The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Friday, October 20, 2006


The goal was to assign exchange pals and post questions today, but I’m still short info on about half of our participants. I know that you all really want to get started, and I’m with you on that; however, if you don’t feel too badly about it, I think I’ll go ahead and give it until Sunday, just so those folks who expressed an interest have a non-work day chance to get their stuff to me. Believe me, I know how life happens, invariably when you’re trying to do something interesting; let’s face it: the only reason I have my info is that, well, it’s my info. I would have forgotten to get it anywhere else. In any case, even if it means a tiny little exchange group, we will definitely go forward on Sunday—but I’d love to have everyone, just cause y’all are so darned cool.

Meanwhile, I offer the following distraction from the pen of Miss Gracie M. Cat (I always thought she slept all day when I was away, but apparently she’s working on the great feline-american novel….who knew?). I believe the working title is “Your Humans and You: an Owner’s Manual”, and this excerpt is from Chapter 7: The Games Humans Play:

“For reasons that are not entirely clear, humans have a rather irrational tendency to purchase all manner of enjoyable toys and engage in a number of similarly entertaining activities and then become irate when we, understandably, attempt to play with them. If you, like I, have the questionable pleasure of sharing your home with one of those knitters who collects pairs of sticks and balls of string, you know what I mean. Just TRY running off with one of those balls of string (which brings up another question—does anyone else find that they have at least two, human-given names? Mine seem to be “Gracie”, “You little snot” and “NOOOOO!!!!”. Oh, and my second name is apparently “damnit”.) Another interesting thing is the spin-y thing. I’m not crazy about it in any case, given that it seems to turn perfectly delightful balls of string into considerably less interesting, non-rolling cakes, but I only got to paw at the spin-y thing once before being banished unceremoniously from the room. It’s almost as if she thinks SHE owns the house. Nervy little baggage, isn’t she?

However, as a cat of some wisdom and experience, I feel compelled to share with you the delights of The Bed Ride. You probably don’t know about this—humans are notoriously fickle and are known to be quite careless about time and waiting customers when running this ride. My human, for instance, runs it more days than not, but at varying times. And she only runs the really good one once per week. To be certain of participating, I find it necessary to spend as much time on the bed as possible, even if it means sleeping there. Do try to look casual.

It can take hours, days—but I am not a weak-willed or impatient cat. I can wait as long as she can. At some point, she will cave in and come to operate the ride. Properly run, the ride consists of sliding blankets, huge flapping things, and delightful humps of covers beneath which to hide. You will need to be diligent, however, if you are to be on full alert when the ride begins:

It is unfortunate that this ride often also includes use of the aforementioned secondary names, but I urge you to disregard this. Why would she come operate the ride if she didn’t want me to participate? Humans are irrational—it doesn’t behoove one to try to make too much sense of their behavior.

It is important when riding the bed ride to grab ferociously at the covers. It incites more screaming from the human, but is well worth it. Don’t hesitate here, but actually stalk the covers.

Hang on for dear life and don’t allow yourself to be shaken off. They’ll yell, but I think my human respects me the more for my determination. As an aside, if you can get a butt-wiggle going, this seems to melt the human heart, at least briefly, and may afford you a longer ride.

I am not personally a fan of the under-the-covers portion of the ride, although my sister adores it. If you do as well, try to avoid being under the fitted sheet. The exit becomes quite impossible to find and a huge panic will not only end the ride prematurely, it will cause you to fluff up in a most unflattering way. Some cats have been known to have a bushed tail for as much as 20 minutes, and no girl looks good like that.

The ride can last anywhere from a minute to 10 or even 15 minutes. Try to enjoy every minute of it. Do avoid pillows which, when thrown by a thoughtless, human bed-ride operator, can knock even the sturdiest of cats right off the bed. That kind of dignity loss…well, there’s no coming back from that one. Might as well fall off the TV. Also, try to make sure the human has a chance to smooth the sheets before jumping in the middle of them to wrinkle them up. Again, it’s more yelling, but well worth the trouble.

When the ride is done (or the human gives up), it is important to show your mastery of it and of your human. Remember, you never EVER want your human to get the mistaken impression that he/she is in charge. In this photo:

…it is clear who is master of the bed. The ride is over for the day, but I am still firmly on board. When the operator returns, I will be ready.”


  • At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Marianne said…

    Yay Gracie M. Cat Kittingale! Very nice, do you have an agent? Will you publish soon? Just how many chapters do you have? Can hardly wait to read more. This morning while my human was cleaning out a back room,( something about making room for the outside plants that have to come in out of the cold,) I took advantage and grabbed my first ball of yarn, it had something with pointy sticks attached to it, I stayed as far away from those sticks as I could and yowza! that ball of yarn was fun! Oh! and another thing, I have some of the same names you do, does that make us related?

  • At 6:24 PM, Blogger Faren said…

    Boy, Gracie is quite the writer. She is also very pretty, which I'm sure she is aware of. I had a cat that loved helping me make the bed too.
    You did get my email right?

  • At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Jill said…

    makes me wonder what my Gonzo is doing all day as she roams around inside the ceiling. yes, that's right, I said ceiling.

  • At 8:37 PM, Blogger Ms. Knitingale said…

    Faren, I actually didn't get your e-mail.....try (that's not an eleven but two letter l's). Jill, I'm dying to know more about Gonzo in the mind is boggling. And Marianne, please tell Sam for me that she and Gracie are very likely related. We'll know for sure at Christmas if Miss Sam steals ornaments off the tree and runs with them. Gracie thinks that's the best game in the whole wide world.....especially if she can manage to drop them on the hardwood floor and shatter them while I scream pointlessly.

  • At 2:38 PM, Blogger Peg said…

    Hope you got my email, Ms. K. Gracie is quite the cat - if you ever go away, she can be the guest blogger!


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