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.