Category Archives: cat blogging

Friday 5: birthdays, chocolate chip cookies, and Rod Stewart

me with my dad in May 2008

1. Today is my dad’s 75th birthday. True to form, his card is late (what happened? I used to be so good about mailing cards on time!) but I will call and wish him a happy birthday.

2. Today is also my nephew’s birthday. How can it be that the little 2yo boy who stuck his fingers in our wedding cake is now a husband and father?

3. I finally took the cat in for her annual appointment (only running 4 months late on that one). The veterinarian and the technician and I all agreed that she is part-Abyssinian, which explains her gorgeous caramel coloring. I doubt it explains her perfect behavior throughout the exam, but I was glad for that, too.

4. This morning my friend ~P~ is coming over to learn how to make chocolate chip cookies (not exactly a national treat in China).  Last Saturday, I was at her house learning how to make a few easy, healthy dishes. I think I have the better end of the deal!

5. I’m in love with the Rod Stewart Great American Songbook CD collection. Unfortunately, there is no money in the budget for buying CDs just because I like them.   😦   But at least the next time someone asks me what I’d like for a gift, I can actually name something!

In which I turn into a housecat

It happened when I was talking with my 11-year-old about things he hoped to someday see or do. I reached into my brain for an example and… came up with nothing. Not only was I lacking a list, I couldn’t even find the bucket!

Am I destined for a life of contented napping, purring, and walking in and out of the house countless times a day?
Or can you all help me with some ideas from your own bucket lists?

WWC: Animal Mineral

Are all y’all sick of snow pictures yet?


Well, then!

The cat saw this...

...and she wanted to be closer, like this...

...but the reality was THIS!

I’m pretty sure that just fulfilled the Weekly Words Challenge assignment of ANIMAL and MINERAL.


Good News!

At 10pm last night, a trio of snowplows came down our street… or rather, drove and slipped UP our road, then backed up and did it again, then drove DOWN the road. And then they repeated it all over again.  That will hopefully allow me to get out and join the masses in a rush to restock the fridge and pantry before the next storm.

Because another 10 to 20  inches of  snow is expected tonight.

I’m getting my fill of Winter!! 😛

Much ado about Cleopatra

We’ve had Cleopatra since she was about 6 months old. Our Realtors (a husband/wife team who helped us buy our first house) knew we were looking for a cat to love and a hungry kitten had showed up in their backyard to nibble birdseed and slugs.  They wanted to keep her because she was so sweet but they had two big cats about the size of Gary’s cats.  Little bitty kitty didn’t stand a chance of holding her own against them (the Realtors’ cats, not Gary’s) so they gave us a call.

She was a frightened feral kitten and definitely small (probably would have starved to death within 2 months) — so small that we thought she was 3 or 4 months old. When we took her in a few days later for her first shots, the veterinarian told us she needed to be spayed ASAP!

Free cats are not really free… I think we spent about $300 on her in the first 2 months.

And when it was time to purchase a new sofa, we made sure it closely matched the color of the cat hair…

It took a long time before Cleo learned that a hand coming toward her was a good thing; in fact, she is still a bit skittish on occasion and we’ve been her servants loving owners for over 6 years. Her favorite places to sleep are either on EB’s life-sized stuffed sea turtle

The Queen on her throne

or on the top bunk with SnakeMaster amongst the plethora of blankets and stuffed animals. He makes tunnels and caves for her, which she loves.

Thankful Thursday posts are inspired by Mary Alice.

Cleopatra’s story was inspired by this post about Alex the Cat.

Not the Easter Bunny


Look who joined the kids for the Easter Egg hunt!


Gimme a “P”… Gimme an “A”

What do you do when you’ve canceled your reservations for a NYC spring break trip? For us, that meant 2 days of day trips into Washington, D.C. and then 2 days in Pennsylvania.

Tuesday morning: Out the door at the crack of 9:20am (we don’t go anywhere at the crack of dawn), with Encyclopedia Blue at the wheel (YIKES!!) we headed to


July 1-2-3, 1863 was a great deal warmer than April 7, 2009


close-up-of-robert-e-lee-on-travellerBut General Robert E. Lee still sat tall and proud on “Traveller”

dscn0489 …and we still climbed the platforms in the wind and snow flurries to see views like this:

Gettysburg, PA

Gettysburg, PA


I don’t know if it was sobering to the kids or not, but at least they will have a little bit more context the next time we sit down to watch the Ken Burns documentary “The Civil War.”

It was so cold and windy that we skipped the cemetery, swung into a McDonald’s for a pit stop (bathrooms and 15 dollar-menu cheeseburgers) before continuing on to Philadelphia.

Friendship Gate in Chinatown

Friendship Gate in Chinatown

in the Shanghai Bazaar

in the Shanghai Bazaar

Independence Hall (formerly known as the State House)

Independence Hall (formerly known as the State House)


We got settled into our hotel for the night and paid the $20 to park the car in an attended lot. Then we walked through Chinatown to Independence Square. Everything was closed up for the night, but we could still walk around and take pictures and make plans for tomorrow.

Nearly everything we saw on this trip was FREE (a favorite word for a family of 6), including the timed entrance tickets for Independence Hall.


The Liberty Bell is enclosed in a building (again, FREE to see) which was closed for the night; however, there is a viewing window for those who come after-hours.

We meandered down toward the waterfront in search of a place to eat dinner.

Irish Memorial

Irish Memorial

When you think Philly, what do you think of? What, you don’t think of Irish immigrants? After seeing this moving memorial, I certainly will!

great hunger, starvation, and desparation

great hunger, starvation, and desparation

mixed feelings about the journey

mixed feelings about the journey

Welcome hope from those who came before

Welcome hope from those who came before

SuperDad kept referring to that guy as “Uncle Sven” even when I pointed out that Sven is a Scandinavian name. “Seamus” didn’t stick!

In Remembrance

In Remembrance

Okay, so yes, you might also think of Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches, which is what I had for dinner (with onions, peppers, and mushrooms) along with a Harp lager (gotta keep with the Irish theme).

We kept to well-lit streets on the way back to the hotel. I’m told that Philly has a higher crime rate than NYC.

dscn0529-6-in-a-roomWe don’t need much for the night, just a bathroom and a place to sleep… but TV helps to keep us occupied while waiting for our turn in the bathroom. We put a boy on the floor, 2 boys in a bed, another boy on the floor, 2 parents in a bed, and there was still room for my new CPAP machine in the corner!

I opened my eyes to this sight

With complimentary breakfast in the morning downstairs, it was just right for one night. It also had some impressive views out the window the next morning! I opened my eyes to this sight —->


dscn0538-crane-lifting-girder-into-place2We were across the street from the new addition to the Convention Center.



We ate breakfast and checked out of the hotel but kept the parking spot (good until 3pm), then we moseyed back over to the tourist part of town. SuperDad and the boys toured the US Mint, but I couldn’t go in because I had a camera. (I wasn’t the only person standing outside while the rest of my group went inside). Then we all went over to see the Liberty Bell up close and in person:


We also had our free tour of Independence Hall:

Court room with 3 judges, jury box, and witness STAND

Court room with 3 judges, jury box, and witness STAND

Assembly room

Assembly room

Now it’s nearly noon… what should we do next?


A 20-minute carriage ride? That driver looks hopeful…


Nah… we need to spend the $30 on lunch.


(Sorry, sad driver — the economy sucks, doesn’t it?)

We try one final time (two previous stops have been unsuccessful thanks to large groups ahead of us) and manage to get into the Federal Reserve for the “Money in Motion” exhibit. It was FREE, but it wasn’t a free lunch…

SuperDad says we should Subway to the car. Huh? Why not walk? Oh. That kind of Subway! Five dollar foot-longs? Great idea! Four tuna and one roast beef on wheat, please. (We’ve got water, chips, and cookies stashed in the car.) Then we are off to our final tourist destination…


With 30 ft walls (ten more feet of wall underground) and an imposing facade… (those windows are fake — a trick of the eye, making the outside more imposing to those used to seeing European fortresses, while leaving the inside plain)


Eastern State Penitentiary was an active prison for 142 years. It closed in 1971 and is now a fascinating facility to tour. SuperDad read online that it was a great place to take families! I wouldn’t want to take preschoolers or toddlers there, but it was a great place for a family like ours.

dscn0585-eye-of-godThis was the world’s first true penitentiary; its goal was to inspire penitence. While the prisoners were in austere and solitary confinement, their arched cells were lit from above with a skylight (“the eye of God”)


They were supplied with a Bible, bed, desk, toilet, and meals. This place had central heating and running water before the White House did!


See that wooden door in the rear? It led out to a solitary exercise yard, which looked like this:


(SnakeMaster not included in prison yard package)


The rooms were small:

listening to a description

listening to a description

dscn0587-facilities-in-each-cellBut at least there was a toilet!

Officials from other American cities and from Europe came to visit this new kind of prison, where the goal was focused on reform instead of simply punishment.
The building itself (along with the “new approach”) became a model for over 300 prisons world-wide.

Al Capone was the most famous prisoner here, but there were plenty of others, too. There are several escape stories, including the infamous tunnel:

dscn0598-site-of-the-infamous-tunnelUnder the guise of fixing up an old storage room at the end of the hall, a prisoner (who was trained as a stonemason) dug out a hole in the wall, which he hid behind a wall-mounted wastebasket. Over the next 18 months, he dug 15 feet down, then tunneled the full distance across the prison yard, under the 40-ft prison wall (10ft of which was underground) and up & out into the street! He didn’t make his escape that night, but came back for his buddies. Twelve men made it out through that tunnel before they were caught! The final man turned himself in on the 8th day — he knocked on the warden’s door and asked to be re-jailed. He was hungry and didn’t know where else to turn. Everyone from that incident was re-captured, as well as most of the other attempted escapes. There was only one man in 142 years of prison operation who escaped; to this day, no one knows what happened to him.

After the prison closed in 1971, feral cats made this place “home.” A sculptor has created 36 different “ghost cats” which can be found throughout the building.

ghost cat

ghost cat

Eventually a humane society stepped in to spay/neuter these cats, and the last of them died in 2002 or 2003. A wonderful man named Dan McCloud fed them every day for 28 years; he died in 2002.


I was navigating for our return trip, so I nixed the turnpike in favor of driving on highway 30 through Lancaster County. I was rewarded with the sight of an Amish horse & buggy (and driver, of course) crossing the highway as we drove through a small town.


We learned a lesson here: staying in the city is a BIG time-saver. The less time spent commuting to where you want to be, the better! For the still-to-happen NYC trip, while I don’t think we can scrape up the funds to stay in $$~Manhattan~$$, I think we need to stay closer in than Elizabeth, NJ.

Who is Cleo? (Dog, part 2)

There was some confusion yesterday about whether or not I already had a pet. I am indeed the servant of a queen.*

The Queen on her throne

The Queen on her throne

Queen of the Household

Or, at least she thinks she is

My Cleopatra

My Cleopatra

My Cleopatra

In the above photo, the queen is warming herself on the heat vent in the early morning hours.

I’m pretty sure she doesn’t want a dog. She tolerates the leopard gecko, likely because he is a fascinating toy behind a wall of glass.

*SuperDad refuses to be called her dad; he is willing to be called her Master. Most folks, however, accept that dogs have masters and cats have staff.



This post is partially inspired by Moo and Farmer*sWife.
So you can blame them.

It’s a weird day. I was really tired this morning, so after all the kids got off to school, I rolled back into bed for a nap.
I rarely remember having dreams. I suspect I don’t often make it into dream state.

::side tangent

::Where’s my sleep study??::

end side tangent::

But boy howdy! This was some weird dream. I was in a super-weird Easter/Resurrection themed story (maybe a play?) and I was trying to emerge from the phone-booth fake coffin for the final scene. BUT while changing my costume, I got all tangled up and my arrival on stage and my lines were all late and discombobulated. At this point, I woke up… tangled in the quilt and it took me 2 minutes to find my way out to look at the clock. It was almost noon. Now I’m well-rested but can’t remember what the heck I was supposed to get done today.

Oh, yeah: clean the house, deal with the mountain of laundry, maybe go to Costco.

It has come to my attention that I am possibly the only one who can pronounce my blog name. Let’s correct that, shall we?

  1. It is NOT pronounced “Cat – Chin- Nova” as some of the people I live with have been saying. My chin looks nothing like a cat’s chin. My cat’s chin is much nicer looking and her whiskers are actually very useful.
  2. As a few exceedingly smart and in-the-know people have figured out, Kcinnova actually stands for something. SuperDad is military and military folks love their acronyms. However, unlike many military acronyms, Kcinnova doesn’t stand for anything obscene. Nothing fubar around here.
  3. The PROPER pronunciation sounds exactly like Casanova.

Merely because I find that to be hilariously funny.
I am a one-hawt-man woman —as opposed to a many-women man [the “real” Casanova] OR a hawt man like Heath Ledger [who played the part of the real Casanova]. Also, I am not Italian.

Too cute for words


Check out this site for your daily dose of Cute.   🙂

WWC #66, and more

This week’s words are NAUGHTY and NICE.

Sunday afternoon we attended a lovely open house/Christmas party. We were gone for over 2 hours. Before we left, my husband opened a box from my mother and placed the wrapped gifts under the tree. In the box there was also a nice Christmas treat for Cleopatra. SuperDad set the non-gift-wrapped (but still in plastic) catnip mouse in a dish on the counter.

bowl made by SnakeMaster in art class

bowl made by SnakeMaster in art class

In our absence, 0ur naughty cat got up on the counter (a major no-no!!), helped herself to her gift, and proceeded to remove it from the packaging. I wish I had it on film, to see how long it took her!

Teeth and claws are good for opening presents!  Packaging was found on the floor, but my floor does not make a pretty background for pictures!

Teeth and claws are good for opening presents!

By bedtime, the mouse was in danger of being disemboweled. I’m sure she had this accomplished by midnight:

Cleo had the munchies (Vitamin M for cats?)

Cleo had the munchies (Vitamin M for cats?)

That is some powerful-good catnip! I highly recommend it.


A few weeks ago, our Cub Scout Den visited the county’s safety center. They got to see how the 911 system works and then they got to sit in the nice deputy’s car.

police line-up

police line-up

This picture was taken the week after we finger-printed all of them!

May he never ride in the back seat!

May he never be so naughty that he rides in the back seat!

The Weekly Words Challenge is brought to us by Tink of Pickled Beef.
We’ll be taking the next 2 weeks off from this photo meme, but it’ll be back on January 6th. Merry Christmas!