Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sous Chef Melly

On Wednesday, Geoff came over after his sailing race and made dinner with Melly perched on his shoulder. Two things to note: 1) Geoff's hair does not normally look like that; he'd just showered. 2) The cats very rarely get to eat people food, and then only a small amount of something healthy as a treat. Baked chicken is their favorite - they smell it coming and beg for it in a shameless and thoroughly unladylike manner.

Moving on...

Don't mind me. I just like the view from up here.

That smells delicious!

Oh, and it tastes delicious!

I don't suppose I could have a little more...?

We are busy! You are interrupting!

I think it's done now. Can I have some more?



First of all, thank you so much for all of your great advice for my mom. Star is slowly improving, but it will take some time. Mom said, "Last night Star sat in my lap, looked me square in the eyes, and meowed in a soft voice. I answered (ohhh, I know, poor kitty...) and he repeated his plaintive meowing for about ten minutes. Then he jumped down and went to sleep. He seems calmer so far this morning, but I am reading up on some of your readers' suggested remedies."

Size 8 1/2, in case you're wondering.

Earlier today I got the great news that Melly has kicked the Coccidia! Of course this is very exciting, but unfortunately she still has diarrhea. I picked up some FortiFlora from the vet (also found out they read the blog - hi, Met Vet folks!) on my way home from work, which will hopefully remedy Melly's digestive issues.

The joys of teething.

My Feliway diffuser arrived from Amazon yesterday and I've had it plugged in the kitchen. I haven't noticed much of a difference in cat behavior, but I'm not surprised - these two are constantly fluctuating between ignoring each other, pouncing on each other, and nuzzling each other. (That last one is admittedly pretty rare.) I am going to move the diffuser to the living room, where the majority of the pouncing takes place, and see if it helps there.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Grieving Cat

My mom sent me an email this morning asking if I could post this for her as she's hoping you'll have some suggestions. (I added the photos and captions of Star and Comet in happier times.)

Jacket? What jacket?

Star is Comet's brother. They chased each other every night and slept next to one another in the afternoons, often with an arm around the other, or with their heads nestled together.

Since the day before Comet's death, Star has been very vocal. He has always talked (chirped) to birds and yeowled when he wanted to go into a room if the door was closed, but now, when awake, he "talks" constantly. Oftentimes he sounds as if he is grumbling. Other times it is ramped up to angst. He follows me around, he very often wants to be held, and he comes when called-- and none of these are usual for him as he is a very independent sort of fellow. He is very smart and proud, rather finicky and dapper.

I know that Star misses his brother and companion. The night after Comet's death, Star was so inconsolably noisy that I finally wrapped him in my sweater and brought him to bed with me, and cried into his fur. Every day, as much as possible, I listen to him, talk to him, cuddle him, but he will not cease his grumbling and yeowling especially in the evenings and at night. My husband is not pleased and needs some sleep.

Does anyone have any advice for how to calm this poor kitty?

Thank you,
Natalie's Mother

Why yes, I am handsome.

All right, fishies. Prepare to be lunch.

I know where you sleep.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mischievous Melly, Part II

As I may have mentioned once or twice, Melly is always up to something, whether it's tormenting Scarlett, strolling across computer keyboards, or gnawing gleefully on my jeans pockets.

Today, Geoff set down his computer sideways to get better air circulation under it (it tends to overheat). Turns out Melly's affinity for computers is not restricted to keyboards.

Earlier this evening, we were cooking (making this, only with endive instead of watercress), and Melly decided that the level of attention she was receiving was insufficient. I grabbed the camera and managed to get some footage. Right at the end when she tenses up and leans forward, she's about five seconds away from leaping to the counter.

I fed both cats when I got home from work, but neither of them ate too much so there was plenty of food left in both bowls. Before dinner, I discovered this:

That is Scarlett's bowl.

And to continue yesterday's subject, Geoff dozed off earlier and I found Melly curled up on his chest purring. No nose biting or anything!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Note About Melly's Nighttime Habits

In short, Melly's approach to sleeping at night is extremely energetic and involves full use of all of her pointy bits. She occasionally burrows under the covers, which is pretty cute, but seems to get bored quickly, and so focuses her attention on trying to wake me up to play. (I should add that I need a minimum of eight hours of sleep. Twelve is better.) Melly has a couple of methods of waking me up: if I lay on my stomach, she bounces around on my head and shoulders (claws!) chewing my hair. If I lay on my back or side, she bites my nose and/or chin - hard. She also likes to pace back and forth across my pillow - the fact that my head is in the middle of my pillow does not deter her. Aside from the claws-on-scalp issue, I really prefer that those litter box paws not touch my pillow. Bed, fine. Pillow, not so much.

Scarlett is a quiet and injury-free snuggler, and causes minimal sleep interference. However, Melly likes to chase Scarlett off the bed as soon as she's settled in, which usually involves hissing and growling and also wakes me up.

I have tried tiring Melly out before bed with lots of vigorous playing, but that only seems to quiet her down for an hour or so, then she's back to her old tricks. The fact that she naps for much of the day, including at least a couple of hours in the evening, probably has something to do with this. I have tried just allowing Scarlett in the bedroom, but that doesn't work out well because Melly wants in and Scarlett wants out for litter box use and food and much loud meowing from both ensues.

And so, neither cat is allowed in the bedroom at night. I miss Scarlett's purring and cuddling, but I do not miss Melly's efforts to maul me. I plan to try again once she is through with her teething and calms down a bit, but until then, sleep takes precedence.

Here's a video of Melly gnawing on Scarlett's tail. Scarlett put up with it for a surprisingly long time (that's her purring in the background) before swishing her tail out of Melly's grasp and stalking away.

Attention Seeker

When I got home today, Melly was displeased that she was not receiving my undivided attention. She was appeased by Geoff for a while, but wanted down fairly quickly.

She followed me around attacking the broom while I swept the floor, then stood next to me meowing as loudly as she could while I washed dishes. (Her meow, by the way, sounds like one of those exaggeratedly squeaky doors you see in cheesy horror movies. It's a little hard to take seriously.) Since she had food in her bowl, her litter was freshly scooped, and she wasn't hurt, I figured she just wanted attention. I wasn't quick enough in giving in to her demands, so she climbed on the back of the kitchen chair nearest the counter and attempted to leap to the counter. She didn't quite make it that far and ended up a bit stuck.

On her way down, she discovered the delightful crinkliness of the plastic bag on the chair, and proceeded to gnaw on it and attack it for about fifteen minutes. She wore herself right out and is now sleeping on the couch next to me. Now if only she'd sleep at night. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Uneventful Saturday

It's been a quiet day here at Chez Natalie. I baked a couple of loaves of bread using this recipe (no photos - they didn't turn out to be particularly pretty), and Melly kept me company in the kitchen for a bit, causing minor technological chaos by strolling about on my laptop keyboard.

The kitties have spent most of the day napping. For a while, they were on the bed a couple of feet apart, but Melly eventually kicked Scarlett out. She needed to sprawl out, you see.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Melly Catches Her Tail

Thank you all so much for your kind comments on yesterday's entry. I was completely blindsided by Comet's death, and all of your messages of support and empathy have been so helpful in dealing with it. Last night Melly and Scarlett temporarily set aside their differences and offered comforting snuggles; between that, your comments, and consuming a truly frightening amount of chocolate, I am feeling better.

Now on to a more cheerful subject.

One of Melly's favorite activities is attempting to catch her tail. She does this in a variety of ways, from running in circles like a puppy to turning somersaults. Of course, she always stops as soon as I'm able to retrieve a camera. However, when my friend Jackie (you may remember her from this entry) and I stopped by on our lunch break to visit the kitties, I managed to capture a bit of Melly's silliness on camera while Jackie held and played with her.

Melly, by the way, is draped across the back of my neck as I type this, purring happily.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


When I was in high school, my little sister and I set our sights on getting a cat. We’d recently moved into a new house, and we decided a pet was needed. Neither of us had any experience with cat ownership, but we figured a cat would be less messy than a dog and our pleading might therefore succeed. Our parents relented and, much to our great delight, we ended up with not one cat, but two! They were five-month-old litter mates named Star and Comet, and immediately upon taking them home, I officially became a Cat Person.

Star turned out to be quite social, smart, and dashing, with sleek fur and perfect tuxedo markings. Comet... well, we joked that these two were the George and Lenny of cats (from Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men). Comet always had slightly mussed fur, and he was huge – not fat, at least when he was young, just large – and he didn't seem to be terribly bright. He was easily startled, and spent much of his time hiding in the most remote corner of the house he could find. Despite all this, Comet adored me and liked to sit on my lap and purr while I did homework. Every time I visited my parents after I moved out, Comet would seek me out and insist on being held and petted and cuddled, as if to make up for all the attention he missed while I was gone.

I am telling you all this because Comet died today. He's the first real pet I've lost, and he wasn't even very old. My parents said they don't know what happened; he was sick about a week ago, recovered, then got sick again yesterday. They found him dead this morning.

Maybe this is the reason a tiny black-and-white kitten came into my life when she did. She turned out to be needed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Here is the result of this week's baking project, a lemon yogurt cake with lemon powdered sugar glaze. Melly and Scarlett hung out peacefully with me in the kitchen while I baked, and Melly has learned a new trick. (At least I think it's new. It's new to me, anyway.) She climbs up my jeans and clamps on near my waist. I think she just wants to get a view from higher up, since she's not allowed on the counter.

And after BethAnn commented on the last entry that she enjoys Melly's pin-up poses, I came across this photo:

Edit: Since a couple people have asked about the recipe, here's the info. The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, here, but I made some changes to accommodate what I happened to have handy.
- Instead of full fat yogurt, I used lowfat
- Instead of lime, I used the juice and zest of one large lemon
- I used half the amount of sugar called for
- Instead of the blackberry sauce, I made a glaze with a tablespoon of melted butter, a cup of powdered sugar, the juice of half a large lemon, and half a tablespoon of water. Before glazing, poke the cake all over with a fork so the glaze gets into the cake a little bit.

This cake stands up well to modifications, so you can get creative!

Photographing Kittens

Scarlett has always been fairly easy to photograph. She looks good in any light, she holds her position long enough to try different angles, and she'll frequently actually mug for the camera.Melly, on the other hand... Well, let's just say I have no idea how Laurie and Sue do it. (For that matter, I also have no idea how they manage to keep up with more than one kitten.) Because for every photo like this...
...there are countless more like this:
This is a big part of why there are so many videos on this blog.

In other news, today is Melly's last day on antibiotics, which I'm sure she'll be thrilled about. She has another vet appointment in a couple of weeks for more vaccinations, and that's when they'll test to see if she managed to kick the parasite. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back to Playing

Look how cute they are...peacefully coexisting and so close!

But, then a change like this should be expected

But they got bored with that and peace was restored


Hi! It's me Geoff! After not spending much time around the furballs for a few days, I'm back in the Cat Lair. Sitting on the couch in the living room, I look to my right and see:

I look down on my left and see:

Though I certainly don't mean to imply that the whole day has been so tranquil. Most of the morning involved lots of "playing" that consisted of poking around with each other, stalking, wrestling and chasing....all accompanied by LOTS of various noises.

Monday, April 19, 2010

All's Well

As Geoff said in his comment on the last post, everything is perfectly normal here at Chez Natalie. No bloodied cats, no wrecked furniture. Everything is just as it was when I left:

(photo by Geoff)

I have a few random updates that I'll share in no particular order:
  • I thought of Hubble Space Paws yesterday when I spilled a bag of pistachios in the kitchen and Melly was in heaven, batting them all over the place and gleefully licking the salt off. They're now all under the fridge, of course, but she enjoyed them while they lasted.
  • Melly now has a set of real bowls. As she's made herself quite at home here, it only seems appropriate that she eat out of actual dishes instead of gladware containers. Also, the bowls coordinate adorably with Scarlett's.
  • As there is still no sign of Scarlett's hairball and she is still hacking a bit, I got a tube of Petramalt while I was at the pet store today and smeared a bit on her front paws. I have no idea whether this will be any more successful than the Vaseline (which may have already helped), but Scarlett licked it off her paws quite eagerly, so at least it tastes better.
  • I finally got probiotics and have added a bit to both food bowls. The probiotics absolutely reek of salmon, so of course both kitties are going nuts over their food now.

Melly is quite aware of her charms, as you can see. And, it's not totally visible here, but that little bump she had after her surgery is gone. Yay!

Oh, and also:

Melly the Destroyer strikes again.

All Day

This is the first time both cats have the run of the house for the whole day without human supervision. I fear for my furniture and curtains, but I really think the kitties will be ok.

On an unrelated note, one of my favorite webcomics reminded me of Scarlett today:

Sunday, April 18, 2010


After a brief staring contest with Melly, Scarlett looked at me, looked at Melly, then growled weakly at Melly. Melly waited a bit before moving, then relocated to the windowsill. In about .2 seconds, both were asleep.

These two make the most progress when Melly is sleepy and calm and not in must-attack-everything-now mode.

"Excuse me."

"I would like to call to your attention the fact that there is a gob of Vaseline on my paw."

Thanks for the suggestion, Coco's Mom!

Of yarn balls, hairballs, and litter boxes

Remember the video of Melly attacking the yarn balls on the cat tree? Well, I came into the living room this morning and found this:

Apparently, between bouts of attacking my head and wiggling about under the covers last night, Melly was busy.

I mentioned yesterday that both cats seem to be using both litter boxes. I am aware that this raises Scarlett's risk of contracting Coccidia, but short of confining Melly to the bathroom again, I'm not sure how to make sure each cat uses only her own litter box. Since Melly's confinement would drive everyone batty (except possibly Scarlett), that's not going to happen. So, I welcome any other suggestions anyone has about how to remedy this issue.

Also, Scarlett has been working on a hairball for a couple of days now, and I'm wondering if anyone has any tried-and-true ways of helping a cat get the hairball up. Scarlett hardly ever gets hairballs, and the ones she's had have been fairly mild, so I'm a little inexperienced on this front.

And a video of Melly playing, just 'cause:

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Last night, I was working on my computer when I realized that I hadn't heard any growling or tussling in a while. I turned the camera on and tiptoed into the living room to find this:

I think they were just worn out after hours of fighting and had called a temporary truce, but hey, I'll take it.

Last night was the first night Melly hasn't been confined to the bathroom. Normally, Scarlett sleeps next to me or at my feet, so I was curious to see how Melly would fit in. As it turned out, Melly and Scarlett took turns on the bed (the exchanges were loud and hissy). Scarlett is an excellent companion as she purrs constantly and doesn't move around much; Melly's version of snuggling is extremely active and involves biting my chin. Needless to say, I got minimal sleep during Melly's turns on the bed.

There is still a fair amount of growling, stemming mostly from Melly trying to attack Scarlett's tail. She seems to think that anything that swishes so invitingly is fair game for pounces. The exchange in the video below followed about ten minutes of Melly stalking Scarlett's tail, and Scarlett ignoring her while looking at me as if to make sure I was taking note of this misbehavior.

An interesting development is that the kitties are sharing quite peaceably. They are each helping themselves to each other's food (Scarlett's diet is pretty much out the window since I have no idea who's eating what - on the plus side, Melly is giving her plenty of exercise). I have also caught Scarlett digging around in Melly's litter box, and when I changed the litter in both boxes this morning, it looked like Melly had used Scarlett's at least once. And, both kitties are using all of the scratching posts: Melly's in the bathroom, Scarlett's in the hallway, and the ones on the tree.

It's been suspiciously quiet in here as I've been typing this, so I took a quick break to check the usual cat haunts. This is what I found:
All together now: Awwwwwww!

Friday, April 16, 2010

And in case anyone's interested...

...these are the cupcakes Geoff mentioned earlier.

Edit: For those who would like it, I am adding the recipe info below. Most of my baking involves combining and modifying recipes, so I'll give you the recipes I used as a jumping-off point and then list the changes I made. And also, my friend Rebecca assisted with the making (and enjoying) of these cupcakes. :)

My favorite lemon curd recipe happens also to have been used in the recipe that was my inspiration for this project, found here. This recipe makes a ton of lemon curd (my favorite part), so cut it in half if you don't want to deal with the leftovers.

For the cupcakes, we used the recipe found here, but cut the sugar in half. We also used the cream cheese frosting recipe that's listed there, but with way less powdered sugar and the addition of a few spoonfuls of seedless raspberry preserves (next time I think I'd skip the preserves). And I tinted the frosting pink with a couple drops of red gel food coloring. This recipe also shows the cone method I use to fill cupcakes, although I don't do it quite as tidily, and I tend to scoop out a bit extra so there's room for lots of filling.

You'll also need 48 raspberries (two per cupcake) - I smooshed one inside the cupcake with the lemon curd and stuck one on top. That's more than are in one of those little raspberry containers, so I got a big container and just ate the rest of the berries with yogurt.

Mischievous Melly

Despite Melly's refusal to leave Scarlett alone (we joke that she has a death wish - why else would she make flying leaps at Scarlett's backside while Scarlett is mid-growl?), Scarlett seems to be getting used to the little goofball. She still does her fair share of growling, hissing, and swiping, but there have been a few nose-touches and peaceful sniffs. Scarlett and Melly even napped near each other earlier today: Melly on the cat tree and Scarlett on the loveseat.

Melly, attempting futilely to convince me of her innocence.

This is what poor Scarlett has to contend with. You never know where Melly will pop in from!

I think Scarlett is a little jealous: this is usually her spot.

Another walk with Melly

With N's friend Rebecca here, Natalie is taking the morning off from work. So, I decided to harness up Melly and take her to the Coffee Shop of great deliciousness. At Natalie's suggestion, I also took one of the cupcakes that N and Rebecca made last night to the Coffee Maiden who owns and runs the place. I carried Melly most of the way there to get her comfortable with being outside and was happy to have her under control when we crossed paths with a dog being walked as well. Melly was VERY intrigued by this strange sight.

We got there, got our drinks and delivered the cupcake to the Coffee Maiden, who, in turn, ripped a cupcake recipe out of an old Bon Appetit and gave it to me to take back to Natalie, who in addition to cat blogs, also is addicted to cupcake blogs.

On the way back, I let Melly walk most of the way (except for crossing the streets). She saw a couple of other cats, who'd spotted her long since and they all studied each other for a bit, until Melly started to approach one of them. Despite Melly's diminutive size and leisurely pace, the adult cat she was heading for BOLTED!

After that there was a bit of poking around in a hedge and then a bit in the landscaping outside N's apartment.

We came back inside and Melly was about halfway through the door when Scarlett welcomed her with her first hiss of the day. *sigh*

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Missing Melly no more!!!

I (Geoff the BF) am happy to say that I am no longer estranged from my favorite ball of she is, in my lap, mere minutes ago!

Since we all (Natalie, her visiting friend Rebecca and I) arrived back at Natalie's apartment, both cats have been free...there's been some mixed attitudes mostly curiosity as well as the hostility of establishing boundaries:

But there's been nothing too serious; certainly a relief as it seems things are trending well. There's certainly still some unfriendliness (we just had an incident, in fact, lots of growling and a bit of hissing, nothing more severe than that though), but it seems that once Melly starts understanding Scarlett's boundaries (which I hope/assume will shrink as she gets used to Melly) then some of the drama should abate.

Also, I was thrilled to have her climbing around on my shoulders again.

Thank you!

Thank you all for your reassuring comments on the past couple of entries. It's hard not to take Scarlett's angst personally, but I know she's just telling Melly to buzz off. Really, things went a lot more smoothly than I expected!

I trimmed Scarlett's claws this morning and she put up a much bigger fight than usual, growling and writhing, possibly because she had big plans for those claws that I have now thwarted. Oops :)

I am letting Melly run around this morning while I get ready for work, and Scarlett is in the bedroom taking a nap. The bedroom is where Scarlett goes to hide from anything stressful (the vacuum, potential vet trips, guests she doesn't like, etc.) so I'm trying to keep Melly out of there for the most part so Scarlett has an area where she can go and unwind and be free of the little hooligan. She actually does seem to like to keep an eye on Melly, so I think it's only when she's reached a saturation point that she retreats to the bedroom.

Tonight I am going to let both girls out when I get home and just let them do their thing. Geoff will be back, and a good friend of mine from New York is coming for a brief visit, so there will be plenty of people to surreptitiously keep an eye on the kitties.

As you can imagine, this process is bringing back a lot of memories from when Scarlett came home. Here is a picture of Scarlett from about a month after I got her, right after she'd been spayed (note the shaved belly). My sister sent a sparkly pink collar with a tag that said "diva", which Scarlett is proudly modeling.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another Meeting

After letting Scarlett rest for a while, I decided to let Melly out for another trial interaction. I know it's too soon, but at this point, they've already met... if they hate each other forever, well, it's too late to fix it now. Here's a video of Melly invading Scarlett's tree; at about the 28 second mark, Scarlett makes known her disapproval.

After this, Melly hopped down and attacked the curtains...

...while Scarlett looked on disapprovingly.

Really, the biggest problem seems to be that Melly isn't respecting Scarlett's space. I'm not terribly surprised since I've heard most kittens are like that.

I guess now I'll just gradually increase the time that Melly is allowed to run around and hopefully Scarlett will eventually come to tolerate her. On the plus side, at least there's no violence...

Face to Face

When I got home from work, I rigged up a little wire hook to hold the bathroom door open about an inch. Melly immediately redoubled her mewling and stuck as many paws as she could through the crack (I think there were three visible at one point). Scarlett was completely uninterested, so I started feeding both girls chicken, tossing bits to Melly through the crack in the door. This got Scarlett's attention, of course, and she gleefully scarfed down the treats, pausing to growl at Melly a couple of times. When the chicken was gone, she growled one more time and walked away (this is documented in the video below).

Well, as it turns out, my little hook rig was not nearly as ingenious as I thought. Melly escaped, and she squeezed herself through all kinds of tight spots so that I couldn't get her. Scarlett found Melly before I did and followed her around at a distance for a while. Melly paid no attention to Scarlett and galloped around the apartment, full steam ahead, with her tail straight up in the air. (I eventually gave up trying to catch her - there was just no hope.) Scarlett issued warning growls whenever Melly got within about a foot of her, and Melly obligingly backed off.

Eventually, Scarlett got tired of this game and retreated under the bed. I closed the door to give her some privacy from Melly (but didn't latch it in case Scarlett wanted to come out), and let Melly run around some more. When she finally slowed down, I managed to grab her and stick her back in the bathroom. Naturally she's been protesting loudly ever since. Scarlett came out from under the bed shortly after Melly was back in the bathroom, sniffed around for a while, and is now sleeping on her cat tree.

Any ideas on where to go from here? Is there any point in continuing to keep them separated? (At least while I'm here - there won't be unsupervised interaction for a while.)

In other news, Scarlett did use her litter box at some point in the past 24 hours - thank goodness.

And because we have not hit our quota of adorable Melly photos for today...

I miss Melly

Geoff here,

I'm back at my own place now, where there are no cats (yay), but alas, also no kittens (boo). In case anyone's checking in, disappointed at not getting any updates on Melly and Scarlett, this is why...but, I also offer a wee pic from this morning that I took with my phone.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Playful Kitty


I received a voicemail from the cats' vet today that contained some interesting news: Melly has a parasite called Coccidia. The long and short of it is that I have to give her meds by syringe for nine days. Coccidia is contagious, so this is another reason to keep Scarlett and Melly apart. As an adult cat, Scarlett is unlikely to contract it, especially since she'd have to come into contact with Melly's feces to do so, but I'd rather not take any chances. This doesn't actually affect my plan too much, though, since I wasn't going to start allowing interaction through a cracked door for a few more days.

Edit: I just got off the phone with Sue and would like to add here that I in no way blame Sue for Melly's parasite issue. Melly doesn't have the obvious symptom of Coccidia (very stinky diarrhea), so there's really no way anyone would've guessed to test for it. After nine days of meds, Melly should be right as rain. :)

The other interesting development is that Scarlett does not seem to be using her litter box. I'll have a better idea after today since I cleaned it out, but it's particularly odd since I've searched the apartment and I can't find evidence that she's going somewhere else. (She used the laundry hamper once when I had the temerity to switch litter box styles; I've since switched back and gotten an enclosed laundry hamper.) Another thing to keep an eye on.

Miss Melly just went back into her isolation room after about an hour of exploration and adventure in the apartment. In the picture below, she has located the source of an ever-so-enticing aroma. Her attempts to get into the bag eventually resulted in her falling off the table. (Note: these are Geoff's pork rinds. I prefer healthier fare like anything made out of chocolate.)

I'll close with an email Geoff's mom just sent: "I am not signed in to comment on the blog, but here goes..... Geoff, you are so "outed"! After all your pronouncements that you don't like cats----this certainly proves otherwise. I knew you were really just a big softie!"