Thursday, April 29, 2010

Festival Fun!

Happy Friday! Happy weekend!! Wow! What a fabulous weekend I had last weekend. If any of you, dear friends, lives near Fayetteville, NC and did not attend the Dogwood Festival , shame on you – you missed a great event! It was sooooo much fun. There were so many things to do and see and there were like a gazillion people there to share in the fun! I don’t know how I missed it last year. I guess I was still shy and not as aware of the goings on around me – I hate that it went on last year and I didn’t even know. I was intent on making up for it this year!
It all started Friday evening. I eased into it slowly as I didn’t realize how much fun I was going to have to pack into two and a half days. There were no pets allowed, but I met with the very nice people who organized the festival and explained that I was potty trained and would not make a mess. I showed them my rabies shot tag to prove I had been vaccinated, though I assured them I would not bite anyone. They told me to keep a low profile as to not upset anyone who wanted to bring their pets, but could not. I told them I would try, but I couldn’t guarantee anything… after all, I do enjoy an adventure!
My Mom and Dad’s place of work was one of the sponsors of the festival, so I had some special privileges which made it even more fun. Mom helped me stay unnoticed by putting me in her big purse. We went into the VIP tent and grabbed a nosh, then hung out back stage for the concert. I couldn’t believe how many people came to the concert! There were thousands!! I don’t think I’ve been in a crowd of so many people!! I really enjoyed the cute guy who was singing… Joe Nichols was his name. He and his band were very good. I started dancing around in Mom’s purse, which was uncomfortable for Mom. She told me I could get out and dance since we were backstage and not many people would see me. What fun – I danced and twirled and bobbed to the music. Then they started playing some rock sounding music and the guitars were wailing…. I’m not sure what possessed me, but before I realized what I was doing, I ran out on the stage and grabbed a guitar and started playing along with Joe and the band.

The crowd went wild! Joe was very nice and let me play with them for the whole song. When the song was over, Joe came over and gave me a hug, asked my name and thanked me for my help. He even said my name into the microphone – that sounded great! The crowd started chanting “Josie! Josie!” I took a bow and waved to the crowd. I liked being in the spotlight!! Mom came racing from the back of the stage to scoop me up and rush me to the back.
After that, the nice Dogwood Festival folks didn’t have to worry about anyone caring if I was there. I was now the performing cat that belonged at the festival. They told me I was free to roam as I pleased. By the time the concert was over and the beautiful fireworks had ended, it was time to go home. I couldn’t wait for Saturday so I could spend the whole day seeing what the festival had to offer.
Dad had to work most of Saturday, but Mom promised to take me back downtown so I could spend the day at the festival. I really didn’t know where to begin. Since I had spent most of the prior night at the concert venue, I thought I would go to the heart of downtown to see what was going on. There were ladies dressed in beautiful flowing skirts dancing in the street. I introduced myself and they recognized me from the picture of me performing with Joe that was in the newspaper! They said they would be honored if I would perform with them – they didn’t have to ask ME twice! They let me borrow a lovely skirt.

A large crowd gathered as we shook our hips and twirled. I spun and spun – I liked the way the skirt swirled out when I spun – and spun and spun until I became so dizzy I spun right into the crowd. Everyone cheered as they lifted me off the ground. We all had a good laugh and I thanked them for letting me join them. I knew there was lots more to do, so I said my goodbyes and headed to my next adventure.
There were so many performers along the downtown streets. My kind of people! I found some folks sitting around playing drums. I asked the pretty lady if I could try out one of the drums and she was delighted I was interested.

She laughed when I started beating my little paws on the drum. I was kind of shy at first, but once I got going I was making quite the loud noise! We sat around jamming on the drums – it was great. After a while my poor little paws were aching and unfortunately I had to stop. I said goodbye to my fellow drummers and headed out toward the carnival rides.

There were so many things to see and do. I walked passed so many cool vendors selling lots of neat stuff. There was a children’s section with face painting and a cool troupe of acrobatic pirates. I hung out and watched the pirates for a while and then I spied a ride I thought would be fun to try. I didn’t want to go on it alone, so I asked a little girl waiting in line if I could sit with her. She thought that was a great idea and we excitedly climbed aboard. It was fun. We laughed and screamed and had a good ol’ time!

When the ride was over we went to the back of the line to ride it again. We did that a couple of times until I decided there was more I needed to see.
I had heard there were princesses involved in the festival and I set out to meet these lucky ladies. I found them back over by the concert venue. They were hanging out with a cow. I figured if they liked a cow they were sure to like a cat. I walked over to them and they were very nice. They made me an honorary princess and gave me a lovely tiara.

Every one should have their picture taken with princesses and a cow at least once in their lifetime!

It was getting late and I was getting hungry. I wanted to sample some of the traditional festival fare. I headed back downtown and found just what I needed!

After having a nutritious dinner of cotton candy – yummmmmmmy!- I figured it was about time for the big Saturday night concert featuring Soul Asylum and Gin Blosssoms. My Dad was finished working and he met us at the stage. Soul Asylum was on first and they were great! We were hanging out backstage and I jumped at the chance to meet Soul Asylum. I am a big David Pirner fan. Anyone cool enough to date Winona Rider must be fun to meet. The Top Dogs of the festival asked me to join them for a picture. How cool was that!

David Pirner and I hit it off. He kept playing with my ear while the photographer was trying to take the picture. I made him laugh when I swatted him good one time! He told me he liked my hat and I told him I liked his. They couldn’t stay long as they had to leave to go home and I needed to get back to the stage anyway to watch the Gin Blossoms perform. Now it was Mom’s turn to sing and dance. She loved the Gin Blossoms. It was tough, but I controlled myself and stayed off the stage. I was exhausted by the time the concert was over and I was already falling asleep by the time Mom put me down in the car for the ride home.

Mom and Dad had stuff to do Sunday, so I didn’t get back to the festival. I heard it was another great day. Mom is always raving about the band Hot Sauce, and she was dissapointed she had to miss them Sunday afternoon. I can’t wait to go to it again next year. I just wish they would do something about the name. Dogwood? How about Catwood or Kittywood Festival. I’ll have to work on that!

I had left Malcolm in charge of things back at the house. I hadn’t gotten a chance to let anyone know I wasn’t going to be home most of the weekend, so I asked Malcolm to hang out in the yard to greet any of my friends that might drop by. Of course I had to leave him some food – he was supposed to share with anyone who stopped by. When I arrived home, I asked him if he had seen any of my friends. He just mumbled about feeling sick and having to go home. I hope he had help eating all that chicken – everyone I know must have dropped by – there were a lot of empty chicken buckets!

Hope your weekend was as good as mine. I’ll be in front of the television this Saturday for the Kentucky Derby. They’ll be lots of fabulous hats to see – I can’t wait!

Love & licks,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shape Up!

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Hope life has been good to you this week. I had a very productive week. After all those get-togethers with my friends, I found I had added a few pounds to my delicate frame. Since I always strive to look my best, I decided I must do something about it! I decided to start an exercise regimen.
Since I wasn’t the only one feasting on the goodies at my parties, I figured some of my friends might have found themselves in the same situation as I was in. I put the word out that anyone interested in slimming down was welcome to come over to my yard and burn a few calories. I was pleasantly surprised to find out I wasn’t the only one interested in looking fabulous!
I figured that before anyone arrived I would do a few exercises to warm up. My Mom let me borrow her dumbbells to work on my arm tone. Those little things were heavy!! It was also hard for a thumb challenged feline like me to hold on to it! But I did my best and by the twentieth rep I was really working it!!

Once my arms began to feel like rubber, I thought I should move on to my problem area – my tummy. I thought a few sit ups would do the trick, so I pulled out an exercise mat and hit the ground.

I never imagined my top half weighed as much as it obviously does. The first couple of sit ups were great but it didn’t take long for me to be straining to get up. My hind legs kept coming up as I tried to sit up. I decided I would wait for one of my friends to arrive so they could hold my feet down to make it easier for me.
Just as I was about to take a water break, I heard the chirping of a cardinal. Then another and another and another. This was not a good thing. I looked around to see if there were any eggs in the yard – maybe I had missed picking up an Easter egg – nope, nothing. I couldn’t imagine that the cardinal vigilantes had any reason to scold me today. I took a deep breath and turned to see what I had done wrong this time. I burst into laughter when I saw what the cardinals were up in arms about!

I greeted them warmly and asked how they were on this fine day. The nicer I was, the madder the head avian seemed to get. “I told you we were going to keep an eye on you and yet you continue to behave badly!” the grumpy cardinal tweeted hoarsely at me. “ I don’t know what you’re talking about!” I said as I tried not to laugh – they just looked so silly! He told me that there must be a giant bird somewhere running around frantically looking for her giant egg. He then insinuated that I had stolen it to make a giant omelet for me and my friends. I tried to explain to him that it was an exercise ball, but he wouldn’t listen. They started to roll the ball toward the gate and evidently intended to try and find the giant bird to whom it belonged . I jumped in front of them and told them I could prove it was just a ball. I reached for the air plug and pulled it out. The ball started to deflate quickly and the birds freaked out. One of them even fainted.

I ran and brought some water to help revive the passed out cardinal. When they all calmed down they went over to the deflated ball and pulled on it with their beaks. They then got into a huddle to discuss the situation. When the huddle broke up the head cardinal came over to me and said they had decided that the big orb was not an egg after all and was indeed a ball as I had said. He again reminded me that I better be careful – they were watching me! He made squinty eyes at me, then turned and flew away. I have no idea why the cardinals distrust me so!!!
After that drama was over, my friends started to arrive. Cali, Felisha, Lucy and Bobbi came for a serious workout. They hit the machines and worked on the ball with great enthusiasm. Malcolm showed up a little later, but he didn’t seem interested in improving himself. Corny also stopped by for a minute to offer encouragement before he had to head out to his job at Walmart. Corny has really turned into a good friend. See, you never know where your best friends will come

We kept at it until we could not lift another paw. We agreed that we needed to do this at least 3 days a week. We did it this past week, and we’ve already planned our days for next week. Between that and not eating lots of cake and tuna on a Ritz, we should be in shape in no time! I must say I slept good that night – I fell asleep watching TV and slept through until morning!

Have a wonderful weekend! Take some time to exercise – you’ll feel great!

Love and licks,


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cake Party

Dearest Friends,
Happy Friday! Happy weekend! After all the entertaining I’ve done lately, I thought I’d take it easy this week. But somehow, before the week was over, I ended up surrounded by my animal friends having an impromptu party. I am the hostess with mostest!
I don’t know about you, but my family is addicted to the Food Network programming: Iron Chef, DDD, Bobby Flay’s Throwdown and Ace of Cakes. I, personally, am a big fan of Ace of Cakes. While all sorts of cooked meats are always good, I have quite a sweet tooth. Nothing is more appealing than a cake in the shape of something cool! Making the cakes looks like a lot of fun, so I thought I’d give it a try!
First, I did some tippy tapping and found an appropriate recipe. Then I had to decide what shape I wanted my cake to be – that was easy! Then I had to gather my ingredients. There were a few items I didn’t have, so I ran to the Food Lion down the road and used Mom’s magic plastic card to purchase them.
I was all ready! Knowing that there is an appropriate hat for everything, I rummaged through my hat collection until I came upon the perfect hat for my baking endeavor. Now that I was appropriately topped, I was ready to jump in and start creating!
As I started combining my ingredients, Mom opened the door to go feed the squirrels in the backyard and in swarmed a flock of birds. Oh no! It was the vigilante cardinals!!

What now? All of a sudden it dawned on me – I spied the bowl of eggs I was about to start cracking and adding to my batter. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of this one – they were NOT chocolate! They landed on the kitchen island and on my fabulous hat. They glared at me threateningly. I politely asked how they were doing today, but they were not in the mood for small talk. “What’s going on here?” the head avian asked. I told him I was creating a culinary work of art. “We must demand that you return these eggs to our nests!” Aha! I realized I was not in trouble after all – they thought I was using cardinal eggs. I explained that I was using chicken eggs that were specifically laid for sale to chefs. The cardinals advised me that they generally don’t approve of the use of any kind of eggs, but they didn’t like chickens, so they would let it slide this time. They warned me that they were going to be keeping an eye on me, so I better be careful. I told them they were welcome to stay until the cake was ready and have a piece, but being the ever watchful vigilantes, they said they had other eggs to save. They waited for Mom to open the back door again and they disappeared out of it as quickly as they came in.
Cali and Malcolm saw the birds fly out and had to come see if I was okay. I explained what happened and then invited them to stay and help with the cake. They were both excited about it and gladly put on the hats that I required all my assistant chefs to wear. I figured as long as we were making a cake we might just as well invite more critters over to eat it. Bobbi, Corny, Winky and Felisha all jumped at the chance to help make and eat the cake. Rocky said he had to finish up something but would be over as soon as he could – he liked cake!

Everybody helped. We got a little sloppy with the flour and it ended up everywhere! We finally somehow got the batter mixed, poured and into the oven. While the cake baked we mixed up all different colors of frosting. Everyone wanted to taste it to make sure it was okay - I was hoping there would be enough left for me to cover the cake the way I wanted. The toughest part about the whole process was waiting for the cake to cool. I wanted to start decorating it!! When it finally cooled I went to work. I was a creating fool! I handed out milk or sweet tea to my friends for them to sip on while I put the finishing touches on my masterpiece. Rocky arrived just in time for the first cut to be made. Boy, was everyone surprised when I unveiled the cake – it was good enough to rival any Ace of Cakes cake!! My friends erupted into applause – I was so proud.

We cut my masterpiece into pieces and chowed down! By the time the feeding frenzy was over, the kitchen counters were covered in cake crumbs and milk. We all sat in a sugar induced daze. When we finally started to come out of it, we couldn’t help but giggle. Somehow, the Ace of Cakes kitchen never looked this bad when they finished a cake. I cut the remaining cake into pieces so everyonecould take some cake home to their families.
Before anyone left, Corny actually asked first if he could share his new favorite joke – and it WASN’T a knock, knock joke!! “Where do cantaloupes spend their summers?” Corny asked us. None of us knew the answer and he made us beg him to tell us before he finally answered, “John Cougar Meloncamp.” I don’t know if it was the sugar or the fact that it was a really good joke, but Cali laughed so hard milk came out her nose! Malcolm mumbled something about the idiot crow, took his cake and slunk out into the night.
Since Cali and Bobbi lived the closest, they stayed to help me clean up. The rest of the crew gathered up their cake, said their thanks and headed home. It didn’t take long for us to tidy up and Cali and Bobbi were on their way.
Hope everyone has a great weekend. Invite some of your friends over and bake a cake. It doesn’t have to be anyone’s birthday – just do it for the fun of it!

Love & licks,

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pool Party

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! It seems like we’ve totally skipped spring here in North Carolina, and have already launched into summer. The temperatures were up in the 90’s this week!!!! That makes it quite uncomfortable outside for those of us with fur coats.
I had invited several of my new one-eyed kitty friends over for a mid-afternoon social. I was very excited about meeting other onesies – I hoped they liked me! I had kept the refreshments simple – milk and chicken – Kentucky fried chicken no less – I spared no expense (or I should I say I ddi not spare Mom’s magic plastic card!) I was concerned though, because it was just so hot outside. Mom said it was better if I had my gathering outside, because we don’t have a litter box inside and the other kitties may not be toilet trained like me. Since we had to be outside, I had to think of some way to keep us all cool. I iced down some cartons of milk, but that didn’t seem like it would be enough.
My new friend Felisha was the first to arrive – she thought I might need some help preparing for my guests. Wasn’t that nice! We chatted about my concern about the heat, and Felisha came up with a great idea. Turn the gathering into a pool party! I had seen one of those little pools folded up in the garage and if Felisha would help blow it up we could bring the hose around and fill it up. We dragged the pool from the garage and began taking turns blowing it up. Just as I was starting to feel a little dizzy we finished it up and then filled it up with water. Just as we were finishing up, Malcolm emerged from the neighbor’s yard. He was eyeing the cooler of milk. I told him he could help himself to milk and chicken if he would help with the life guarding duties. Since one had to be able to see a wide area of the yard to be an effective lifeguard, I felt two eyes would be better than one. Malcolm could never turn down food, so he agreed to be our lifeguard.
While we were waiting for the rest of our friends, I couldn’t stop thinking how cool and refreshing the water looked. I brought out some goggles and bathing caps that were boxed up in the garage with the pool. Felisha chose to wear a colorful bathing cap to keep the water from getting in her ears. I suggested that one of us should test the water. Felisha said that since it was my home, I should have the honor. As I headed to the water something crazy took over and I ran up on the deck, climbed on top of the rails, screamed “Cannonbaaaaaaaalllllll” and jumped off the deck into the pool.

Water splashed everywhere! It was so loud it stopped Malcolm mid-chew. He looked up, shook his head and took another piece of chicken. Felisha giggled and clapped and told me it was one of the best cannon balls she had ever seen!
After we refilled the pool, the rest of our friends arrived. I distributed the icy cold milk and we spent some time chatting and sipping our milk. I decided to change into my swimwear so I would be ready to hit the water when it was time. Lucy chose a cool pair of blue goggles. One-eye Hynes and Jack did not like the water, but they said they would enjoy watching the rest of us swim.

Rocky, Tina and Winky said they also would enjoy a dip in the pool. It didn’t take long before we were all feeling the heat and we headed to the pool. Rocky decided he wanted some goggles and Winky thought it might be prudent to wear a bathing cap to keep the water out of her ears. Once we were all decked out, it was time to hit the pool!!!!

Oooh, the cool water felt so good! It seemed no one wanted to actually go under the water. We had all seen too many pictures of wet cats and wet cats are not pretty!! Maybe if we had known each other a little better - we still were trying to make a good impression on each other, so we were being a little more reserved. We stayed in the water for a looong time. We figured it was time to get out when the pads on our little kitty feet were beginning to wrinkle.
We all dried off, had another carton of milk and decided we were all worn out! We said our good byes and agreed we would do this again very soon! We also agreed that next time we would go under the water. Lucy stayed and helped me pick up the empty milk containers and chicken bones – which were mostly under the lifeguard chair!! I thanked Malcolm for his service. I gave him a big hug which caught him off guard. I believe I made him blush! He mumbled something about good chicken then meandered off. Another successful social event complete!
I’m glad Mom took pictures. I e-mailed them to my friends so they could remember our good time. But oddly, there was something I hadn’t even noticed the first time I looked at the pics. I looked closer and couldn’t believe my eye!

How did we not see a squirrel among us?!?!!?!?! I guess we weren’t the only ones uncomfortable in the heat! He - or she - couldn't be having fun with his-or her- head under the water like that. I did see Malcolm get down from the lifeguard chair once, but I thought he was just looking for more chicken. I guess there's a squirrel out there who owes Malcolm one!
It is supposed to be cooler this week, so there will be no swimming for me! Hope the weather has warmed up where you are, but not too much! Have a great week!

Love & licks,


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Happy Easter! Are you all looking forward to the arrival of the Easter Bunny? I know I am! I can’t wait to sink my teeth into all those tuna and salmon Easter eggs. But before arising on glorious Easter morning, I had to orchestrate a memorable Easter egg hunt for the animals in the neighborhood.
I managed to keep Corny out of the planning of the event, so I figured there wouldn’t be any inappropriate decorations or refreshments. I made a lovely fruit punch and the usual snack of tuna on a Ritz. Since it was a special occasion I made some liver pate on Wheat Thins and some shrimp with a cocktail sauce dip. I also had to put out bowls of seed and nuts for my un-fish eating friends. After setting up the lovely spread on the deck, I turned my attention to egg hiding for the big egg hunt!!
It seemed to take forever to “hide” all the eggs. There weren’t a whole lot of places to hide them, so they more or less were just sitting around the yard.

Just as I finished up and was going to sit for a spell, a flock of cardinals landed in the yard. They all were in the spirit of the holiday with bunny ears on their heads, but they did NOT look at all happy!

They started to gather my eggs! I ran over to them and asked why were they messing with my carefully arranged eggs. The leader of the cardinals – he had the special duck hat – glared at me and said that he and his friends did not appreciate me using eggs for my amusement. They were going to give them back to the families who laid them and he didn’t want any interference from me. I started giggling, which really made him mad. I tried not to laugh as I told him they were not real eggs, they were chocolate eggs! He looked a little embarrassed, though he did not attempt to apologize. I told him maybe he and his squad should check around the neighborhood to look for some real offenders. I offered the cardinals some seed and punch. They accepted my invitation and by the time their bellies were full, all was forgotten. They waved goodbye as they took off to dispense their vigilante justice. Now that the first wave of guests were gone, it was time for my friends to arrive. Cali was the first to enter the yard. She looked as darling as ever, but she had on some rather odd headwear.

She said she loves peeps, and since she could seem to do nothing but eat all the time lately, she thought it would be appropriate to wear food, That way if she got hungry, she could treat herself to some peeps. Next to arrive was Bobbi. She had asked me if it was okay to bring her cousin who was visiting from out of town. I told her that of course it was fine. I couldn’t wait to meet him. Since it was a relative of Bobbi’s, I promised not to chase him. I made all the other guests agree not to chase him either. He was quite the handsome squirrel and it turned out that he was very interesting His name was Quentin Squirreltino and he was some big time director of motion pictures. He had quite the air about him!

He was currently working on an action/drama called “Inglourious Bird Terds.” He carried around this megaphone and kept looking at people through a frame he made with his hands. He didn’t want to participate in the egg hunt – he just hung around the food table and ate.
Soon the rest of the crew arrived. Corny came squawking into the yard at 90 miles an hour with his bunny ears barely hanging on to his head!

He headed straight for the punch bowl and I was afraid he was going to jump into it and take a bath! But he was just thirsty and wanted to wet his whistle so he would be able to tell lots of knock, knock jokes.
Everyone else pretty much showed up at the same time.

Once everyone was assembled, I gave out the easter baskets. Malcolm mumbled something under his breath about not wanting to carry a basket. I said that was fine. Since I had an extra basket, I called over to Britney who had emerged from her house. She was delighted to be invited and we ALL helped her climb over the fence. Once everyone was lined up I told them to “go-a-huntin’!” Since the eggs weren’t that hard to find they all scurried around trying to be the quickest. They would bump into each other and playfully push each other as if they were fighting for the eggs. At one point little Dot was laughing so hard she couldn’t hold on to her basket. I guess I had gone a little overboard with the eggs, because even when everyone’s baskets were full there were still eggs left!

Since Malcolm wouldn’t use a basket, his eggs were just laying in a pile in front of him. I asked him how he was going to take all his eggs home and he said he was just going to eat them here. Somehow, I knew no good was going to come from that!!
Everyone took their baskets up on the deck and we had some more punch, snacks and a few eggs. Once we were all full and in need of a nap we decided we all needed to head home. Before anyone could leave we had to lift Britney back over the fence and into her own yard. That proved to be much harder than when we lifted her over earlier… she had been snacking quite a bit and wasn’t as easy to lift. We had to call in Baby from next door to help.

With Baby’s help we popped her right over. We all said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways. I was exhausted, as a good hostess should be at the end of her party. I sat on the deck and sipped on the last of the punch. I told the birds and squirrels passing through to take whatever they wanted of the leftover eggs. That made them very happy. They made me promise not to chase them as they collected the eggs to take home to their nests.
Well, I hope you have a very Happy Easter and that the Easter bunny is good to you. Until next week…

Love & licks,