Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

It’s been months since I posted to my blog, I know. Absolutely nothing all summer. And how did I spend those precious sunny hours of summer, you may ask? Was I rolling in the catnip beds of an English country estate? Was I sampling fondue in the Swiss Alps? Was I chowing down chowder at the tip of Cape Cod? No, no, and finally, no. I was here, manicuring my claws while those about me led harried and, no doubt, much more exciting lives. A cat such as myself should really have a social secretary. One gets so bored spending one’s day napping and snacking, playing with an occasional insect maybe, or hissing at one’s housemates. And then the boredom begins anew, with the napping and the snacking. Only this, while I could be doing momentous things! Why, I could be hunting wild game in the mountains of Turkey. I could be deep-sea fishing off the coast of Sardinia. I could be bird watching in the cloud forests of the Canary Islands. But no. Here I am, just wishing and dreaming. Which, frankly, takes quite a bit of energy! Did someone mention napping?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's April Fool's Day!

As you know, I’ve been gleaning interesting factoids about human holidays. Humans are very concerned with the calendar, particularly about beginning it. For instance, did you know that April Fool’s Day, which is today, was part of yet another New Year’s celebration which began on the spring equinox? This is most confusing indeed. We’re only beginning April and already we’ve had three New Years. One begins to suspect that the New Year’s celebration is less about starting a new year and more about a little festive imbibing.

Now the origin of April Fool’s Day is rather fun. In 1564, the French nobility decided to move the New Year to January to get a jump on the Gregorian calendar, and then not tell anyone they didn’t like, like the bourgeoisie. Then when April 1st rolled around, the people celebrating the old New Year’s Day could be made fun of and called “April fish,” presumably because they were so behind the times that they might as well have been in the previous astrological sign of Pisces. Traditionally, the French celebrate April 1st by sneaking dead fish onto their friends’ backs. This is so sweet! My Humans, of course, are not French. I did not get a fish. Perhaps it’s just as well. I’ve had Ocean Whitefish all week, and I’m hoping for something different—like lamb! After all, we are in Aries now.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Top o’ the morning to you! No, I’m not really Irish, but I do like to get into the spirit of the holiday—the wearing of the green, the kissing of the Blarney stone, the chasing of leprechauns. We have so much to thank the Irish for. In addition to shamrocks and William Butler Yeats and pots of gold, there’s Riverdance and Enya. There’s also Guinness and Laphroaig, both of which I’m sure my humans would like. But in my opinion, the ultimate contribution of the Irish to world culture is corned beef. It’s juicy and succulent, and contrary to its name has nothing to do with corn whatsoever. Today it was the luck of the Irish for me. In celebration of the holiday, my Humans made New England boiled dinner. I passed on the carrots and potatoes and cabbage, of course, but the corned beef was divine! I could have eaten much, much more, but when one is watching one’s waistline like I am, one must resist. But I do look forward to St. Paddy’s Day next year. Erin go bragh, everyone!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

It’s Daylight Saving Time!

Last night I lost an hour of sleep. Clocks all over the country were turned forward an hour in accordance with the old adage “Spring forward, Fall back” created a century ago by an Englishman who was also an early riser and an avid golfer. He was appalled that his fellow Brits slept well past dawn instead of gallivanting around before breakfast, like he, on their thoroughbreds. He also longed for just another hour before dusk in which to finish his round of golf. If only the clocks were set one hour ahead, he thought. Well, I am not an early riser (or a riser at all, if it suits me), and so it comes as no surprise to me that English horsemen and avid golfers would come to be so completely in charge of the clock. Who else would have nothing better to do than wheedle and whine until everyone else was forced out of bed at some ungodly hour? As you can see, this lack of sleep has made me cranky, which makes me think this would be a great time for a nap.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day!

Did you know that only 6 hours of today are actually today? It’s true! The other 18 hours are left over from the last 3 years and are pasted on to this year to make a whole day. That’s because years are really 365 days and 6 hours long, but a 6-hour day is just not workable. Why, the loss of sleep alone would be a source of catastrophic crankiness. And when would one shop? No, a 6-hour day is right out. This was wisely understood back in 45 BC by Julius Caesar who, having been off making love eyes at Cleopatra in Egypt, returned to Rome to find that the Senators had moved the Spring Equinox to winter. In order to remedy this extreme silliness, he had to add 2 whole months to the end of that year. Of course, while he was fiddling around with the calendar, which in those days had only 355 days, he decided he’d make some other changes. For instance, on the advice of Cleopatra’s astrologers, he added a couple of days to each of the 12 months to follow the solar calendar and make all the holidays fall in the same season every year. Then, every 4th year an extra day was tacked on to the last month of the year, which in those days was February. This was all well and good, but Caesar didn’t stop there. In my estimation, he should have been less concerned with changing the calendar and more with casting a wary eye toward Egypt where Marc Anthony and Cleopatra were playing fast and loose with each other. Instead, he changed the name of the 5th month, Quintilis, to Julius (now known as July) after himself. The Senators were so peeved about this final rather self-serving calendar change that shortly thereafter came the whole Ides of March and “Et tu, Brute” thing. Poor Julius. He was succeeded by his son Augustus, who in a fit of family resemblance named the 6th month, Sextilis, after himself. I wonder which 6 of today’s hours are actually today. For the other 18, I plan to nap.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Busy, busy, busy. Everyone here is busy—too busy to help me with my blog or take my picture, or even give me a bath, which, as you can imagine, is totally boring for me. So today I went shopping. On the Internet. With no money. Would that be Windows shopping? I wanted to look at all the new styles, get a leg up on fashion trends. I could search for something fashionable, but not too provocative (although my diet is working like a charm). Maybe something asymmetrical. Pink. Sparkly, even. PetSmart, being “big box,” would carry the standards, but I wanted something cutting edge, slick, boutique-y. So I Googled “cat apparel.” Most of the returns were for cats on clothing, not in it, but I did find one that touted “luxury and designer cat apparel at the Gilded Paw.” Very promising indeed.

Here I must complain. Without question, cats are much more chic and sophisticated than dogs right out of the gate, so why do they get all the cool attire? Witness the Gilded Paw’s Cat Vests and Coats. If I put these on, I’d find myself saying “Howdy, pardner” or “It’s elementary, my dear Watson.” Words that are not in a cat’s vocabulary! But go to the dog dress section and you get some stylish outfits like this kicky pink camo frock or this sweet little black dress. Here’s a glittery Spandex evening gown that would show off my newly defined curves to perfection, and I just adore this sizzling tangerine organza number. Then there’s this to-die-for Emma Rose creation in black velvet with marabou trim and real Swarovski crystals! All for dogs! On the other hand (and I do hate to admit this), a chihuahua and I might have a few anatomic similarities. I just might be able to slip into a Medium. And I’ll definitely have to accessorize.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Happy Groundhog Day!

Today groundhogs all over the country came out of their burrows to look for their shadows. This delightful custom was started by a German groundhog poet many centuries ago who wrote:

Wenn's an Lichtmess stürmt und schneit,
ist der Frühling nicht mehr weit;
ist es aber klar und hell,

kommt der Lenz wohl nicht so schnell.

Or if your German, like mine, is a little rusty:

If Groundhog Day brings wind and snow,
Then spring will very soon show.

But if Groundhog Day is clear and bright,

Then spring won’t come so right.

Not a very talented poet, to be sure, but obviously showing much initiative to have created such a widely observed holiday.

Today, Chicago’s groundhog, Chuck Wood, didn’t see his shadow, so they’re in for an early spring. Neither did Jimmy the Groundhog in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Staten Island Chuck in New York, Wiarton Willie in Ontario, or General Beauregard Lee in Georgia, lucky groundhogs all. But Metompkin Max in Virginia, Pee Wee in Montpelier, Vermont, and Sir Walter Wally of Raleigh, North Carolina all saw their shadows, meaning six more weeks of winter. Our very own Queen Charlotte of the Queen City also saw her shadow. Well, no big surprise for Vermont where they’ll probably have six more months of winter. But poor Virginia! Poor us! Nevertheless, I think it was very selfless of these working groundhogs to rouse from their naps, go out into the cold to face anxious crowds, and make (perhaps unpopular) weather predictions. I mean, why would they personally care if it’s winter or not? They have mounds and mounds of fur, by all accounts, so what’s a few more weeks one way or the other? Those of us with no fur, on the other hand, must suffer the cold for at least six more weeks. I do hope my hand-knit sweater shows up soon.