A Year in the Life of a Kitten

Vronsky Oblonsky has been with me for a year now.  If I call him by a name, it is generally "Skee," but I'm pretty sure he thinks his name is, "No! Hey! Stop that! I don't like that! Enough!.... I said KNOCK IT OFF!" He also responds to "Here Kitty, Kitty!" and "Sweetie." Mostly though, he responds to the sound of an opening treat container. 

This is Skee's daily routine:

5:30 to 6:30:

Make ALL of the obnoxious noises to try to wake me up. Repertoire includes in-face meowing, messing with the shutters on the windows and balcony door to create a clickety clack noise, and using claws on any available surface to make a horrible ripping noise.  For extra irritation, he will open the shutters on my bedroom windows to allow in maximum amounts of light and sunshine.


6:30 AM to 7:30 AM:

Glare at me from the top of his cat tower while I try to continue getting some sleep. Occasionally ups the ante from glowering to launching himself off the top of his tower and landing on my stomach.

7:30 AM to 8:00 AM:

Realize that I am about to get out of bed; decide this is the ideal time to cuddle with me. Quickly switch from cuddling to attacking. Walk in front of me in an attempt to trip me or sit at my feet and cry to be held. If being held, struggle to get down after about 10 seconds. 10 seconds later cry to be held again. Struggle to get down after about 10 seconds. Repeat.

8:00 AM to 8:30 AM:

Play on balcony. Take way too long to be coaxed back inside when it is time for me to leave.


8:30 AM to 6:30 PM:

Pull down bag of recycling, drag all items in the bag out of the bag.   Knock books off shelves.   Make all picture frames crooked.  Knock things on side of tub into the tub.  Push food out of dish onto the floor and then refuse to eat it because it is on floor.   Pull all toys out of basket and either put them under the couch, under the stove, or in the middle of the living room floor.  Sleep deeply and soundly so as to have full energy reserve for when I get home.

6:30 PM - 10:30 PM:

Happily play on balcony, eat, occasionally check in on me.

10:31 PM:

LOSE MIND. Start to whine, cry, run frenzied laps around house with wild eyes. Make ALL of the obnoxious noises to try to prevent me from sleeping. Repertoire includes messing with the shutters on the windows and balcony door to create a clickety clack noise, and using claws on any available surface to make a horrible ripping noise.  Reason unknown. Will either stop eventually to .....? or I fall asleep in spite of the ruckus.

To be honest, it has kind of been a long year in terms of cat parenting. He is getting better, but he seems to excel at findIng new ways to misbehave. A friend recently told me that her cat was a pain for the first two years of his life, which sounds like an awfully long time to put up with such shenanigans.  I think it seems like such an eternity because I generally think of cats as small, mostly self-sufficient creatures.  I have also never had just one kitten before.  It's an awful lot of neediness minus all the affectIon and snuggling of say a baby or a puppy.  

There are some fun things that make it worth it though.  For example, he plays fetch! Realizing that I could keep my rambunctious kitten entertained and stay in bed was a pretty exciting revelation. Also, he is kind of the happiest cat ever.  He purrs incessantly, even at the vet.  And not that "I'm sick" or "I'm afraid," purr. A genuine happy purr.  He loves to be around people and when I have friends over he is more than happy to provide the entertainment or just stay stretched out in the middle living room so that all can behold his awesomeness. People can't really play with him unless they sign a waiver, but his heart is in the right place.  I just failed to teach him the difference between humans and toys.  He gets super sad when visitors leave and wanders around the apartment looking for all his new friends.  I took him on a play date and he totally rocked it.  My friend and I were very worried at first that the two cats would be too aggressive, but after a brief warming up to each other phase, they were adorably playful.  He possesses none of the anti-social or vengeful tendencies that you hear about in so many cats.   




Friday Finds: "What Happened, Miss Simone?"

I recently came across the news that an album named "Nina Simone Revisited," which consists of covers of Nina Simone songs by Usher, Jazmine Sullivan, Lauryn Hill, and others is going to be released in July.  Usher's cover, along with Jazmine Sullivan's, and at least one of Ms. Lauryn Hill's are already available for downloading on iTunes or viewing on YouTube.  Usher's makes me feel like the album should have been named "Nina Simone Disemboweled." It is smooth, pretty, and overproduced.  All things Nina Simone's music is not. Her music is raw, honest, complex, and challenging.   I have confidence that Usher and Jazmine Sullivan have the ability deep within them to reach out and punch their audience in the gut using only the strength of their emotion and convictions carried on their voice.  They definitely don't do that here.  Ms. Lauryn Hill comes close, but her voice has a tendency to be overcome by her emotions rather than strengthened by them. Nina Simone's voice was strong enough to clearly carry her emotions.

While the initial disappointment will not keep me from checking out the full album when it is released, I am much, much, much more excited about checking out the documentary, "What Happened, Miss Simone?" Scheduled to be released on Netflix tomorrow (June 26th).

The preview gives me goosebumps every time I watch it. You can check it out here: http://youtu.be/moOQXZxriKY

I have been voraciously watching her live performances and interviews on YouTube.  The things she said to her audience?  Priceless, awful, and awesome.  She would be labeled "Kanye in a dress" by today's media.

The problem with listening to Nina Simone sing is that so very much of today's music (or yesterday's) seems so thin, puny, and meaningless by comparison. Empty. It's hard to go back to it and feel truly satisfied.

If you get a chance to check out the documentary, I would love to hear your thoughts.  I'm going to attempt to watch it this weekend.  Please note that I haven't seen it yet and the trailer doesn't say what it is rated so I refuse to be held liable if if is awful or offensive.  Watch at your own risk.  Haha but seriously.

Lots more to come, I hope.  I've been listening to some really exciting new stuff and reading more than usual, so if I ever get enough free time it could actually get quite lively around here.  Also, I've crossed a few things off my 35 Before 35 list, so that is super exciting!

A few words about reading…and other noble pursuits.

Recently, I was with some friends and started to tell them about a book I was reading. Before I could even begin to describe the book, one of my friends interrupted me to tell me how jealous he was that I had time to read books. I don’t think he heard a word I said after “I am reading this book…” so focused was he on the fact that I actually have time to read.

The truth is I almost never read books anymore.  My attention span has been so thoroughly worn down by the bite-sized snippets I have become used to reading on the Internet and by massive amounts of television watching. The only way I can get through a book (or even a longer article) is by taking frequent short pauses.  The book I am currently reading is non-fiction, which is always more challenging for me than fiction, and I have to stop after every chapter to just stare out into space a moment. I try not to let myself do anything other than stare out into space as this tactic greatly decreases the chances of getting distracted and not going back to the book. 

Sometimes I feel loss that I have let it get this far. Reading used to bring me such great pleasure. In high school I was known for being a bookworm. As a teenager, I could stay holed up in my room for hours, days even, reading. Nowadays, one hour of uninterrupted reading feels like a Herculean feat.
It is this downward trend that has motivated me to always have a reading goal on my list of goals for the year. Year after year, I have not met these goals.

My friend’s words, however, hit me like a lightning bolt. I do have time to read. I have time to do a lot of things. I just happen to waste my time with foolish extravagance. I make excuses for why coming home after work and zoning out to the television for hours is acceptable. But the constant disappointment I feel towards my level of productivity in my personal life tells me that these excuses aren’t cutting it.

I am trying to do better.  My If You Give a Mouse a Cookie thought process makes it difficult sometimes. For example, I was reading a book. I did my end of the chapter pause. I started typing this blog post. As I was typing this blog post about not using my time effectively, I started to think about the fact that I needed to eat, and get dressed, and get moving. I went to get dressed but instead started to clean my bedroom, then realized that I was having a hard time focusing on doing one thing because I needed to eat, I went to the kitchen to eat, but realized my kitchen needs to be cleaned, then my cat distracted me and I decided to give him some cat treats, then I realized that I was actually trying to finish this blog post. Now I am back typing this blog post, but this still is a distraction from the original goal I was trying to accomplish of reading a book. And I still need to eat, get dressed, get some things done around the house, and get some work tasks done. By the way, this is all only happening because I am home from work sick. Every time I stand up I feel dizzy which is the only reason I was reading in the first place. In this case, forced rest is the key to goal accomplishing.
My brain is almost always working like this. For every task I need to accomplish, my brain overwhelms me with a thousand other tasks that should/could be completed before, after, or in conjunction with the current task at hand. Mindless activities like watching television or playing a game on an electronic device are so addictive and appealing to me because they shut off that endless brain cycle. On the other hand, the reason there is an endless list of tasks running around my brain is because instead of checking tasks off my list, I am zoned out for hours at a time on a mindless activity. What can I say? Vicious cycles are my wheelhouse.

In a happy intersect of all of the above; the book I am currently reading is called, Better Than Before, Mastering the Habits of OurEveryday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin.  I am slightly more than halfway through the book and have lots to say about it already and am gleaning lots of good tips and suggestions. But I want to wait until I have actually finished reading the book to fully share all my thoughts.

I am going to go finish the book now. After I get dressed. And eat. And maybe do 10 other things.