Friday, October 28, 2011

Ridiculousness

I love when Melly hangs out on her back, not napping or anything. She looks rather defiant, like she's saying, "Yeah, I'm upside down. What of it?"



"Upside down is the new right side up. Obviously."


I'm in a bit of a blogging rut lately, so I'm going to take a few days off and see if I can get my blogging mojo back.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Being Watched

The scratching post in the corner is one of the cats' favorite spots to keep watch. On what I'm not sure, but they always look Very Alert.

In this case, there was a double dose of watchfulness.

It's a little creepy when they're in sync like that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Paws & Pavlov's Cat

First, Melly's adorable paws:


And second, yesterday Cat reminded me of another great Eddie Izzard routine, the Pavlov's cat routine.

If you want to skip to the cat part, start at 1:15. Also, please be warned that there is brief strong language.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scarlett Claims Geoff

"This one's mine."

It cracks me up when Scarlett does this. She's so adorably possessive. For some reason it reminds me of this Eddie Izzard routine.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Matching

When I was uploading these pictures and titled the post "Matching," I was talking about the cats' mirror-image poses. But then I realized that they have really similarly shaped white patches on their chins/chests. Cuties.





Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Catnip Time

The kitties were getting bored during their last visit to Geoff's, so I ground some catnip into the carpet, mashed a little into their toys, and let them go to town.

Bonus: belly floof close-up around the 30-second mark.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Snuggly Scarlett

Scarlett almost always hovers within a few feet of me when I'm at home. If my lap, or even part of my lap, is available, she is on it in a flash. She purrs if I so much as look at her; if I pet her, she purrs so hard that her whole body vibrates.



Super snuggles: Scarlett and Geoff.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Brownies

My family, both immediate and extended, is scattered all over the country, so since we rarely see each other, we send little care packages for birthdays, holidays, and just because. These often include baked goods, as a sweet tooth runs in the family.

Brownies are my go-to shipping dessert because the taste and texture seem to actually improve after a day or two, and also because the sturdy little bars hold up well in the mail. I have historically been a box brownie girl since none of the scratch brownies I've tried have measured up to my beloved Ghirardelli double chocolate brownie mix. Not that that stops me from trying new recipes, of course.

When I was putting together my aunt's birthday package, I was on a tight schedule and it turned out that I didn't have the mix I thought I had. So, I looked up a few brownie recipes and settled on the one below, for which I happened to have all the ingredients. And - much to my surprise - these brownies surpassed the Ghirardelli ones in taste, and they were almost as easy to make.

Best Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet by Smitten Kitchen, and adapted further by me
Update August 24, 2012: I have changed the recipe since I originally posted it, so this is a revised version.

15 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (be generous)
heaping 1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, cold
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9"x13" baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a large saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter. This should be between 20 and 25 minutes, but mine took a little longer. Let cool completely on a rack. I put mine in the freezer for a while before cutting them.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into squares.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pretty Kitty

She look so calm, just sitting there watching the birds.


It looks like there's a white splotch on her head, but I think it's just the light reflecting off a damp spot. Which is either the result of sitting in the tub under the dripping faucet, or Scarlett's enthusiastic slurping.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sun Puddle

My house gets mostly indirect sunlight, so when the kitties and I go over to Geoff's house, one of their favorite things to do is bask in the sun.



And when there is a sun puddle next to the sliding glass door, all the better! Basking and bird watching all in one convenient location. The big Steller's Jay is back, and he is Scarlett's favorite.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Snoozing Melly

This is how Melly spends most of her evenings:



She is resting up for her nightly shenanigans. Lately, she has been playing with her noisiest toys at about 3am.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Eyes Have It

I love Scarlett's eyes. They are endless and full of feeling (mostly angst).




Scarlett is a pretty talkative cat, but she really doesn't need to say anything: her eyes say it all.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Whiskersplosion

Melly's whiskers have been pretty out of control lately. Naturally, it's adorable.



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mellybelly

It is pretty much impossible to get anything done when Melly goes belly-up. Snorgling, cuddling, scritching, and snuggling are called for.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Window Scarlett

Scarlett gazes wistfully at the great outdoors, remembering the days when she ruled the neighborhood with an iron paw.



There was a follow-up comment a couple of days ago on the post about Melly's chewing, and since it didn't look like Anonymous's question was answered, I'm re-posting:

Other anonymous, I am curious about what you said about chewing to relieve gastrointestinal distress- my cat seems to chew plants before it's hairball time and I read somewhere that the grass helps to make sure it either passes through or gets thrown up. Did the vet say if the chewing inedible objects was nature's attempt to induce vomiting?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rubber Kitten

I wonder sometimes if she has bones, or if she's just made of rubber.


P.S. Beachgal, shoot me an email with your address so I can send your giveaway box!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Melly's Tent

Over at Geoff's, there is a love seat with a slipcover that doesn't quite fit it properly, leaving a dangling flap of fabric. Melly has taken to using the flap as a sort of tent, and can frequently be found sitting with her head tucked underneath it.


Happy weekend!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Visit from Ashley, and Winners Announced

The winners of the giveaway are Fuzzy Tales and Beachgal! Shoot me an email (link on the sidebar) with your addresses.


We had a visit recently from neighbor kitty Ashley, and for once Melly got to the window first. You can hear Geoff on the phone in the background, but the sounds Melly was making were so cute that I left the audio in. And please ignore the condition of my window. My apartment building is really, really old.



Also, thank you for the thoughts yesterday on Melly's chewing problem. I appreciate the advice, and I'm glad to have some ideas to try out!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sharing

I came up with a way to make sure that Scarlett gets some time on the quilt all to herself: I moved it to her favorite napping spot.



So far, so good. I'll just switch it back and forth periodically and hopefully everyone will be happy.


On an unrelated note, I could use some advice on Melly's chewing habit. While her gnawing is usually harmless, like when she chews on my clothes, she periodically destroys electronics. A cell phone charger, a couple pairs of headphones, my sister's laptop cord... and yesterday, MY laptop cord. Unacceptable, obviously.

I keep thinking that Melly has broken herself of the habit since she goes months between chewing sprees, but that's clearly not the case. I've gotten used to putting away my cords and chargers when they're not being used, but Melly seems to have moved on to the larger cables that are usually left plugged in. This isn't safe for her, and this stuff is not cheap to replace.

As a temporary fix, I have wrapped my new laptop cord in aluminum foil. I did some research on other deterrents, and most of the home remedies involved putting some kind of scented oil or lotion on the cords. Since the foil rips or falls off when the cord moves and sticky goos could attract insects, those options aren't appealing. One website recommended just using rubber tubing from the hardware store, but although that method protects the cords, it lacks the deterrent factor. I found a couple of products (Chewsafe, Crittercord, etc.) that are designed both to protect and deter, and those are currently the leading contenders. Have any of you tried them? Or, have you found something you like better?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Melly's First Fire

We had a fire in Geoff's fireplace this weekend, and it was the first time Melly had seen flames bigger than the ones on candles. She was not sure what to make of them, and observed from a safe distance.

Scarlett had no such qualms.


Of course, this is the cat who set her tail on fire once and didn't even notice*, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter the giveaway!



*She had it sitting over a candle and the fur caught fire. I put it out immediately and she was totally fine - she just smelled like singed fur for a while.



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ah HA!

I went home for lunch a couple of days ago - a very rare occurrence - and surprised the cats doing this:

They're practically snuggling! Their derrieres and back legs are overlapping!

Apparently they're best buds when I'm not home. Hmm.


Also, I neglected to set a deadline for entering the giveaway, so let's go with 11:59 p.m. PST Wednesday.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Greeting Cards and a Giveaway

Recently, I was contacted by www.GreetingCardUniverse.com and asked if I would review their cards on the blog. I love cards and stationary, so I checked out the site. There were some very cute and very beautiful cards, and I like that they are created by individual artists from all over the world. In the interest of an informed review, I sifted through every single page of cat cards on the site, and there were a lot. There were many different styles, from cartoons to paintings to photos (the paintings were my favorite). If you know what you're looking for, the search feature is pretty effective, so you can enter things like, "cat blank watercolor" to narrow things down.

www.GreetingCardUniverse.com asked me to pick out five cards. Here are the cards I selected (click the pictures to look at the cards on the website):

www.greetingcarduniverse.comwww.greetingcarduniverse.comwww.greetingcarduniverse.comwww.greetingcarduniverse.comwww.greetingcarduniverse.com

www.GreetingCardUniverse.com has a lot of options to personalize the cards that I didn't take advantage of, but you can add messages and even choose glossy or matte finish. The cards arrived only a few days after I ordered them, so the turnaround is quick. The resolution of the photo of the kitten looking out the window is a tad on the low side , but since the other card images were very sharp, I suspect the issue stems from that artist's original photo. In any case, it's still an adorable card.

Overall, I was impressed with the www.GreetingCardUniverse.com experience. The price ($3/card plus shipping) is pretty reasonable, and they have bulk discounts starting at 5 cards. They have a lot of beautiful artwork to choose from, their site is very easy to navigate, and the final cards are good quality.

And now for the giveaway portion of the post:

I am going to give away four of the cards I got from www.GreetingCardUniverse.com to two of you! I will take two of the USPS small flat-rate boxes, put two cards in each, then fill the rest of the boxes with whatever fun kitty goodies I can fit. Those could be anything from cat-themed accessories to cat toys and treats. (If you win, let me know whether you have cats as that'll be a deciding factor on the contents.) If you're located outside the USA, feel free to enter too!

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post expressing your interest. I'll use a random number generator to pick the winners.



Note: I was not compensated financially for my review of www.GreetingCardUniverse.com, but they did send me five cards for no charge. Opinions of the website and cards are my own.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Snoozing

You better believe she was snoring her fuzzy little head off.


Happy weekend!