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)