The Director’s Chair

It was supposed to be a modern family remake of War and Peace. But with this crew, it will likely turn out as a middle school version of Waiting for Godot. It would be my master’s work as a director, my entree to Hollywood—instead, bitter ashes and a showing on local access television.
The dog, incapable of even barking his lines, my father – constantly ad-libbing – no, no, no, you idiot!
Perhaps I should have taken my mother’s idea of doing a Tik Tok cooking show.

No, No, you buffoon, it’s apricity, not apricot. Do you see what I have to deal with?

The Heating Pad

A Flashback Friday Presentation

When we had the stunning black double-pawed Smidgen as our cat, she was always very businesslike about how the sleeping arrangements were ordered. If my wife was at work, she slept between my ankles, either above or under the covers. She insisted my hygienic standards were deficient, so I’d often wake up to a pink tongue cleaning me. Besides, I needed to get up to feed her and the dog.

She used another ritual if my wife, Mom, was at home. My wife, a night shift nurse, has popsicle toes. So she would often use a heating pad to warm her feet. Smidgen discovered very early that the heating pad was about as long as she was stretched out. She understood that although Dad had purchased it at Christmas for mom ( a selfish act to be sure!), It was meant for her. At first, she was willing to share. I’d walk through the bedroom and observe Smidge and Mom cuddled comfortably together. That escalated the day that I discovered her stretched out upon the pad when my wife was at work. The look she gave me was pure “if you love me, you’ll turn it on.” No deal.

Smidge had an alternative source of warmth. I had an old-fashioned flatbed scanner. The lamp in it produced enough heat to warm a small room in the winter. And when I worked at the computer, she would lie on it to supervise me. To me, it looked a lot like she was sleeping. But I was diplomatic; she was double-pawed, and that means double the claws.
As lovely as the scanner was, she coveted the heating pad. She began to monitor when my wife would go to sleep. She would then wait until my wife was soundly sleeping and get into bed for a cuddle. Gradually the cuddle turned into her arching her back with claws dug into the covers. She was gently pushing my wife toward the edge of the bed. As she pushed, she claimed more of the bed and heating pad. Over months the little brat became more and more aggressive.

At last real victory was hers. I entered the bedroom, and Smidgen was stretched across the bed’s width and in full possession of the heating pad. My wife huddled on the edge of the bed, holding on to the final inches of mattress.
Locking her out did no good. She’d somehow take those big double paws to the knob, suspend herself and twist the knob open. When I showed up to scoot her off the bed, there was a display of innocence. That cat could have won an Academy Award for her acting. Didn’t I know that it was her heating pad – part of the Divine Rights of Cats, guaranteed in the Consitution? She needed it; how could I deny her?

The next Christmas, my wife received an electric blanket. I had supposed the war for the bed to be over with room for both of them. But she turned up her nose at the blanket. She outrightly refused to sleep on the bed if it was on. She retreated to the flatbed scanner with ill-concealed distaste.
The issue seemed settled until the electric blanket failed one night, and the heating pad came out of storage. A victorious Smidgen strolled slowly into the bedroom to assume her proper place on the bed. The message seemed to be – never attempt to thwart a cat in her pursuit of pleasure.

Of Course!

Have I ever performed? My dear, a cat’s life is always performance. Being cute to garner attention while a kitten and elegant for admiration when mature.
Now, excuse me. I am tired from my exertions. Entertaining humans does take so much energy.
It is time for my midday nap. TTFN ( ta ta for now).

CAT-agorically Speaking of Christmas

Many humans have no idea how to keep Christmas. Cats, on the other hand, think that the holiday was designed for them. Ask any cat, and should they deign to give you an answer, it would be that there is an inextricable link between cats and Christmas. Carreras family cats always maintain it started when the cat in the manger shared her kitten’s bed with the baby Jesus. 

Less religious-leaning cats will point out that the tinkling bells and little balls of decorations are natural cat toys. So what could be more normal than a catnip toot and a boisterous field day playing with delicate ornaments ( with the humans running around shrieking!)? 

Afterward, a nice nap can be had in front of the fireplace, followed by an excellent roast.

About this point, your cat has determined that they have proven the point definitively, categorically ( so to speak), and in the words of the ancient cat philosopher Aristocatocles – QED (Quod Erat Demonstratum, thus I have proven it).

So as you decorate your tree, remember all the nice bells and balls go where your cat can grab them.

Chateau Xenia Catnip, 2022

Xenia takes her duties as Catnip Queen of New England seriously. In the photo, she exhibits the poise and dedication all professional nippers should show while testing the new year’s crop. It’s fresh from the greenhouse where the new vintage has been resting and curing after the Harvest.

The next step is to mix with some of the prior years’ vintages to moderate the impact, soften the earth tones, and add fruitier after-effects. Chateau Xenia designer nip is known for being superior to typical commercial nips. It is the quality purveyor of fine nips to many of the finest nip dens in the United States.

Despite flabbergasted humans and dogs, Chateau Xenia is exclusively for cats. Only serious inquiries, Please.


I worked so hard yesterday. Constantly sampling goodies to make sure they were of first quality. I was checking the whipped cream for the pie topping, the cream for the coffee, and of course, the turkey. So few realize the demands the holidays put on cats. Think of all the lost time in naps, the sacrifices made in all that eating.

Today is a day of rest; I’m thankful! Hmmmmmm…turkey scraps with dinner.


My little office also serves as a storage space, room for my small model railroad, and the Imperial Retreat. Her Imperial Majesty’s unique retreat is cleverly hidden behind some curtains for privacy. Enter unannounced, and she will scold you. However, if you begin working on the computer, she’ll offer her considerable editing skills to add extra spaces, punctuation, and carriage returns.

Since she dines in front of the windows, you will have to accommodate her needs to refresh the delicate consumables flowing from the kitchen. Between meals, the snack box will be raided for the best products provided by the chefs at Purina and other providers of quality goods for the discerning feline.

On occasion, there will be an incursion by a loutish canine. For example, this morning, H.I.M. trapped the foolish pup attempting to raid the snack box. Father had to come to rescue him when he heard the pitiful cries for mercy. She commanded that he be locked in one of the cells below until the miscreant learned that Lèse-majesté would not be tolerated! 

After he ran crying from the room, Xenia, the conquerer, decided to take a few moments of repose in front of the computer, watching Cat TV.

Birds are endlessly entertaining.

Toot of the Ages

Catnip. The toot of the ages. Drug of choice for all cats, little and great. Putting a few spoonfuls in a box transforms it into a playground that can occupy a cat for hours. Just no compromising photos, Please.

Want to see a cat croon, the kitty equivalent of a Gregorian chant on uppers? Nip in a box will do it.

Curious about where the swash came from in Swashbuckle? Leave a large paper bag with a bit of nip for an hour. You’ll see.

Are you interested in hearing the plaintive yowls of a cat having withdrawal symptoms? Take the nip away in mid-toot.

Cat nip, if it got humans high, it’d displace alcohol and most other recreational drugs. Think about a tooted teenager, high on nip, crashing the family car.

Imagine the three spoonful luncheon for the executive, who goes back to the office purring but incapable of work.

Worst of all, imagine the drunken nip parties of the celebrities, unable to stop at just one toke, falling asleep with their feet curled in the air. Snoring.

Be grateful that human science has not been able to transfer the “nip effect” to humans.

Cats have evolved an ability to tolerate large doses of the stuff. But, unfortunately, humans have not developed enough yet, perhaps in another hundred thousand years.


Xenia: I used to get accused of being brash. Well, I’ve malingered in that territory, but the terms that get used are more likely perverse instead of being called cheeky. The nerve!

Dad: Come on! As you got older, you found new outlets for some of your, shall we say, less kindly, takes on things. The way you discuss specific topics became trenchant; when asked if you prefer meringue topping or whipped cream, you look astonished and quoth ‘ Ice Cream please” in such a way that leaves no room for further opportunity to discuss it.

Xenia: My tastes have matured, and my perceptions tuned to a fine point. It’s apparent that I have the superior intellect!

Dad: Come on, Xenia! Let us know how you really feel about things!

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