I always know I can count on you guys! Thanks for the banana bread recipes and the advice (I had no idea that you could substitute applesauce, grated apple, or zucchini for the third banana, but of course it makes sense!), but I ended up just tossing them in ziplock bag and putting them in … Continue reading “9/19/08”

I always know I can count on you guys! Thanks for the banana bread recipes and the advice (I had no idea that you could substitute applesauce, grated apple, or zucchini for the third banana, but of course it makes sense!), but I ended up just tossing them in ziplock bag and putting them in the freezer so I don’t have to deal with them right now. At some point in the future, when I’m in a baking mood, I’ll pull ’em out and use them.

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Katherine sent me the link to this site the other day:


If you don’t want to go watch it right now, it’s a video of pictures illustrating the lyrics in Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire.

Confession: It wasn’t ’til I watched the video that I realized he was saying “Children of Thalidomide” (I thought it was “Children of the Little Mai”, figured it was a Vietnam reference), and I thought “Bay of Pigs Invasion” was “Bay of Pigs and Beijing.” Duh.

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We have nine kittens and we desperately need to find homes for them. All nine are white/light tan striped with blue eyes. We live near Athens Ga. If any of your readers are nearby please send me an email. We have loved on these kittens from day one but we can not keep them as we already have five cats and four dogs. Thank you Robyn for passing this along to your readers!

If anyone’s interested, email me and I’ll pass your email along to Lisa!

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I don’t understand the logic of shredding information that is just name/address. I admit that I’m the opposite of paranoid. I probably don’t take enough care with privacy because I figure the bad guys will get the info if they want. But if someone could get the same information from a phone book (or driving by your house if you had your name “The Coopers” on the house), what does it prevent to tear off magazine labels, etc.?

To be a stickler, here, our phone number is unlisted, and we don’t have our name on the mailbox. But I get what you’re asking – I don’t think that anyone could use our name and address to do any real damage, but since I recycle magazines, catalogs and the occasional mailing box, and I have seen people going through the “magazines/ junk mail” and “cardboard boxes” dumpsters and pulling stuff out (which is actually rather thrifty – why pay for People Magazine when you can pull it out of a dumpster and read it for nothing?), shredding that stuff is in the “better safe than sorry” vein for me.

I do know that you can turn yourself inside out trying to protect yourself from thievery and all it takes is brushing against (figuratively speaking) the wrong person at the wrong time. You can’t live your life trying to stop people from taking shit from you, but you also don’t need to go out of your way to make it available to them, you know? I honestly don’t spend much time worrying about this stuff, I might have overstated my paranoia a wee.

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I don’t get the T-shirt, “Every time you can has” ?? I guess I’m a dork and not a geek – will someone explain?

It comes from LOLspeak – seen in a big way over at ICanHasCheezburger – and Wikipedia says: A lolcat is an image combining a photograph, most frequently a cat, with a humorous and idiosyncratic caption in (often) broken English—a dialect which is known as “lolspeak”, or “Kitteh!”. Basically it’s saying “Every time you use that damn LOLspeak, god kills a LOLcat (the cat “speaking” the LOLspeak in the pictures featured at ICHC).

If that doesn’t make sense, let me know and I’ll try to explain it again! 🙂

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Where did you get the rooster? Maybe he was castrated. (I was reading about capons on wikipedia.) For the record, I just thought you had a rooster with a low sex drive.

He’s actually one of the chicks who was hatched by one of our adult chickens back in April, maybe? I don’t remember when exactly (and I’m too lazy to go back and look), but he’s definitely not been castrated. I said to Fred yesterday, “Are we SURE he’s a he and not a she?” and he said that the only reason he thinks it’s a rooster is because of the big, pretty tail. Female chickens don’t tend to have the big tails. On the other hand, Michele and No-tail don’t have the big, pretty tails and we’re sure that they’re roosters, so who the hell knows? We’ll have to wait and see if he develops a spur. It’d be too bad if he had a low sex drive, though – I think he’d make pretty babies.

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Did you skip a caption on the picture of Sugarbutt “yelling,” or am I just lame and don’t get it?

If you watch the YouTube clip of that scene:

You’ll see the few seconds after Don Corleone is mocking Johnny, the camera goes to Robert Duvall, who smiles.

Sugarbutt is doing his interpretation of Robert Duvall.

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I have had a shirt thing going on for a while, $10+free shipping on the daily shirt at http://shirt.woot.com/ and sometimes the shirts are good and sometimes awful but I look every morning, it’s the first thing I usually look at, I have bought 2 shirts for myself and 2 for friends…check it out.

I’ve been checking it out every day. I haven’t bought anything yet, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time!

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Did you and Fred watch that football show from a few years back, on ESPN? It was called Playmakers, I think, and we enjoyed it so much. But then I think there was some uproar over it being TOO realistic about the players’ off-field lives or something, and it only survived that one season. Anyway, it was good.

No, we never watched it – but it’s in my Netflix queue now!

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Also, what’s your favorite dusting product/method? I hate doing it, too, and don’t very often, but when I DO, it seems like I just end up moving the piles of dust around…

Most of the time when I dust (which is not very often because I HATE dusting and it’s usually not until I’m embarrassed by how damn dusty the house has gotten that I give in) I use microfiber cloths that I bought at Target (in the section where they have mops and stuff). I just go around, move everything off the surface of the table (or whatever I’m dusting), swipe that across a few times, and the dust is gone. I’ve also been known to use Swiffer dusting cloths from time to time, but I really and truly am trying to reduce the amount of disposable stuff I use.

Once a month or so, I go around with some cleaning rags and a can of some furniture spray (I don’t know which kind it is, just something I picked up at the grocery store, I’m not particular when it comes to furniture polish) and polish the furniture so it’s clean and shiny. And then I remember quickly why it’s pointless to polish the furniture – there are few flat surfaces in this house that don’t gather cats at one point or another, and the formerly shiny surfaces end up marked with paw prints.

Damn cats.

Readers? What do you dust your furniture with?

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I am in need of some cat advice from the expert (and the other kitty expert commenters). We have an outdoor kitty that we “adopted” at our current house. (She was an abandoned cat that hangs out in our backyard.) I managed to gain her trust and now feed her, give her love, and she truly lives here now, but she doesn’t ever come in the house. Not for lack of trying, she just freaks out and cries to leave after 5 minutes. Now we are about to move to a new city. I’m not sure how our cat is going to react. Clearly she won’t acclimate to being an indoor cat, but I’m afraid to let her roam outside in a new city that’s completely unfamiliar to her. I don’t know what to do! Do you have any advice for me?
Thank you!

I’m leaving this one open, because I have no idea at all – there’s no way we could keep Maxi and Newt inside all the time, but if we really had to, we could probably keep them contained in the back yard. Will you have a back yard at your new house where you could keep your cat contained?

Other than that, I have no suggestions.

Readers? Your advice?

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Oh My Gosh Robyn! You have the most gorgeous voice!!!

I can honestly say that that’s the first time in all of history that those words have been said (written) to me! Heh.

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Perhaps I’m anthropomorphizing too much (too lazy to check the spelling) but if I were left in a cage at a strange place I doubt I’d like the specter of two gigantic Bengal tigers. Zoe looks like she’s thinking, “WTF? Those two big cats want to eat me. Can you DO something, please?” Maybe they can post something more kitten-friendly. Little mousies eating cheese, perhaps?

Nah, the cats don’t even notice those pictures, I promise.

By the way, as of yesterday morning, Zoe and Kaylee remain unadopted. I’d be more unhappy about that, except that they’ve become noticeably friendlier than they were before (they might remember me, but I kind of doubt it. Hard to tell, though!) and they ran around and played the entire time they were out of their cage (and you KNOW I let them stay out of their cage from the minute I walked into the cat room to the minute I left!).

Here’s hoping they get adopted before next Thursday, though. I hate seeing them caged up!

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Not my little Zoe! Remember, she’s MINE, all MINE, and one wild and stormy night, after 4 or 5 pints of Guinness, you agreed to foster her until I can come out there and pick her up. Can we convince Fred otherwise?

I doubt Fred would go for that – though one day after I win the lottery, I will build a big, big, BIG house and I will never have to take another cat to the pet store again!

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Leslie’s response about the anti -“Okey Dokey Pokey” lady:

“Okey Dokey Pokey!” was just an inane phrase I blurted out and made some poor woman completely rageful. I put that comment in the comment thread about phrases/words that make folks crazy in response to Robyn’s list. It just seemed to fit the the discussion in the comments.

There isn’t much more to the story. We were in the Air and Space Museum in DC and I said that (quite perkily!) to my husband and a woman near us spun on me. She said that she couldn’t believe I would say such a ridiculous thing, AND TO A GROWN MAN! My husband and I gave each other the patented Mr. Booger’s Look-o-Shock and laughed heartily. She obviously felt she hadn’t made herself clear and said that she wouldn’t even say that to a CHILD! We of course immediately roared with laughter and delight. Our new friend then very purposefully Ignored Us (that sure showed us.)

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If you like vampires, I have to ask, have you read the “Twilight” series yet? It’s geared towards teens, but I LOVED it!!! (I’m 30) It’s by Stephanie Meyer. Go get them!

I have Twilight on the bookcase, it’s about five books down the queue, so I should get to it soon. It was more like 30 books down the queue ’til I read that Jane LURVED IT, so I moved it up quite a bit.

I’ll admit that I’m a tiny bit scared that I won’t like it, because you Twilight-loving lunatics might come after me and beat me up.

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How did I miss that they are making a tv series out of the Sookie Stackhouse books??? I love that series and just re-read it this summer. I had cast it differently, but what can you do? LOL. Argh – just realized it is on HBO – must call to subscribe ASAP!!! (I obviously need to get out more…)

I only knew about it because I read it in TV Guide (I LOVE THAT MAGAZINE). I don’t think they did all that much advertising for it, though maybe they did and I just didn’t notice (since we fast-forward through all the commercials these days).

Having watched episode #2, I’m continuing to really like the show. Fred could take it or leave it, but I’m definitely going to keep watching!

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Your house is lovely – were the rest of the cats outside when you took the photos? I was looking out for Spanky.

Thank you! And… I’m not sure where the cats were, actually. It’s kind of odd that more of them didn’t pop up in the pictures. I know that Tommy and Joe Bob were outside, but I’m not sure where the other ones were. It’s entirely possible they moved around the house just right so that they didn’t end up in any pictures.

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Why did you get rid of the first house?

I appreciate the opportunity this opportunity to mock my husband, so thank you for asking!

We sold the first house in Madison because we agreed that we wanted to buy a smaller house on a lot more land. Sound familiar?? So the house sold in a matter of days and we had a limited amount of time to find a new house. We went through a bazillion houses, several of which I really liked. But Fred has spent the majority of his life in newish houses, so the houses we were touring were not really to his taste, and I think that the idea of living way out in the country made him more than a little twitchy.

We finally decided that we had to get our asses in gear and started looking at a subdivision in Madison located about a mile from the subdivision where we’d sold the house. We made an offer on one house, but were outbid. We were about to make an offer on a second house, were a little disturbed by the $5,000 “decorating allowance”, and then before we finalized the offer, Fred discovered that the wooden frame around every window in the house was rotting and would need to be replaced and $5,000 wouldn’t even begin to touch that. THEN we made an offer on a third place, and it was accepted. We were pleased at first, then were starting to have second thoughts (it was smaller than we wanted, really), and the realtor inadvertently gave us an out by screwing up. We finally went and looked at a fourth house – the one we finally bought – and liked it. And we were so freaked about the fact that closing on the house we were living in was only three weeks away, that we made an offer immediately, and were relieved when it was accepted.

So, to sum up, our intention was to get a smaller house on a lot more land and to have a much smaller mortgage. What we ended up with was a smaller house on marginally more land (we went from 1/3 acre to 1/2 acre) with a BIGGER mortgage.

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In the porch picture with Maxi, what is that black giant paw looking thing she is partly obscured by?

It’s supposed to be a bird house, but I just use it as a decoration on the front porch.


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Why do you call it the poltergeist tree? And is Fred’s bedroom up a further flight of stairs from the rest of the hallway? I went back and forth on those pictures but couldn’t figure it out. And will Fred make me a table to go over my linen chest next to my bed, because I can’t find one online or in stores that’s the right size ANYWHERE, and will you both come out here and build and paint and tractor with me? And can I have a cookie?

Fred named it the poltergeist tree because he says it looks like the tree in Poltergeist. This is what it looks like currently, but in the Winter when all the leaves have dropped off, it looks more like the tree in the movie.


Fred’s bedroom is on the same level as the rest of the upstairs. This is from the other end of the hallway, pointed toward his room (we keep the door shut so the cats don’t go in there) :

(That string hanging down in the middle goes to the pull-down door to the attic)

Fred will make a table to go over your linen chest as soon as he’s done working his way down my list of demands, which means he should be ready to start right around his 93rd birthday.

I would TOTALLY come paint and tractor with you, but Fred has a day job and cannot get away. Also, who would feed the chickens and pigs?!

The only cookies available at the moment are the gingersnaps in the Pig Cookies container on the counter. They came from the Dollar Store, but I’m sure they’re just fine – and the pigs are willing to share. Or at least what they don’t know won’t hurt ’em!

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My husband and I are having a debate about getting a new front door. I love the one you have, but my husband is a little reluctant because you can still see through some areas of the glass. I see you have blinds put up on yours. Did you put them up? How is the door in general regarding privacy?

Yeah, we put the blinds on the door ourselves. We shut them at night and keep them open in the daytime to let light come in (though I don’t know why I bother to open the blinds in the front room during the day – we hardly ever spend time in there during the day). We got the blinds for the door specifically because Fred realized that there were areas of the glass you could see through, and in the evening, when we have lights on the front room, it was easy to see right into the house. When the blinds are closed, you can’t see a thing through the door – if you have a door with clear areas of glass, it’s definitely worth it to put blinds or sheer curtains up to block the view inside, I think.

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You’ve probably said before, but I forget – how big is your property?

It’s about 4 1/2 acres. The piece of land was originally about 5, but they carved out half an acre and put the house next door on it. I sincerely wish that half acre was ours!

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Oh, whoa. I thought the computer room was on the other side of the house and for some reason seeing pointing at the garage just messed me up. I’m weird, yes.

Here’s a layout of the house that Fred made before we actually moved in:


The room labeled “Spud b’room” is now my room; the room labeled “guest b’room” is now the foster kitten room, and the room labeled “master b’room” is now the guest bedroom. He also didn’t draw the outside doors on the plan, but there’s one in the front room, one in the computer room (to the left) and one in the laundry room (to the top).

Floor plan is not to scale, by the way.

And he also did a quick property layout for me yesterday.


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How old is the house again? Are you the second owners?

The house is about 75 years old. We’re the third owners – the first owner lived here with her mother and brother, then when she went into a nursing home, her niece lived here for a while. After that, the house was sold to a family with a large number of kids, and they’re the ones who sold it to us. Hopefully, we’ll be here ’til we’re old and gray! (Or until we win the lottery and move to 300 acres in Tennessee!)

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Ok, I took the house tour and I don’t “see” the Dollar store, not literally but figuratively, it seems like like you live so far out in the country that you would see nothing but trees and chickens! Oh, and I’m with Fred on the big tv, I LOVE me some big screen action.

Here ’tis!

(See the little bit of yellow, mostly hidden by that tree branch?)

It’s more obvious at night when it’s dark and the sign is lit up, but it’s certainly within very easy walking distance. We do live in the country, but we’re not terribly far out in the country – there’s a fairly large town about 7 minutes up the road with lots of stores (Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, grocery stores) and restaurants, so we kind of have the best of both worlds.

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So where do you and Fred eat dinner?

In front of our computers, usually. I KNOW we’re not supposed to, but damn. You want us to sit and eat dinner TOGETHER and COMMUNICATE? Who wants THAT?

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Question which you may have answered already – what things do you keep in your laundry room fridge vs. your kitchen fridge? I see you have two fridges (as well as the freezer) and I would think that all the current, soon to be eaten food is in kitchen and Drinks? Soda? extra milk? is in the laundry room.

Most of the day-to-day stuff – condiments, whatever I’ll need for dinner preparations, leftovers – is kept in the kitchen fridge.

In the laundry room fridge we keep the milk (it won’t fit in the kitchen fridge easily), the food Fred takes to work with him (leftovers from dinner and cottage cheese), a big pitcher of tea, eggs (it’s easier to come in from gathering them and put them in the refrigerator rather than have to go into the kitchen, especially since we’re getting around a dozen a day lately), hummingbird food, and all the vegetables Fred brings in from the garden that I want to deal with “later”.

I honestly don’t know what on earth we’d do if we had to cram all our stuff into the tiny refrigerator in the kitchen. There’s no way it’d all fit!

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Do you shower upstairs or downstairs?

I shower upstairs, Fred showers downstairs.

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Do you have a basement or an attic?

We have an attic (no basement, but I wish we did, so we’d have a good place to store canned goods), but it’s not really big enough to walk around in or store stuff in (though that didn’t stop the original owners, apparently – there are big glass jars in the attic underneath all the insulation, I’m told).

Do you still have exercise equipment in the garage–do you or Fred ever use it?? I think you get enough exercise now just taking care of Crooked Acres?

Yep, all the exercise equipment is in the garage keeping the chicks company, and it gets used on a regular basis.

Does the Spud still have any stuff there? Is she going to visit you at all? I guess she would stay in the guest room then?

The spud has a bunch of stuff in boxes upstairs in the garage, but she took the majority of her stuff with her. I imagine she’ll visit eventually – we talked about her coming to visit this summer, but she couldn’t afford to take the time off work, and now she’s busy with work and school. Yes, she’d stay in the guest room, unless she’d prefer to stay in the coop with the chickens.

So how many bedrooms, bathrooms?

4 bedrooms (three upstairs, 1 down) and two and a half bathrooms (one upstairs, one and a half down).

Why don’t you use the dining room–where do you eat? Just one den and one computer room, right??

We don’t use the dining room ’cause we don’t wanna, and there’s usually something online that’s got our attention while we’re eating. Yes, just one den and one computer room.

Also, I was confused by the stairs. Are there 2 sets of stairs??

No, there’s just the one set of stairs. They go up half a flight from the ground floor, there’s a landing, you turn, and there’s another half a flight to the top. I’m sure there’s a specific name for the kind of stairs they are, but I have no idea what that name is. Anyone know?

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I was very, very surprised when I walked into the guest bedroom the other day and saw Spanky sleeping in a cat bed on the bed and Stinky sleeping in the pile of cat beds right next to him (note: that pile of cat beds was there because I washed them and then forgot to take them upstairs to put them back in the foster kitten room, from whence they’d come). Spanky is very much a cat who doesn’t care for other cats. He doesn’t want them snuggling with him, he doesn’t want them touching them, he doesn’t want them NEAR him. And Stinky has her favorite men – Tommy and occasionally Mister Boogers – and has no use for any other cat.

But note that they’re practically TOUCHING.


“Don’t judge me.”

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2007: I have not yet attained the level of dorkitude that would allow me to answer “yes.”
2006: “It doesn’t matter,” she said. “That’s the monkey (ex-boyfriend) gave me. She can crap all over it if she wants.”
2005: We meet Sugarbutt, Tommy, and their siblings!
2004: No entry.
2003: Since he’s a year older than me, that’ll give me two years to theatrically take to my bed and waste away. Sounds about right.
2002: Obviously whoever lives at 308 belongs to the Bitchypoo “If I don’t know you, I ain’t answerin’ the door” school of thought.
2001: I hate you, Mr. Mailman.
2000: Only US Magazine would consider it newsworthy that Michael Douglas is changing diapers he hasn’t been wearing.