Thursday, July 29, 2010

Come Fly with Me

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! We have had a little relief from the heat. It was only in the 90’s this week as opposed to the 100’s the week before. Break out the sweaters!!
Corny has been bugging me about learning to fly. I tried to explain to him that one must have wings to fly. He told me about the people dressed in green who he meets in the sky all the time. It took me a minute before I figured out what he was talking about. Ooooh! He meant soldiers parachuting at Ft. Bragg. I asked him if he had happened to notice the big puffy pieces of cloth above their heads. He responded that yes, he had noticed, but he had already figured out what they were. Even though I knew that they were parachutes, I couldn’t resist asking him to enlighten me. Corny seemed very proud that he knew something that I did not. I couldn’t wait to hear this!!! He patiently explained to silly me that they were sun shades to make sure the skydivers didn’t get too hot or sunburned. He told me that being that much higher and closer to the sun might hurt the delicate human skin. They weren’t protected with feathers like birds.
It took a lot of effort to stifle my laughter, but I told him that his theory made sense. I told him that the pieces of cloth also served to catch the wind to slow the person down so they could land easier (and not break any bones) and help them steer where they wanted to go. Corny thought that sounded plausible. He then suggested I should get a parachute so I could fly. I told him I could get a parachute, but I would also need a plane to take me high up in the sky so I could jump out of it. Unfortunately, he knew of a small airport about a half hour away that had little planes that people jump out of all the time. Being the plucky feline that I am, I would never back down from a new adventure. I agreed to try skydiving.
I was not going to do this by myself, so I recruited several of my bravest friends to accompany me into the clear blue yonder. Bobbi said she would try it if she could bring Skippy and Hammy along. I told her the more the merrier! Cali, Dot and Vuvuzela surprised me by saying they thought it sounded like fun. I figured it would be nice to include one of my new ferret friends, and Jibbers jumped at the chance to skydive. Then there was Malcolm. He wanted to know what food was involved. I told him it didn’t matter to me if he came along or not. I was not going to ply him with food. He seemed disappointed but didn’t want to be left out of a trip that might involve passing a KFC. He mumbled something about us needing him to keep us out of trouble so he might as well tag along – I don’t think those were his words exactly, but I’m too much of a lady to say what I think I heard him say!!
I tippy tapped the Raeford airport and let them know that a party of nine would be coming to skydive the next day. They tippy tapped back and said they were looking forward to meeting us. They had seen me perform at the Dogwood Festival and were visitors to my website. Oooh! Fans! Now I know how Sandra Bullock must feel!
Our brave team assembled in our front yard at the crack of dawn and we all piled into my brother’s car for the trip to the Raeford airport. The car was pretty quiet – I think some of us were having second thoughts. I know I was. Corny greeted us at the airport and showed us some of the airplanes. We knew which one was going to be our plane!

The nice folks at the airport showed us around and answered all our questions. We had to take a class before we could board the plane so we all sat quietly while we waited for the instructor. All except Malcolm, that is. He was getting hungry and grouchy. Tristan agreed to drive back to town and find a KFC. Before the class was over, he returned with several buckets of chicken. He thought we all might enjoy a snack since we skipped breakfast. Most of us were too nervous to eat, which left lots of chicken for Malcolm. He was in heaven.
When we were sufficiently educated in the art of skydiving, we put on our jump gear and headed for the plane. I tried to tell Malcolm to leave the leftover chicken behind, but he thought the trip into the sky would take a long time and he would get hungry again. I didn’t know how he could think of food at a time like this. It was much too exciting!!
The plane taxied down the runway, getting faster and faster. It was a small plane so it shook and rattled as we sped up to takeoff speed. Just as I was beginning to think something must be wrong – whoooosh! The plane smoothly lifted into the air. We all sighed aaaaaaaah at once. We climbed higher and higher until we leveled off at a gazzilion feet (or so it seemed – actually it was around 13,000) We peeked out the window and couldn’t believe the view. Everything looked so different from up here!!
Then it was time to start jumping out of the plane. It goes against every logical bone in one’s body, but I was determined to see this through. Each critter wanted someone else to go first and we just went around and around about it. Finally, Jibbers had had enough and scurried to the door. He looked back at us, smiled and jumped out!

Wow! What a brave ferret! We all peered out the door to see him waving and laughing as he fell through the air. Now we all wanted to do it. One by one we jumped out of the plane – Geronimoooooooooooooooooooooo! We all loved it. Everyone was smiling and waving to each other.

Surprisingly, there was no sensation of falling, more like floating – and very windy!!! Our little tails were just flapping around. We had no control over them! It was such a cool sensation that I didn’t want to end.
Then I noticed Malcolm wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I looked back at the plane in time to see Malcolm and all his chicken come flying out the door of the plane. I was hoping I wouldn’t get hit with a piece of chicken once I hit the ground!

Our instructor, who jumped with us, signaled us to open our parachutes. It seemed like only a minute since we had left the plane, but I didn’t want to become a large splat on the ground. We all pulled our ripcords and braced for the slowing of our fall. We must have been a sight; nine of us floating in the sky. Now all we had to do is have a safe landing and we would have done it. After being so high up and having so far to fall, the ground seemed to suddenly come up fast! But our excellent instructor had us prepared and we all made nice controlled, gentle landings.

As the instructor went around helping us gather our parachutes we were all chattering with excitement: Did you see me? Did you see that? Wasn’t that cool? We were high fiving each other and just grinning with satisfaction. Well, most of us were. Malcolm was frantically running around with an empty KFC bucket trying to find the chicken that had gone flying out the plane door with him. He was not pleased. “Wasn’t that a blast Malcom?” I gushed and slapped him on the back. Even in his agitated state, he couldn’t help but let a smile creep onto his face. “Yes, that was cool,” he said in the clearest voice in which I have ever heard him speak.
Poor Tristan had to listen to our stories all the way home. Each one wanted to tell him what they did and saw. He was very nice and tried to act interested in what we were saying. I’m sure he was relieved when we finally arrived home.
I invited everyone back to the deck for a beverage before calling it a day. We thanked Corny for encouraging us to try flying. We all decided he was very lucky to be able to do that whenever he wanted. I am so glad we weren’t afraid to try something new!
Hope you have a great weekend! Go out and try something new – even if it seems scary. Especially if it seems scary!
Love & licks,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Squirrels Just Wanna Have Fun

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Oy! It is still so hot here in NC! I would have preferred to just stay inside in the nice air conditioning all week, but when one of my friends needs my help, I am always at the ready. Dear little Bobbi has been such a good friend to me, I couldn’t say no when she asked me to help her out.
It seems that when I would be out on the deck tippy tapping on Facebook, Bobbi would jump on the computer anytime I went inside to procure a cold beverage. She had searched and searched and had finally found some squirrels who had their own Facebook pages. There was one squirrel in particular who was smart and witty and made her smile - Skippy. She used my account in the begininning to chat which probably confused the other squirrel. Why was a cat being so friendly to a squirrel? It wasn’t too long before Bobbi revealed her true identity. Bobbi told her new friend that cats and squirrels can be friends – it just takes a very special cat and a very special squirrel. She told him about her life and her friends and all the crazy things we had done. Even though Skippy lived in Maryland, Bobbi got up the nerve to invite him to visit her. Much to her surprise, he accepted her invitation! She was so excited!!! I was so excited!!!! We were all excited!!!!!
Bobbi’s excitement soon turned into panic. He was a refined squirrel from up north and she was a simple southern gal. Would he be bored by her? She had the scar on her nose and half a tail – would he make fun of her? I told her not to worry – the creatures worth knowing are the ones who don’t care about appearances. I told her she was beautiful and shouldn’t worry about it.
She was also worried about having to plan meals and things for them to do. Since he was only going to be in town for a couple of days, I told her it wouldn’t be that hard. Surely, we could think up enough things to do to keep them busy. Bobbi asked if I would work my magic and plan a dinner for just the two of them. I told her I would do my best to prepare a wonderful meal for her and her friend, but I couldn’t guaranty that it would be just the two of them. If word got out that food was being served, there’s no telling how many critters were going to wind up in the yard!
I put a calendar in the back yard and we counted down the days to Skippy’s arrival. He was going to hop on an Amtrak train and my brother was going to drive down to the Fayetteville train station to pick him up. As each day passed, poor Bobbi became more excited/nervous. She asked me to help her pick out the perfect hat to wear during Skippy’s stay. Bobbi helped me plan the menu, but I kept some of the plans secret.
The day of Skippy’s arrival final dawned. Tristan headed to the train station to pick up our esteemed visitor and I helped Bobbi brush and fluff her tail. Mom let us borrow her hair dryer to get extra poof in Bobbi’s abbreviated tail.

We positioned a lovely summer hat just so on Bobbi’s little furry head and she was ready to do us southern ladies proud!
When Tristan and his passenger pulled up the driveway I thought Bobbi was going to pass out. I had to push her toward the car so she could welcome him. When he stepped from the car, even I was impressed. Wow! Now that was a sharp squirrel. He had the perfect hat and cool shades – quite the sophisticate!! Bobbi timidly walked up to him and giggled when he presented her with a beautiful single red rose. I don’t think I’ve seen Bobbi blush so much!

Bobbi said she wanted to show Skippy around the neighborhood so he could see where she lived. They would be back in a couple of hours for dinner. I winked at her and told her that I would have dinner waiting for them when they returned.
As the new friends went off into the trees, I rushed to the kitchen to prepare dinner. Bobbi had found out that Skippy loved chunky peanut butter. That was easy – I could do that! I had recruited some of my friends to go to the grocery store with me the day before, so I had stocked up on everything I needed using Mom’s magic plastic card.
Since Bobbi wanted to seem sophisticated, I did the most sophisticated thing I know – I cut the crust off the bread on which I was going to dollop the chunky peanut butter. As I have said before, nothing oozes refinement like crustless bread. I also prepared some lovely chunky peanut butter on wheat crackers. Finally, there was a lovely assortment of nuts. I was sure Skippy was going to enjoy this feast!
Bobbi and Skippy came back a little early, but I was ready anyway. I showed them to their table on the deck. I scurried inside and returned with two fluted champagne glasses. Cali followed me out with the champagne and a bucket with ice to keep the bubbly cold. Bobbi was so surprised and Skippy seemed pleased when he saw the Dom Perignon label. I popped the cork carefully and filled their glasses. They made a toast to good friends and took a big sip of the champagne. Bobbi laughed when the bubbles tickled her nose. Skippy and Bobbi just talked and talked as they sipped their champagne and feasted on the assorted nutty foods.

I think the pop of the champagne cork drew attention from the others in the neighborhood. One by one, my friends appeared at the end of the deck. I told them that Bobbi wanted to have a private meal- besides the fact that the food was nothing in which they would be interested. Still, they sat and watched. They wanted to see what a northern squirrel looked like. Needless to say, they were disappointed that he looked just like a southern squirrel!
After dinner the two very full squirrels wanted to stand and stretch their legs. They leaned on the deck rail and continued to chat and sip champagne. They didn’t notice that I had brought a keyboard out onto the deck until I started playing. Just as I was getting into the groove, Corny came swooping down out of the sky. He was on his way home from work and noticed the crowd.
I whispered to him to please behave and not embarrass Bobbi. He gave me the “Who me?” look and asked if they would like him to sing a song. A pained looking Bobbi asked Skippy if he minded, and being the gentleman that he is, Skippy said he would be honored.
No one was more surprised than me when Corny started singing!

He had a gravely kind of voice which was perfect for the song he chose – “What a Wonderful World.” Louis Armstrong would have been proud. When he finished there was not a dry eye in the yard. We all stood and applauded. Corny took a big bow and cackled with glee. Just when I started feeling bad for asking Corny to behave, he screeched “Knock! Knock!” “Who’s there?” Skippy shouted. Skippy seemed to be a knock, knock joke fan - guess he hadn’t heard Corny’s knock , knock jokes! “Doughnut,” Corny replied. “Doughnut who?” we all chimed in together. “Doughnut waste any of that fine champagne!” Oh, Corny just thought that was so funny. Us – not so much. He went flying off into the sunset just laughing away.
I invited the others hovering at the end of the deck to come and join us at the keyboard. We spent the rest of the night having a great time singing songs and laughing. There was enough champagne for all of us to have some – which only added to the silliness.
Skippy fit perfectly into our little menagerie, and we were sorry when he had to head back home. We promised him next time he visited we would all go on an adventure. He liked that idea. He hugged us all goodbye and Tristan drove him back to the train station. Bobbi was sad to see him go, but she was very excited that he had invited her to come visit him in Maryland. She was so happy – Skippy had told her she was beautiful inside and out. Skippy was a very special squirrel!
Hope you have a great weekend. Go out and make a new friend. You never know what special people are out there waiting for you!

Love & licks,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Cat Went Over the Mountain

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Boy, did I have an exciting week. I had forgotten that Mom and Dad had promised to take me to the mountains to do research for the Christmas book I’m writing. Ever since my first Christmas with my forever family, I have wondered why and how a tree keeps appearing in our living room for a few weeks around Christmas - then disappears as mysteriously as it appeared! I did a bunch of tippy tapping and found out why, but I also needed to find out where they come from. Turns out that North Carolina is quite the supplier of Christmas trees! My book will have all the cool details about what I found out, but I must tell you about the trip itself.
Now, I know that I have considered the trips that I have taken with my friends as adventures, but I found out what real adventure is this time around. Mom and Dad told me they would drive me the 4 hours to the mountains, but I would not be able to bring any friends along. We would have to be staying a couple of nights at a hotel, and they couldn’t have more than one animal in their room. I said goodbye to my friends, jumped in the car and off we went to the mountains.
I have lived in Fayetteville all my life. I had been to the coast with my friends which was pretty, but I had never been to western North Carolina. It was funny to watch the landscape become more hilly and then mountainous. The mountains are just awe inspiring! One popping up after another – they looked like they went on forever. It was quite cloudy, so the higher up the mountain we drove, the more we seemed to be up in the clouds! We arrived at our hotel in the early evening, which left us just enough time for a nice meal, a soak in the jaccuzzi and a good night’s sleep.
We headed out in search of Christmas tree farms so I could get some pictures showing how the trees are grown. The car zig zagged up the mountain – and I must admit it was a bit scary. They’re not big on guard rails, so you could see down the side of the mountain. There were these big rocks jutting out into the road – they looked like they had faces. This one was one of the biggest.

We were not on any kind of a schedule, so when we passed the entrance to Grandfather Mountain we made an unplanned hard right turn and started the steep climb up the mountain. It was a really big mountain, so I figured surely there were Christmas trees somewhere in this park. The question was where. Who would know better than some of the local animal residents? As we wandered around I saw a small pond with a really big ball floating in it. I went bounding over to it hoping to find someone to play with. As soon as my paws were on the ball, out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of something moving. I looked up and nearly jumped out of my kitty fur!!!! It was a bear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have heard stories about the black bears that live in the mountains, and I don’t recall any of them being of a positive nature. I smiled and tried to not act scared. From the size of the bear I figured it was a male, so I said “Hello, sir” and quietly prayed there was not an even larger bear behind it, making this bear a “ma’am”! Much to my relief, the bear smiled and tapped his paw in the water to give me a little splash. I giggled and splashed back. We pushed the ball back and forth for a little while. The bear said his name was Kodiak and he has been living on Grandfather Mountain for many years. I told him that I was just visiting in my quest for the elusive Christmas tree. I asked Kodiak if he knew where I could find Christmas trees. He told me there were a lot of trees on the mountain, but he wasn’t sure which one might be the Christmas tree of which I was seeking . I thanked him anyway and said goodbye. As I turned to head back to the safety of my parents, a smaller black bear stepped in front of me and grabbed me.

She thought I must be a friend of Moochie and Oliver, cats who live on the mountain. She thought I was so cute (well, of course – I am!) She also thought it was so great that I wasn’t afraid of bears. I smiled sheepishly, hoping the pretty bear wouldn’t sense my trepidation. I asked her if she knew where I might find some Christmas trees. She looked puzzled and admitted she knew there were lots of tree on the mountain, but she had no idea which ones were Christmas trees. Her friends gave her a call and she told me she had to go. She gave me a big hug before placing me gently on the ground. She patted me on the head and bid me adieu as she lumbered off.
As I headed up the trail, I saw a big bird. She must fly high, I thought, so she would have seen if there were any Christmas trees on the mountain. I went up and said hello, and when she turned to look at me, I was taken aback. I had seen her before - she was that All –American bird – and she was beautiful!

I introduced myself and we sat and talked a while. Her name was Wilma and she told me how she had come to live on Grandfather Mountain. She had been wounded by a gunshot and had to have her wing amputated. Since she couldn’t fly, she would never be able to survive in the wild. She was brought to Grandfather Mountain to live the rest of her life. She is provided for by the Grandfather Mountain caretakers who make sure she is safe and well fed. Wilma had no idea what a Christmas tree was no less where I could find one. I thanked her anyway and told her what an honor it was to meet her.
Next I came upon three very silly critters. They were so much fun to watch. They would dive into the water and swim really deep. I watched them play and chase each other. I wanted to join in, but I’m not that good a swimmer. When they finally saw me, they came over and introduced themselves. They had some very interesting names: Nottaway, Oconee and Santee. They, too, thought I must be a friend of Moochie and Oliver, so they welcomed me with open arms. They invited me to stay and play, but I told them about my mission to find where Christmas trees grow.

The three otters put their heads together and conferred. They had quite a heated debate before Oconee turned to me and told me they had no idea what a Christmas tree was hence had no idea where to find one. I told them that it was okay. Evidently, none of the animals on the mountain were interested in Christmas trees.
Mom assured me we would find trees, so I shouldn’t worry. Mom and Dad suggested we go to the top of the mountain and check out the view. That sounded interesting, so I jumped in the car to start our snaky climb to the top of Grandfather Mountain. We pulled into the parking lot at the edge and the view was amazing. The clouds drifted by our heads. It was quite the experience. After bears, eagles and otters I figured the adventure part of our trip was over – but I was wrong. Mom and Dad wanted to go on the famous mile high swinging bridge. Since it sounded like it was going to be quite the adventure, I put on my faux fur coon skin cap. I was ready!
I couldn’t imagine that the bridge was really a mile high – that seemed impossible…and then we started across it.

I don’t know who was more scared – Mom or me. I held on to Dad’s hand tightly as we walked slowly out to the middle of the bridge. But it was funny, I wasn’t as afraid as I thought I would be. The bridge was nice and solid so it didn’t seem like it would swing as badly as it looked like it would. I was so proud of myself as I stepped over the Mile High Marker. I was one brave feline! Going back was a different story, though by then I was ready for it. The wind kicked up and I could feel the bridge moving a little, but not as badly as I feared. We made it back to solid ground safely. Wow! Wait until I tell my friends how high up I was!! I was actually up in the clouds. It was fantastic! I wanted to walk across the bridge again, but Mom seemed to have had enough. I let her off the hook since we really did need to accomplish the mission for which we had set out.
As we drove down the mountain we stopped to take pictures of the beautiful scenery. Mom asked if she could snap a photo of me – but of course!! I don’t know which is more beautiful – me or the scenery!

The ride down the mountain was lots of fun. We went on the road and through the turn that was in the movie Forrest Gump. Remember in the movie when he runs across the country? The scene of him run up a hill around a curve is on Grandfather Mountain! I love that movie so I thought that was really cool!
On the way back to the hotel we passed field after field of beautiful Christmas trees, so I did indeed manage to get the information and beautiful pictures for my book.

After such a fun, busy day, I slept great! We were sorry that we had to leave that next day, but we knew we would definitely return in the near future.

There was so much more to do – on Grandfather Mountain as well as the surrounding area. I had no idea that there was such beauty so nearby. Maybe next time I’ll be able to bring some friends along…
Have a wonderful weekend and a great week. Go check out the great things your state has to offer. You won’t be sorry!

Love & licks,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Birthday U.S.A

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Hope you had a fun 4th of July. I’m sure you can guess who did the entertaining in my neighborhood! Moi, of course! I did have a little help from my human grandparents. Since I’ve met so many nice cats on Facebook, my guest list is growing and I had too many guests to fit in my little backyard pool. My grandparents bravely offered up their magnificent in ground pool to be the scene of my patriotic shindig.
First, we all rendezvoused at my house. Then, my parents and brother loaded up their cars full of felines (and one squirrel) and shuttled us over to my grandparents’ house. Grandma and Grandpa just love cats and were delighted to welcome our melting pot of catdom. We had one-eyed cats, two-eyed cats, black, white, tabby, tortoiseshell, calico, short hair, long hair and no hair – I think we represented just about every kind of cat there is! We must have been a sight spilling out of the cars when they stopped in the driveway. We were all mewing excitedly and bragging about what aqua feats we were going to demonstrate. We headed directly to the backyard and stopped and “ooooohed” when we spied the magnificent pool. Then we saw the pool toys piled near the slide. The race was on – it was every cat for him/herself. The rafts were the most popular, though there were some cute rings. I, personally, needed no accoutrements. To cannonball, one needs only nerve, strong legs and good lungs. I possessed all three so I was able to run at it with abandonment, jump high, yell “CANONBAAAAAAALLLLLL!” and finish with a huge splash. It did not take me long to establish myself as the cannonball champion, though Tank by far did the best belly flop!

The slide was a big hit. Every time I looked over, Cali was giggling away as she slid down with her legs flailing in the air. Every now and then a splashing fight would break out – and with so many cats in the pool it would get pretty wild! It would end when everyone was laughing so hard they couldn’t splash anymore.
I was pleased that first time guests Chunks, Humphrey and Sophia could join us. Vuvuzela joined us also as our youngest friend. I think she was surprised at how silly we adult kitties could be!
Bobbi isn’t much for swimming so she volunteered to help with the grilling. My Grandpa got it started and Bobbi was in charge of flipping the burgers. All that swimming combined with the wonderful smell of grilling burgers made us one hungry pack of cats! When Bobbi declared the burgers ready to eat, it started a wild cat stampede.
Somehow, Malcolm was first in line for the food. Everyone else lined up nice and orderly behind him. Bobbi piled our plates high with good ol’ American food – burgers and fries. Yummy! Poor Bobbi couldn’t cook the burgers fast enough for the hungry pack. It took a few rounds, but eventually every kitty belly was full. We did save room for one of my favorites – rocket pops. Nothing beats an icy cold red, white & blue ice pop on a hot summer’s day!

We knew we had to wait an hour before we could go back in the pool, so we played a rousing game of charades to pass the time. We asked Bobbi to be the official time keeper and let us know when we were allowed to swim again.
As soon as the clock showed we had been finished eating for an hour, we were back in the swim of things, though this time we were more subdued. We paddled around and relaxed knowing we still had a night of fireworks ahead of us. At one point I think we were all fast asleep – either on a raft or lounging by the side of the pool. It was a much needed rest and we awoke with renewed energy ready to be dazzled by pyrotechnics! Since we were going out in public, I invited each of my guests to pick a hat from my vast collection. They all had fun trying them on and deciding which was “them”. I think everyone did a great job and my friends all looked fabulous!
As the sun started to set, we began to get excited about the firework display we were going to see. It was going to entail another car ride which was always fun. I rode in the car my brother was driving and after a few miles of the cat rendition of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” he lost patience with us and told us to stop singing that song. We stopped, but then started giggling and started to sing “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” When we arrived at the park, Tristan was quite happy to see us all climb out of the car. We invited him to come along with us, but he said he was going to watch the fireworks from somewhere else.
It seemed to take forever for the skies to darken enough for the fireworks display to begin. The first one caught us by surprise, but after that they came one right after the other. We stood looking up with our mouths hanging open, only to close them slightly when an “ooooh, aaaaaah” was in order. Mom came up and asked us to smile for a picture. She got us all to look at the camera at once. Well, don’t tell her, but Dad was dangling a chicken wing over her head which is really why we were looking – but she was very proud of herself for getting such a lovely pose out of so many cats:

We knew the show was almost over when they started firing off one right after the other. It was a wonderful display of color and light! We said our final “Ooooohs” and loaded back in the cars to head home.
We were one tired pack of kitties when we finally returned home. It was quite the contrast to how we leapt out of the cars at my grandparents’ house. Now we were barely walking – there was also a lot of yawning going on. We all stretched out on the lawn until one by one my friends’ families arrived to pick them up. I ended up falling into a deep sleep and Mom had to come out and scoop me up and put me in my bed.
I hope your 4th of July was as much fun as mine. It was a busy week, but things are going to be getting even busier. I have booked a flight to Florida and I’ll be heading down there to visit my friends Punkin, Diesleda, Buck, Dewey, Marnie and Meadow! I can’t wait!
Have a great weekend!

Love & licks,

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chips Ahoy!

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Ahoy maties! I had an exciting time this past week. I had my first ride on a boat – oh, I’m sorry – I mean a ship. She was a big ol’ sturdy vessel, big enough to hold my friends and I and a whole plethora of others. There was a host of amusing activities in which to partake. But let me explain how we ended up on this adventure.
My friends have come to count on me to come up with something interesting to do every week. I’m flattered, but some weeks there just isn’t much going on. I figured we would just have to lay low this week… or so I thought. All one has to do is make inquiries of others, and someone will come up with a good idea! This one was my brother’s idea…
The World Series of Poker’s tournament of Champions is this week in Las Vegas – no we didn’t go to Vegas. I know that playing poker doesn’t look too exciting, but certainly you know by now that if I was going to play poker there was going to be some flare involved! Fortunately my brother is quite the poker player, so it didn’t take much arm twisting to cajole him into agreeing to be our chauffeur on our poker outing.
There were no establishments in which to play poker in North Carolina, but we tippy tapped and found a viable option in South Carolina – Myrtle Beach to be exact. The usual cast of characters packed into Tristan’s car and we started our 2+ hour journey to Myrtle Beach. I wasn’t sure specifically where we were going, but Tristan seemed to know. The rest of us just messed around playing “hangman” with a pencil and some paper that we found in the car. Every time it was Malcolm’s turn to make up the puzzle, it would be a chicken related item. He used the actual word “chicken” twice, but he also used more subtle hints like “drumstick” or “hot wing”. We finally had to drive through KFC so we could move on to more challenging words!
When we arrived at our destination it was amazing. We had no idea we were going to be playing poker on a boat. Evidently, playing poker on the east coast is a very serious business and must be conducted way out in the ocean in international waters. A few in our group were a little afraid of getting on the boat and being surrounded with nothing but water, but I thought it sounded like fun!! We sent Tristan to buy the tickets and then we headed to the ship to start our adventure.

We had to wait an hour until we were out in international waters, so guess what they had going on to fill the time? A buffet!! How great was that? Corny had brought along the money he had made in tips at the Wal-Mart so he paid for all of us to enjoy the buffet. We were hungry anyway from the long ride so we welcomed a chance to pig out! Since Malcolm was wearing his bucket hat, he decided to refill it with the chicken wings from the buffet. We had no idea how fortunate that move would be!
After the hour was up, the captain announced that the tables were open for gaming. We reluctantly stopped eating and followed the crowd into the poker room. It was quite crowded but we managed to find a table with enough seats for those of us who wanted to play. Lucy wanted to play the slot machines – oooh shiny! – and Bobbi wanted to enjoy the view of the ocean from the top deck. The rest of us settled in for our poker education.
Our first problem was the chips. We had used all of Corny’s money for the buffet, and hadn’t realized they were going to make us buy the chips with which we needed to play. Well, why would we know that?!?!?!?!? We were all busy mewing at each other when Malcolm quietly plopped his bucket of chicken wings on the table. We all stopped talking and smiled. Malcolm may not say much, but he is a thinker! We asked the dealer if he minded if we used chicken instead of chips. He had to check with the pit boss, but his boss said it was okay. I think they were just trying to keep us away from the buffet! We divided up the wings and started to play!

After a while Malcolm had eaten most of the chicken wings. Lucky for us, Tristan came to visit. He had done very well at the Texas Hold ‘Em table and wanted to share his good fortune. He bought us all a stack of chips. That way when all the wings were gone we could still play!
The chips presented a whole other problem. We tended to bat them around the table and sometimes someone would bat it so hard it would go flying across the room. It was especially fun when they were piled high. The dealer was very nice and tolerated our silliness, but he did look relieved when we decided we would join Lucy at the slot machines.
We figured the slot machines were probably more our style. The slot machines were so pretty with their flashing lights and bells. We found Lucy having a great time - she had won a bunch of money and she also wanted to share with us. Such great friends! We all sat in a row and screamed and laughed and moaned as we pulled the slot machine arms. We squealed with delight any time we were a winner, no matter how small the winnings. There was much ooohing and aaaahing every time the lights would start flashing wildly. Now this was more my speed!

We played for a long time. In fact, we played until the captain announced we were out of international waters and the gambling would have to stop. We headed back to the food and noshed for a while. Suddenly we realized that we hadn’t seen Bobbi in quite some time. We knew she didn’t want to play the games, but we couldn’t imagine what she had been up to all this time. We went to the top deck to look for her, but she wasn’t there. There was a crowd gathered at the back of the boat, so being the curious cats we are, we had to find out what was going on. We poked our heads up over the rail and could not believe our eyes. I thought I was adventurous, but there was Bobbi rivaling even the hardiest of creatures.

Now, I’ve seen people water ski, but I have never seen anyone ski along a wake so large. We were in a huge ship, so you know the wake was scary huge. Little Bobbi was just scooting back and forth across the wake hitting the edge just right so she would pop high into the air and land with a couple of bounces in the middle of the wake. She was quite entertaining! When the boat started to slow as we neared the dock, one of the crew members pulled her in to a loud round of applause. Bobbie blushed and said she was just having some fun. She told us that her cousin is Twiggy the water skiing squirrel, so the knack for water skiing runs in her family.
The ship docked and we said goodbye to all the crewmembers. We used some of our winnings to tip our poker dealer who had been so patient with us. We also used some to pay Tristan for the gas we used for the trip and dinner for all of us on the way home. Even after that, we still had enough money left to stop at Petsmart to buy a feather on a stick for each of the felines! We bought Bobbi a bag of nuts and Corny some special high speed bird seed.
We were all exhausted by the time we finally pulled up the driveway. I slept the whole next day!
Hope you have a great weekend! Happy 4th of July! I’m not sure what’s going on around here for the 4th, but I’ll bet there will be something!

Love & licks,