Tag Archives: Ali

How Our Cat Became Human (or at least SHE thinks she is)

Hello, all! Today we have a guest blog from resident house cat, Ali. No, that makes me sound crazy.

This is me imagining what goes through Ali’s head in her supremely blessed little life. (Because that sounds sane, right?)

IMG_0676Hey, friends! This is me and my subservient human. She thinks we’re besties, but really, I am her master. I am the cute one on your right. I tend to hog photographs because I am so adorable. I can’t help that all my cuteness got concentrated in one big patch on the right side of my face.

IMG_0916When no one is home, I take glamourous selfies of myself making seductive eyes on the couch. Look at my white belly fur! Me-OW, am I right? That’s what I call tortitude.

IMG_1009When people are home, I prefer to make this face of determined desperation to trick them into doting on me. I will stare them down until they give in. If the staring alone doesn’t work, I throw in a few screeching, plaintive meows too. They practically chase after me to hang out at that point.

IMG_0934As you know, I am very adorable, so I get a lot of fan email. I usually get distracted by bubble screensaver or YouTube videos of birds before I get around to responding to any of them, but I appreciate my human admirers.

IMG_0977I tried reading some of my human’s “literature,” but gosh, it’s just soooooo boooooring. I like naps better. But I will always keep one eye half open to keep watch of my humans. You never know when they will escape.

IMG_1001Napping in the humans’ bed is my favorite. I like to get my many colors of fur all around so they can always have a little of me with them wherever they go. Now they can sleep on the couch, muahahahaha!

IMG_0691Sometimes (well, like everyday) my humans are rude and forget to invite me to breakfast or dinner. The girl human even sits in my chair. Ugh. So I sit on this armchair — they never use these armrests enough — and stare them down until they dote on me again.


Here I am at cat headquarters. This is where I distract my male human from doing his “work” by — what else? –staring him down until he dotes at me. I also love the printer. I love to sit on it and make it do loud beeping noises in the middle of the night. Music to my ears!

IMG_1052And sometimes I just like to sit out of reach on the tall window, playing with a stained glass maple leaf to annoy the humans and contemplating my eventual world domination by way of cuteness.

Ah, the men in white jackets are coming to take me away now…

(Seriously though. Ali is SO MUCH CAT for one kitty. We love her. I think she loves us, too. And her photos are too cute not to share here and there.)



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Facebook-stalking my cat

Yes, this is possible.

As part of my work with Anjellicle Cats Rescue, I started posting new photos of cats from weekend adoption events to the cat listings on AdoptaPet.com. As I was looking through the Facebook album from this past weekend (where we pull the photos from for the other website listings), I thought, “Hmmm, I wonder if there are any pics of Ali on here from when she was up for adoption?!?”

And guys, there were total professional-quality glamour shots of her!


*model face*


601401_10150988281280240_487408735_nWould it be weird if I got these printed and framed and hung one in a giant blown-up version above my fireplace? How come people can have paintings of their DOGS displayed in their homes, and this is very regal and aristocratic, but if you did it with your cats, it’s just plain weird?

OK, so on Saturday night I did see a man walking his cat on a leash in our neighborhood. And I feel so bad because the words, “Oh. My. God.” escaped from my mouth before I could stop them, and the man kind of gave me a look like, “What is your problem?!?” And I wanted to tell him, “Oh, no, this is amazing. I LOVE cats! My cat won’t even let me hug her properly, and your cat is outside! That is wonderful. What a feat.”

But I mean, if you are walking your cat on a leash in a very public place on a Saturday night, you’ve gotta know you’re going to get some funny looks. Especially if your cat wanders off into the doorway of a bar, as this cat was doing, getting laughter from a lot of drunk people stepping out for a cigarette break.

The cat seemed quite content and unphased by the whole ordeal, by the way.

Anyway, cats are awesome — on leashes or off of them. And I am so glad to have Ali-girl/Miss Kitty/Cuddlebug/other-embarrassing-names-I-call-my-cat-when-no-one-is-around in my life!

I’d adopt you again in a heartbeat, cat-daughter.

OK. I’ll stop.

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Blog challenge! – Day 2 (9 loves)



1. New York City! This was a given for this list. One of my favorite activities is walking around NYC by myself in the evening, or quietly with someone else (you know, like Sean) if it is later at night. There is something so fantastically surreal about when the big, bustling city begins to wind down, and the streets in the residential  neighborhoods are empty and you can count the number of people you can see on your fingers. These are good thinking times. Right now it is the holiday times in New York, and it makes you really understand why there are songs like “Silver Bells” about it. There are decorations everywhere! Even along Park Avenue, where my office is, there are “corporate Christmas decorations” to replace the “corporate artwork.” In case you’re wondering what this means, it’s simple Christmas trees in the landscaped medians loaded with twinkling white lights. My favorite decorations are the seasonal window displays along 5th, which are the perfect blend of consumerism and festivity that suits an all-American Christmas, I think. (Tiffany’s, below.)


2. When I finish a novel that is so perfect, I close it upon finishing the last page, and then just stare blissfully at the wall for at least five silent minutes. This is a rare and beautiful moment. I cherish them for all their worth, because you can never replicate the wonder of finishing a truly great book for the first time. At least not with the same book.

3. Looking at the groom at a wedding right as the bride begins coming down the aisle. I think this is mentioned in the chick flick 27 Dresses, but it’s true. By all means, admire the beautiful bride in all her wedding day glory, but glance at the groom when he thinks everyone is looking at her. I did this at my good friend’s wedding this past summer, and he was getting choked up in the anxious moments before they opened the back doors of the church and her father walked her up the aisle. This alone made me have to fight back tears. I am an emotional mess of a bridesmaid; never ask me to be in your wedding party. Just kidding. Being a bridesmaid was one of the greatest things I’ve ever gotten to do. Except, of course, being a bride.


4. A foamy, piping hot latte in the middle of a boring work day. It’s such a small treat and welcome change from the free stuff in the breakrooms, and it makes all the difference.

5. A frenzied desire to bake late on weekday evenings. This is how I keep my sanity, folks. And my sugar tooth satisfied. I’ve totally given into the urge to make, say, zucchini muffins or coffee cake at 10 p.m. on a Wednesday.

6. Indie bands with weird names you’ve never heard of. Unless you, too, listen to such bands. In which case, let’s indulge in a cult classic together:

Time to be serious.

7. A paying, full-time job that lets me be both creative and OCD. I get to create page designs AND correct other people’s grammar…WHILE GETTING PAID. Crazy, huh? Sometimes, I spend hours just editing photos in Photoshop. It’s really not fair. Also, I work at a charming family-owned publishing company with a grandfatherly CEO who plays jazz on a jukebox in his corner office and gives out apples from his Montana ranch. My other 2o-somethings in the office are also the so sweet and we spend all day having conversations that begin, “Did you see that story in the news about….?” Oh, and I can wear jeans to work and take a bus to get there. It’s the best.

8. My adorable cat-daughter! She’s made of cute and cuddles. She can also be handful, with her strange tendency to pretend-bury her food and water bowls when they are not exactly to her liking, her bad habit of caterwauling in the wee hours of the night, and her unintentional spreading of white belly-fur EVERYWHERE. But I love her to pieces, and I can’t imagine life without her anymore. She’s a purring machine and a bringer of much laughter (and warmth!) to this household.

photo9. My best friend and husband, who gives me smiles, laughter, and love. Every. Single. Day. A lot has changed about us and our lives since we started dating at 18, but we’ve only grown more inseparable. We are the completely the same and totally different in all the right ways. We’ve seen each other at our worst, and yet he still tells me I’m beautiful when I’m wearing my glasses and sweatpants and feeling most un-beautiful. And it still melts my heart. Every. Single. Time. He is simply the best, and you don’t need to tell me twice that I should be a million times grateful for meeting my special someone at so young an age. As of December 2, we’ve been married for six months! Crazy. Where has the time gone?!? It’s been a whirlwind of change, challenges, and joy. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in the journey ahead!

IMG_8118P.S. Sean says no more cat-children, so I guess what’s in store is definitely not any feline-siblings for little Ali Cat.


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Personality Quiz! with Ali the Cat

I have a special bond with my cat. As I mentioned recently, we even enjoyed a girls’ movie night recently, when we watched the documentary First Postition, during which I learned of Ali’s deep fascination with ballet electronics.

As you can tell, she’s loads of fun. So today she’s presenting a fun Personality Quiz, using a series of optical illusions. Just pick whether you see (A) or (B) in each image, then scroll down to see the results of your final tallies.

Do you see (A) a winter coat, or (B) a bed?

2.Do you see (A) a wireless printer/scanner combo, or (B) a chair?

3.Do you see (A) a throw pillow, or (B) a bed?

4.Do you see (A) a drinking glass, or (B) a water bowl?

5.Do you see (A) a storage container, or (B) a chair?

6.Do you see (A) a shopping bag and writing pen, or (B) toys!!!

7.Do you see (A) a good book, or (B) a chair?

Now tally up how many questions for which you answered (A) and how many for which you answered (B). Scroll down for your results! Discover your inner desires and deepest fears! Discover who you really are!


If you answered mainly (A)s…

Congratulations! You’re a human being. You have opposable thumbs and the largest mental capacity in the animal kingdom! You can earn a college degree, learn how to cook a curry, and distinguish between a jazz ensemble and a Peruvian pipe band. You can savor a Picasso painting or a Nabokov novel. However, you have to participate in nasty things like paying taxes, traffic jams, and public speaking. Life is alright.

If you answered mainly (B)s…

Congratulations! You’re a cat! You get to nap and play and eat all. day. long. You get free back massages FOR LIFE, not to mention free food and housecleaning. You live by two rules: “If I fits on it, I sits on it,” and “If I can play with it, it’s a toy” (which is a much less rhyming and cutesy rule). The world apartment is your oyster! Carpe diem! Seize the day…or at least the four hours of it for which you will be forcibly awake. YOUR LIFE IS AWESOME.

Ah! Now THIS is the life. Sorry, humans. Also, dogs drool, cats rule…and stuff.



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(10) good things

(1) Kitty. It is the best coming home to this sweet little face every evening. She drives us crazy with her caterwauling at night, but that annoying trait is so easy to forget when you come home from work and Miss Ali is being a total cuddlebug.

(2) Fall-time baking. I had a weird urge to bake zucchini bread late last Thursday night. So I made a dozen muffins for Sean and I, and a loaf to give to my in-laws when they came to visit this past weekend. It was a better idea than I thought, because it saved them a trip out for breakfast that Sunday. With all that cinnamon-y goodness, what’s not to love?

(3) Autumnal colors. We went traipsing all over Manhattan with Sean’s parents, and we saw the occasional flash of gorgeous colors here and there. I stumbled across this golden beauty in Central Park.

(4) Actually taking a photo together. Fact: it’s hard to take a good photo of yourself, and it is awkward to ask someone you don’t know that well to do so for you when you’re out in public places. Fact: I am in love with this shot the MIL (a fancy new acronym I get to use!) took of us near the lake in Central Park. Of course, it would be during the time period when I had a near eye-infection and had to wear my glasses. But I still love it.

(5) Being a tourist in your own city. We went to parts of Manhattan we wouldn’t ordinarily go to, like Times Square (to see Wicked on Broadway, fulfilling 15-year-old Rebecca’s dream), the Financial District, and even the 9/11 Memorial — which was especially special. Here is good ol’ George Washington in front of Federal Hall National Memorial, on the site of where Washington took oath of office as the first president of the United States and the Bill of Rights was first introduced to Congress.

(6) The best pizza. We went to Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn for dinner on Sunday night, at the famous “under the Brooklyn Bridge” location. The wait was long, like always — as there was a line out the door, but we also poorly timed our visit so that they had to change out the coals in the brick oven before our pizza was put in. Oh, but it was so worth it! We got onions, black olives, Italian sausage, and pepperoni. With the fresh mozzarella and fresh basil? Ugh, perfection.

(7) City lights. You can’t see them when you don’t live in a high-rise apartment. I’m glad we don’t live in a high-rise apartment, but it was a real treat to see the Manhattan skyline post-pizza on Sunday night. We walked over to Brooklyn Bridge Park to get something sweet from The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (peaches & cream for me!), and from there you have a spectacular view of Manhattan. Also, if you’re an English major, you’ll feel a little giddy reading over the engravings on the railings, which are from Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.” Trust me, I took a class entirely about Walt Whitman and Mark Twain my senior year. His poetry is magical. Did you know that Whitman was the editor of the daily newspaper The Brooklyn Eagle from 1846-48? Well, now you do!

OK, OK, I have to include a quote from Whitman’s Leaves of Grass in here now, just because. Because that book remains among the most beautiful I have ever read, OK?

O such for me! O an intense life! O full to repletion, and varied! […]/People, endless, streaming, with strong voices, passions, pageants;/Manhattan streets, with their powerful throbs, with the beating drums, as now;/The endless and noisy chorus, the rustle and clank of muskets, (even the sight of the wounded;)/Manhattan crowds, with their turbulent musical chorus — with varied chorus, and light of the sparkling eyes;/Manhattan faces and eyes forever for me.

(8) Sweet cards from friends. I got a number of lovely letters and cards for my birthday, but I was in no way expecting more pretty mail to come my way. This one is from Caitlin — who keeps finding ways into my blog postings out of sheer awesomeness — who was going to write me a Facebook message about an author she thought I’d enjoy, but instead took the time to mail me this darling teacup-themed note instead. I was delighted. Shortly after receiving this, I had to make my favorite Tazo Organic Apple Red tea. Too bad I don’t have something to drink it out of that is nearly that pretty!

(9) Concert season continues. We went to see Father John Misty at the Bowery Ballroom last night. He is a total weirdo, but he has an AH-MAZ-ING voice. Great show. I just couldn’t help but laugh at his hip-swinging moves and the ridiculous sequences of words expelling from his mouth. To be honest, I’m not sure where the craziness ended and the exaggerated stage presence began.

Watch this video of him on Letterman, just for kicks and giggles (also, this is what my husband has declared “The Song of the Year” … so that should entice you):

(10) Good reads. I finally read Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, after buying a $3 used copy from the library’s bookstore. I always thought it was written much longer ago than it was (1982). Despite the fact that this is 200% something Oprah would endorse — oh, wait, she was in the film version — it was genuinely excellent. Quickest synopsis: Two poor African-American sisters share their triumphs and trials via letters (“epistolary novel” is the fancy term), as one struggles with her fate as a child-bride in the South and the other as a coincidental missionary in Africa. The ending — no spoilers! — but it was like, “UGH, my heart is so happy right now!!!” So yeah. Definitely seeing this being studied in schools one day, whenever they get tired of talking about Huck Finn.


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How a cat took over our hearts…and apartment

Disclaimer: Brace yourself for a lot of cat pictures. Either you will succumb to the cuteness, or you will leave quietly. No teasing. I am a girl obsessed.

So we’ve had our Ali for nearly two months now (my goodness, how time flies!), and it’s safe to say that she has completely won over our hearts…and our apartment. I think it’s the New Yorker in her showing through. In case you didn’t know, New Yorkers are obsessed with real estate. Some of the first questions people ask when they meet you are: “Do you live in Manhattan? What neighborhood? Prewar? Elevator or walk-up? How many bedrooms?”

Ali owns her little patch of Manhattan like nobody’s business. She weirdly sticks to the living room only, except for necessary visits to the litter box in our bedroom. We noticed within a week or so of adopting her that she had slowly started to claim things as hers.

First, it was the scratching post.

We refer to this as the “don’t ever leeeeave meeeee!!!” pic. This was before she had learned that furniture is not for kitties, so I had to cover part of our armchair with foil and put the catnip-covered post right next to it. She might have been a little high in this photo.

Then it was her cat bed:

It is a wee bit too small for her, but it was given to us by the cat adoption people.

But when she realized that wasn’t nearly as spacious or comfy as the humans’ couch, she claimed that, too:

It’s remarkable how a cat so small can take up so much space.

Then there was the little canvas container I purchased from Bed, Bath & Beyond for the specific purpose of storing our numerous issues of WSJ and Time that were lying about, but Ali knew it was really a cat storage box:

“Why be organized and tidy when you can look at adorable meeeee?!?!?”

And then, of course, there’s the windowsills and her cat toys and food and water bowls and a piece of discarded cardboard she discovered and likes to sit on. They’re hers, OK? She’ll let you know by sitting on these items, or crowding you out when you approach.

Her most recent claim? The colored pen I’m using to annotate my Lech-brary book this month and an empty American Eagle shopping bag.

Whatever, cat. You totally lost your cat toys under the couch and TV stand, are creatively improvising until the humans retrieve them for you.

Her infatuation with the shopping bag has grown over the past few days. After attacking it until it was suitably dead, she spent some time sitting on it in the middle of the living room floor, watching us eat cereal and other mundane human activities. Now it is her preferred sleeping spot…even though it is right next to her much more comfy, much more cat-friendly bed. Weirdo.

We call her “HoboKitty.”

She’s also very good at marking her roughly 400-square foot territory by getting her litter and food everywhere. Also, she has all colors of fur, so she is good at making that evident on everything from a brown couch to blue curtains and white T-shirts. And if you didn’t already know whose apartment it really is, she yowls through the night to remind you.

We should probably hate, or at least resent, her.

But we just can’t. I never knew I could love a little ball of get-all-over-you fur so much. I mean, can you blame me? Just look at that face.

The face of an adorable dictator usurping her small kingdom by cuteness and cuddle-ability.


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5 Good Things

One of my favorite authors, Sarah Dessen, writes “the Friday Five” every, well, Friday in her personal blog. I love the concept, but personally, I think Fridays are already awesome. But Mondays? They could use a little help.

So here’s five things that have brought joy to my life recently in some way or another. Make your Monday merrier! Besides, you know what they say about “counting your blessings…”

5 Good Things

1. On Friday night, Sean treated me to ice cream from a neighborhood place, Emack & Bolio’s, and I tried salted caramel ice cream with chocolate-covered mini pretzels! I never knew I why people always rave about the salted caramel lattes at Starbucks, but now I totally get it. Salty sweetness is sometimes just the perfect juxtaposition of flavors. The ice cream was SO. GOOD. The perfect start to an otherwise laundry- and chore-filled weekend.

2. Now that the weather is a little nicer — it’s in the lower 60s right now, so I didn’t have to turn on the A/C when I got home, for once! — street festivals are popping up all over the place. Yesterday a pretty extensive one sprung up on 3rd Ave. on the UES. I walked down the street from 86th to 75th, and as I was walking downhill as well as downtown, I could see huge throngs of people all at once. I never did figure out what the festival was for or about, but there were your typical fair food vendors (deep-fried oreos, kettle korn, and at least a dozen fresh-squeezed lemonade stands in that 11-block stretch alone), a man making balloon animals for children, a few stands for the Chamber of Commerce and other city organizations, and little stands selling silk scarves, costume jewelry, handbags, and so on. What was amusing was that I began to see multiple tents selling the same things–I saw at least three selling knock-off designer sunglasses.

It was almost like Niceville’s annual Mullet Festival, except with less smoke and fried fish, and more tall buildings.

The usual street vendors, who camp out near the metro station and sell the weirdest things (one man has a table of high-end nail polish for suspiciously low prices, another sells CDs of himself covering Bob Dylan songs, and a woman has little plastic baggies of dried fruits and nuts), seemed to be enjoying the extra foot traffic. My only purchase was a cup of lemonade. It was tricky deciding which one to spend my money on, as there were so many. I was unable to turn down an overly jolly man who referred to his citrusy beverage as “exquisite.” How often is lemonade described as “exquisite”? Too rarely, I tell you. Also, he shook the ice, drink, and lemon slices together “like a margarita.” He meant martini, but the sentiment was still nice.

I noticed a sign this evening for a fall street festival at the Catholic parish down the street. I’ll have to check that one out too!

3. Do you ever become completely obsessed with one particular song and then listen to it over and over and over and OVER again? I only have this problem every once in a great while, but I swear for the past month, I can’t get over Radical Face’s “Welcome Home.” The whole album, Ghost, is fantastic, but this one song stands out to me in its folksy acoustic and clapping goodness. This is everything I feel like a song should be.

Plus, Ben Cooper, the man behind this musical act, is based out of Jacksonville, Florida. Sometimes you just gotta have home state pride. I love the music video, too, because you can see distinctly northern Floridian landscape in the background of some scenes.

Go ahead, I dare you do listen to this song and not be happier after:

4. As if we didn’t already know our cat was a huge couch potato (except, of course, when the humans are attempting to sleep at night), she appears to love watching television. She sat completely absorbed for most of the animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox a few weekends ago, watching the little animal-characters run around the screen. I think she enjoyed it because she thought the foxes were cats.

Kitty enjoys the Interwebz.

And like I’ve mentioned before, she can totally veg out in front of a video from the YouTube channel “Videos for your Cat.” Maybe “veg out” isn’t the right phrase. She sits very alert, her eyes darting around the screen, and occasionally paws at the birds or fish moving around on the laptop. Poor thing doesn’t get to see real wildlife much, even with the garden courtyard she can see from her favorite perch on either of the living room windows. Although she did once spot one of the cats who lives out there as it ran across a fence. I’ve never seen her eyes get bigger.

E.B. stands for “Elwyn Brooks.” No wonder he went by his initials professionally.

5. Last week I read the wonderful essay “Here is New York” by E.B. White. Yes, the E.B. White of Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web fame. This little gem of a book, which I borrowed from the library on my Kindle, was named one of the 10 best books ever written about NYC by The New York Times and declared “the wittiest essay, and one of the most perceptive, ever done on the city” by The New Yorker. It is truly White’s love letter to the city.

Even though it was penned in 1949, so many of White’s words still ring true. He captures the mysteriously captivating traits of New York in ways that I never could. A must-read for anyone living in or visiting New York–or dreaming of it. I’ll copy one of my favorite passages here:

There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last — the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is the third city that accounts for New York’s high-strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.

Here’s to a new week of yet-to-be-discovered opportunities and adventures!


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