Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Working Out

"I hear congratulations are in order, my elephantine friend." I heard Bob's voice, but I was too famished to even bother asking what elephantine meant.  Besides, I was pretty sure it was NOT the compliment he was pretending it to be.  "Did you hear me, my corpulent companion?" I swear, ever since Bob discovered that "Word of the Day" app on his human's smart phone he's been impossible.  "I was just observing that you've lost a few pounds."

"I did not lose those pounds," I retorted.  "They were stolen from me!  Stolen as surely as Miss R. has begun to mix my magnificent Fancy Feast with.....with......with...." I couldn't finish the thought.  It seemed irreverent to use the word diet food  in the same sentence as Fancy Feast.

"But Oliver, look at you!  You're trimming down.  Well, maybe that's putting it too strongly, but you're definitely less obese than you were.  Doesn't that thrill you?"

"No!  It makes me hungry!  I'm hungry, Bob, and the only thing waiting for me in my food dish is that tainted Fancy Feast.  It's a cruel, cruel world, Bob."  I sighed and dropped my head into my paws in what I hoped was a dramatic fashion.

"Well, if you followed my example and exercised more you'd burn more calories and be able to eat a bit more."  He did one of his yoga poses called The Plank to prove his point, the show-off.

"I do exercise," I insisted.  "I run a lot."

"Running to your food dish does not count as exercise."

"Oh," I mumbled.  "Well, that's not the only time I run, I'll have you know."

"Well, running to catch the nearest sunbeam for a nap also fails to count as exercise."  Dang it!  Just then Miss Kitty dropped onto the deck seemingly out of no where.  She has a way of doing that. I scrambled to a sitting position and sucked in my massive gut as best as I could.
"Hi Boys," she grinned.  "What are we talking about?"

"Working out," I replied, but my voice came out all high-pitched the way it does when I've been sucking in my gut for too long.

"Hmmmmm," she said with that observant manner of hers.  "Well, Oliver, I had noticed that you were looking..." she paused here as if trying to find the right words, "less obese than usual."  Bob grinned in that triumphant way of his, but I found myself blushing with pleasure.

"Yes, well, I've been cutting back, you know, on food.  Trying to be healthy and all that.  Bob was just showing me some yoga poses that I might want to incorporate into my routine."  I tried to do the plank just then and ended up in a massive belly flop with folds of fat vibrating so viciously that they blew the deck dust into mini whirlwinds.  I blushed again, this time from pure mortification.

Miss Kitty stifled a cough and then said, "You know, Oliver, working out doesn't have to be work.  You can exercise plenty just by getting out and playing.  In fact, exercise should be fun."

This time it was my time turn to cough.  "Fun? Working out?  How is that I even possible?"

Miss Kitty just smiled, reached out to pat me with a paw and said, "Tag!  You're it!"  With that she was scampering around the deck like a mini whirlwind herself.  Bob and I joined the game and you know what?  She was right!  I did have fun.  Maybe, just maybe, I will get used to this healthy lifestyle.

Post Workout Snack

Monday, May 23, 2011

Soft, what light in yonder window breaks?

"Soft, what light in yonder window breaks?" That's how Othello started the conversation on Friday afternoon.  He had jumped down from his deck to join Bob and me on my deck.  Soft, what light in yonder window breaks?  What does that even mean? Bob just chuckled.

"Well quoted, my thespian friend, well quoted." Honestly, sometimes I just don't understand those two.  It's like they're speaking a different language.  "Othello is quoting a line from one of William Shakespeare's plays called Romeo and Juliet. It's the part where Romeo compares Juliet's radient beauty to that of the sun.  Of coure, today Othello is remarking about the radient beauty of the sun itself."

  Really?  Well then, why doesn't he just say so?  Still, I have to admit, Friday was a beautiful and lovely day.  The three of us spent all afternoon snoozing in the radient beauty of the sun. I've observed human kittens taking off their shoes and socks to run and play on days when the sun warms the ground.  I don't get it.  We cats prefer resting in the sun to playing in the sun.  I'm curious, boys and girls of Room 204.  What do you like to do in the sun?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

School Daze

" did it go?" asked Vinnie, Bob, Miss Kitty, and Othello the moment I came home from my school day adventure. They were waiting for me out on their respective decks as I knew they would be.

"Piece of cake," I replied nonchalently. OK...between you, gentle reader, and me, it wasn't exactly a piece of cake, but I do like me some cake now and then. I digress. Today, I'm afraid I got a little.......anxious. Ever since Miss R. told me I would be visiting the boys and girls this morning, I've been too excited even to eat! Visiting the boys and girls in Miss R.'s class is such a big deal. Miss R. even bought a stylish new carrying case for me. It's black which I understand is very slimming. The ride to school this morning was filled with anticipation. As Miss R. carried me through the halls, I felt my pulse quickening. Then we rounded the corner into her wing and I heard the crowds (and by crowds I mean the kids in the third grade wing) screaming my name and I panicked. So much pressure. Miss R. let me into the room before the students came in so I had a chance to explore, but I could see all the faces of the human kittens pressed against the glass of the door and I got the worst case of stage fright, ever. I tried to make a beeline for the hallway when the door at last opened, but Miss R. was too quick. She scooped me up before I could make get-a-way. Once the kids came in and settled in I began to relax, but I didn't feel completely calm again until Miss R. returned me to my slimming carrying case. Miss Lisa picked me up to take me home and I was sad to say good-bye to my friends. Anyway, here are the pics I showed Vinnie and the gang of my adventure. Boys and Girls, my favorite part of the day was meeting you! What was your favorite part of your Hundred Star Party day?
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bald and Beautiful

"All right, Oliver.  I pinkie swear promise not to laugh," said Bob but under his breath he added as if cats even have pinkies.  I ignored that.  "Tell me again why your tummy and, um, your rear are shaved smoother than a baby's bald head?"

"Well, there are quite a few reasons one would have to shave one's belly, " I retorted somewhat miffed.

"Really?  Name one."

Drat! He called my bluff.  "Well, to begin with, it's a fashion statement, very trendy. I predict cats everywhere will soon be shaving their bellies and their bottoms." I returned.

"Indeed," murmured Bob.  Sometimes he can be so smug!

"Also..." I paused, "...the vet needed to shave my belly so the radiologist could perform an ultrasound to determine what was wrong with me.  I was very sick." I tried my best to look pathetic.  It must've worked because Bob's expression grew softer.

"I am glad to see you back to your old self, friend.  You know, I was pretty worried about you."

"Thanks, Pal.  I am better.  The people at the Sunset Pet Hospital were really nice and they helped me to feel a lot better."

"I told you there was nothing to worry about.  Vets help animals." Bob smiled again and added, "So, what was wrong?  Did you ever find out?"

" was....." I hesitated.  It was kind of embarrassing.  That's what it was.  "I was...ummm....that is to say.....Iwasconstipated." The last part came out in a rush, like it was one long word.

"Constipated?  Did I hear that right?"  Bob tried to hide a smirk but I could see it playing about his whiskers.

"You promised you wouldn't laugh," I reminded him.  "You promised."

"I'm not laughing.  I'm ummmm......coughing....that's right....I'm coughing."

Coughing?  I don't think so!  I guess I can't blame him for laughing, though.  I do look pretty silly all bald in places.  I have no one to blame but myself.  Maybe it really is time to start....uggghhh....I can barely say it.....dieting.  It wouldn't hurt to start eating a healthier diet, lose a few.  I don't know where to start.  Boys and girls, I need some healthy yet delicious recipes to help me get through this ordeal.  What's your favorite healthy recipe?  I need your tips.  I can't handle any more constipation jokes at my expense!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sick Ollie

Whenever Bob seems to be having a streak of bad luck he likes to say, "When it rains, it pours."  I never understood that until this week.  For the past few days, I've had a bit of a stomach bug.  Don't get me wrong.  I would never let a little thing like an achy stomach keep me from eating, but my tummy has been hurting. Vinnie suggested I try eating less, but when has less food ever cured anyone?  On Saturday, Miss R. took me to a place that wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be.  That's right, boys and girls.  She took me to the see a vet and I discovered that the people at the Sunset Pet Hospital really did want me to feel better.  I won't tell you where the veterinarian stuck the thermometer,but that was less than pleasant. You would think that after enduring the aches of a tummy bug, and the indignity of having my temperature taken, that I would be left alone to pout in peace, but no.  After all this, I heard Miss R using a four letter word.....that's right, she said, "DIET!"  As in Miss R and the doctor want to put me on a diet!  Apparently 26 pounds is too much cat for some people to handle, but I say there is just more of me to hug.  Who wouldn't appreciate a big, furry Ollie hug now and then? Oh, the indecency of it all. Like Bob says, "When it rains, it pours."  It is definitely pouring now.  Stay tuned, children.  I go back to the vet on Tuesday. In the meantime, maybe it wouldn't hurt to try eating a little healthier and maybe exercising a teeny, tiny bit.  Boys and girls, do you have any healthy eating tips for me?  What about exercise?  Do you have any ideas on fun ways I can get my body moving a bit more?  I need to hear from you and soon....before that horrible four letter word is spoken again.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bob's Book Club

"Oliver, now that you have begun your career as a,," remarked Bob, "perhaps it is time for you to begin thinking about your reading habits.  After all, all good writers are prolific readers."

"What's that? Yeah, sure, whatever you say, Bob." I replied.  My brain was still trying to figure out why Bob had coughed out the word writer, almost like he didn't believe it to be true of me.

"Oliver, pay attention," instructed Bob.  "I'm issuing you an invite to my book club.We meet regularly to discuss great works of literary art. If you're serious about being a writer than you should be serious about joining this book club.  After all, there is no better way to acquire great writing skills than by discussing the writing style of successful,  famous, published writers.  Don't you agree?"

"I guess so." I replied.  I wasn't really paying attention to what Bob was saying.  I was more concerned with whether or not there would be snacks at a book club. I might not mind sitting around with Bob's stuffy friends if food is being served.

"Oliver, are you thinking about food again?" Bob demanded to know.  "I see that dazed look in your eyes and you're starting to drool!" Drat!  He was on to me.  "Oliver, pay attention.  Our next meeting is this Friday at my place.  We're discussing the book Prince Caspian by the highly esteemed C.S. Lewis.  You only have four days to finish the book.  I'll see you then."  With that final comment, Bob leaped through the pet door that led back to his own apartment.  I remained out on my deck wondering how in the world I could ever finish a chapter book in time to take part in the book club meeting.  I'm not a very fast reader.  Then I remembered that the boys and girls in Miss R.'s class had learned about summarizing which is word that means saying a little about a lot.  And, they also just finished reading Prince Caspian. There are a lot of words in Prince Caspian but if you summarize, or say a little about the most important events in the story than maybe I can be prepared for Friday's meeting.  Can you help?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Young Authors Day

"It was a dark and a stormy night."

Now I  know what you're thinking but no fair copying, boys and girls.  That is the opening line to the literary masterpiece I plan to write for Young Authors Day or YAD as it is commonly known .  Of course, felines have been historically barred from participating in YAD festivities for reasons that make no sense to me.  Apparently, the fun of writing and celebrating stories is restricted to students only.  That is why my next literary masterpiece will be a brilliantly persuasive letter to the powers that be informing them of my discontent.  I mean, really!  Aren't I a student as well?  Just because I am not enrolled in school doesn't mean I'm not learning.  In fact, just this weekend I learned an exceptionally valuable lesson.  I learned that Miss R really doesn't like being woken up at 3AM to fill my dish with my favorite kitty treats.

 I digress.  Back to Young Authors Day.  I'm curious, boys and girls.  What story ideas have been percolating in your non-furry brains?  Are you writing fiction or non fiction?  Where are you in the writing process?  Are you still working on your story maps or are you writing your first draft?  I can't wait to hear from you all!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

This poem is by one of Bob's favorite writers, Anonymous, but it perfectly expresses my affection for the boys and girls in Room 204. All my love, Oliver!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Oliver's Place

A great artist by the name RM #11 has created this rendition of the building where I reside.  As you can see, RM #11 also drew in the homes of my neighbors. That's Bob next door to me.  He calls himself an intellect which is a fancy way of saying he's smart.  His human is a professor at an university and often brings home textbooks that Bob loves to read.  He also loves to share his knowledge with the rest of us. Bob has an adopted sibling named Miss Darcy Kitty.  That's her sky diving off the side of the building. She is a brave adventurer, as you can see, who often strolls the trails in the park nearby when she's not sky diving.  Hanging around Bob, she has learned to love books, but she prefers adventure stories to textbooks.  A good book will often inspire her to seek her fortune.  Last week she found her fortune in the form of a half-eaten burger in the garbage can behind Kidd Valley. She was generous enough to share her fortune with me. Othello lives in the apartment directly above me.  He's a feline Shakespearean actor who has a funny way of talking.  Bob tells me that Othello speaks in iambic pentameter and I have no idea what that means, but apparently it's a Shakespearean actor kind of thing.  Next to Othello, lives Vinnie.  Vinnie is old and lost a leg to diabetes many years ago.  He keeps a garden on his deck where he grows vegetables to help him stay healthy.  Whereas Bob is book smart, Vinnie is what I like to call life smart.  When I told him that, he just smiled his gap-toothed smile and said, "That's because I've learned from my mistakes.  And when you make as many mistakes as I learn a lot!"  And now, thanks to RM#11, all my regular readers can have a picture of where my buddies and I live. Thank you, RM#11!

Boys and girls, can you tell me something about the place where you live?  Is it a house or an apartment?  Do you know your neighbors?  Without using their names can you tell me what makes them unique?  I'd love to learn more about you.

Friday, January 28, 2011


"Hey, Vinnie, what'cha ya doin'?" I called to my three-legged neighbor. Vinnie appeared to be scratching around in a small, rectangular box of litter, but what strange litter.  Usually litter is light grey.  The stuff he was digging was a dark, blackish-brown.  Clearly not litter.

"I'm sorry, Oliver, what was that?  These old ears aren't what they used to be." Vinnie smiled up at me with that semi-toothless grin of his.  I love Vinnie's gap-filled smiles.  They always warm my heart.

"I asked what you were doing."

"I'm tending to my vegetable garden, young man." replied Vinnie with what seemed like a small amount of modest pride.  "Yessirree, nothing beats fresh vegetables harvested from your own deck garden."

Before I could stop myself the word, "Eeeuuuuwww" escaped my lips.  "Sorry, I don't mean to be rude.  I just don't like vegetables." I explained.

"Quite all right. I understand.  I used to hate 'em myself.  That was back in the day before diabetes claimed my leg."

"Dia...what...ese?"  I asked.

"Diabetes.  It's a disease that we felines are susceptible to.  It comes from eating too much unhealthy food and not enough veggies.  By the time my vet discovered the disease it had already progressed to the point where I needed to have my leg amputated." He patted the stump that served as his leg. "Yessirreee, this here ol' stump is my battle wound in my fight against the disease, but I've come out the winner.  I changed my unhealthy eating and have started growing my own healthy food."  He looked at me again and I could see his old eyes twinkling. 

"I don't see any vegetables." I said.

"Well, no, not yet.  They take time to grow.  Right now, I'm just tending to the soil." He motioned to the blackish-brown stuff and I recognized it then as the stuff Miss R.'s plants grow in.

"Soil.  I know a little bit about soil.  Miss R's students are studying soil right now at school.  I bet they might even have information that would help your garden grow."  I was pleased to think that I might be able to help Ol' Cat Vinnie.  He's just a cool guy.

"Oliver, that would be marvelous. I sure would appreciate it," Vinnie said and he grinned that old gap-toothed smile of his. 

So, boys and girls, I need your help.  What can you tell me about soil?  How does soil help plants grow?  Do you have any information that would help Vinnie?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

What a coincidence that the boys and girls in Room 204 happen to be studying soil on the same day that I visited my new neighbor, Othello.  Why is that a coincidence, you ask? Well, it just so happens that Othello was preparing for a new role in an upcoming feline production of Shakespeare's "As You Like It."  Apparently, his preparation called for tearing into and rolling around in his human's 20 pound sack of garden soil. When I asked him what garden soil had to do with acting, Othello just rolled his eyes and replied, "Lord, what fools these mortals be." Bob later told me that's a line from another one of Shakespeare's plays. Anyway, Othello's human was clearly not impressed with that particular exercise in acting because she rewarded the little guy with a bath. I don't think the post-bath scowl and the attitude that you see photographed here had anything to do with role preparation. I hoped the catnip cookies I baked would cheer up the little guy, but when he smelled the cookies he just rolled his eyes again and said, "Oft expectation fails, and most oft here."  At first, I thought that might be a compliment to my cookies, but Bob suggested otherwise. I think maybe Othello just needs to learn to avoid activities that require tub time.  Maybe you boys and girls in Room 204 could summarize what you know about soil and then I can show Othello why it's not a good thing to prepare for acting roles by rolling around in dirt.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Monday morning dawned wet and cold, the kind of day where I prefer to stay in bed and sleep in.  You can imagine my irritation then when a deep, booming voice resounded from outdoors, reverberating throughout my apartment.  Irritation gave way to awe and wonderment as I heard the beautiful words, "I have a dream...."  The poetry of the words and the tone of the voice wrapped themselves around me.  "I have a dream," the voice repeated.  I love hearing about people's dreams so I jumped through the pet door and launched myself onto my deck where I could hear better.  I could see my neighbor Bob sitting at attention on his deck next to mine.  "Hey Bob," I whispered.  "What's going on?  Who is that?"

"Shhhh," whispered Bob.  "That's the new guy in C403.  His name is Othello.  He's one of the few successful feline Shakespearean actors. Today he is honoring the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by reciting the leader's best known speech.."

"Huh?" I said.  What I meant was who ever heard of a famous feline Shakespeaerean actor?

"Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." Bob repeated.  "He was a leader in the area of civil rights."

"Civil rights? What does that mean?" I asked outloud but my brain was still trying to figue out what a feline Shakespearean actor was.

"Shhhh, Oliver." Bob sighed.  I could tell he was getting annoyed, but seriously a feline Shakespearean actor? "Just listen, Oliver.  It'll make more sense if you just listen."

So I curled up on deck table and listened as the new cat, Othello, continued reciting the words that first moved a nation so many decades ago.  "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.' "  I continued to listen as the words washed over me making me feel a strange sense of hopefulness and peace.  I wish I had known this leader of civil rights.

I'm curious, kids, what can you tell me about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? I'd like to know more about the man that penned those words.  And what are your dreams?  I'd like to know what human kittens dream about. In the meantime, I'm going to bake some catnip cookies to bring to the new cat, Othello.  I've got to see this feline Shakespearean actor with my own eyes.  Who knew?