It was the black kitten's fault entirely...

On April 25, 1856, Lewis Carroll first encountered the three year-old named Alice Liddell who would serve as his inspiration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and, later, Through the Looking Glass.

Alice Liddell, photographed in 1859 by Charles Dodgson (a.k.a Lewis Carroll)

From Through the Looking Glass:

"One thing was certain, that the white kitten had had nothing to do with it--it was the black kitten's fault entirely. For the white kitten had been having its face washed by the old cat for the last quarter of an hour (and bearing it pretty well, considering): so you see that it couldn't have had any hand in the mischief.

"The way Dinah washed her children's faces was this: first she held the poor thing down by its ear with one paw, and then with the other paw she rubbed its face all over, the wrong way, beginning at the nose: and just now, as I said, she was hard at work on the white kitten, which was lying quite still and trying to purr--no doubt feeling that it was all meant for its good.

"But the black kitten had been finished with earlier in the afternoon, and so, while Alice was sitting curled up in a corner of the great armchair, half talking to herself and half asleep, the kitten had been having a grand game of romps with the ball of worsted Alice had been trying to wind up, and had been rolling it up and down till it had all come undone again; and there it was, spread over the hearth-rug, all knots and tangles, with the kitten running after its own tail in the middle.

"'Oh, you wicked, wicked little thing!' cried Alice, catching up the kitten, and giving it a little kiss to make it understand that it was in disgrace. 'Really, Dinah ought to have taught you better manners! You ought, Dinah, you know you ought!'" ...

Read more of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass now (free etext)

Alice Pleasance Liddell (1852-1934)


A Good Night's Sleep

I've gone through most of most of my life with a broken on/off switch. Even as a child I could lie awake at night for hours (I remember once counting backwards from one thousand to one); by the time morning would come, I never felt rested and getting out of bed was sheer torture.

In the worst of my depressions, I could literally sleep for 24 to 30 hours. But even when I wasn't depressed, I could easily sleep for 12 to 15 hours and was generally terrified of sleeping through the alarm clock.

In recent months, I've made a new discovery: waking up like a "normal" human being after a good night's sleep. Granted, I need about 10 hours of sleep, but after I've gotten my 10 hours, I can now willingly get out of bed and face the day.

For me, this is a revolutionary experience.

There seems to be a combination of factors at work: finally getting on a relatively regular sleep schedule; finding a combination of bipolar meds that work so that depression isn't wrecking havoc with my sleep; avoiding caffeine in the evenings; and, most interestingly, fish oil.

Um...what was that last one? Fish oil. I only mention it because it seems to be helping to balance my moods, improve my sleep, and eliminate PMS. I haven't had PMS symptoms for the past two months, and the extreme fatigue, irritability, pain and cramps I experienced bordered on PMDD because there were times it was severe enough to be debilitating.

Back in December my doctor suggested the fish oil to help boost my 'good' cholesterol. I've been taking 1000 mg/day since then and I'm convinced that it's helping in these other areas as well. That and the pomegranate juice... *grin*

I had a friend back in Michigan who swore eating fresh pineapple worked, too. I'm all in favor of whatever does the trick!


If You Can't Find Me...

...I'm Probably Lost in the Borean Tundra

I resisted for quite awhile, but I finally gave in and began playing World of Warcraft. Partly because it gives me something fun to do with Mr. O'Kitten, and partly because I really did think I would like it.

I must have been pretty young the first time heard about Dungeons & Dragons, because I remember thinking it was awfully disappointing that you couldn't actually play it in a real dungeon, or at least in a cave or someplace someone had made to look like a dungeon.

The thought of sitting around in someone's basement rolling dice and looking lots of things up in a book sounded extremely tedious to me.

But now, of course, you can go into dungeons online. And believe me, they are spectacular, as are the forests, mountains, oceans, deserts, and plains, replete with varying flora and fauna. It is really something for someone like me who still remembers Pong.

Remember Pong? Home Pong was released in the mid-1970s and, if you're too young to remember this moment in history, it probably sounds like a non-event. What was truly revolutionary about Pong was that it marked the first time you could actually interact with your television set.

Before Pong, television programming was merely broadcast into your home--and if your home was like mine, you got maybe four of five different channels. This meant that your TV set was merely a receiver for broadcasts. For the first time ever, Pong made it your TV set an interactive device.

My family had Pong, but (revolutionary or not) it really was a snoozefest. Pac-Man, however, captured my imagination. "When Pac-Man was released [in 1980], most arcade video games in North America were primarily space shooters such as Space Invaders, Defender, or Asteroids. The most visible minority were sports games that were mostly derivative of Pong. Pac-Man succeeded by creating a new genre and appealing to both genders." I was 13, and appeal to me it did.

However, I am not of the joystick generation. Mr. O'Kitten, who is five years younger than me, is far more adept at all things arcade and videogame, from Space Invaders to Nintendo to mastering the finer points of the newer online games like World of Warcraft. By the time Pac-Man was installed in my local pizzeria, I just couldn't seem to develop the lightning-fast eye-hand coordination the game required. That didn't stop me from losing a few quarters, but I was never destined to become an arcade junkie.

So now I can be a big monster online. I really like being a monster--and even better, I'm a monster that can turn into a cat, which entertains me no end.


Gojira Returns...

funny pictures of cats with captions


Buster Brown and Cheese World

Mr. O'Kitten and I went on a little adventure to the nearby neighborhood of Forest Hills for a stroll. It's a really lovely area with a lot of posh homes, so one of these days we have to go back so I can take more photos. The buildings above are adjacent to the train station.

I was astonished by this little time capsule. I'm not sure I ever had Buster Brown shoes, but I definitely remember getting new school shoes at a place with a similar storefront when I was little.

I think it would be easier for me to give up chocolate than cheese. I love cheese. So we had to go in here just to inhale the aroma. Mmmmm...cheese...

Today I have plans to meet my knitting friend after work. It's supposed to be nice and warm so I think we'll be sitting outside (!) for some KIP (Knitting In Public). Woo-hoo!


I Heart NY Part 6: We Help Robots Cross the Street

This is such a great story on so many levels. Don't miss the video at the end--it made us laugh and laugh--and Mr. O'Kitten doesn't even like Wall-E.

Monsters for Heads, and More

Lew, Monster Hat No. 19

Lew must be from Canada because he loves ice hockey and curling. He says he has even been ice fishing. I think he rather looks a bit like a fish. His favorite band is They Might Be Giants and he would like nothing more than to build a birdhouse in your soul. Lew is made of Yarn Lust tencel sock in Tokyo Tea, Gluttony, and Genmaicha.

Martin, Monster Hat No. 20

I know he looks puzzled, but Martin is actually perpetually bemused by the world and everything in it. Cats provide him with hours of entertainment, as do crossword puzzles and late-night television. Because our hours coincide so conveniently, I have adopted Martin as my very own. Martin is made of Yarn Lust organic merino worsted in After Dark and Twilight.

This is the saddest bunny in the world. So sad, in fact, that I'm not sure what to do with him. Mr. O'Kitten thinks that no one in their right mind will adopt him with his saggy chenille carcass, lopsided ears and mis-matched button eyes. Anyone have any suggestions?

I am also stockpiling a heap of dishcloths for the holidays. Shhh...don't tell.

I like this snowflake pattern.
By knitting it, I am ensuring that no more snowflakes will fall this season.

Here is evidence that things are blooming.
This must mean that spring is very nearly here to stay.


Cats on Tuesday: Cat Livin--Ur Doin it Rite

Cats on Tuesday: Cat Livin--Ur Doin it Rite

We won a rat on Moderncat recently during a Toy Week giveaway. It's a big wool Cat Livin' toy with a long leather tail and was a big hit here upon its arrival today Chez O'Kitten.

The rat underwent thorough scrutiny.
You can see that it's all fresh and catnippy.

Isis demonstrates the secure attachment of the long leather tail.

The organic catnip was pronounced "extremely tasty."

The rat passed all quality assurance testing.

Isis: Move along, Morgan. Nothing to see here.


Easter Peeps

Now that we're not on the farm anymore, one thing I will miss is having my own spring peeps. The first two years, they came in a box in the mail.

The odd-looking chick grew up into a rooster we named Odo.

By the second spring, the hens started having chicks of their own.
This is Heather, who had two mommies. (After several weeks, Timmy--the smaller of the two hens vying for custody of the rapidly-growing chick--won out.)

These are a few of Rebel Goldilocks' offspring.
Goldilocks was a great mama.

I even hatched some chicks in my incubator.

I guess I'll have to go back to making my own peeps again.

Happy Easter, everyone!


Gojira vs. Insectosaurus vs. Isisosaurus

We went to see Monsters vs. Aliens this week. Every time Insectosaurus graced the screen, Mr. O'Kitten got excited. First of all, he is a big fan of old Japanese monster movies like Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Destroy All Monsters, and Godzilla vs. King Kong. (Personally, I like Mothra, but we'll leave that debate for another day.) Secondly, Insectosaurus is a giant, not-very-bright, rather portly, furry, google-eyed monster. When Insectosaurus first appeared on the screen, Mr. O'Kitten leaned over the popcorn tub and whispered to me, "Hey--it's Isis."


Isisosaurus. You can even see her little antennae.


Beware of the friends of Isisosaurus.

They will smash you and your wimpy little planet into smithereens. Or at least they will demolish your vehicular devices.


cats on tuesday a note from archy

cats on tuesday a note from archy

this is the song of mehitabel
of mehitabel the alley cat
as i wrote you before boss
mehitabel is a believer
in the pythagorean
theory of the transmigration
of the soul and she claims
that formerly her spirit
was incarnated in the body
of cleopatra
that was a long time ago
and one must not be surprised
if mehitabel
has forgotten some of her
more regal manners

~ from Don Marquis' Archy and Mehitabel (first published in 1916)