Hello. I'm Simon Teakettle III, aka Terzo, and this is my first attempt to take over
the website that bears my name.

You can read about me elsewhere on this site, and see my photos as well, but this
page is where I get to express my opinions.

Let's put this in context (isn't that a neat word? I just learned it!).  Simon Teakettle I
was "the first," called just "Simon" and the one who started this entire dynasty.
His story is on this site, as well as in the prize-winning article, "Catastrophe," which
has appeared in many publications, and was reprinted in both Five Fast Steps to
Better Writing (both the original and 2nd editions) and in MEWSINGS/MUSINGS.

Here's his famous centrefold, which appeared in the I Love Cats calendar in the 1970s.
It's also the centrefold poster in MEWSINGS/MUSINGS:

Simon the Elder was followed by Simon the Younger (Tiki), so named because even in
his youth he was unwilling to play second fiddle to anyone! Tiki (The Magnificent) was
very smart, and as outgoing as Simon the Elder was shy.

Tiki decided he should take Simon the Elder's career as a writer to a new level.  He
assumed the role of "P.R. Purrson" for the company, persuaded CATS Magazine to
publish his articles, appeared on Animal Planet, and convinced Bobbi to compile the
best of his work into  MEWSINGS

It's clear I am destined to play a different role. Let's see: there's Simon the Elder, writer
and CBC personality, Simon the Younger (Tiki),  P.R. Purrson, so what was left for me?

It's taken me eight months to figure this out (and to learn to read and write). Then, one
night it came to me:


This is so logical, I wonder why it took me this long to figure it out. This household is always saturated with music. It even turns on automatically on the radio in the bedroom when it's time for us to go to bed. And Simon the Elder made his name on the CBC by requesting music on the old R.S.V.P., hosted by music producer/collector David Lennick.

Every band needs a name, and I have the perfect one for Simon Teakettle Ink.

Our band is called

Bobbi was not keen on this name. She thought it was too long, but I pointed out that one of her favorite CDs is the remastered National Press Club & Allied Workers Jazz Band.
That name contains eight words; so does ours!  

Our sound is unique:  it combines a deep purring bass with the jingle of neck bells, punctuated by balls with bells inside skittering across the floor (KACHUNK!  into the baseboard), the occasional chatter instigated by birds at the feeder outside the office window, and climaxing, (less frequently now that I'm getting older and calming down) by
great crashes, followed by the clicking of tiny nails on the floor as I dash to a hiding place.

That's just my contribution, on percussion. 

However, two of my closest pals have asked to join the band!  Jazz, a blind Maine Coon (cat) who is four years my senior, wants to be our pianist.  On my photo page, you'll see one photo of me  guarding the piano bench so that no one else will claim it. Jazz is channeling Ray Charles, hence the sunglasses.

And Mrs. Doyle, an African grey parrot, will provide vocals. She's been rehearsing "Three Blind Mice" and "When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob Bobbin Along."
Mrs. Doyle and I were not only born the same week (3000 miles apart!) but came to live with Our People the same month as well.  Every celebrity has "people" you know!

The CD release is not pending.

But here I am in my Band Uniform:

Stay tuned for more Between Naps. You can write to me via the company e-mail:  Terzo  at SimonTeakettle.com (you know, I'm sure, that you have to replace "at" with that funny sign).

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

MAY  28: 
Somebody told me I should be writing my blog every day. Why would I do that? I'm not a writer; I'm a BAND LEADER! I also have other responsibilities. Let me explain how I spend my time.

First of all, I have to stay in bed with Bobbi until she gets up. This is a RULE. If I get bored early in the morning, I pull one of my soft toys out of the basket and bring it on the bed to play. Sometimes when she wakes up, she finds a pink pom-pom (the current one is missing most of its stuffing, but don't ask me where it went!) or a tiny cloth mouse on the bed.

But no snakes. I love to play with soft rubber snakes, but that's another RULE:
No Snakes on the Bed!

After she finally gets up, I pester her so she gives me some breakfast before she has her coffee. Then I wash my face (of course!) and sit in one of the front windows to see if anything interesting is happening outside. I have two window shelves all to myself, both with carpet to sit on. One is in the office, where I can supervise action at the bird feeders. The other is in the guest room window, which overlooks an old yew tree where I can watch spiders and other bugs from behind the glass.

Sometimes these observations take hours. Many mornings I also have to keep an eye out for the three little ones across the street as they play outside. Simon will be six next month, but is a responsible big brother who reminds Laura, four, and James, three, not to go into the street. But I think I should watch out for them, because cats are much more street smart than kids!

And there are trucks! Once a week the red and green garbage trucks rumble down the street, and in addition to the school bus that picks up Simon in the morning and brings him back in the afternoon, sometimes other trucks and vans stop where I can watch them unload things. Once, when I was still quite small and didn't understand what goes on in a house like this, all the lights went out, and then a Very Big Truck, followed by another Very Big Truck, stopped in front with Ladders! That was exciting.

One day I was sitting on my little stool in the front door, and heard a bird chirping as she flew back and forth to the eavestrough above the porch. I watched in fascination, wondering why she was carrying twigs and bits of fluff in her beak. Bobbi told me she's building a nest! Poor little bird. She obviously doesn't have somebody to bring her into a nice house, give her a bed and food and a litter box (do birds use litter boxes?). I'd rather be a cat.

I'm going to watch her carefully in the next few weeks, because Bobbi says the bird will lay eggs (not sure what those are) which will hatch (another word I don't know) into baby birds. Wow! Won't that be terrific! I'll keep you posted.

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

June 1:

I have to admit I was a bit jealous of Tiki when I found out he had his own professional photographer. I'm not talking about Bobbi, but rather Jackie Vincent, who took Tiki's formal portrait and photographed the MEWSINGS/MUSINGS book launch.

But I've raised the competition to new heights. I have my own Personal Portrait Painter! Her name is Dianne Oost, and she did a charming black and white sketch of me when I was just a kitten. Go to her website to see her wonderful portraits of pets and children: www.dianneooststudio.ca.

Here's how she imagined Bobbi with all three Simon's. That's Simon I at the bottom left, Tiki in her arms, and Yours Truly right in front.

We're hoping Dianne will go a series of me in some of my adorable outfits. I love to dress up! Bobbi says she had a black and white cat when she was a little girl who also loved to be dressed in doll clothes. She used to put him (his name was Skippy) in her doll carriage and take him for a walk around the neighborhood. When an adult stopped and asked about her doll, they were pretty surprised to see a black and white tomcat curled up for a nap, dressed in a calico housecoat!

If you haven't seen any of my dress-up photos, be sure to check out Terzo's Photo Page.

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

July 1, 2007:

Oops! Has it actually been a whole month since I last wrote? Sorry about that, but summer is very busy here! We've had a cool June, so in the evening Bobbi opens the front door and I get to sit and watch all the action on the other side of the screen. Usually, there are moths, crickets, and sometimes people walking down the street.

But one evening I had a feline visitor! He's grey and white, with fur that seems to be a bit longer than mine, and he's wearing a collar, so he must live in one of the other houses on the street. But we only see him at night!

I think he wants to be friends, because he sits right in front of me, and only runs away if Bobbi comes. I wonder if he worries that she'll let him into the house, or that she'll chase him away?

This is very exciting, because my only real friends either live far away or are not real. We have a big dog whose name is Chummy, who sits in the living room most of the time, but moves into the front window if Bobbi is going out of town. He has his own little friend, an all black kitty who sits right between his paw. Bobbi thinks this is adorable, but I'm jealous and pull the kitty away every time I notice him.

I have many stuffed toys of my own, including this white teddy bear.

I don't carry him around, the way Tiki carried his Bear from room to room. That little brown bear, the size of a newborn kitten, was so precious to him that Bobbi put it away with his ashes and I have to make do with this white one.

But I don't particularly like bears. Instead, I have a grand collection of mice, all colors and sizes, which I bring to Bobbi and drop on her lap. I carry them around, hide them in places where the vacuum can't reach, and often bring one onto the bed during the night to play with.

I'm hoping to add to my collection of fur mice on my birthday (hint! hint!).

You didn't know I was celebrating a birthday this month? Where have you been? My first birthday is on July 23, although the party won't be until August 12.

But I've already received my first birthday card! It came from our dear friends, the Najaks, who came to see me when I first arrived, and was just a tiny kitten. I'm not so little any more. In fact, Dr. Susan Little has declared I should be on a diet!

I've decided not to include that word in the list of words I've come to understand in my first year. Stay tuned; that's coming soon.

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

July 27, 2007:

Did you hear my birthday request on CBC radio last Tuesday? The network program, "Here's to You," read Bobbi's letter mentioning that this is the 25th anniversary of Simon Teakettle's "debut" on the CBC, on the old R.S.V.P. hosted by David Lennick.

She requested a piece by the percussion group, Nexus, in honor of my growing proficiency playing the tambourine. I'm graduating to the bongos this fall, and will move to other drums in the next year.

Simon's requests for Nexus were so frequent on the CBC in the early days that when Bobbi met them, backstage at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, they said the admiration was mutual!  That was in January of 1984, when Bobbi directed 48 Ottawa square dancers for the finale of a Gala to honor the Premier of China. That performance was broadcast across the television network and live to China!

I'd like to meet them some day, and if they visit I promise to let them use all my drums, both tambourines, and even the cymbals, chimes and castanets!

But I don't expect them at my party on August 12th. There will be lots of celebrants however, and they've been asked to bring cards and MICE! I'm so excited, and the only thing that worries me is that one recent visitor pointed out that I have holes in my socks!

They aren't actually holes, but there are black patches in the white along the back of my hind legs. I never noticed as I washed, but now that I know, I'm looking for a remedy. Bobbi said shoe polish was out of the question, and she won't buy hair dye for me.

Any suggestions? 

By the way, if you don't want to send me a mouse for my birthday, you might want to make a donation in my name to one of the rescue organizations that sells my books as fund-raisers. How about Alley Cat Rescue?

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

August 17, 2007:

What a birthday party!  There were 25 people here, some of them arriving in an old Lincoln decorated for the occasion (well, actually, for several occasions, but my birthday was one of them!). The car belongs to Shannon Lee Mannion, a local photo-journalist and activist, who took many of the photos at my party.

We had guests ranging in age from Ali Najak (age 26), who came from Toronto just to attend (well, that's what I think, anyway!) to Rosaleen Dickson, who is in her 80s. I sat in the hall at first, watching everyone as they arrived, noting the number of little bags they brought and hoping for MOUSIES. As the party got into full swing, I came out to sit with Bobbi accepting pats and compliments. Standing behind us in the first picture is Jazz's mom, Deb, who designed MEWSINGS. That photo, along with several others, were taken by Theresa Jobateh. In the next photo, you can see my birthday poster and some of the cards. Everybody signed another special birthday poster for me to put in my album.

There was a lovely cake with a cat face on it, that I didn't taste because I don't like people food, but the guests said it was delicious. You'll also see that there were lots of other goodies on the party table, with punch and coffee set up on the bar. Note the kitty napkins!

The Very Big Mouse is fun to play with, and I'm also fascinated by a the little mouse with pink ears that squeaks when you touch it, and another one that runs across the room when you pull its tail! I also received lots of cards in the mail, some of them from cat pals, and two poems written in my honor (one by Deb Hulley and the other by Mike Heenan).

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

 September 30, 2007

Things have really been interesting around here, which has kept me from updating this blog. First, we had TWO nests of baby birds in the hydrangea on our front lawn, where I could hear the babies chirping incessantly from my stool in the front screen door, and also watch the parents flitting back and forth to feed them. One blue jay wasn't happy to have me as an observer (even though I was very respectful, never once making that chattering sound some cats use when they see prey). She (or maybe it was the papa) flew onto the porch, right up to the screen, to scold me!

Another interesting thing is that our computer crashed! I didn't understand what this meant, because I didn't hear anything fall, but Bobbi told everybody that it was very sick, and our neighbor, Paul, came over to put it in the car for her to take to the repair place, and he left her his old laptop to work on in the meantime.

But that laptop had to sit on the desk, which meant there was NO ROOM FOR MY BASKET! I was outraged, even though Bobbi kept telling me I'm a Big Boy now, and the basket has become too small for me. She doesn't seem to understand that letting one's paws and tail spill over the sides is actually very comfortable!

Unfortunately, even now that the laptop is gone, my basket still hasn't been returned to the desktop, and I've been banished to THE FLOOR! What indignity.

Something even more serious is happening. There are black things with zippers in the guest room, which are being filled with some of Bobbi's things. I've overheard her talking about going to Chicago (wherever that is!) to attend the 40th reunion of her first and favorite class at The Latin School.

What's a "Latin School," and why would she want to see a bunch of adults she taught when they were teen-agers? I know she's also going to see both of her sisters, which is the only reason why I'm not protesting vehemently. I miss my sisters and brothers, and if I had a chance, I'd go to visit them, too. Unfortunately, the Ottawa Humane Society has no idea where they are.

So the past month has been full of turmoil. But Hallowe'en is coming, and I'm really looking forward to that. Last year, I was a tiny kitten, and had only been in this house for a few days. But this year I will welcome all the little hobgoblins along with my own SpookyCat. As you can see, I'm trying to steal his wizard hat so I can put it on myself.

The mouse sitting on my leg, by the way, is my new Apprentice. He's learning quickly, and the other day I found him head first, in my dry food dish!

 Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

October 19, 2007:

Such excitement!  First, one Friday last month I was the Ottawa Citizen Pet of the Week.

Beside a photo of me lounging on the pillow with my name embroidered (made for the first Simon by a neighbor of CBC host Arthur Black), was an article Bobbi wrote about what one should look for when adopting a pet from the Humane Society.

Then, last week when she was in Chicago, Bobbi was interviewed on the radio and told everybody about ME! She was one of two "experts" on Steve Dale's Pet Central radio show, broadcast live from WGN in Chicago on Sunday evening, October 7. Steve is the award-winning columnist for Tribune Media, so this was really special.

In honor of this occasion, I decided to invite Steve's dog to join our Band. I'll let you know if he accepts.

While she was gone, I decided I'd invent a new game. Every day I took one of her shoes or slippers from the bedroom and dragged it to the back door. Edith (the wonderful lady who took care of me while Bobbi was away) thought this was amusing, so I kept doing it.

Bobbi says only dogs snitch shoes. But clearly, that's not true! 

Meanwhile, our weather has been so unseasonably warm here that we've had a seagull strutting down our street! 

It would be great if it stayed warm for Hallowe'en. I was too young to appreciate the tiny trick or treaters last year, but this year I'm very excited to greet them. We have all kinds of Hallowe'en decorations, and you can see that I've assembled them, ready to put on the porch:      

This month's favorite quote is by Yogi Berra:  You can see a lot just by observing.  

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

November 16, 2007:

Can a cat be in the dog-house? I'm being scolding for snitching slippers, and Bobbi says I should know that only dogs do that.

But I get bored when she goes out, and her slippers are just the right size to carry around in my mouth. She reminds me that I have lots of mice to play with, but they keep disappearing.

Okay, it's confession time. The mice don't actually disappear. What happens is that I figure out how to remove their furry covering, then hide the little naked mouse bodies where they'll never be found. Believe me, there are plenty of spots where a human might think nothing but a thin straw would fit, but I can squeeze a naked mouse body under there!

Of course, I tend to forget where I've hidden them, or am embarrassed to drag them out in case Bobbi scolds me for removing their little fur coats. I do continue to play with these pieces of fur and fabric, but they don't take that well to being dragged around, chewed and tossed into the air, so they tend to disappear, too.

I hope Santa is going to bring me more mice for Christmas. I was too little last year to appreciate the holiday, but this year I'm really excited. Bobbi already bought me a special ornament, a silver snowflake with "Terzo" engraved in the centre. It's been put on our permanent Christmas tree, beside the brass ones engraved "Simon" and "Tiki."

You mean you don't have a permanent Christmas tree? Ours is quite special, a collection of dry twigs collected from our backyard maple tree (which seems to shed quite a lot) anchored in a large pot filled with gravel, with tiny colored lights and all the special ornaments Bobbi has collected over the years. It sits downstairs, in a corner of the big den which is populated by our assembly of dressed teddy bears. I just love that room, and so do children who visit.

I've learned not to touch the Christmas tree. Last year, when I was just a kitten, I tried to pull one of the light strings down and the entire tree crashed to the floor! I was so frightened I didn't go downstairs for two weeks.

I'll be putting some of my Christmas photos here soon, so stay tuned!

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

December 16, 2007 

Last year I didn't really understand Christmas, but this year I'm all set for The Big Day. Unfortunately, Tiki didn't leave me any instructions, so I didn't know I was supposed to write a letter to Santa. I'm not too upset about that as I understand he asked Santa three years in a row for Stuart Little, and the first time he received the video, the second year a little white stuffed mouse, embarrassingly naked, and the third year another mouse who didn't look a tiny bit like Stuart. How lame is that?

But I do wish I'd known about writing to Santa. I assume it's too late now, but just in case, I've selected some things I really like on a new website I've discovered. It's called Spoil My Kitty (great name, fabulous concept!) and you can go there by clicking on this link:

I already received my first gift, a delightful book written by June Coxon, who came to my birthday party. It's called Just Call me ERNIE, and is the true story of a stray cat who found a home at a seniors' residence in Ottawa. It's available at many stores in the area, but if you'd like to order a copy, contact June. Her e-mail is: juhal at ican.net.

This blog is called "Between Naps" for a reason. Cats spend about 60% of every 24 hours sleeping, several more hours grooming and eating (Eat first, then Wash), so we don't have a lot of time left to play - or write.  This morning, for example, I had two tasks to accomplish before I could sit here at the computer.

First, I had to watch the big truck that comes to plow the snow out of our driveway. I love to watch Danny figure out where to put the snow, since our front lawn is already quite full! I heard on TV that we're going to have a lot more snow this winter, so I'm happy I get to stay inside and watch Danny from the window!

My second task is something I have to do almost every day. It involves the delicate procedure of Killing the Mouse. We don't have any real mice, of course, but this ritual still has to be performed. It has something to do with what the mommy I can't quite remember taught me when I was a tiny kitten. I have only vague recollections of those few weeks before I was taken to the Ottawa Humane Society.

I remember those ten days, in a metal cage all alone, very well, however. I was frightened and lonely, and the minute I saw Bobbi come through the front door (my cage was sitting in the foyer, beside the desk) I decided She was The One.

I stuck my huge paws through the cage to reach out to her, meowed gently and the minute she touched me began my loudest purr. It worked! She asked someone to take me out of the cage, and held me on her lap while they did "the paperwork" (whatever that is). I purred constantly, hoping she wouldn't change her mind.

The ride home in the car was scary, as it reminded me of the ride to the Humane Society, but once she brought me into the house, I realized that I'd found A HOME!

Many people have asked about my name. You have to understand that I was without a name for three-and-a-half months! That's a long time to be referred to as "the black and white kitten." So when Bobbi took my little face in her hands and called me Simon Teakettle Terzo, I was thrilled.

"That's my name!" I thought. "My name is Terzo!"

From that very first day, whenever she called my name, I came running to her. I still do, more than a year later, and even if I'm sound asleep, I open one eye to see why she's calling me.

I also like my full name, Simon Teakettle Terzo. It has such majesty, and makes me feel Very Important.

Which I am.

Which I hope Santa Claus understands when he comes next week.

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

January 15, 2008

Sorry I haven't written for a while.  Christmas was so exhausting! Santa Claus put a bag for me in the living room, where Bobbi had spread out gifts she received in the mail from friends and family. I didn't realize this bag was for me until she called me in to see some of the things she'd opened that she thought I'd enjoy, and then gave this other bag to me.

She's trained me very well, so I didn't touch it at first. I was sufficiently impressed by her gifts: the white towel with a black and white cat wearing reindeer antlers (thank you, Julie), the set of six magnets of lady cats wearing magnificent jeweled hats (Sherry always finds something special), a magnificent painted ceramic hook in the shape of a cat face (with copper whiskers) from Bobbi's niece, Valerie (who also sent us The Proverbial Cat calendar), and a Japanese print of kittens from her oldest, closest friend, Jack.

There were also a bunch of butterflies: tiny glass magnetic ones from Marg, butterflies on bookmarks from Ross & Gwenda, and a butterfly pin from Edith.

My favorite toy is a butterfly on a thin wire that jumps around the room, and the gift in my bag was designed to be used with that. At first, I wondered what I was supposed to do with a large blue plastic ball that had all kinds of strange openings all over it, and a ball with a bell trapped inside. I batted it with one of my giant paws (you know, don't you, that I have six toes on each front paw?) but that's wasn't too exciting.

Then Bobbi put the butterfly inside the ball. Wow! This has become my new favorite amusement. I sit on the stool, grab the wire in my paws, and try to release the butterfly. Meanwhile, the ball rolls around, the bell tinkles, and I get very excited!

I also had a Christmas stocking. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that this was hanging in the den for weeks before the holiday, and I had no idea that it contained treats and toys for me!  When Bobbi put it on the floor, I didn't touch it at first, until she started gradually to pull things out.

A fur mouse! That grabbed my attention (as I grabbed the mouse) and we never got back to the rest of the stocking until after I got so tired from playing with the mouse I had to take  a nap. Some of the treats are little green nibbles, which are delicious, and there was another fur mouse, some balls, and a package of tiny gummy snakes tucked into the toe.

We had a lot of snow here in December, so I was happy not be an outdoor cat, although I wasn't pleased when the windows where I usually sit to watch what's going on outside frosted over! I have two neat carpeted shelves to sit on, one in the office and the other in the guest room, as well as a mat in one corner of the bay window in the living room, and another carpeted shelf overlooking the back yard.

You'd think this would be sufficient for any kitty, but every so often I still try to get at the window in the bedroom, despite Bobbi's scoldings. I usually do this early in the morning, but when I touch the blinds with my paw, it makes a sound which wakes her up. She keeps a spray bottle of water on the bedside table, and just reaching for that is enough to get me to jump down. She's only actually had to spray me once, but that was enough to make me understand the consequences of being naughty.

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

January 18, 2008:

Can a cat be in the dog house? 

I'm in Big Trouble because I talked so much about Christmas in my last message, that I forgot to mention that this is the 10th anniversary of the Great Ice Storm that hit all of eastern Ontario and southern Quebec the first week of January, 1998.

Tiki was a tiny hero of that event, at least that's the way Bobbi tells it. And she expects me to relate the story, proud of my predecessor, although frankly I'm a bit jealous of all the attention given to him.

This is what happened. Tiki and Bobbi were awakened the morning of January 5, 1998, by what sounded like gun shots. The noise was from branches breaking off the maple tree in our back yard, slamming onto the ground. By the end of the week, there were 13 huge branches completely blocking the entire yard. It's amazing that the tree survived, and nothing was damaged. One of those branches could easily have broken a window, put a hole in the roof, or hit the shed, or one of our large lilac bushes.

The power was out, but Bobbi is used to coping with that. She layered on warm clothes, dug out the candle warmer, and heated a leftover cup of coffee to lukewarm. We have a portable radio that receives local TV stations as well, so she listened for news of the storm, expecting power to be restored later in the day.

As the storm worsened, Bobbi cuddled up with Tiki under a heavy blanket on the couch in the living room, where she could read by the light from the bay window. When she opened the refrigerator to take out some things for lunch, she took a quick inventory and figured out what she could make for dinner if she wasn't able to cook.

So far, so good.

But from the window she noticed many of her neighbors were leaving. Quite a few of them have cottages, where they retreated to the comfort of wood stoves and oil lamps. But watching cars slip-sliding down the ice-covered street was scary.

When the evening TV news announced that the storm was worsening, and expected to last for several days, Bobbi didn't know how she was going to manage. This house is all-electric, and we have no fireplace. So there's no other source of heat.

The phone rang, and it was our dear friend, Don Foss. He said he was taking advantage of a slight break in the storm and coming to pick her up. He insisted, over her protests, and within an hour he pulled into the driveway. It was a frightening drive back to the Foss's home, which usually takes about 40 minutes when the roads are clear.

Marg Foss was waiting, having opened the sleeper-couch in the den, made up the bed and put fresh towels in the guest bath. Everything was fine until about 11pm, when they, too, lost power, but they have a gas fireplace, which was barely needed because their power was restored within an hour (the lines in Kanata are underground and less vulnerable).

The next day, there was another lull with the promise of worse to come, and Don decided he and Bobbi would have to return to Gatineau, to pick up Tiki, a few more supplies, and shut off the water so the pipes wouldn't freeze. Bobbi hadn't considered taking Tiki along originally, because Marg is allergic to cats.

This is where Tiki became an Ice Storm Hero. 

First, he was very careful to stay close to Bobbi, not to sit close to Marg, to stay out of their bedroom and the living room. He was a Perfect Gentleman. Not that he wasn't frightened. Bobbi said that when she went into the bathroom to take a shower, Tiki insisted on going with her, as he didn't want her out of his sight.

After a few days, they settled into a routine, but Marg had a problem. She had purchased food for a dinner party that Saturday night, and it was obvious that the guests wouldn't be able to come. She decided, instead, to invite the neighbors.

It was a wonderful party, with nine people around the table. Tiki remained in the kitchen, where he could hear Bobbi's voice. But after dinner, when everyone went into the living room for coffee, Tiki decided he should join them.

There was a tiny stool beside the fireplace, and Tiki jumped up on that, and sat at attention. Bobbi got his jar of treats, pulled a chair over, and asked everyone in the room to stop talking for a minute, to see if he would actually perform in a strange environment, in front of people he'd never seen before.

Tiki the Magnificent, however, who performed for a visiting CBC interviewer, and then for a videographer from Animal Planet, lived up to his reputation.

First one paw, then the other. Then a treat on Bobbi's palm, which he didn't touch until he put his paw on the palm and then was told "okay." Then the pièce de resistance: the treat on the stool, with Tiki sitting motionless until instructed, "Touch it with your paw," and then, "now the other paw."

The audience was stunned. One man said, "My dog can't do that," and others chimed in, since, as it happened, there wasn't a cat owner in the bunch.

They are, I'm told, still talking about that evening.

So you see what I have to live up to! I must brag that I've already mastered "one paw" and then "the other paw," and figured out how to sit up "nicely" for the treat. But I haven't yet moved beyond that level of skill.

But Tiki had more than a dozen years to perfect his routine, so give me time!

I met Marg Foss last August at my first birthday party. Sadly, Don died before I was born, but he will live forever in Bobbi's heart as her Ice Storm Rescuer.

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

January 28, 2008:

Exciting news!  We've just added two more vocalists to our band. In case you've forgotten (or are cheating by not reading this blog from the beginning - shame on you! - the company House Band is comprised of the Leader (Yours Truly) on percussion, Jazz Hulley (a Maine Coon) on piano, and Mrs. Doyle (a grey parrot) on vocals. We weren't recruiting more vocalists, but nobody seems to play guitar, not even any of my other six-toed pals who certainly have the ability.

But we can't pass up this Wonderful Opportunity. Two lovely dogs, Lucy and Ethel, were so impressed by Bobbi's contribution to their master's radio show that they told Steve Dale they wanted to join the band!  In case you missed it, I wrote all about Bobbi's trip to Chicago and her appearance on WGN radio in my October 19th blog entry.

Steve hosts a terrific weekly radio show, writes an award-winning column for Tribune Media, and has also helped to develop a program called Kitty Kindergarten. That's a training method similar to the way Bobbi trained Tiki, and described in her award-winning article (posted elsewhere on this site).

She's using the same techniques to train me, although I tried to convince her that I didn't need any training. I'm naturally a Good Kitty, except early in the morning when I'm tempted to try to look out the one window where there isn't a shelf for me to perch, or when I'm trying to get her attention by scratching (very gently, mind you!) the back of her desk chair.

After having been taken from my mom and siblings, and spending more than a week alone in a metal cage at the Ottawa Humane Society, I realized just how lucky I was to be brought into this household. I have Bobbi all to myself, don't have to share food with anybody else, have a fountain that burbles fresh water into a little pool for me to drink out of, three (count them!) litter boxes (one upstairs, two downstairs), and lots of toys.

So I figured out I should pay attention, come every time she calls my name, sit when she asks me to, and try to figure out anything else she wants me to do.

But she is not in charge of the House Band. Its first name was EIGHT PAWS, TWO TAILS and A FEW FEATHERS but now that we're adding two dogs, we'll have to amend that. I'm open to suggestions, and also to adding other band members.  No more cats or dogs, as I think two of each is plenty, but there must be a couple of Hip Hop Bunnies who'd like to join us, or maybe a guitar-plucking lizard. How about some hamsters who could scamper up and down a xylophone?

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

February 27, 2008 

Where did February go? I know it's the shortest month, but even though this is leap year and we have an extra day, the past four weeks have evaporated into the snow. And we've had plenty of that!

The Big News this month is that we've hired an Official Photographer. You remember Shannon Lee Mannion, who decorated her car in honor of my 1st birthday and took several of the photos on that occasion. She's coming here next week for a photo shoot, and I'm very excited. I will dress in some of my favorite costumes, play with the butterfly-on-a-wand that is my Very Favorite Toy (so she can get some action shots), and pose on Bobbi's lap for the magazine profile to appear in a few months in 55 Plus. We'll provide a link to that when it's published.

Our House Band vocalist, Mrs. Doyle, sent a photo showing her singing in the shower:

 I have no idea what song instigated this particular dance, but I'm very impressed.

Bobbi is busy preparing a workshop she's giving for Ottawa Independent Writers in April. I asked her if I could help, and she said she's going to use Simon's Formula for creating media awareness, which is our contribution to Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity. Everyone registering for the workshop will receive a copy of the book.

Then in May, she's giving a workshop for the City of Ottawa, which will feature Yours Truly! Called "Cat Got Your Tongue?" The description says: Award-winning author Barbara Florio Graham will show you how she found the writing voice for her famous cat, Simon Teakettle. Explore various types of humour. Which best suits your personality and writing style? Exercises to hone your ability to tickle that funny bone. The guide is at:

I don't like riding in the car (it's the carrier I actually object to, not the car itself) so won't go with her. But I'm sending a couple of "assistants" to give her a paw.

Til the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

March 26, 2008:

Tonight, for the first time, I watched an entire television program all the way through. It was the PBS special of Peter and the Wolf, as as soon as I saw the black bird, I was hooked! I've seen birds on TV before, and often watch for a few seconds when anything resembling a cat or dog comes on the screen. But there was something about this production that mesmerized me.

The animals weren't real, but the puppets were so well done they moved as if they were right in the room with me! I liked the black bird, but although Bobbi liked the unfortunate duck that gets swallowed by the wolf, it was the big orange cat that garnered my full attention. He was actually very fat and quite ugly, but I couldn't take my eyes off him. I was also very interested in the wolf. I wasn't afraid of him, exactly, but I did hope little Peter would get the better of him.

You have to understand that I didn't know the story. And this was a fanciful interpretation of the story, with additional characters and a more complicated plot than the musical piece Simon I used to request all the time on the CBC. I liked the music as much as Simon and Tiki did. There's something about that trilling flute that represents the bird that my ears really tuned to.

You can find out about this production on the PBS website: www.pbs.org.

Why doesn't the CBC carry programs like this? Almost all the things I enjoy watching on TV come from other countries. This evening on the ABC news I was amazed to see elephants carrying cameras around the jungle, taking close-up photos of tigers. The CBC news only shows pictures of boring politicians and sometimes soldiers.

There's supposed to be a special TV channel for cats, but I don't think our cable company carries it. We do get Animal Planet and National Geographic, but I found Peter and the Wolf even better than those programs!

Till the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

April 6, 2008:

We've finally come up with a new name for the band. It will be called Paws & Claws, the Band with an Attitude. To remind you, I'm the Band Leader and play percussion. Jazz Hulley is our pianist,  Mrs. Doyle our lead vocalist, and Lucy and Ethel Dale are singing back-up. We've been having virtual rehearsals, but I've had to take time off from those to help Bobbi with her two workshops.

She needed my help to recreate the marketing strategy she used to promote Mewsings/Musings, and I was shocked to see that this began in the winter of 2001, eight months before the book was launched, and continues to this day! There are an amazing 36 steps in this strategy, and it is ongoing.

Of course her workshop, How to Promote Your Book or Your Business, will have just 30 participants, and even though several are traveling from outside the Ottawa area to attend, there are many who can't. So Bobbi has assembled her complete notes and a lot of bonus material, including the 33-step media strategy for Mewsings/Musings, and will make that available either separately or as an add-on for anyone who purchases a copy of Five Fast Steps to Low-Cost Publicity, the book participants will receive at the workshop.

She's going to do the same thing with the humor-writing workshop she's presented on May 10. That's called Cat Got Your Tongue? and will use Mewsings/Musings for examples of different kind of humor. That workshop really interests me, and I plan to have lots of input into those notes!

We're hoping that spring is on its way. I spent a little time this morning sitting on my shelf in the office window, watching the snow melt and looking for birds arriving to start building their nests. Meanwhile, my favorite (not!) squirrel pal continues to arouse my interest as he tried to snitch food from the bird feeders, and a neighborhood cat appeared in our back yard this afternoon, as he found the slab of rock on top of our little pool where he could catch a few rays of sun.

Till the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

May 4, 2008:

Boy, have I been busy! Every morning I have to race from the front window to the back, to check on birds building nests in the pine tree on the front yard and then the baby squirrels descending from the maple tree in the back, to discover that they have their very own sunflower seed feeder. I know about this because Tiki left "briefing notes" for me, which I finally got around to reading this winter (when I was bored because there was nothing but snow to look at).

We have our own pair of cardinals who also like the sunflower seed, and soon our little pool and fountain will offer squirrels and birds a place to drink. The birds also have their own bird bath, so they don't have to use the pool.

I have some other news. I understand that some cats like climbing into paper bags and other dark containers. Not me! I have my own favorite hiding places, but they all afford me a clear view of an escape route. For example, I have my own private tunnel under the bedspread at the end of the bed, and occasionally like to sit behind the brown chair in the den, which is pushed into a corner. There's just enough room behind there for me to stretch out, yet still see what's going on.

So you can understand why I hated the plastic cat carrier Bobbi used to bring me home from the Humane Society. She put me back in there a couple of times since then, and I complained - loudly - the whole time.

Imagine my delight, then, when she arrived home a few weeks ago with a wonderful house for me! It's black leather (well, it looks like leather) trimmed with leopard fabric - quite elegant -  with mesh sides, ends and top. It has a wire frame and handles, and I suppose it's intended as a carrier, but I love to jump in it and play with my toys. It even came with a leopard pom pom on a wand.

Every cat should have his own house!

I don't think I'm supposed to go with Bobbi next week to the workshop she's presenting, even though it's based on my humor writing. "Cat Got Your Tongue?" is one of the Writers in the Community series presented by the City of Ottawa,  and although it won't have as many people as her workshop on April 19 had (that one was sold out, with 4 extra people over the limit of 30), evidently it's going to be full.

She'll be reading selections from Mewsings/Musings so I'll be there in spirit, if not in PURRson.

So what are you doing these nice spring days? You can write to me, you know. Just address your e-mail to Terzo at SimonTeakettle.com.

Till the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

May 5, 2008:

I didn't intend to write again so soon, but it's cold and rainy again today (feeling more like April than May!) and I just heard about a fascinating new blog I want to tell you about. Scribbes is a ClipArt dog, described as “The Writer's Friend, Dignified companion of Star Lawrence and Nancy McKeithen, owners of www.writerscatablog.com.

I find it odd that their spokesman is not only a dog, but a flat, two-dimensional one, when they actually own, between them, several  real dogs and cats. I smell a conspiracy. Star claims her household contains a tuxedo cat, like me, named Elsie, and two other cats, Chonie and Chubby, along with a dog named Jim. So why is Scribbes the only one who gets to express his opinion? And why does he write almost exclusively about dogs?

We found out about Catablog when Star mentioned Simon Teakettle Ink in the May issue of Freelance Writers' Report. I've been invited to correspond with Scribbles, but I'm not sure I want to exchange opinions with a dog so flat he would fit through a mail slot. By the way, speaking of weight, I have to put to rest the rumor that I'm fat. I've been 11 pounds for more than a year now, although I look heavier because my fur is semi-long, and I don't have enough black to hide my tummy. Everybody knows that black is flattering!

Anyway if you want to read what Scribbles has to say, read it at your own risk, and only if you like dogs! Go to: http://scribblesthedog.wordpress.com/. And do check out Catablog if you're a writer, it's a great site to bookmark!

Now I'm going back to my nap...

Till the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

May 21, 2008:

A few days ago, when I climbed onto the coffee table, Bobbi scolded me, and then mentioned to a friend who was visiting that I'm a typical teen-ager and won't become a responsible adult until next July. That's when I turn two, which is the human equivalent of 21. Does that mean I'll have to find a job? Or will contributing to this website be enough to pay for my cat food and kitty litter?

I really DO try to behave. And I appreciate the fact that when I respond to her scolding she always says, "Thank you." The problem is that I seem not to have a great memory. I've been pretty good at learning new tricks (tasty treats are a big incentive!) but sometimes can't remember other things.

I've been known to sit in the middle of the hallway as she's telling me to do something,  looking into her eyes with my ears at attention, but thinking to myself, "Those words sound very familiar, but I have no idea what they mean."

I also have trouble counting, often thinking there must be one or two more treats in store if I keep raising my paws, one after the other. There is a limit of four, I think. But I often lose count between two and three.

I also keep forgetting where I hid my mice! A few days ago, Bobbi moved the big ottoman in the den, and I got very excited because I found a mouse - one of my favorite naked ones - under there! I'd wondered what happened to that mouse after I stripped off the fur. Since then I've been carrying it around the house, batting it around every so often, and enjoying playing with it  - until I lose it again!

It's been pretty boring for the past few weeks, for two reasons. One is that it's been too chilly to keep the front door open. I don't mind, since I'm wearing a warm fur coat, but Bobbi complains if the temperature is lower than it ought to be in May. That means I have to monitor my squirrel friend from the shelf in the office, as he figures out how to open the squirrel-proof bird feeder. How did he get so smart?

When the front door is open, I can watch the squirrels on the front porch, listen to the birds, and watch the children across the street as they play.

The other thing that's made this month boring is that Bobbi was out teaching another workshop. This one, "Cat Got Your Tongue?" was sold out, with participants ranging from a 16-year-old grade-ten student to an 83-year-old senior. One person was in Ottawa, visiting from B.C., and said she knew Simon Teakettle from listening to the CBC.

But our favorite CBC programs are going off the air this summer. I'll really miss Jurgen Gothe's Disc Drive weekday afternoons, Robert Harris and Rick Phillips on Saturday mornings, and the other "regulars" we listen to.

I may have to find another radio station to write to!

Till the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.

 June 7, 2008:

Somebody asked me why I use such a large font for this blog. 

After I looked up the word "font," I was still puzzled. Doesn't everybody know I'm a cat? Reading small print is tedious!

That's one reason why I appreciate a new book that I just received. It's probably a present for my second birthday, but Bobbi let me open it early anyway.

Purr More, Hiss Less, Heavenly Lessons I Learned from my Cat is a chubby, hardcover book published by HCI in Florida. In case you don't want to bother to go to the page where we recommend our favorite books (the lazy days of summer have started, after all) here's what I said in my review for Barnes & Noble: Finally, a book for all cats to share with their humans! Every cat knows that there would be no problems in the world if humans acted more like cats. Certainly there would be no wars if world leaders remembered that “Fighting takes away from the time you could be chasing butterflies,” and there were be fewer small conflicts if everyone agreed that “If you must walk all over people, do it quickly.” Imagine a world where the business mantra was “Resist the urge to claw your way to the top,” or if youngsters followed “Do not worship idols.” Big purrs to Allia Zobel Nolan for these wise words, and to Erika Oller, whose precious cats come in all sizes and colors.

You could check out Allia's listing at the Cat Writers' Association: www.catwriters.org.

Till the next time I feel like writing, Terzo.