Moxie’s Birthday, or How to Party Like You’re Six Years Old

I celebrated a birthday this weekend. It wasn’t a milestone birthday, so I didn’t plan any big celebrations – instead, I stayed home and continued to focus on getting better after a nasty bout of the flu, which I like to think of as the zombie virus from Hades.

I made the comment to a friend that after picking up cough syrup at the pharmacy I felt as if I were six years old, and it got me thinking: what would a six year old do on her birthday? Here’s what I came up with:

How to Party Like You’re Six Years Old

Starring Moxie, Ippie and Rooney

party, birthday, cat ears, leopard print cat ears

Every good party must include some sort of hat. I put on my cat ears.

birthday, party, cat ears, leopard print cat ears

They fit perfectly. Now it’s time to party.

Pick up the cat to show off to your friends how much she loves you.

cat, Ippie, birthday, party

My kitty cat Ippie is so pretty and soft!

When she meows in irritation from how you’re holding her and squirms out of your arms, act like you totally meant to put her down anyway, because you have to go take your cough medicine now.

icky medicine

I don’t want to take my medicine right now.

Because you’re grown, you can put your cough medicine in a shot glass. But because you are grown, you also know that the medicine delivery method will not make the medicine taste any better.

It smells funny. I don't want to take it.

It smells funny. I don’t want to take it.

cough medicine, medicine, taste

That medicine was gross. I want to scrape it off my tongue.

Because you are grown, you can have a chaser after your medicine.

cough medicine, medicine, root beer, taste

I’m gonna drink some root beer to get the taste of icky medicine out of my mouth.

root beer, birthday, party

Mmmm, root beer makes everything better.

Show off the birthday card you got in the mail from your grandma. She sent you a letter, too, but you’ll read that later.

birthday, party, birthday card, grandma

I got a card and a bookmark from my grandma!

Now it’s time to have one, JUST ONE, of your birthday cupcakes. Because you are grown, you picked them out and purchased them yourself at the neighborhood gluten-free bakery. You’re not supposed to eat gluten anymore because it makes your stomach hurt, but sometimes you still do it when no one’s watching.

birthday, party, cupcakes, gluten free cupcakes

I have TWO cupcakes! One is blueberry vanilla and the other is chocolate.

blueberry, vanilla, cupcake, gluten free, birthday, party

I am going to eat my blueberry vanilla cupcake first.

blueberry, vanilla, cupcake, gluten free

It’s really good! I like it!

blueberry, vanilla, cupcake, gluten free

I ate the blueberries on top of the frosting. They were good.

Now it’s time for some party activities. You break out the coloring book and crayons because coloring is fun and you’re really good at it.

crayon, coloring, coloring book, birthday, party

I need the right color crayon for Cinderella’s hair. I think goldenrod would work.

coloring, crayons, coloring book, concentrating

Sometimes when I’m concentrating real hard I stick out my tongue. It helps a lot when I’m trying to stay inside the lines.

Rooney, cat, coloring, crayons, coloring book

Rooney kitty jumped up where I was coloring and made me mess up!

crying, Rooney, cat, coloring, crayons, coloring book

I didn’t want to mess up my picture! I was coloring it for YOU!

pouting, pout, birthday, party

I’m going to pout now.

When you really were six, Jennifer McCloskey would steal the gold and silver crayons because she said they were real and you and her little brother & sister weren’t worthy of using them. She left you with copper, and even though you were only six years old, you still knew copper wasn’t worth crap. Because you are grown now, you use the gold and silver crayons WHENEVER YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE.

gold crayon, silver crayon, crayons, coloring

I have the gold and silver crayons, Jennifer. So nyah nyah nyah.

Ippie, cat, crayons, coloring, coloring book

Now Ippie wants to mess with my crayons.

Ippie, cat, crayons, coloring, coloring book

No Ippie! Bad kitty! Leave my crayons alone!

You get a surprise phone call from your best friend Deena who couldn’t make it to your party. Because she is grown, she is in Atlantic City with her boyfriend.

birthday, best friend, party

My best friend called me to say happy birthday!

My best friend tells the funniest stories. She got sick on grape soda! And then she ate Chinese food! She is funny!

My best friend tells the funniest stories. She got sick on grape soda! And then she ate Chinese food! She is funny!

coloring, coloring book, crayons

I finished my coloring! Do you like it?

Now it’s time for some dancing.

The party is almost over, so it’s time to sing “Happy Birthday” and have another cupcake.

birthday, party, chocolate cupcake, gluten free

It’s time to sing happy birthday!

birthday, party, candle, wish

Make a wish! But don’t tell anybody or it won’t come true!

birthday, wish, candle, party

I blew out the candle all by myself!

birthday, party, chocolate cupcake, gluten free

I’m gonna eat the frosting first because it’s my birthday.

birthday, party, chocolate cupcake, gluten free

The frosting is good. Now I’m gonna eat the cake part.

cupcake, chocolate, gluten free

It’s a really good cupcake!

chocolate, frosting, cupcake, gluten-free

I have chocolate frosting on my finger! Hee hee!

birthday, party

Thanks for coming to my birthday party! I hope you’ll come next year too!

Felines for Hire, Inquire Within

I just read this AP article that says Americans spent over $53 billion on their pets last year. That’s a lot of Alpo and Meow Mix. What’s stunning is that this amount isn’t radically higher than what Americans spent in 2011 for their furry companions.


That’s up 5 percent from 2011, when spending first broke the $50 billion barrier, says the American Pet Products Association, a trade group based in Greenwich, Conn. And APPA President and CEO Bob Vetere predicts another 4 percent gain this year.

At about $34.3 billion, food and vet care represented about two-thirds of total spending, with money spent on supplies and over-the-counter medications rising by more than 7 percent.

Since I use Mint.com to track my spending, I decided to see how much I contributed to that $53 billion.

Less than 20% of my total pet spending in 2012 was on vet bills. The rest was food and cat litter.
Sounds like two cats I know need to find gainful employment.

Enjoy yourselves now, but tomorrow, you’re gonna be getting jobs.

The New Kid in Town

Today was a busy day. Well, the last half of it was, anyway. That’s all because there’s a new kid in town.

cat, orange and white cat, kitten

The Kitten Formerly Known as Jackson, or TKFKAJ for short.

Since Mossimo the Pimptastic Cat died last August, it’s been tough on Ippie the Tech Wizard Kitten. She was used to having Moss to groom and tackle and play with occasionally. I kept promising her a buddy, but as I’ve been stretched thin financially for several months I couldn’t afford to adopt.

Then yesterday I got a nice juicy check for writing a bunch of items in a local magazine. The check was more than I’d originally calculated (math is not my strong suit), so there was much rejoicing throughout the land. I finally had enough money to get Ippie a playmate.

I had been surfing the SPCA’s website for a few weeks, seeing if there were any young orange and white male cats up for adoption. For some reason I’d been fixated on that color scheme for several months. So when I saw this little guy, I knew he was it. And when I drove to the SPCA today in the rain, I had this feeling I would always remember how it had been a rainy November afternoon when he came into our lives.

While the name given to him by the SPCA staff was Jackson, I’m thinking Rooney is much more fitting. For me, I’ll always associate that name with a legendary writer and newsman who once said, “Writers don’t retire, and I’ll always be a writer.” And since Ippie was named for a piece of technology that changed my life, it strikes me as fitting to name this little guy after someone who made a living doing the one thing I most love to do.

So welcome, Rooney. We think you’re gonna like it here.

Moxie’s Resolutions for Everyone Else: The 2011 Edition

Holy cannoli, it’s the end of 2010 already? That can only mean one thing: it’s time to pop the cork and enjoy a glass of something bubbly while reading my 2011 resolutions for everyone else. I’ll be sitting here, sipping my Prosecco, while you read.

1. Refuse to take low paying writing gigs. (writers)

It pisses me off to see job postings where the employer, usually a blog or web portal, is paying $5 for a 500-word article and then have the audacity to expect 25-35 posts of that length per week. No wonder we have so much crap all over the Internet, because if you pay me one cent per word there is no way you’re going to get New Yorker-quality writing from me. If you want to make it as a writer and be truly challenged, stop taking piddly-ass assignments. And for the established writers who know good writing, don’t you dare let me catch you doing this.

2. Stop telling my GPS system how to do its job. (anyone who gets in my car)

Ever since I got a Garmin GPS for my birthday this year, I have had to deal with riders who argue with the navigator or who want to tell me, “Oh, I’ll tell you how to get there.” Inevitably they make the drive more difficult than if they had just let the GPS do its job. I bought the GPS for two reasons: a) I like cool gadgets; and b)I don’t have to listen to someone argue with me about the best route to take. If you don’t like GPS systems THEN DRIVE YOUR OWN DAMN CAR.

3. Shop more often at local, independently owned stores. (everyone)

Yes, there are great deals to be had at big-box stores. But the little guys really need our help right now. The 3/50 Project has an excellent solution: spend $50 a month at 3 locally owned, independent businesses. In the grand scheme of things, $50 isn’t that much – you were going to buy that book or shampoo anyway, right? So why not at a local shop? And if you’re looking for something truly unusual and fun to give as a gift, shopping in a neighborhood with several quirky little boutiques is the way to go.

4. Learn the rules of the road and follow them. (California bicycle riders)

This summer I lived in Davis, the City of Bikes, and I saw many bike riders who were very good about using hand signals (not the one where you use one finger), putting lights on their bikes when riding at night, and being respectful of cars and pedestrians. However, I also saw many bike riders who were arrogant little brats, nearly mowing me down on sidewalks (Side note: Get off the sidewalk, asshole! It’s a sideWALK, not a sideRIDE!) and ignoring stop signs and traffic lights. As soon as you put your body on top of a wheeled contraption you became a car, so behave like one. And if you aren’t sure of the rules of the road for bicycles, go study them.

5. Stop when I see a pedestrian in the crosswalk. (California drivers)

I have seen so many people plow through intersections, not even bothering to look and see if anyone is crossing the street or just beginning to cross. I have yelled curses and insults at them, but of course they can’t hear me because they are driving 45 miles an hour through a 30 zone. Having seen a pedestrian get hit by a car, I try to be particularly careful when driving through areas with a lot of foot traffic. Slow down, Speed Racer, and save your road rage for the freeway. Oh, and pedestrians, you’re not helping when you wave a car through. You’re in the crosswalk, so WALK, dammit. It’s called having the right of way.

6. Install an automated postal service center. (US Post Office on Broadway in Sacramento)

I love the automated postal service centers because they make life so much easier when I need to mail out packages and I can use the machine even if the counter is closed. Sadly my favorite local post office doesn’t have one of these machines. Please put one in, Mr. Postman! I promise I will still come to see you at the counter and crack my usual stupid jokes!

7. Hire a maid and a personal assistant. (T-Wizzle)

T-Wizzle is a brilliant woman and also extremely busy. For the last year she has been complaining about how hard it is to keep up with everything she needs to do and still have a clean house. I have repeatedly told her to hire a housekeeper but for some unknown reason she still hasn’t done it. Same with the personal assistant. So I am now resorting to calling her out on the blog in the hope she will finally hire someone and give herself a much needed break from the anxiety and frustration that comes from not having her home looking the way she wants, or from feeling overwhelmed by to-do lists.

8. Stop bothering Jesus. (Ippie the Tech Wizard Kitten)

This resolution is best explained with visual aids.

This is Jesus.

This painting is more than 60 years old and once hung in my great-grandparents’ farmhouse.

This is Ippie the Tech Wizard Kitten.

Ippie sitting on top of her scratching post. She’s a climber, that Ippie.

See the shelving unit behind Ippie? It’s currently sitting underneath where the Jesus painting is hanging in my bedroom. When Ippie is feeling rambunctious – which is damn near all the time because she is a young cat with delusions of being a monkey – she will jump onto the top shelf. When she’s feeling particularly feisty, she reaches up and starts batting at Jesus with her paws. My neighbors must be very puzzled by my shouts of “Leave Jesus alone!” and “Stop messing with Jesus!” They may even be tickled by my cries of “You can look at Jesus but you CANNOT TOUCH HIM!” I get that people would touch Jesus’ robes to be healed of their leprosy and whatnot, but this is ridiculous.

9. Cut my toenails inside my apartment. (my next door neighbor)

Twice now I have overheard this strange metallic click-click-click coming from outside my door. The first time I looked out the window to see my neighbor sitting at the top of the stairs, clipping his toenails. I was grossed out. On Christmas Eve, I heard the sound again. What is wrong with you, dude? Is your bathroom not good enough for your precious toenail clippings? And even more disgusting, it’s been over two months since I last heard you clip them – unless you took advantage of the stairs at the building across the street, that’s poor hygiene, man. Just really, really poor hygiene.

10. Put my shopping cart in the cart corral in the parking lot, or make sure it’s out of the way of other cars. (shoppers everywhere)

Few things annoy me more than finding a parking space and pulling in about 3/4 of the way, only to discover that some moron has left their empty shopping cart right at the front of the space. Actually, here’s what annoys me more: people who were obviously parked right next to the cart corral, or two spaces down, and they couldn’t be bothered to push their empty cart into the corral. Some businesses have opted not to have these cart corrals in the lots, so I can understand some of the stranded carts. But could you at least move the cart away so it’s not hitting my car? Or anyone else’s, for that matter?

What are your resolutions for other people for 2011?