Twitter Trouble

This past winter a lightning struck a tree in my yard and through my cable modem zipped into my computer. In less time it takes to Twitter “what the …” my hard drive was forever divorced from my motherboard and consequently my motherboard committed suicide by incineration. Luckily my hard drive remained intact and now resides in an older discard computer from my computer technician.

Since then I’ve had twitter trouble. Not TWITTER trouble. Just twitter. My hard drive has developed a twitter, indistinguishable from the twitting of the Chickadees (I think chickadees) perching on the intact half of the tree struck by lightning.

I think I might take up Twittering as a distraction from that twitter. Or maybe it’s time for a new computer, or just time to unplug and listen to the birds.


I found Kippy when she was a four-week old motherless kitten. Four years later, Kippy is about to become a published celebrity.

She has been chosen to appear in the I Can Has Cheezburger (www.icanhascheezburger.com) book titled I Can Has Cheezburger?: Lolcats Teach U How To Take Over Teh Wurld, due for publication in September, 2009.

Earlier, her first encounter with fame occurred when she became the website mascot of my online cat products store (www.catabove.com).

Here is Kippy’s photo for the book.

My cousin Jill was an aspiring photographer. She’d been aspiring for quite sometime, even winning a Kodak award for a cow (cow’s left eye and left nostril, to be precise) staring into her lens.

For the birth of our daughter she decided to take a bunch of photos of us – mother, father, and new baby – and give us a photo album we will cherish forever.

Cousin Jill showed up loaded with gear – lighting, backdrops, props, even fancy costumes for the baby. The baby objected at the top of her lungs to changing from the onesies to costumes, however cute. Though disappointed, Jill agreed to the onesies to avoid recording for posterity a red, splotched baby face.

This was in the days before digital cameras, so you couldn’t tell on the spot what the photos looked like. Jill took what must have been 40 rolls of film, posing us this way and that. I should have suspected the result, but I went along.

Over the years the result has grown on me and now I’m kind of fond of these photos. They’re certainly unique. Judge for yourself. Here’s one.

So you have a home office – and that is your only office. And you commute regularly from your bedroom to the aforementioned office. You don’t even need to get dressed until 8:00 PM when you remember that you haven’t had breakfast yet (not to mention lunch and dinner) and when you open the refrigerator, you’re looking at an expanse of glass shelves covered by hints of meals past but nothing indicating possibilities for breakfast, lunch or dinner now.

You finally cast off what you slept in (was this also what I wore to the office yesterday?), throw on something to cover the lower half and something else to cover the top half of your body, hoping the two parts make a coherent assemblage, or at least meet in the middle to cover your midriff, which used to be presentable several decades ago, but at this hour of the night you’d rather not scare the college kids you’ll encounter at the supermarket purchasing their daily quota of alcohol, because what your midriff is saying is “this is what happens after 44,000 snacks,” since while you tend to forget about breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner, snacks are entirely a different matter.

To make a short story long, one day I realized that I had spent the last six months circling between the bedroom, office, and kitchen and other than talking on the phone to disembodied voices, I was chatting face-to-face only with my cats. My extended trips were to the supermarket and to the pet store. Didn’t even get near the mall, because who needs clothes when you commute from one room to another?

Clearly it was time to take a trip. I mean a real trip, to Laos, Vietnam, or Alaska. I settled on Amsterdam, where my cousin had an apartment I could use for a whole week while he was away. The only stipulation was that I look after his precious cat Zelda. He said Zelda should never go out. He failed to mention that Zelda didn’t know that and the first thing that Zelda did when I opened the door was dart out. I spent my first five days in Amsterdam searching for the cat. Got to know that little suburb of Amsterdam quite well, including backyards and the pet store where I bought lots of smelly canned cat food at exorbitant prices. Had some explaining to do to the police called by suspicious neighbors who saw me prowling among the bushes at night. But in the end I did spend two wonderful days exploring Amsterdam. And those last two nights I also had a good face-to-face chat with my cousin’s cat.

milo-mickeyA cat on the window

A cat on the couch

Either we have two cats

(Which we didn’t at last count)

Or I’m counting one cat twice

Before you set out to get a cat, you should be very clear on why you’re getting a feline companion.

Today I’d like to discuss one important reason to get a cat: a health reason.  Studies have shown that petting a cat lowers your blood pressure.  As so many Americans suffer from this silent affliction – and you may be one of them – to safeguard your health, you should definitely look into adopting a cat.

A minor caveat.  Owning a cat to lower blood pressure is counter-indicated if your blood pressure rises when any of the following occur:

–  Your cat helps you cook by giving directions from the top of the refrigerator

–  Your cat helps you cook by removing certain non-essential ingredients from the recipe, such as the chicken from your chicken casserole

–  Your cat helps you cook by adding essential ingredients to your chicken casserole, such as a dead chickadee it hunted especially for the occasion

–  Your cat helps you cook by garnishing your creamed chicken casserole with a light sprinkle of dark cat hair

If you don’t cook, this caveat does not apply to you.  However, watch out for other potentially blood pressure raising cat behaviors, such as new couch scratching, spraying your grandma’s heirloom dresser, or licking your ears at 5:00 AM.

If your heart is still set upon owning a cat, make sure you counter these ill-effects of cat ownership by petting your new cat for at least an hour in the morning, and a recommended two-three hours before bedtime.

My cat’s tail was high up in the air, and mine, if it hadn’t been extinct for somewhere between 40,000 and one million years, would have been in the same position. We were both ready to pounce on the green lizard between us. The poor lizard had no idea that its life span would be determined in the next few second by who would win the fight over it, my cat or me.

Suddenly my teenage daughter,accompanied by her two best friends, burst out of the house.

It’s bad enough to have a geriatric mother (Whether you’re 39, 49 or 59, as far as your teenage kids are concerned, you’re way past your prime.). But the humiliation of your friends seeing your mother in a cat pose on the lawn is hard to describe!

Moral of the story: next time you assume a cat pose, do it in yoga class.