic genius. It will very likely win the Academy Award next year, but we decided to start small and just show the film here in Troy for now.

Yes, that's right, 'Belle' (the movie, not the cat) is going to be screened for the very first time right here in Belle's hometown of Troy, NY by the Troy Visual Arts Group. Needless to say, Belle is very excited about the premiere, but she has been non-committal in regards to whether she will be in attendance. Andrea and I have been encouraging her to go, but Belle complains that she doesn't have a thing to wear.

In order to get Belle to attend the premiere, Andrea and I got her a fancy new purple collar, which you can see in the above photograph. We felt it was appropriate for evening-wear, especially for occasions such as film-premieres. Belle very much enjoys her new collar, but she's not sure that purple is the right color for summer -- she seems to think that a teal collar would be better. Belle is nothing if not fashion conscious.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Wire Toy

This is Belle with her favorite toy. Her favorite toy consists of a piece of wire with some bits of cardboard at each end. Belle is very frugal when it comes to her toys, and she won't have us spending oodles of money on the latest and greatest kitty toys. Wire and cardboard, that's all she wants, and that's all she needs.

I used to try and get Belle more expensive toys. I once got her a little kitty house, which had various little shiny plastic toys attached to it for her enjoyment. Belle did not like the kitty house much at all. She said, "I did not ask for this kitty playhouse, and I do not want it. The colors are garish, the architecture is ostentatious, and I would not be caught dead in such a structure! Remove it at once, and bring me my wire toy post haste." Belle can be quite harsh at times, but I will admit that she tends to get her point across, if rather bluntly.

You may notice that this photo is fairly old, based on Belle's adorable little shaved stomach area. This photo is from early 2005, back when Belle had just been spayed. What a trooper -- she managed to get in some playtime even after a major surgery. I remember I told her she should take it easy and she said, "I'll take it easy when I'm dead. But right now, I'm gonna play my little heart out, you got that?" And so I let her play.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vote: Does Belle need a friend?

This is Belle with another one of her friends, Cecil. Cecil is a plastic owl. In a former life, he was used as a piggy bank (or more correctly, an owl bank), but these days he enjoys a life of leisure, sitting by the window with Belle and taking in the scenery. Cecil is a perfectly nice owl, but he is not overly ambitious. I get the impression that he would very much be content to spend the rest of his retirement perched on a windowsill, not doing much of anything. "To each his own", that's what Belle always says about Cecil.

Lately Andrea has been saying that Belle should have a friend. And not a plastic owl or a stuffed elephant, but a real honest to goodness kitty friend. This sounds like a good idea, in theory. The problem is that Belle has only ever met a handful of other kitties since we've known her, and none of those meeting have gone very swimmingly. In fact, Belle is typically rather rude around other kitties. She usually ends up hissing at them, and sometimes taking a swipe at them with her little paw. Not very nice, Belle!

Andrea seems to think that eventually Belle would come around to another kitty, at least to the point where she would not hiss at it whenever she saw it. I am not entirely sure if she is correct in this matter, but I would hope that Belle would get tired of hissing eventually.

And then there is the question of whether Belle would actually enjoy another kitties company, after she got used to it. Would they play parcheesi together? Would they cuddle together and provide me with super cute photo ops? Or would Belle still prefer the company of Cecil the plastic owl to that of the new kitty in town? It's a tough call! Loyal audience, what do you think?! Should Belle get a new kitty friend, or is she better off with her owl and elephant?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Chair Shot

Today Belle took a look at her blog and noticed that the number of entries per month has been on the decline ever since her blog was established nearly four months ago. There were 13 entries in March, 12 in April, 10 in May, and 9 in June. Belle says that this trend is "quite disturbing", and that "actions must be taken at once to stem the tide", whatever that means.

And so, Belle has developed a plan to increase the number of entries posted to her blog. She has promised to provide me with a "treat" for each entry that I write. I am not sure what she has in mind for my "treats", since she has refused to tell me. She thinks I will work harder for the treats if she leaves them to my imagination. All I can say is that if my treat involves Friskies, I will not be happy.

In other news, Belle posed on top of our lounging chair for the better part of last week, only taking breaks for food and sleep. Belle knows a good photo-op when she sees it, and she doesn't stop posing until we give in and take a picture of her. In this case, Belle decided that she wanted a photo shoot on our lounging chair, but Andrea and I refused to give in. For day after day we did not take Belle's picture on the chair, but finally, in a moment of weakness, I pulled out my camera and snapped the photo you see here. It is very hard to resist photographing Belle.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hollywood Calling

Belle wants to let everyone know that she is going to be a movie star. Her first (as yet untitled) movie is currently in production. Andrea is the writer, director, and producer, as well as one of the voice actors. I am going to lend my voice to the production as well. Andrea has assured me that I will be paid "handsomely", but every time I ask her to translate "handsomely" into a dollar amount, she has to go check the laundry.

The plot of the movie centers around Belle being accused of murder (gasp!), obviously a crime that she did not commit. Or did she? It is going to be a suspense thriller type of movie, very dramatic. Belle wanted to star in a romance comedy for her first picture, but we convinced her that a thriller is the way to go.

Belle has made a number of demands now that she is a star. First, she refuses to do any nude scenes, which I think is a reasonable demand. Second, she gets her own trailer for shooting days. And third, she refuses to do any of her own stunts. This means we are going to need to procure a stunt kitty. Hopefully we can find one that doesn't belong to the union -- the stunt cat union is no fun to negotiate with, I can tell you first hand!

You can be rest assured that once Belle's first movie is complete, it will be posted on this very web site, the humble blog that gave Belle her start. Belle also insists that the movie will be available on YouTube and iTunes, for those of you prone to using those technologies.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Don't Fall Off, Belle!

This is a picture of Belle lying on top of the Empire State Building. No, I'm just kidding. It is actually a picture of Belle lying on top of her cat pedestal. As you can see from the photo, the cat pedestal is not quite big enough for Belle -- she can't lie down on it without some part of her body hanging off of the edge, in this case her head.

Despite the size issue, Belle sure does love her cat pedestal. In fact, she thinks that all kitties should have their very own cat pedestal. She feels so strongly about this matter, in fact, that she has started her very own charitable organization called 'Cat Pedestals for the Kitties of America', or the CPKA. She is now accepting donations. Please send your cash, checks and money orders to:
Cat Pedestals for the Kitties of America
c/o Belle Poley-Briggs
121 Kitty Way
Troy, NY 12180

Like all good charities, the CPKA will confer titles to its donors depending on the level of their donation. The titles that Belle has decided upon are as follows:
$25 donation: 'Kitty Acquaintance'
$50 donation: 'Kitty Friend'
$100 donation: 'Kitty Supporter'
$250 donation: 'Kitty Patron'
$500 donation: 'Kitty Benefactor'
$1000 donation: 'Kitty Champion'

I don't know about you folks, but I can't wait to get my 'Kitty Champion' certificate! Belle tells me it will be well worth the thousand bucks.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What do you think? 1 of 100

This is Belle's redo picture for her book jacket. I think she looks authoritative, austere, and slightly condescending. Belle says she was going more for benevolent and approachable, with a dash of rakishness.
Jeff's just happy she doesn't have that booger on her nose anymore.
I think we're all so tired of the professional photographer lights cluttering up the apartment and the grueling 10 hour shoots, that we'll probably go with this pic.

But this is the part where I ask the studio audience their opinion in a new segment called: What do you think?
Do you have any opinion on Belle's expression, choice of angle, or ratio of grey to white fur? (she always says she tries for 50/50 in photos. 'Separate but equal.')

If you do have a comment, please submit it care of: 
Double Dare
PO Box 593819
Hollywood, CA

Stay tuned for the next installment of What do you think? Where we will be discussing Belle's new book title. Hey, anything is better than 9 Lives, The Tail of Kitty. What was she thinking?


Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Best $2,000 We Ever Spent

Belle was not a cheap kitty. Despite the fact that she's not one of those "inbreds" (that's what Belle calls purebred kitties) , she was still rather expensive.

First there was the adoption fee. Then there was the spaying operation. And that was supposed to be it. The adoption and spaying fees should have been the only expenses involved.

But just a mere two weeks after Belle came to live with us, she became very sick. So sick that she was in and out of the vet's office all week. She had to be put on an I.V. and stay there for three days straight! And despite what Belle may try to tell you, the vet ain't cheap. Poor little Belle was none too happy about staying over at the vet. She didn't like their food (no shrimp!) and the entertainment was sorely lacking (no bird watching!). Yes sir, she was a miserable little kitty that week, but on the bright side, she did not die.

So what we thought would be a $200 kitty turned out to be a $2,000 kitty. The reason was that Belle had come down with an illness called Panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper) at the animal shelter. It is a nasty illness, Belle can (and will!) tell you that firsthand. Lots of kitties don't survive it, including Belle's brother Sebastian. Belle says she'll tell you all about Sebastian come Veteran's Day (that was his favorite holiday). Sebastian had planned on being a Veteran some day, but he died before he got the chance.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

iKitty

This is Belle with her iPod. You might notice that she looks a bit feisty in this picture. She is very protective of her iPod.

Just before the picture was taken, Andrea tried to borrow the iPod from Belle, but Belle wouldn't let her. The last time Andrea borrowed it, she forgot to polish it before giving it back and Belle complained endlessly about the scuff marks that Andrea had failed to remove. If Andrea had returned the iPod with a scratch, I don't even want to think about how mad Belle would have been.

Belle is especially proud of her custom made iPod case, also shown in this photo. It was a Vernal Equinox present from her Aunt Carla (yes, Belle celebrates the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes as well as the Summer and Winter Solstices -- any excuse to get more presents). The iPod case is very warm and protective, and even has a hole in the top so the headphones can be worn when the iPod is inside it's case. What a thoughtful aunt Belle has.

Belle's iPod is filled mostly with that old-timey spiritual music that she is so fond of. Her favorite artists are Jim Nabors and Elvis Presley. She also has some albums by a Christian band whose name I can't remember -- they have a song about how cats didn't evolve from monkeys. I guess its intended to be an anti-evolution song (Belle doesn't believe in evolution, but that's a topic for another post). But what I can't figure out is, who said cats evolved from monkeys in the first place?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Cleaning Is For Kitty

This is a picture of Belle licking one of our window shades. Being as I wasn't the one who took the picture, I can't say for certain why Belle was licking the window shade. I believe she may have been trying to repair the shade. According to Belle, cat saliva is one of the world's strongest adhesives, just below super-glue. And it's cheaper than super-glue too, if you've got access to a willing cat.

Luckily for us, Belle is more than willing to lend a hand (or tongue as it may be) around the house. In fact, she does more than her fair share of housework, a fact that she is only too eager to point out.

To put it bluntly, Belle thinks that Andrea and I are slobs (especially Andrea). If Belle had it her way, we would do laundry twice a week, sweep the floors every day, mop once a week, dust every other day, and clean the refrigerator once a month. Thank goodness Belle doesn't have it her way -- cleaning is hard! Belle would do it herself if she only had opposable thumbs.

Even though Belle is at a disadvantage when it comes to cleaning, she still manages to do her fair share. For instance, if Andrea or I leave some crumbs of food on a plate, Belle is right there to lick the plate clean. And if we spill a bit of tuna fish on the kitchen floor, she will clean it up as quickly as she can. And if Andrea leaves her dirty socks on the apartment floor, Belle will pick them up in her little mouth and deposit them in the nearest trash can. As Belle likes to say, "If you can't put your socks away, then you'll go barefoot."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Belle's Drinking Buddies

This is Belle with some of her friends. I think their names are Krista and Hal. I don't know them very well. Belle has a lot of friends over to the apartment -- it's tough keeping track of all their names.

This picture was taken a couple months back, when Belle threw a party for St. Patrick's Day. She had about 15 friends over, some humans and some kitties. A lot of drinking took place. Belle doesn't like being intoxicated as a rule, but she makes a special exception for St. Patrick's Day because of her Irish heritage. And boy, did she and her friends get smashed this year. This photo was taken seconds before Krista passed out, which was followed by Belle clumsily tumbling off the couch, and then Hal running to the bathroom to throw up. It was not a pleasant evening, I can assure you of that. I haven't seen either Krista or Hal back since.

Usually Belle's parties are much more tame. She mostly has dinner parties, not drinking parties. For her last dinner party she served a pot pie for an entree. The pot pie was filled with Friskies Liver & Chicken Dinner canned cat food. Her human guests liked the dinner until they realized it was filled with cat food, but her cat guests refused to eat the pie crust and would only eat the Friskies filling. It's tough keeping everyone happy. I keep telling her she should make one entree for the cats and another for the humans, but she thinks that would be rude.

After dinner, Belle and her friends usually play a game. They like to play card games, dice games, and board games (especially Parcheesi). Andrea and I can't figure out why they like Parcheesi so much -- it's got to be just about the most boring game ever.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Career Kitty

This is Belle with her favorite paper clip. It's a green paper clip, green being one of Belle's favorite three colors.

Belle's favorite three colors are currently: green, royal teal, and burgundy. She is unable to put the three colors in order, as she simply cannot decide which of them is her favorite. Every now and again Belle will change what her favorite three colors are. Last month her favorite colors were: green, royal teal, and maroon. Then about two weeks ago she decided that she really preferred burgundy to maroon, so she kicked maroon out of her top three. It's tough keeping track of her color preferences. Andrea has just about given up.

So you may be wondering, why does Belle love paper clips so? Well, as you know, Belle is a big fan of office-type work. She loves filing and organizing and answering phones (especially answering phones!). Sometimes she answers the phone even when it doesn't ring. She prides herself on her customer service skills and her team-player attitude. She also keeps a very up-to-date resume on hand, as well as business cards, because as she says "you never know when opportunity will strike". She updates her resume every afternoon, and prints out new business cards bi-weekly. She is very much a career kitty. And don't get her started on 401ks, she will talk your ear off (or meow it off as the case may be).

If there's one thing that gets Belle's goat, it's how her career is limited by species-ism. As Belle puts it, "The lack of Feline MBA programs precludes my consideration for management positions. If only I had an MBA, then I wouldn't have to spend all day napping." Poor kitty...all she wants is an MBA, but the system won't allow it.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Let the Go-Carting Begin!

This is Belle from the waist down.

Despite her rather sizable belly, Belle has been known to zip around the apartment at very fast speeds. In fact, at times she can be nearly impossible to photograph -- her rapid movement causes the photos to come out blurry. This phenomenon may be related to the quality of the camera, or the quality of the photographer (Andrea), or the speediness of the cat, or a combination of all three.

So now Belle wants to give a recap of her Memorial Day parade.

"The parade was glorious, and my go-cart driving was of course the highlight. I put on quite a show for the kiddies (and the kitties). It included figure eights, wheelies, jumps, near-crashes, and a race to the finish with my arch-rival and nemesis go-cart racer (the mayor of Troy, Harry Tutunjian) which I won by a whisker. And I don't mean that figuratively - my whiskers were the first part of me to cross the finish line. The photo at the finish confirmed that my whiskers won the race for me -- if not for them, I would have been runner-up. Thank goodness I didn't listen to Andrea when she suggested I have laser whisker removal surgery.

After the race, I was lavished with gifts and trophies. I am somewhat tired of all the trophies, this being my 35th go-cart racing victory in the last two years. But I accept them because I am a gracious and benevolent kitty. And also because they don't give out the food until after the trophy ceremony, so anything to get it over with, if you get my drift. Now I have to start training for the Flag Day Parade (only ten days away!)."

So there you have it, straight from the cat's mouth. Belle's go-cart training schedule is quite rigorous. I wish she would take some more time off to relax, but that's not her style once go-cart season begins (Memorial Day kicks off the season). I guess I'd better get used to it quick, because she won't give it a rest until Labor Day. She's gotta get those trophies.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Our Little Tiger

Sometimes I think Belle is like a tiger. A cute little tiger that needs to be petted a lot. A white and gray tiger, rather than the typical orange and black. A tiger that fits on my lap.

I think that if Belle were tiger-sized than she would be more ferocious. At her current size, everything is bigger than her, especially humans, so she has to make up for her small stature with extra cuteness. Luckily she has cuteness to spare.

In this photo Belle very much reminds me of a tiger on the prowl, stalking its prey. Of course in this photo, Belle's prey was most likely a 'pebble' (Andrea's and my nickname for Belle's dry cat food pieces). Belle does like her pebbles. That's about all she ever eats as a matter of fact. Pebbles for lunch, pebbles at tea time, and pebbles for dinner (no, she doesn't eat breakfast - she says that "breakfast is a meal for the weak minded", whatever that means). She is our little pebble-eater.

In other news, Belle told me yesterday that I haven't been putting enough time or effort into her blog, and I can't say that she's entirely inaccurate. She has requested that I start waking up at 5AM and devoting two hours each morning (that would be 5AM - 7AM) to working on her blog. I think that those hours a bit excessive. I'm going to try and bargain with her, see if I can talk her down to 6AM-7AM. She can be a tough cat to bargain with.

Belle says that the next post is going to be a recap of her Memorial Day parade adventure, so stay tuned.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Belle's Dream

Belle has been a bit lethargic for the past few days, now that the temperatures are flirting with the 90s. She keeps telling me to install the air conditioner already. Maybe I will get around to it over the long weekend.

Today Belle took a nap on the windowsill and it was adorable. When she woke up, she told me about a very vivid dream that she had.

"In my dream, I wasn't a kitty at all -- I was a human being and it was awful. I had no fur and I had to wear clothes, and I had to get a job instead of just lying around the house taking naps all day. So I got a job selling appliances at Sears and every time I was about to sell a microwave oven, my customers would decide to buy a toaster oven instead. And I didn't get any commission for toaster oven sales at all. The worst part was that after work I realized I had no vehicle, so I had to ride the bus home. As I was getting onto the bus, I got so scared that I woke up from the dream in a cold sweat!"

"Cold sweat?" I asked. "I didn't know cats could sweat."

"Of course we don't sweat. It's just an expression," she replied.

Belle was pretty shaken up by the dream, and I don't blame her one bit. Selling microwave ovens at Sears is bad enough, but having to ride the bus home from work is enough to make anyone want to end it all.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Courtyards and Forgotten Birthdays

Belle chastised me this morning for not updating her blog since last Thursday, a whole week ago. I told her that since nobody reads her blog, it doesn't really matter when I update it. She did not appreciate my explanation.

Belle has been spending quite a bit of time on the walkway outside our apartment as of late, now that the weather is nice. She is a fair weather kitty, and doesn't appreciate puddles very much. Luckily for her, the walkway is mostly sheltered from the elements. She enjoys strolling from one end to the other and back again, inspecting the doors to all the apartments along the way, as well as any objects that may have been left outside, such as plants or barbecue grills. She also loves to peer out over the edge of the walkway, to the courtyard below. Sometimes there are other kitties down in the courtyard, and Belle watches them intently. One time we took Belle down to the courtyard, but she didn't enjoy being down there as much as looking down there. She did, however, very much like the elevator ride.

Andrea and I just remembered that we got Belle on approximately January 15th, 2005. And at the time we got her, she was supposedly eight months old, which would put her birthday in the vicinity of May 15th, 2004. This means that Belle turned three years old earlier this month! Andrea and I did not realize this until just yesterday, which means (gulp) we missed Belle's birthday! I can't believe that Belle didn't remind us. She must've thought we were going to throw her a surprise party or something. What a poor kitty. Now we're going to have to buy her all sorts of treats to make up for it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Nahoko the Cribbage Queen

This is Belle's best friend, Nahoko. Nahoko is very fluffy, much fluffier than Belle. Nahoko is an aspiring photographer and she likes tea very much, especially with milk and honey.

Belle and Nahoko have been friends since shortly after Belle came to live with us, in early 2005. Nahoko was already living in the apartment building at that time, and she came to our apartment with a welcoming gift for Belle - a wire toy and some catnip. Ever since then, they have been great friends.

Belle and Nahoko used to have tea together every afternoon. They would play a game of cribbage each day with their tea. According to Belle's official records, Nahoko has won 399 games and Belle has won 403, so apparently they are evenly matched. I'm not sure that Nahoko's records would agree with Belle's however.

Belle and Nahoko get along famously, though there was one incident when Nahoko decided to play hide and seek, without informing Belle. Nahoko hid under the bed and Belle, not knowing who or what was under the bed, started hissing and acting generally unpleasant . Nahoko grew frightened and refused to come out from under the bed, even after we removed Belle from the bedroom and shut the door. Belle sat by the door hissing, and reaching her little paws under the door in a threatening manner. After many hours, Belle lost interest, and Nahoko was finally able to exit the bedroom without incident. It was a terrible misunderstanding. Thankfully both parties eventually apologized and today they are as good a pair of friends as you'll ever see.

Nahoko moved to Syracuse almost two years ago, to pursue a graduate degree in photography. Of course Belle was quite sad initially, but after time she got over it. Now they talk on the phone about once a week, and they still play their daily game of cribbage, only now they have to play online. Unfortunately, Belle refuses to use our computers (she will only use Macs), so I have to enter all of the cribbage moves into the computer for Belle. It's sort of a pain.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Belle and Pierpont witness a nuclear meltdown

Today Belle spent a while playing with her pet elephant, Pierpont. Pierpont is technically a stuffed elephant, so he's really more of a toy than a pet, but Belle talks to Pierpont as if he was alive and could think/act just like anybody else -- pretty silly if you ask me.

Belle says that Pierpont is very lazy. Apparently he takes a minimum of five naps per day, and he doesn't like going on walks. Belle says that Pierpont's favorite food is muffins, but only if he can have them with coffee. Otherwise his favorite food is cantaloupe.

Belle and Pierpont spend a lot of time together sitting on the windowsill, looking outside at the birds. Belle talks to Pierpont constantly, saying things like, "That bird looks delicious, doesn't it, Pierpont?" or "Good day for a nap, isn't it, Pierpont?" or "What shall we have for lunch today, Pierpont?". I can never hear Pierpont's replies -- apparently he speaks on a frequency that cats can comprehend but humans cannot.

Today while I was cleaning downstairs, I heard a commotion from the upstairs -- a lot of meowing and such. I ran upstairs to see what was the matter, and was confronted with the image seen here. I didn't know what to make of it -- the light coming through the window was the brightest I had ever seen. I asked Belle, "What's going on?".

"Pierpont says that there's a nuclear meltdown on 4th Street. But I think it's a solar flare," she replied.

"What should we do?" I asked her. "Do we need to find shelter?"

"Pierpont says that it's too late -- we're already doomed to die horrible deaths from the radiation. But I think it's just a solar flare and it will pass."

Just then the incredible bright light disappeared, and the room fell back to it's usual level of daytime brightness.

"See, I told you so, Pierpont," said Belle. "He's always jumping to wild conclusions," she told me.

Belle looked at Pierpont. "Pierpont, there's not even a nuclear power plant in this city. You're such a silly elephant! For that, you get no muffins or cantaloupe for two weeks."

Then Belle jumped down off the window sill and went about her business, leaving poor Pierpont all by his lonesome. He looked sad. Two weeks without muffins will do that to you.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Camper Belle

Now that the excitement of TYKTWD has passed, Belle hasn't known what to do with herself. She's just been moping around the apartment, with barely enough energy to even beg for food anymore. So to cheer her up, I told her that we might go camping next month. Belle does love camping. After I told her about our possible trip, Belle insisted that I get her sleeping bag out of storage so she could "break it in".

Of course I complied, against Andrea's better judgment. I set the sleeping bag out on our apartment floor, and Belle has been spending oodles of time in it ever since. I'm not sure whether Belle really loves camping, or if she just loves her sleeping bag. We used to just make Belle use one of my old sleeping bags, but last year for her birthday she made us buy her a brand new sleeping bag, one that is designed especially for a kitty's needs. I'm not sure what a kitty's sleeping bag needs are, but the thing sure did cost a lot.

When we do go camping, Belle tends to lay on the sleeping bag inside the tent as long as possible, usually until about 10AM at which point the sun makes the tent uncomfortably hot.
At that point Belle will finally go outside, and eat some breakfast. Then she usually likes to take a nap on the picnic table while I do dishes. After the dishes are done, Belle likes to take her morning constitutional, where she inspects the campground for other kitties (usually there aren't too many).

Belle also enjoys a good canoe ride, but she never helps with the paddling. We always make her wear a kitty-sized life vest, not because she can't swim, but because she refuses to. Or at least we're afraid she would refuse to, if the situation came up. Being immersed in water does put her in a foul mood.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Belle's Day at the Office



Andrea took Belle into the office yesterday, and Belle had a splendid time. Apparently the day went very smoothly, with no arguments at all. Belle was very well behaved, according to Andrea. She took a morning nap at her usual time (9:15AM-11:45AM), which gave her plenty of energy for lunch. She then took another afternoon nap from 2PM-4PM. It's probably a good thing that humans do office work instead of cats -- if humans took as many naps as cats, they'd never get anything done.

Belle spent her morning (before the nap) getting her photograph taken for her company badge. These are the photos that I have posted in today's blog entry. Belle made them take 43 photos of her. She wore her pantsuit for the first 20 photos, but then decided that it didn't photograph well, so she did the rest in just her fur. After 43 photos, she still didn't have one that she liked, but the photographer told her she couldn't have any more, and he made her pick one. She chose the photo on the far left.

After she got her badge, Belle used it to enter all the restricted areas. She found a restricted napping room, and that's where she napped (along with some other kitties) until lunch time. Getting a badge is hard work. At lunch time, the kitties gathered in the cafeteria and made tuna sandwiches. Belle was fussy because they only had white bread in the cafeteria, and she prefers wheat.

After lunch Belle did some filing for Andrea. Belle has surprisingly nimble paws, and she can file very quickly. Unfortunately she lacks a thorough understanding of the English alphabet, so she usually just files items in the folder that looks the smallest, so as to keep all folders approximately the same size. It's a nice system, but it does require Andrea to refile everything after Belle leaves. But don't tell Belle that.

Belle took her afternoon nap on Andrea's desk. Actually, she took the nap directly on top of Andrea's keyboard. Of course it was awfully cute, but it did mean that Andrea couldn't type anything for the entire afternoon. Belle likes sleeping on keyboards because rolling around on the keys feels like a massage, or so she claims.

After her afternoon nap, Belle had a meeting with Andrea's boss, sort of a yearly review type of thing. Belle and Andrea's boss get along famously. Unfortunately last year Belle gave Andrea a sub-par review, and Andrea didn't get a raise. Hopefully Andrea did better this year, but I have a feeling Belle may still be mad at Andrea for switching her to light cat food.

And so there you have, TYKTWD is over for another year (thank goodness). Now Belle is looking forward to Memorial Day. Every year she drives her go-cart in the parade.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

TYKTWD is here!

Take Your Kitty To Work Day has (finally) arrived! Belle was up at the crack of dawn today, getting herself ready for her day at the office. She gave herself an extra bath (with her tongue of course), and used a special new catnip scented shampoo. She's going to have a great day at the office today, I just know it (if she can stop rolling around on the floor in her state of catnip-induced ecstasy, that is).

Sadly, Andrea never did buy Belle the pencil skirt and scoopneck sweater that Belle had her eye on. Belle had to resort to wearing the same business casual pant suit that she wore last year. Belle does love her pant suit. Sometimes she'll wear it around our apartment, because she says it makes her feel "high powered". She even has little shoulder pads that go inside the jacket, just like Angela Bauer on Who's the Boss. You gotta love shoulderpads.

The apartment is sort of lonely without Belle around. I keep reaching over to the top of the kitty condo, thinking there will a kitty there for me to pet, but there is no kitty to be found. Just an empty penthouse. Things just aren't the same when there's not a soft little creature underfoot, complaining about lack of food. I don't know how people without cats survive -- what a miserable existence they must have.

I hope Belle isn't getting into arguments with any of the other kitties at work. I made her promise to be on her best behavior, and to do whatever Andrea tells her to do. Hopefully Belle will take a mid-morning nap, otherwise I just know that she'll get cranky towards the end of the day and then all bets are off. It could get ugly. I will report back tomorrow with details on Belle's day at the office.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Great Aunt Skittles

Today I'm posting a picture of Belle's dear great aunt Skittles. Skittles lives with my parents, and so doesn't get to see Belle that often, which is probably a good thing, since their relationship is somewhat volatile.

Skittles is very much a lap cat. She likes to visit the living room, scout out the best lap, and then proceed to nap on said lap until the lap disappears, most likely due to a need to use the lavatory by the owner of the lap. Yes sir, Skittles likes nothing better than a good nap on a lap. I wish some kitties (cough, Belle, cough) would learn a thing or two from her.

Belle is what I call 'lap challenged'. She very rarely will lie down on my lap, and when she does, it usually doesn't last that long. With Belle, she decides when the lap session will end, whereas Skittles will be on that lap until an outside force makes her move. On the one hand, its sort of disappointing that Belle doesn't go in for the whole lap thing, but on the other hand, at least I can always go to the bathroom when I want, without having to worry about disturbing the cat.

Belle and Skittles have met on at least one occasion, and things didn't go all that smoothly for them. As I recall, Belle spent most of her visit inside her kitty carrying case, electing not to come out and give great aunt Skittles a hug. Skittles must have thought Belle was very rude. Eventually Skittles did wander over to Belle's cage to take a peek inside, only to be greeted by Belle's nasty hissing. Belle does have a tendency to hiss at any other cat that she sees, even dear relatives like her great aunt Skittles.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Flashback: Little Kitty Belle

Belle has refused to do anything interesting lately. This is why her blog hasn't been updated in over a week. I think she's been saving her energy for TYKTWD, which is on Wednesday. I keep telling her that I won't update the blog unless she gives me something to write about.

Today Belle suggested that I post an old picture of her, because, as Belle puts it, "I was such an adorable kitten". I can't disagree with her about that. She was an adorable kitten, and that's a fact. (And I know something about adorable-ness, having personally named my Cabbage Patch doll 'Adorabella Marigold' in the mid 80s.)

This picture was taken shortly after Belle came to live with us, in January of 2005. As you can see, Belle was a might bit smaller back then, especially in the gut area. Belle says her increase in gut size is "directly attributable to the spaying operation", and that "Andrea and I have no one to blame for her gut except each other". I suppose that is one way of looking at it.

Another thing you might notice in this photograph is that Belle is wearing a collar and nametag. This did not last very long. The collar had a little bell attached to it (yes, Belle used to wear a bell!), so that whenever Belle moved around, the bell would jingle. This got old pretty fast, especially when we were trying to sleep and Belle was prowling around our bed.

And for the record, Belle claims that she doesn't "prowl" -- she "glides". She says that only street kitties "prowl", and it's degrading for me to describe her gliding motion as a prowl.

In summary: what a cutie she was! (and still is, according to herself)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Licking Jim Nabors

Tomorrow I am leaving on another trip, this time to California. I'm going to a music festival near Palm Springs, but Belle elected not to accompany me. It's probably for the best -- I doubt she would like the heat, or the music for that matter. So while I'm away baking in the desert sun, Belle will be at home licking her paws and listening to the stereo.

Belle prefers listening to inspirational music. One of her favorite artists is Jim Nabors -- she plays his records all the time. At first I didn't like him so much, but after a while he grew on me. Now I pop his records into the turntable every once in a while all by myself. His rendition of 'Little Green Apples' is a winner.

When I invited Belle to the music festival, she asked me, "Is Jim Nabors going to be there?"

"No, I don't think he will be there, unfortunately," I told her. "But Bjork will be there and she's pretty good, don't you think so?"

"Eh," she replied. "I like that old-timey music."

Belle has been using the phrase 'old-timey music' ever since she watched 'O Brother Where Art Thou' last week. She does that a lot - picking up phrases from movies or TV shows and then using them over and over until she wears them out. I can still remember the last time she watched 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure' - she kept on telling us how 'Wild Stallions Rule!'. That got old real fast.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Belly rub

It seems as though the weather has warmed up enough so that Belle is no longer interested in using the second floor compartment of her kitty condo. She's now spending all of her kitty condo time on the third floor, "the penthouse". When I came up to give her a pet this morning, she was in a fine mood. She even let me rub her belly. I knew that her good mood could only last so long, however.

After a few minutes, Belle let it slip that she had been thinking about TYKTWD (Take Your Kitty To Work Day), and realized that it has the same initials as 'Take Your Kids To Work Day', if such a holiday even exists. This bothered Belle very much, but she had already thought of a solution.

"If such a holiday as 'Take Your Kids To Work Day' does exist, then it's name should be changed to 'Take Your Children To Work Day', thus avoiding any confusion with TYKTWD," she explained.

"I guess that makes sense," I replied. "Or, you could change the name of your holiday to Take Your Cat to Work Day. That would also solve the problem."

It did not appear as though Belle had considered my suggestion previously, and she did not look very pleased to be hearing it suggested.

"Hmm. That's an interesting thought," she said as she rolled over onto her stomach, thus ending the belly rubbing session. "But it would make more sense for the kids to change their holiday. After all, I'm sure our kitty holiday has been around far longer."

I could sense by the tone in her meow that I was not to proceed any further with my ridiculous notion of making the cats change their holiday name.

"Perhaps you could look into this kids holiday for me, see what it's proper name is," she asked me. "I would do it myself, but, as you know, I prefer to work on Macs. Your PC is such a pain to use."

"I know, I know," I told her. "I'll get around to it when I get around to it"

Belle never gives out a belly rub without asking for something in return. I keep telling Andrea we should buy a Mac so that Belle could do her research on her own, but Andrea says they're too expensive.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Lord and Cat?

As you may know by now, Belle is a Christian, and a Baptist at that. She attends services every Sunday, and usually extends an invitation for Andrea and I to come along with her, which we always respectfully decline. I might go if there were other people there, but the church that Belle attends has only cats in its congregation.

Sometimes Belle's strong religious beliefs can cause some friction in our apartment, and today was one of those days. I overheard Belle saying a prayer before breakfast. She said, "Lord God, Heavenly Father, bless us and these Thy Gifts which we receive through Thy bountiful Goodness, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Cat. Amen."

"Lord and Cat" I couldn't help but repeating. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"What do you mean, 'What's that supposed to mean'?" questioned Belle. From her confused expression, I gathered that referring to Jesus as 'Lord and Cat' was nothing out of the ordinary for her.

"Why do you call Jesus 'Lord and Cat', Belle?" I asked her.

"Because he is a Lord, the son of God. And a cat," replied Belle.

This was strange, I thought to myself. I attended Sunday school for many years, and I don't remember anything about there even being a remote possibility that Jesus was a cat. I told Belle as much. "In human circles, it's thought that Jesus was a human, and not a cat, Belle." This did not sit well with her.

"Oh really?" she replied. "That's an interesting view. Complete rubbish, of course, but interesting nonetheless. You humans, you do think of some wild ideas, now don't you? Now, if you'll be excusing me, I'm in the middle of breakfast here."

And with that Belle went back to eating, though I could tell she wasn't enjoying her meal nearly as much as usual. I then received the silent treatment until lunchtime, which is Belle's way of telling me to drop it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I don't have time to play with you, I have to write about you!

Today Belle wanted me to play with her. She has a wire toy that she likes to play with. Unfortunately, she won't play with it by herself, so I have to participate, waving the wire toy back and forth as Belle attacks the little cardboard bit that is at the end of the wire. The play session tends to get old fast for me, even faster than it does for Belle, and that's saying something.

Today when Belle asked me to play, I told her, "I would love to, but I have to go write an entry in your blog. You wouldn't want me to miss writing an entry for today because I had to play with you, now would you?"

"No," replied Belle, "But I don't think I should have to choose between the two."

"Oh really," I said, "I suppose you think I ought to be able to do both then."

"I'm going to lie down on the windowsill," Belle snipped back at me.

Then Belle went her way and I went mine, down to the computer to write this article. After I was at my computer for a moment, I heard a pitiful moaning noise coming from upstairs. I went upstairs and found Belle in a most pathetic pose on the windowsill, lying listlessly but not sleeping, as her eyes were still wide open. She let out a sad moan every few seconds. I took a picture of her for posterity, so everyone can see how Belle gets when she doesn't get her way.

"What's the big idea, Belle?" I asked her.

"Oh, nothing. I'm just resting."

"Then what's with the racket? Are you not feeling well?"

"What would you care?," she hissed back.

I could see that Belle did not appreciate my refusal to play with her. Writing an article under such conditions would not be possible.

"Fine. Let's play, Belle," I told her.

"Okay, if you really want to," Belle replied happily.

She jumped off the windowsill and ran to her wire toy, and we played for a full five minutes. Then she let me go write my article, but I had forgotten what it was I was going to write about, so I wrote this instead.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Kitty-Sized Adventure

Recently Belle had a big adventure -- big for a cat, anyway. It all started when Andrea opened the apartment door. Andrea was going to a movie, but she didn't invite Belle to go. Belle, obviously feeling slighted by Andrea's non-invitation, bolted out of our apartment and ran down the hallway.

Before Andrea could catch her, Belle had made it to our next door neighbor's apartment, where the door happened to open as well. As Andrea closed in upon her, Belle made the only move that she could -- she ran into our next door neighbor's apartment and out of sight. Smart kitty that she is, Belle knew that this would slow down Andrea's chase, as Andrea was not about to barge into another apartment.

Belle entered the foreign apartment and wandered around, gradually taking in the new scenery. Belle has an immense interest in interior decorating, and loves visiting other apartments to see how they have been decorated. She thinks our apartment is "exceedingly dull".

Finally Belle heard a knock on the door. It was Andrea! Belle bolted down the staircase. She looked for a place to hide, and found an ideal spot -- underneath the bed. Belle sat very quietly, listening closely to hear what she could of the conversation between Andrea and the strange woman that inhabited this new apartment. Despite her best efforts, she couldn't tell what they were saying.

Then there were footsteps coming down the staircase. Andrea had come to search for her. Belle held her ground as the search proceeded. Finally they came to the bedroom. Andrea knelt down and looked under the bed. "Come out, Belle. You're going to make me late for the movie!" said Andrea.

But Belle refused to come out. Her plan was to make Andrea miss the movie. If Belle couldn't go, then Andrea shouldn't be able to go either. After another minute of coaxing, Andrea gave up. She told our neighbor, "When Belle does come out, just knock on our apartment door and Jeff will let her in."

And with that, Andrea left for the movies, foiling Belle's plan. Belle sat under the bed, stewing for a few minutes more. Finally she exited from her hideout and went back up the stairs, out of the apartment, and came back home. Then I had to listen to Belle complain about Andrea's insensitivity for an hour. Belle really needs to learn not to take things so personally.

When Andrea came home, I told her how the adventure had ended. Andrea felt bad about not inviting Belle to the movies. But in all fairness, Andrea was seeing a German film, "The Lives of Others", and we all know that Belle tends to fall asleep during foreign movies.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nine Lives: The Memoirs of a Kitty

Andrea and I went to North Carolina last Thursday, and just returned home last night. We were away from Belle for the better part of five days. I wish Belle would accompany us on our vacations, but she prefers to stay home. I don't see why dogs get to have all the fun. We offered to bring along a harness/leash so that Belle could walk with us, and also a kitty backpack so that we could carry her around when she didn't feel like walking. But still, Belle decided against it. She doesn't seem to like the great outdoors very much.

Belle says that she used the time apart from us to work on her book. She is writing an autobiography. The working title is "Nine Lives: The Memoirs of a Kitty". I said, "Isn't it a little early to be writing your memoirs? You're not even three years old yet." She replied, "But what a life I've led!". I guess I can't argue with that. But as for the title, I wasn't too impressed - it sounds a bit generic to me. I told Belle as much and she said, "What don't you understand about the concept of a WORKING title? It's going to change, just as soon as I think of something better." I guess she doesn't like the title either. Belle has, however, already picked out a photo for the book jacket, which I've posted in this blog entry. I think it's a pretty good choice, but when I looked at it closely, I noticed that there is something on Belle's nose. Now she is going to have to do a re-shoot with her German photographer, Hans.

I asked Belle if I could take a look at her book, but she denied my request. She says that I can read it when it gets published. I told her, "I'm sure your book is good, but it might NEVER get published. There's a lot of kitties out there trying to sell their memoirs." She said, "With that attitude, it's no wonder you've never been published." That hurt.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Patient Kitty

Yesterday was Take Your Kitty to Work Day, or so Belle had led us to believe. I woke up at 6:30 AM and went upstairs to make some coffee, and what should I find but Belle, sitting patiently by the front door, waiting for Andrea to get up and take her to work. I asked Belle, "How long have you been sitting like that?". She replied, "What time did you go to bed last night?". I think we went to bed around 10:30, so I guess she was waiting by the door for eight hours by the time I got up. She does love going to work.

I made breakfast, and finally Andrea came upstairs around 7:45. Belle was getting impatient by then. She told Andrea, "We only have 45 minutes to spare. Don't dawdle at breakfast, you know how I hate being late." Little did Belle know that Andrea had just paid a visit to the Official Kitty Holiday web site, and found that TYKTWD is actually on May 9th, not April 9th. Andrea explained this to Belle. It was not pretty. Belle was very disappointed.

But Andrea told her, "You wouldn't want to go into work today, you'd be the only kitty there! And that would hardly be any fun at all." Belle replied, "I suppose you're right. But it seems like I should get some extra food to make up for this horrible disappointment. I have been waiting for nine and a half hours now." Andrea said "That's ridiculous." Then after Andrea left for work, I gave Belle a shrimp. The poor thing, now she has to wait one whole more month.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Belle's Easter

Andrea and I had to go away this weekend to celebrate Easter/Passover with Andrea's parents. Belle decided to stay home, because she has an ongoing feud with her great uncle Oliver, who is a fat little dachsund. Belle claims that Oliver borrowed one of her catnip mice and never returned it. Oliver claims that the mouse was a gift, and that he has no obligation to return it. Furthermore, he has long since chewed said mouse into very tiny bits, which he then ate, and so now there is no mouse to return. This of course infuriated Belle to no end. Andrea and I tell her often that she should just forgive and forget (she is a Christian kitty after all), but Belle won't hear of it. Belle says that Easter is "the holiest of days", and she doesn't want it "being ruined by a stubborn old badger hound".

So we left Belle at home for Easter. Being as we weren't around, it is hard to say exactly what Belle did for Easter, though we're sure she must have celebrated it, since it's one of her favorite holidays, and we all know how much Belle loves holidays. If I had to take a guess as to what Belle did for Easter, this would be it:

6:30 AM - Belle wakes up and puts on her bunny hat. She does love her bunny hat.
7:00 AM - Belle scours the apartment for treats left by the Easter bunny. She finds three eggs, one filled with catnip, one filled with dry food, and the third filled with milk.
7:30 AM - Belle rolls around in catnip
8:00 AM - Belle eats the dry food and the milk
8:30 AM - Belle puts on her Sunday best and her new Easter hat.
9:00 AM - Belle attends church services
10:00 AM - Belle chit-chats with the other kitties at her church (she LOVES chit-chatting)
1:00 PM - Easter dinner. Belle makes a ham and invites her kitty friends over. Before they eat, Belle says her favorite Easter grace, of course!
3:00 PM - Belle takes a well-deserved nap
9:00 PM - Andrea and I come home to find Belle napping.

So as you can see, Belle (may have) had quite an Easter!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Plastic Bags = Delicious!

Today I went shopping and when I came home Belle helped me unpack. Belle claims to enjoy helping me unpack, but I believe that she has an ulterior motive - to get the plastic bags. I don't know what's so great about plastic bags, but Belle just loves them. In particular, she enjoys licking them. I guess they must taste good to a cat's palette, which Belle says is "infinitely more sophisticated" than that of a human. She must be right, because I tried licking the plastic bags myself and I thought they just tasted like plastic.

Belle's favorite plastic bags are from Target. She says they have a fruity flavor, with a robust aftertaste. She doesn't like Price Chopper's bags very much though, she says they taste of rotten eggs and old cabbage. Sometimes for a special treat, I give her bags from the Godiva store at the mall. She says they taste like flannel. I don't know what to make of that.

Belle is getting pretty excited for TYKTWD, which is on Monday. She picked out matching outfits for her and Andrea to wear to work on Monday - turqoise scoopneck sweaters with dark gray pencil skirts. Now Belle is trying to convince Andrea to purchase said outfits. Andrea doesn't want to spend the money, but as Belle says, "Take Your Kitty to Work Day comes but once a year".

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Stretching Routine

Today I went running for the first time in a while, and afterwards I did some stretching. Belle likes to stretch too. She helped me out with my stretching routine today. She especially loves stretching mats. The only problem with that is that her little claws tend to get stuck in the stretching mat, and then when she pulls her claws out, little bits of the mat get torn apart. I asked her if maybe she would like to get declawed, but she said, "Thanks, but no thanks. How about we de-fingernail you?". "I don't want my fingernails removed", I told her. "That sounds painful." "Tell me about it", she replied.

But anyway, Belle is a good little stretcher. I keep trying to convince her to come on a run with me, but she says that running is "a fruitless endeavor". I think she's just lazy.

I saw all sorts of kitties on my run this morning. There was one little black kitty that was in the street, but then when I got closer, she hid under a van. I named that kitty 'Petunia'. And then there was another little orange kitty that was in the street, but when I got closer, she was gone. I don't know where she went. I named her 'Genevieve'. I find that most cats tend to hide when I run by. Cats are shy, just like me. And finally, there was this one little puffball of a cat that was in a driveway. She had long hair and looked pretty old, and she didn't go anywhere when I ran by. I named her 'Bessie'. Good old Bessie. So anyway, as you can tell, cat-spotting is the highlight of my running. I don't tell Belle about the other cats, though. She gets awful jealous.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Kitty Condo, Second Floor

Today Belle spent a while in the second floor compartment of her kitty condo. The condo has two floors, and there is also space at the top of the condo, which Belle calls the "penthouse".

Belle likes the condo because it's right next to the heater, so she can curl up in the second floor compartment and let the heat waft up to her. I have a feeling she won't be using the compartment much once it gets warmer - it will be penthouse time then.

Belle doesn't ever use the first floor compartment of her kitty condo. I asked her why once, and she told me that "the first floor is for commoners". Sometimes Belle can be a bit of a snob.

One of the nice things about the kitty condo is that it serves double duty as a scratching post. Prior to the kitty condo, we had both wooden and rope scratching posts, neither of which Belle ever used. She didn't like scratching wood or rope nearly as much as our couch. Thankfully, when we got the kitty condo Belle started using it as her primary scratching post, though she still likes to let the couch know who's the boss occasionally. And it ain't Tony Danza.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

In One End and Out the Other

Having a cat is pretty easy, though sometimes Andrea and I manage to make it look hard. In general, there isn't too much work involved. You just need to feed the cat and provide it some places to nap, and that's about it. Oh, and there's one other thing: the litter box. What goes into the cat must come out, sad but true.

And so the two main cat-related chores are as follows: 1) feeding and watering your cat AND 2) litter box maintenance.

Andrea and I have an arrangement for these two cat chores. Andrea does chore number one (feeding/watering), and I do chore number two (litter box). I don't remember how exactly we came to this arrangement.

Today I thought it might be fun for us to switch our chores. I asked Andrea about that possibility, but she said things are fine the way they are and that we shouldn't "rock the boat". I didn't even know we were on a boat. I pointed out to her that it doesn't seem fair that I always have to do litter box duty, while she gets to feed and water Belle. But Andrea said our jobs are "separate but equal", and to change jobs at this point would be "dangerous". So that's a bummer. I was looking forward to watering the cat.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Keyboard Warmer

I have been home a lot lately, on weekdays, during the daytime. Belle has been wondering why I've been home so much. At first I told her I was sick. Then after a week she said, "You don't look very sick to me." Belle can be very perceptive. So then I told her that I was taking a vacation. For a while she believed me, but today she said, "Two weeks of vacation already? And you're spending it lying around the apartment playing videogames? Must be nice." I responded, "I don't see you doing much all day". Belle did not appreciate that comment. I didn't want to lie any longer, so I finally told Belle the truth - I quit my job three weeks ago.

Belle was not impressed with this news. I tried to explain it to her. I told her how I had been unhappy at work for a long time, how I wanted to try doing something different, at least for the time being. I told her that Andrea makes enough money to support us while I am in between jobs, and that Belle wouldn't be going hungry (at least any more hungry than usual). Still Belle remained in a bad mood. I couldn't figure out why she cared so much.

Then it hit me. Now that I don't have a job, Belle's chances of being taken into the office on TYKTWD (Take Your Kitty To Work Day) have been cut in half. Previously either Andrea or I could have taken her into work, but now Andrea is her only hope. So I asked Belle, "Would it make you feel any better if I PROMISED that Andrea will take you into work on TYKTWD?". Belle said, "Well, I suppose that would be acceptable. Deal." So now Andrea is going to take Belle into work (though I haven't told Andrea yet). Belle's mood has markedly improved. Already, she is practicing keeping Andrea's keyboard warm. Belle likes to give the keyboard her personal touch, and by personal touch I mean getting enormous amounts of white and gray kitty hair stuck under the keyboard.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Belle's Favorite T-shirt

This is Belle's favorite t-shirt. She's been wearing it ALL the time lately. I asked her why she was wearing it so much and she said, "Because it's fashionable. Not that you would know anything about that, Mr. fleece and sweat pants". I thought that was rude of her to say, especially since I don't even own a pair of sweat pants. She must have been thinking of my pajama pants. I do wear those around the apartment sometimes. And what's wrong with fleece?

Belle has been greatly expanding her wardrobe lately. Yesterday she came home with two scarves and a sun dress. She said the scarves were buy one, get one free, and the sun dress was 70% off. Belle does like a good bargain. She is a frugal kitty, and that's fine by me.

I don't know why she needs any clothes at all, though. If I had a full coat of fur, I would never wear anything. In fact, sometimes I don't wear anything, even though I don't have a full coat of fur. But if Belle spots me in such a state, she'll meow at me until I put some clothes on. She says that she doesn't like seeing much skin, especially when it's "as pale as milk" like mine. She can be a tough kitty to please.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Lazy Sunday / Little Miss Sunshine


Today was a lazy Sunday. Belle and Andrea and I napped much of the day away. Belle is a good napper. Usually Andrea and I can't keep up with her napping, but today we came pretty darn close. After getting up at 7 this morning, Belle and I managed to nap from 8:30 to 12:30. Andrea got out of bed around 9:30, ate some cereal, and then napped from 10:00 to 12:30. I managed to not nap from 12:30-4:30, but then succumbed to another nap from 4:30-6:45 in the evening. Like I said, today was a lazy Sunday.

My excuse for all of this napping madness is that I woke up with a cold today. My throat was killing me and I had a headache, so I took some drowsiness-causing cold medicine first thing after waking up. Hence the napping. Belle and Andrea have no such excuse.

Belle does like a good nap. It's one of her favorite things. She and I have that in common. Belle gets to nap in lots of places that I don't, though, like on top of the dining table or on a footstool. I only ever get to nap in bed and on the couch. One time I tried to take a nap on a footstool, but it wasn't very comfortable. Belle told me, "What do you think you're doing, napping on my footstool? I don't try and shit in the sink, now do I?". I think she meant to say 'toilet', not 'sink'. She's always getting those confused. I guess she had a point though. I just wish she wouldn't use foul language like that.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Take Your Kitty to Work Day

Today when Andrea and I came home from a walk, we found Belle sleeping on our filing cabinet on top of a brown envelope. This was odd, as the filing cabinet is not one of her usual napping spots. I didn't know where the envelope came from either. We usually keep them in the closet, and neither Andrea or I could remember getting one out recently.

Then we remembered. It's only two weeks until Take Your Kitty to Work Day. We told Belle that we weren't going to celebrate this year, and she has been bothering us about it ever since. She obviously had gotten the envelope out herself and was taking a nap on it to prove that she could be well behaved in an office environment. Kitty is always one step ahead.

You see, the reason we don't want to take her into work this year is because in years past, things have not gone so well. Last year was particularly bad. Belle got into an argument with the kitty in the cubicle across from me. The other cat was a Mormon and Belle told him, "Your religion is rubbish, Joseph Smith was a fraud, and you, my friend, are a fool!". Belle can be a bit harsh when it comes to religion. She's a Baptist herself. A little kitty Baptist.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Did you miss me?

I returned home from Atlanta today. No sooner had I opened the door and dropped my bags on the floor than Belle ran over and jumped into my arms to greet me. Sometimes Belle can be a little over-affectionate (especially when we've been away on vacation). So I gave Belle a quick hug and then tried to set her down, but she wouldn't let go! Sometimes Belle just doesn't know when to let the hug end.

Later on, Belle and I had a nice long chat about my trip. I told her that the trip went pretty well, except for the part where I got a stomach bug and spent eight hours vomiting, and then had to spend the entirety of Wednesday lying on my bed at the hotel. "Hotlanta will do that to you", Belle said, "Lord knows, Hotlanta wll do that to you". Then Belle became strangely quiet, as if she was remembering events long since past. I guess Belle got sick in Atlanta once too.

As for Andrea's allegations (see the previous post, "Known Dogs"), let it be known that I was forced to play with the dog in those photos. Atlanta has a strict dog-play policy: for every day spent in the city, it is required that tourists spend one hour of playtime with an underprivileged dog. I assure you (as I assured Belle) that I dreaded every minute of it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Known Dogs

Well. Kitty persists in her melancholy malaise long past the point of reason. She won't fetch, roll over, or wash the dishes. She just calls over and over "Jeff, Jeff". That may seem sweet, but her pronunciation is terrible and she has a really high pitched voice. It sounds awfully like a cat screeching because nobody will turn on the heat. I get brief periods of respite while she eats her pebbles, which I've started sprinkling all over the apartment in an attempt to prolong
the feast.

Her behavior into this now third day calls for more drastic measures however. I'm sorry to put you through this Belle, but the truth must be told for your own good. I received these pictures from an anonymous tipster today. The pictures are graphic, so I will spare you the after shots. Jeff isn't just buying you souvenirs in Hotlanta, he's cavorting with known dogs. Known dogs!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Jeff = Gone



Well, Jeff has left on his trip, so I'm here to take over as promised. Belle is not taking it well. (I think my taking over the blog more than his absence.) She has been sitting in the window pining away, and barely acknowledges me, except every other second, when she decides she's hungry and needs to express that through long meows. I suppose she'll rightly get over it by tomorrow, when she'll forget Jeff ever existed. Sad but true. Kitties got to be moving on.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Atlanta, Here I Come


Tomorrow I am leaving for Atlanta (or 'Hotlanta' as Belle likes to say). I will be gone for six days. I've never been to Atlanta, outside of the airport. Belle says she spent a summer in Atlanta once, and it was the greatest summer of her life. I suppose that is technically possible, because she was eight months old when she came to live with us and that was in January of '05, so her wherabouts during the summer of '04 are unknown. Did any of my Atlanta-based readers happen to see Belle in the summer of '04? If so, I would love to hear about it. Leave some comments, why don't you.

I offered to take Belle with me on my trip to Atlanta, and she accepted. I was surprised, because usually Belle doesn't have much nice to say about the South. Later on in the day Belle asked me if she needed to go shopping for anything special, like scuba gear or goggles. I asked her, "Why would you need scuba gear?". It turned out she thought we were going to Atlantis, not Atlanta. After I cleared things up, she decided not to go. She said, "Been there, done that. And it was the greatest summer of my life!".

I have requested that Andrea update Belle's blog during my absence. It is hard to say whether that will actually happen or not, but let it be known that such a request was indeed made. If you, dear reader, happen to notice that the posting next week is not as frequent, do not worry. I shall return.