Friday, July 30, 2010

A New Window

Today I opened a window I normally keep closed, and Scarlett and Melly were very interested in the new scenery.



They were less interested in being photographed.


But later, Scarlett was kind enough to strike a pose for me.


Also, in case you're wondering where Geoff went, he has been quite busy lately. First with this (that's him with the flipped-up brim) and then with this (volunteering, not playing).


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Playing

When Scarlett first came to live with me, I got the impression that she wasn't particularly playful. Affectionate, certainly, but not playful. She loved the laser pointer and catnip, but didn't seem interested in feather wands, glitter balls, etc. As it turned out, she actually loved to play, but not with an audience. (This is partially why I was so shocked to see Scarlett and Melly playing with the paper ball - it wasn't just that they were playing together, but that Scarlett was playing publicly.) I used to find my socks in strange places and couldn't figure out what Scarlett was doing with them until one day when I was home sick from work and Scarlett had forgotten that I was there: she started running around my apartment, tossing a sock up in the air and catching it on her head. I couldn't help but laugh, and of course she stopped and proceeded to ignore the sock.


"I don't play. I am dignified and serious."

Last night, Scarlett out-kittened Melly, gleefully bounding around with a yarn ball, batting it around and carrying it in her mouth. She careened around the apartment with the little red ball for several minutes while I surreptitiously watched from the bathroom doorway. Unfortunately, Melly skittered by and gave me away - Scarlett immediately dropped her yarn ball and sat down a little ways away, pointedly ignoring it.


"She plays. I've seen it."

This is all in stark contrast to Melly, who attacks and plays with everything that moves, and many things that don't. Last night, we played fetch with her wine cork for about 20 minutes. Fetch! Like a puppy! I couldn't believe it was happening, and that she stayed interested for so long - I actually ended the game because I wanted to go to bed. I'm curious to see whether she'll play again today, or if it was a one-time deal.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Melly and the Box

Thanks for all the great captions on yesterday's photo! They all made me laugh - I kept looking over at Scarlett and envisioning her saying them.

A few days ago, I got a new set of mixing bowls, and they came in a most delightful box:




Two days later, and in a different room, the box remained enthralling.



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Scarlett's Thinking Something...

This photo is begging for a caption. Anyone have any ideas?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Attention Seekers

Yesterday, Geoff and I were sitting at the kitchen table working on our laptops, and Melly wanted attention. So...





And then Scarlett wanted in on the action:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Saturday!

Last night, I had my camera out and was going to try and get a picture of Scarlett's partially healed chin when Melly hopped up to the couch right next to Scarlett. I figured that the usual sparring would ensue, so I hit the record button.

Instead, there was this:

Interaction from Natalie on Vimeo.

Scarlett is growling the whole time (you can sort of hear her), so it's not an entirely peaceful episode, but there wasn't any swatting or hissing - yay!

I've also been meaning to report that Melly's nighttime habits have really settled down recently. She still wakes me up sometimes, but she doesn't scamper across my head or chomp on my chin anymore. Last night, she was snuggled up against my neck, purring loudly, for the whole night. Scarlett spent most of the night on my other side, probably keeping an eye on Melly.


Have a great weekend, all! See you Monday :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Melly Helps

Yesterday, I put new sheets on my bed. Melly assisted.

Undercover Kitty from Natalie on Vimeo.


Maybe assisted isn't quite the right word.

Melly Being Ridiculous from Natalie on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Miscellaneous Updates


Normally Scarlett is not a fan of the vacuum cleaner, but here she looks like she's conquered both her fear and the vacuum itself.

Update #1: Scarlett's acne hasn't completely cleared up, but it's getting a lot better. The medicated pads from the vet stain her fur brown, which makes it hard to see the affected areas, so I have been periodically shampooing her chin. She does not enjoy that.

Melly found a new hiding spot.

Update #2: The Soft Paws were mostly off a couple of weeks ago (Melly still has one on her left dew claw but it looks like it's about to come off). The cats didn't seem to mind them, and I certainly enjoyed the lack of scratches. However, clipping claws is easier than applying Soft Paws, especially if I only trim the front ones, so I don't think I'll be using Soft Paws again just yet.

They get along just fine when Melly is sleepy and less prone to pounce.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Huntresses

I was reading last night when Melly detected something under the bed.

First it was on the left...

Then it was on the right...

And then the danger passed.

I am not a fan of the creepy crawly variety of intruder (those enormous brown spiders are particularly horrifying), so it's a good thing I have two such vigilant felines keeping watch.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Melly and the Crab

To give my sister a taste of the wonderful seafood found here in the Northwest, we got a couple of live crabs to steam for dinner.

Melly was intrigued.



The crab opened its mouth very wide and moved its claws toward Melly, which encouraged her to get closer, oddly enough.




This is the last vacation post - on Monday we'll be back to normal.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Coconut Lime Cupcakes

Here's a picture of Melly snuggling my sister's iPhone for those who are not interested in the baking portion of this post:


When my sister was in town, she wanted to make cupcakes, so for Geoff's daughter's birthday, we decided to try something new.



Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting and Lime Curd Filling
Cupcake and frosting recipes adapted from this recipe on simplyrecipes.com
Lime curd adapted from a lemon curd recipe I've seen on several blogs and recipe sites

I recommend making the filling first so that it has time to firm up in the refrigerator before you need to use it.

Lime Curd Ingredients

3 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lime juice (this only took four or five limes - I expected to use more, so my poor sister squeezed about a dozen limes)
1 teaspoon grated lime zest


Cupcake Ingredients

3/4 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup of sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup of canned coconut milk (the original recipe recommended not using light coconut milk - I second that recommendation)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of sweetened desiccated coconut (my sister ran it through the food processor so the pieces would be less noticeable in the finished cupcake)


Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature (you can get away with the light cream cheese, but nonfat is probably not a good idea)
1/2-1 cup of powdered sugar (we used quite a lot more since with one cup, the frosting still just tasted like cream cheese)
1/4 cup of sweetened desiccated coconut (we left this out and just sprinkled more coconut on top of the finished cupcakes)


Lime Curd Directions

1. Beat the butter with the sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 minute more, then stir in the lime juice. The mixture will look curdled. Do not panic.

2. (For this step, a double boiler works well - I use my metal mixing bowl over a small sauce pan.) Cook the mixture over low heat until it becomes smooth, then increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, without letting it boil, until it thickens enough to leave a path on the back of the spoon when you drag your finger through it. If you want to go by temperature, you’re looking for 170 F.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime zest. Press plastic wrap on surface to prevent a skin from forming and chill in the refrigerator.


Cupcake Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and cream till light and fluffy again, scraping down the sides halfway through to ensure even mixing.

2. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds each to ensure mixing. Be sure to scrape down the sides after each egg to ensure even mixing.

3. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in one bowl. In another add 1 cup of a well shaken can of coconut milk and a teaspoon of vanilla. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix, then add 1/2 of the wet ingredients. Continue alternating with the wet and dry mixtures, ending with the dry. Stop mixing once just as the ingredients become incorporated; do not overbeat.

4. Fold in the coconut. Scoop into cupcake papers about one half to three-quarters of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating the pan after the first 15 to ensure even baking. Be sure to check with a toothpick to see if the cupcakes are done. If the toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean, then they're ready. Allow the cupcakes to cool for a minute or two in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Frosting Directions

1. Cream the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes. Scraped down the sides and bottom.

2. Slowly add the powdered sugar, taste as you go adding more sugar until you have reached the desired sweetness.


Assembly

Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut a small inverted cone out of the top. Then, trim the tip off the cone (if you save these leftover pieces, you can eat them with the rest of the lime curd). Put a small dollop of lime curd inside the cupcake, then replace the cone.

Frost the cupcakes. Make sure to cover the seam of the cone, both to help hold it in place and because the seam isn't very pretty. Because you'll be sprinkling coconut over the frosting, it doesn't need to be perfect.

Sprinkle coconut over the frosted cupcakes.
Makes 20 cupcakes.

Starzy

This'll be the last post of Star from the trip. I was going to stop at two but couldn't resist sharing this photo - the paws just kill me.


And this video.


Star Playing from Natalie on Vimeo.
(Coincidentally, Scarlett has the same catnip mouse, and it's her favorite toy too.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wet Cat

The day before I left, I gave Melly a quick bath (more of a rinse, really). She hadn't been smelling too great since the coccidia, so it was overdue. She did not enjoy it and mewled quite pitifully through the whole process, but she didn't struggle much.


The Kitties' New Friend

Before I get to the post I was originally going to put up today, I wanted to share a quick story from this morning: while Geoff and I were eating breakfast, Scarlett was playing with a little ball of paper, happily batting it around and chasing it. She batted it over to Melly, who took over the playing in her usual ridiculous manner. After a while, Melly batted the paper ball back over toward Scarlett, and waited. Scarlett batted it, Melly batted it back. They took a few swats at each other in between exchanges of the paper ball, but still - they played together!
It was thrilling.


And on to the post:

Before my sister came to visit, I warned her about Scarlett's standoffishness and Melly's overabundance of affection. As it turned out, I only needed to warn her about one of those. Here is Scarlett, sitting on my sister's lap, purring happily:

And here is Melly with her new favorite person:


And here is a picture my sister snapped with her cell phone shortly after meeting Melly that she wanted to share:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuxie-tude

From many of your comments here, I've gathered that mischievous natures like Melly's are common to tuxies. I'd never really noticed that with Star, but I was on the lookout during this trip. Lo and behold...




Looks familiar, eh?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Star

While at my parents' house, I spent some time with this handsome fellow, who seemed very much to enjoy having his picture taken. (You may remember Star from these posts.)


Star has always been a fairly chill cat, which is even more noticeable now that I'm used to the boundless energy of Melly. He also seems a bit sadder than I remember, but it's hard to tell since I don't see him often - I may just be missing the sight of Star and Comet together.



Monday, July 12, 2010

Invasion of the Furry Beasties!

Natalie took a few days and visited her family in a state far away from where Scarlett and Melly dwell. Upon her return, accompanied by her younger sister, she intended to use my home as her base of operations, for the first week of her sister's visit. As such, for the 5 days that Natalie was away, I watched over the wee beasties. Then they remained in my home for the week that Natalie and her sister were also staying with me.

In preparation for Scarlett and Melly's arrival, I needed to do some tidying. "Tidying" isn't always as straightforward for me as simply picking up some random clutter. Case in point, my living room:

I had just recently done a sailboat race and our spinnaker (big, colorful sail) got wet, so I brought it home and spread it out to dry.

Seriously though, my biggest concerns centered around the fact that my condo is a fair bit larger than Natalie's apartment and has a LOT more places to hide. Scarlett has been there many times and actually seems to prefer my place. But she hadn't been there since Melly's arrival on the scene and Melly certainly hadn't been there; this was her first stay anywhere other than N's since she joined Natalie's household. The thought that she might react poorly (claw-based destruction of furniture, bodily functions being performed in various, non-litterbox, locations, etc.) was at the forefront of my feline-targeted paranoia. But, I love my Natalady, so the fuzzies moved in with me.

As it turned out, I had nothing to fear. Scarlett settled right back in and Melly took to the place rather well. Two of the things that Scarlett seems to enjoy about my condo is that there's carpeting (as opposed to N's hardwoods) and a sliding glass door, in addition to windows. Put those together and there's a happy cat, sitting or laying on carpet while looking outside. Melly agreed that this was a worthwhile activity.
Melly also settled in on my bed:

Scarlett enjoys it there too:


Ultimately, they were quite happy and enjoyed themselves in my condo. There were no significant events (thereby achieving my primary goal) and after I have the opportunity to ventilate a bit, the cat smell may even be nothing more than a memory.

We're back!

My absence in the blogosphere the past couple of weeks (during which I scheduled posts to go up automatically) was due to the fact that I went to visit my family, then my sister came back to Seattle with me for a while. Geoff and I both have posts to share about the feline-related events during that time. It shouldn't take us long to get through them, and once we're done, we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming :)

These are photos from the day before I left:

"Please don't leave."

"You may not leave."

"Seriously, please don't leave."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Morning Routines

When I get ready in the morning, the kitties like to keep me company. Usually one of them will sit in the tub under the faucet (I let it drip while I get ready, then turn it off all the way when I'm done), and the other will sit on the shelf next to the sink. When Melly sits on the shelf, she likes to dig my eyelash curler out of my makeup bag and run off with it. As for Scarlett, she never showed any interest in the shelf until Melly came along and liked to spend time up there; now, it's one of Scarlett's favorite spots.

This isn't a terribly exciting video, but the cats are pretty adorable.
(Yes, the towel Scarlett is sitting on clashes with the shower curtain. It's a former kitchen towel that was pressed into service to put something between cat derrières and the shelf.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Melly Plays

It's been a little while since I posted a video of Melly playing, so here's one of her attacking the drawstring of my pants.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Adorableness

Melly is pure cuteness in a four-legged, tuxedo-clad package, but there is one thing she does that just kills me: she'll be trotting along, minding her own business, when all of a sudden she will stop, plant her little bum on the floor, curl her tail around herself, tilt her head, and watch me. It doesn't really matter what's going on - she just likes to observe. She looks very serious and analytical.

I haven't managed to get a picture of it, but this one is close.