Archive for April, 2011

4/27/11 – Kitteh Wednesday

by @ Wednesday, April 27th, 2011. Filed under Fostering, Life

First a couple of videos, both starring Declan.

Declan says “hi” :

and Declan gets sassy:

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Cillian, amazed by… everything!

Declan, looking thoughtful. His skinny little neck and his great big ears crack me up.

“Double rainbow all the way!”

Cillian always laughs at his own jokes.

Team Edward!

“Dude, come on. You’ve gotta lift it a little higher if you want me to get ’em clean. If you go to bed with dirty toes, Mama is going to be SO MAD!”

“Those were some dirty toes. I feel faint. Who knew pouty princesses could get so dirty?”

“Um. Nothin’. Why?”

Macushla, just waking up and looking mighty rumpled.

“I see dead people!”
“That’s not dead people! That’s the paparazzi! You go ‘way, lady! We’re talkin’ ’bout important secret things!”


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Rufus senses the approach of evil.

“Madame, please. I beg of you, stop sniffing my hindquarters. It is so RUDE.”

For his troubles, Rufus gets a smack from Alice before she goes flouncing off.

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Jake presents the top of his head to Newt.

Newt looks around…

Considers licking Jake’s head…

Goes for the neck bite instead…

Then really chomps down…

And Jake stomps off in a huff.

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2010: I ask again: what the fuck?
2009: Yes, I APOLOGIZED to her for not keeping my account. I guess that showed THEM.
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: I have no skillz, but I’m a quick learner!
2005: Spot let out a sad, drawn-out demon-from-hell sound.
2004: Meme-licious.
2003: No entry.
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: I live to please you, my beloved readers.

4/26/11 – Tuesday

by @ Tuesday, April 26th, 2011. Filed under Fostering, Life

My computer is reformatted and it all went pretty smoothly, thank god. Except that I couldn’t get Quicken 2001 to install, so had to buy a version that isn’t 10 years old. Not a big deal, though – so far everything’s working well.

When I wasn’t fighting with my computer, Fred and I went out and finally got the vegetable garden planted. I ended up planting 45 tomato plants. Some of them very small plants, and I’m hoping like hell that the bad weather we’re expecting doesn’t destroy them. I also planted 35 jalapeno plants, and a mere 13 cucumber plants. Fred did all the other stuff, the zucchini and squash and corn and beans. Yesterday morning when I woke up, the backs of my thighs were screeeeeaming since I’d spent about 2 1/2 hours bent over in the garden on Sunday, but the pain lessened as the day went on.

I also planted my brussels sprouts and cauliflower seedlings in my fourth raised bed. Really, I feel like I’m way behind in the planting of those, and of the carrots (which are just starting to come up), romaine, spinach, radishes, and purslane, but maybe next year I’ll get to it earlier, since I won’t be recovering from surgery.

Friday I went into Huntsville to help set up for the Cat Tales benefit and spent a couple of hours lifting and unpacking boxes. Then I drove home, took a shower, and Fred and I went back for the actual benefit. Challenger’s House has this benefit every year, but this was the first time we’d actually attended. It was fun! There was music, lots of food, and lots of good company. The only downside was that Fred was cramping my desire to spend money (heh), so I didn’t bid on or buy nearly as much as I wanted to.

(Next year I’ll leave him at home!)

I got to meet the people who adopted Kaylee (one of Kara’s babies, all of whom turned three this year!), and they showed me some pictures of her. She has grown up to be absolutely beautiful. Did I think to ask them to email me a couple of pictures? I did not, of course. They clearly dote on her, and told me that they think Kaylee’s half spider monkey.

I’m so lame that I started yawning at 8:00, and by the time we got home at 9:30, we were so tired we went straight to bed.

We live the party life, yo.

I got a lot of stuff done around the house on Saturday, and at the end of the day I felt a sense of accomplishment, but I can’t remember a single thing I did.

On Sunday, between the formatting of my hard drive and the gardening, I made Fred help me move some heavy furniture around. We moved the bookcase that I was using for storage in the bathroom from the bathroom to my bedroom. Then we moved the cabinet I’d been using for storage in my bedroom from the bedroom to the computer room. THEN we moved the bookcase that had been in the computer room out to the garage. I wanted something with doors on it to put in the computer room, so we could store our shoes in the cabinet without fear that the cats would pee on them.

(Not that the cats have peed on them in the past, but it’s a risk here in Asshole Cat Central that if you leave something on the floor, it very well might get peed on as payback for your NERVE. Ask Nance, who had a sweatshirt peed upon during a visit here, but didn’t realize it ’til she got home. Or ask Liz, who left the door to the guest bedroom open for a brief moment while she grabbed something out of the bathroom, and had her entire suitcase peed on by the late Tubby, That Bastard. Aren’t you just DYING to come visit us?!)

The other heavy lifting I did over the weekend: I took a 42 pound bag of Fresh Step out of the garage, opened it up, and then dumped it (well, 40 pounds of it anyway) into one of the old Fresh Step buckets. Then I dumped it from that bucket into another bucket. Then I dumped it back into the first bucket. All told, I dumped 40 pounds of litter from one bucket to the other six times in an attempt to get rid of some of the dust. When I cleaned the litter boxes out and dumped the fresh new litter in, it didn’t really seem less dusty to me.

All that work for nothin’, damnit.

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Can you believe the McMaos are THREE weeks old? Well, really, three and a HALF weeks old. They’re so mobile and fighty and licky and explore-y right now. Everything is utterly amazing to them (especially Cillian, who always looks like he’s just finished partaking of the catnip and is hiiiiiigh) and now when I walk into the room, they (especially Declan) start howling and walking across the room to me. When I pet them, they fall over onto their sides and lick their paws while I rub their bellies. They are the cutest little things on the face of the planet right now.

They’re spending very little time in the McMao cave and most of their time either piled up in the cat bed in front of the cave, or in various places on the rug. Maggie keeps a casual eye on them, though yesterday when Declan ended up behind the litter box and she could hear him moving around but couldn’t see him, she got pretty worried. Over the weekend, Ciara spotted Maggie across the room and got excited, ran over to her, and then started rooting around. Maggie was laying on her belly, and Ciara just could not figure out how to get to the milk. Maggie wasn’t inclined to move to allow her access, and after Ciara snuffled around for a minute, she gave up and ran off to bite one of her brothers.



“Hey, you guys, I haz THREE FEET, and you don’t got none! Ha ha ha!”

Pouty Princess is pouty.

“TOES. I haz them!”

“This isn’t going quite as I’d hoped.”

Fergus Simon (left) is staring in amazement at the ceiling fan.

“Whoa, y’all, it just. keeps. SPINNING!”

Grumpy doesn’t quite appreciate all the toes in his face.

They’re getting the hang of bathing themselves and each other.

Declan, in a brief non-exploring moment.

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Rufus, hanging out on top of the kitchen cabinets. He looks like he’s hiding here, but he’s turned into a total lovebug. Sweet, friendly, playful – someone’s going to end up with one really awesome cat.

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Jake keeps an eye on the goings-on.

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2010: Yesterday I told Shelly (whose husband found work after 10 months, yay!) that I’m trying to embrace my inner frugal bitch.
2009: No entry.
2008: An impromptu Saturday entry to share cool links with y’all.
2007: (What I wanted to say: YOUR MOTHER. Now go to bed!)
2006: So, in essence, the fucking DVR TATTLED on me.
2005: E’gar goes into the shop.
2004: I must be mumbling or something today. Everyone I’ve spoken to has looked at me like I’m speaking French and they can’t understand what the hell I’m saying.
2003: No entry.
2002: Blah blah blah.
2001: No entry.
2000: “Um… you mean, she lies on your butt to muffle your farts?” he ventured.

4/23/11 – Saturday

by @ Saturday, April 23rd, 2011. Filed under Fostering, Life

Today I’m posting a bunch of pictures in an attempt to clear out my tmp folder, because tomorrow? Tomorrow I reformat my hard drive, and there’s always the possibility that it’ll take longer than I expect and thus I am declaring that there’ll be no post on Monday because I’ll either be desperately trying to figure out what I did wrong, or possibly just recovering from the whole experience.


As you can see, with the addition of a cat bed to the area directly in front of the McMao cave, the McMaos are able to get in and out pretty easily.

Declan the explorer.

Ciara (front), Fergus Simon (in the process of coming out of the cave) and Finnegan.

Oh Declan, I love you so.


Paws up, y’all!


“Dude, your breath. It’s magical.”

“NO! You get back. It are time for MY belly rub, you can just wait your TURN.”

“I carry all my stress in my neck, lady. You need to move a bit higher.”

“Ahhh, yes. That’s the spot.”


Maggie has some quality time with the Kong Kickeroo.

“High? Me? No. Why would you think that?”

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Alice Mo has the longest tail in the house. Seriously – look at that thing.

“Hey! Shaddup! Stop talking about my tail! You’re making me self-conscious!”

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2010: That seems like an awful lot of work.
2009: No entry.
2008: Being woken up by the phone in the middle of the night = FUN.
2007: Things I should have done this weekend but did not:
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: Fred and I came up with the perfect name for a rapper: Skid Markee.
2003: Damn that Rob Rummel-Hudson. Damn him straight to hell. He gave me The Pink Eye!
2002: Note to self: Get life.
2001: how the hell did I ever get everything done when I was working full-time? (I still wonder this)
2000: I had hoped to see Tom Cruise’s penis, so I could pause the movie and look closely at it.

4/22/11 – Friday

by @ Friday, April 22nd, 2011. Filed under CAE, Fostering, Life

Fred’s book is now available on the German Amazon site, in case anyone out there’s interested!

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Have you seen the Eagle cam? 3 baby eaglets, so adorable!


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Robyn, admit it – you get those kittens all boozed up on vodka and rum before filming them, don’t you? I swear to God, I get the exact same looks on my face when I’ve been drinking (Declan’s wide-eyed “everything’s MOVING!” and Ciara’s “oh god, just gonna sit here for a li’l bit…”).

I read this comment, and then I went and re-watched the video:


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saturday night live does a sketch about a TARGET cashier who comments on every item her customers buy. she doesn’t shut up, ever. each time she always ends up leaving the register to go get an item for herself. the character is played by kristin wiig.

did you see any tv cameras around, because i think you went through her line. i immediately thought about it when i read your entry!

Watch this video on VideoSurf or see more Kristen Wiig Videos or Saturday Night Live Videos

I didn’t SEE any cameras around, but it’s only because I have a healthy fear of ending up on “Watch What Happens” or some other undercover news show that I am unfailingly polite to all cashiers, whether they’re annoying or crabby or whatever. I don’t want to end up on TV as the asshole!

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Knowing nothing about wee baby kittens so I must ask: why do the ears take so long to stand up?

Good question, and I don’t know! It just… does. 🙂

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The look on Maggie’s face in the pic with the lone baby nursing is cracking me UP. “I used to have a career, a social life. I went to shows, went for drinks with my friends, and I could go to bed and get up whenever I damn well pleased. Where did it all go so wrong?”


The faces she makes when the babies are nursing always make me laugh, because she’s so patient, but she always looks like she is just biding her time ’til she can kick these babies out of the nest (so to speak) and go back to her exciting pre-baby life.

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I don’t know how anyone could go to Sams club and NOT get a slice of cheese pizza on the way out. Do they have pizza at 8:45 A.M.? (note to self:must go to Sams club when I get home to the USA!)

I don’t think I’ve ever bought a slice of pizza from Sam’s – and I think (though I can’t guarantee it) that they don’t start offering the pizza slices ’til the 10:00 open-to-the-public hour. Now you’ve got me wanting to try a slice next time I go!

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Who doesn’t love Tommy??

I don’t believe there is a single cat in this house who hates Tommy. He truly is the ambassador.

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i had another crazy robyn/fred cat dream. i was visiting you guys for some reason and you showed me a binder full of cross-stitch charts you had collected that had been requested by the cats. some of them were for these weird wraps that looked like saddles and had tapestries of flowers and garden hats and quilts, like those paula duvall patterns popular back in the 80’s. some were for booties that had nike logos on them. you would stitch them and fred would do some type of woodworking to them. i wasn’t interested in helping make cat girdles, so you guys made me leave and gave me some home canned pigeon-flavored dog food stew for my parson russell dug. you told me it would double his life expentancy, which is something we worry about, a she was a rescue we got 5 years ago and he was about 6 years old them. i’m sure you’ve never made a cross-stitched girdle for any of your cats.

LOVE it when you guys have dreams about us!

I’ve never made a cross-stitched girdle for any of the cats… but only ’cause I don’t have a pattern. 🙂

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My son just showed me this. Not a cat, but hilarious nonetheless. A ticklish penguin.


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I forgot your Dyson died (boo!). I had the same Kenmore canister before I bought my current Dyson. When my Dyson dies (which, according to most Dyson owners, is inevitable after a few years), I don’t know what I’ll replace it with. You can’t find one model of vacuum that gets consistently good reviews. I wish I could just tolerate filth…it would be so much easier.

I’m finding that the Kenmore canister does a great job on the floors, but a so-so job on the carpets. I’m seriously thinking of taking my Dyson to be repaired and just using that on the carpets. I’ll have to think about it for a few months and then get fed up with the Kenmore before I take any action, though.

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You know, I saw a youtube video where someone put some kind of tiny camera video thing that taped where the cat was going. It was from his/her perspective. That would be cool for Newt & Maxi

That is very neat. Charlene Butterbean (of the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee) also wore a camera on her collar for a bit.

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Dumb question, but how in god’s name does that lovely chicken SEE?! Also, do you think her Momma chicken is running around somewhere all mad because her daughter’s feathers are in her eyes?


She’s long overdue for a trim, actually. Our crested polish chickens get semi-regular headfeather trims so that they can see the world around them. (“GET those FEATHERS out of your EYES!” Heh.)

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Of course, being a bit of a geek, the thing that stands out even more than the beautiful pictures and the mind-exploding cuteness of the kittehs, is the phrase “God willing and the creek don’t rise.” Is that a Maine expression or an Alabama expression? It sounds familiar, but I’ve lived in both north and south, so I’m not sure where I may have heard it.

I’m relatively sure that it’s a Southern saying, though I don’t know that I’ve ever actually heard anyone around here say it. God only knows where I picked it up. Maybe from Fred? It’s as likely that I read it somewhere, though. ‘Tis a mystery. 🙂

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You’ve probably said before, but how do you get across the ditch? (or is it pretty shallow in places?)

Fred and Rick (Nance’s husband) built a bridge across the ditch a couple of years ago. This time of the year the ditch is usually too deep to get across (at least for me), so we use the bridge. In the middle of the summer, the ditch generally dries up so that we can walk right across it.


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Sari asked:

I wonder why Maggie keeps a physical distance to them – does she get hot in the cave or maybe it’s too crowded for her liking? 😀

I didn’t know the answer to this, but Doodle Bean chimed in and said:

Scientists think that the mothers’ spending time away from the nest encourage the kittens to develop faster because they have to work harder and harder to get to the milk – using their eyes and noses to find her, getting it together to walk to her, etc.

It may seem harsh to us, but Nature is like that.

Which makes total sense. I notice that the older the kittens get, the less inclined Maggie is to go running over to check on them at every little sound they make.

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Does it appear that at least one, if not two, of the babies might be fluffier than the rest, and therefore destined to be medium- or long-haired beauties?


Those babies are so stinkin’ cute! I’m wondering if they have short hair with baby fuzz or are they going to be long haired kitties?

I do not believe we’ve got any that will turn out to be medium or long-haired cats, I think they’re all short-haired. But I could be wrong! (On a side note, of all the cats I’ve fostered, I’ve had very few that were long-haired.)

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Aww explorer Declan is wearing his wee white exploring socks and mittens 🙂


Here at Crooked Acres, one must be properly attired when exploring. It’s one of the things I insist upon!

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To: Robyn Anderson
From: Your fans
Re: Kara, Corbie, Alice, probably Stinkerbelle, Tom and Sugarbutt and maybe Rufus, Maggie and her kittens

We have read your posts over the years and have re-read Kara’s birthing story because you put that convenient link in there. We are getting the very strong impression that when you write “And no, we’re not keeping them”, what actually happens is that you end up keeping at least one. Just sayin’ that you’ve written that phrase about Rufus as well as Maggie and her litter…

Watch out! We’re going to start nagging any minute now!

As long as, after they go off to be adopted, y’all realize that it’s not ’cause I don’t WANT to keep them that I’m not keeping them. I pretty much want to keep all our fosters. These guys will be especially hard to give up, since I practically gave birth to them myself.

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Maggie’s “soothing mama” sound reminds me a bit of the trilling chirps in the “two talking cats” video:

I love that video – those cats are so SWEET.

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Looking at the kittens and Maggie, I can’t help but wonder what the Papa McMao looks like. I mean, the babays have more white than Maggie, does it mean it comes from their daddy?

I don’t have a clue, as I don’t really know much about cat genetics (catnetics!), but I’m sure someone out there knows. Anyone?

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WOW!! Where did you get all these fabulous chicken breeds?!?! They’re wonderful and so healthy and so proud and gorgeous!!! Oh I think I’m in love with your array of chickens!!! Lovely!!!

Well, thank you! The crested polish chickens were bought from a hatchery a couple of years ago. These days, most of our chickens are “mutts” because we decided why buy from a hatchery when we’ve got hens who can – and want to! – hatch eggs for us. We’ve got two hens sitting on eggs at the moment, and they should be hatching any time now.

We hadn’t intended to have baby chicks quite this early, but hens who are broody (ie, want to hatch babies) can be pretty tricky, and earlier this week Fred found a hen sitting on a clutch of 18 eggs. He candled them (shone a bright light through the egg) and found that 15 of them had definite growth. And as it happened, another hen was going broody at the same time, so he put 7 eggs under one hen and 8 under the other, and we should have babies any day now.

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Wee babies toes! I am 99% sure these are Ciara’s toes.

More nursin’.

Hungry babies.


“Your ear smells funny.”

“::gasp:: OH NO SHE DI’IN’T!”

Bath time for Maggie.

At just under three weeks old, the McMaos are spending more time out of their den of their own volition. I put a cat bed in front of the kennel to make it easier for them to get out if they want to, and occasionally they (especially Declan and Ciara) do. I was a bit worried the other night, because the kittens were out exploring the room at bedtime, and I was concerned that they wouldn’t be able to figure out how to get back into their den. I put out some extra cat beds and made sure the ceiling fan was off, and figured Maggie wouldn’t let them starve or freeze. Sure enough, when I got up in the middle of the night to peek in on them, they were all back in the cave.

I can’t believe they’re almost three weeks old!!!

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(Elwood’s face is cracking me up.)

(And Corbie’s face is cracking me up here!)

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2010: He gave me the hairy eyeball.
2009: No entry.
2008: What the fucking fuck was going on, apparently, is that my motherboard was fried.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: Annoying.
2003: Holy FUCK, look what JUST wandered across my front yard!
2002: The big flies make a very satisfying THWOOMP! sound as they fly down the attachment tube.
2001: No entry.
2000: Aren’t they, um, AMERICANS?

4/21/11 – Crooked Acres Thursday

by @ Thursday, April 21st, 2011. Filed under Crooked Acres, Fostering, Life

Lucky the cat has Eyelid Agenesis (that’s the same condition the True Blood 6 were born with) and needs surgery. Spread the word, won’t you?

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Sights from around Crooked Acres.

The Robins are everywhere right now.

Rooster stomping over to see WHAT in TARNATION is going on.

Another rooster.

This Golden Polish is by far our prettiest chicken (in my opinion). I love her coloring. She’s a couple of years old now, and her head feathers seem to be slowly turning white. Which just makes her prettier! We call her “the Rock Star.”

Meredith Grey is appalled at this treatment.

“Sir, unhand me!”

“I SAY, unhand me!”

I love to get shots that show how much smaller Gracie is than George.



Happy pups.

“Pups, look at me! ME! Good, Gracie! Now, George, look at ME, not off in the distance like you’re having deep thoughts. Can’t I get one shot of the two of you BOTH looking at me?”

Apparently NOT.

Last Fall, the pansies in the pot on the front porch seemed to be about dead, so I tossed them on the compost heap. Which apparently brought them back to life – I should repot them and put them on the front porch again!

Baby pears. God willing and the creek don’t rise, maybe we’ll actually get some fruit from our fruit trees this year!

Mister Bluebird likes to hang around the back yard.

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You’ll pardon all the pictures of the babies nursing, won’t you? I took, literally, over 100 pictures while this was going on, and it was really hard to whittle them down to the best ones. I could sit and watch baby kittens nurse FOREVER.



Maggie’s clearly thinking “I blame YOU for this.” What can I say? They get kind of excited when they realize I’ve come into the room!


“Seriously, I could use a mani/pedi and a massage.”


I wish they stayed this little and had those amazing blue eyes forever and ever.


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Coltrane’s on the other side of the ditch that separates the back forty from the front part of our property and he doesn’t appreciate having us so far from him. Who’s going to pet him?!

(I’ve mentioned this before, I’m sure, but I have some new readers recently, and wanted to say that the area of our property that I call “The back forty” is about two and a half acres (our entire property is 4 1/2 acres). It’s where the chickens and George and Gracie live (there’s a big chicken coop and at one point Fred actually built a big, solid dog house on the back of the chicken coop, which the dogs refused to use. It’s now the maternity coop. When weather gets bad, the dogs can go into the big coop if they want to. There’s also a rain shelter on the front of the coop. Of course, most of the time they prefer to hang out in the middle of the field. Rain doesn’t bother them.)

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2010: Bolitar’s in hand-to-hand combat, and Reacher’s got Jake’s tail.
2009: I wanted to station myself next to the display of bowls and if anyone looked particularly interested in buying the bowl, offering them $5 NOT to buy the goddamn thing.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: I want to hear “Fine, thanks. Here’s your Supah-sized Diet Coke. Have a nice day!” Understood? I swear, I’m just going to STOP asking, that’s all.
2003: Some day I’ll create a housecleaning schedule and actually keep to it. Ha!
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: So, my last official day at work. Ho-hum.

4/20/11 – Kitteh Wednesday

by @ Wednesday, April 20th, 2011. Filed under Fostering, Life

Declan and Ciara, scoping out the situation and trying to determine whether it’s worth it to escape the McMao cave.

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McMaos in the McMao cave.

Goofy babies, rolling around.

Maggie, chilling out away from the babies.

Fergus Simon, exploring (that’s my camera lens cap his front paw is on).

Finnegan, rolling around.

Cillian. Everything is absolute, stunningly amazing to this little guy.


Fergus Simon, looking around. This one misses NOTHING.

“My paw smells funny.” (Declan)

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Sweet Miz Poo.

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2010: Five! How the hell did we even know we HAD cats with such a small number of them??
2009: Two long rows of tomatoes for two people. That’s not too much, is it?
2008: No entry.
2007: “Baby, I think someone in my comments just called me a complete idiot.”
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: So, to sum up: for almost a year, they’ve spent time staring up their property line, ostentatiously walked up and down it, yet it’s never occurred to them to come knock on the door and say “Hi, blah blah our side of the property line, blah blah, stop? Thanks!”
2003: No entry.
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: “If we manufactured bon-bons, I would have sent you a package of those. Instead, this package should assuage the pain and horror of not working while you lay on the couch and watch Oprah and the soaps.”

4/19/11 – Tuesday

by @ Tuesday, April 19th, 2011. Filed under Fostering, Life

In case you missed it in yesterday’s comments, Cat let us know that the Extreme Coupon-ing “mustard lady” J’aime was committing fraud, and you can read more about it here. Innnnteresting. And like Aimee said, no WONDER J’aime was so nervous at the register!

It never occurred to me that you could commit fraud like that with coupons – and it amazes me that anyone thinks you can get away with anything EVER these days.

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Yesterday I did a run to Sam’s to stock up on the many things we’ve run out of in the two months since I had surgery. I left the house at 6:45 am because I have the super-special-fancy “business” membership, and we “business” and “gold” members can go into a relatively deserted Sam’s Club and wander around for a full three hours before the regular “household” account-having peasants can get in. It is SO DAMN NICE to be able to go into Sam’s, get what I need, and get the hell out of there without having to dodge other people.

When I left Sam’s, I had to swing by Target to buy a few things, and I got there just as the store opened (I think. I’m assuming it still opens at 8.) I browsed a little, picked up a few things, put a few things back, and then stood in line to check out.

The cashier, to my dismay, was feeling super chatty. She commented on each and every item I bought, she asked how many cats we have (I was buying a couple of cat beds SHUT UP IT WAS A GOOD PRICE) and I lied and said we had three (I usually lie, because it’s nicer than telling the questioner that it’s none of their damn bidness, unless I’m caught off guard), then she started telling some long and involved story about how she had cats when she was growing up, but she was really more of a dog person and so she had two dogs and they were (some sort of breed I am unfamiliar with) and they like to (do something fascinating) and she likes to (laugh/ cry/ take pictures and send them to her friends) and I enjoy a nice chat with complete strangers and all, but it was getting on toward 8:45 and I was starting to get hungry, and all I wanted to do was check out and go home (which is a half hour drive) and eat breakfast.

What the voice in my brain really really wanted me to do was say “Lady, this has ceased to be interesting to me” and then walk away. And I was concentrating so hard on NOT saying or doing that, that I completely lost the thread of what she was yammering about, and the next thing I knew, she was smiling expectantly at me. All I could do was smile brightly, and say “Well! That sounds fun! You have a great day!” and turn and walk off.

This is the sort of thing that really worries me. When I’m 80 years old and I’ve lost the ability to stop the obnoxious stuff I’m thinking from falling out my mouth, people are either going to hate my guts (“Did you HEAR what that old lady said to me? What a rude bitch!”) or think I’m funny as shit (“Did you HEAR what that old lady said to me? What a hoot!”)

I am, of course, hoping for the latter.

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Yesterday, for the first time in two and a half weeks, I vacuumed the foster room. The amount of loose cat hair in there was just appalling. I hadn’t vacuumed before yesterday because I didn’t want to traumatize the babies or Maggie. But I was getting desperate, so I figured it was time. It was pretty simple – I just went in, picked up the McMao cave, carried it into the closet (it’s a big closet). Maggie followed us in, I turned on the light, and then closed the door. It took me about ten minutes to vacuum the room, then I put the cave back where it belonged, Maggie followed me back out, and I closed the closet door again. Mission accomplished!

Someone asked in yesterday’s comments when the kittens’ ears will stand up on their heads. I did a quick glance back through Kara’s kittens’ pictures, and this was River (who is now Nate) at three weeks old:


So I’m going to guess that it should happen in the next week or so.

Someone else asked when it’ll be time to offer the kittens a slurry to help them wean. I’m going to start offering them canned kitten food around four to five weeks, since mothers generally starting weaning their kittens at five to six weeks. Maggie gets some canned kitten food in the morning and again in the evening, so if any of the kittens show interest before that, I’ll of course offer them some.

This right here is Declan. Declan is the explorer of the litter. When I walk into the room, he immediately comes to the “door” of the McMao cave, and sticks his head out. The threshhold of the doorway is just a bit too high for them to get out, but he tries. Then he looks sadly at me until I lift him out so that he can explore.

Explorer Declan discovers the pink feathered cat toy.

It smells purrrrty.


Fergus Simon and the belly rub.


“What you doin’, lady?”

I love how happy they get when they discover Maggie.

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I wouldn’t ordinarily post this, as Jake’s just a blur, but the look on Tommy’s face is CRACKING ME UP.

The gray boys sure do love that Tommy.

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2010: Today, I slack.
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: “I’m not looking smug, I’m looking RUEFUL,” I said.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: “Bessie, Jayson Blair is black.”
2003: No entry.
2002: I hate it when there’s a web page touting some wonderful product, but you CANNOT place an online order.
2000: we watched the ultra-crappy End of Days last night

4/18/11 – Monday

by @ Monday, April 18th, 2011. Filed under Fostering, Life

Sunday afternoon I was folding Fred’s laundry and putting it away, trying to get the chore done and over with so I could go upstairs and hang out with the McMaos, when the goddamn alarm went off. Our doors and windows are alarmed, and the alarm system is somehow tied into the smoke detectors so that when a smoke detector goes off, so does the whole house alarm.

So the alarm system went off and I was all “WTF?”, and went into the dining room to turn the alarm system off. It turned off, but the smoke alarm kept blaring, and I was all “Where the fucking FUCK is Fred?!”

Truly, I don’t know how on earth he does it, but every fucking time there’s something going on in the house where I can use his help, he is NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.

Then I thought “Well, crap. I hope that smoke alarm isn’t going off because, y’know, there’s a FIRE.” It was the one upstairs, so I ran up to make sure nothing was burning and to get the goddamn smoke alarm to shut the fuck up. As it turned out, I’d lit a candle in the bathroom, and it was smoking a tiny bit, but certainly nothing that should have set off the fucking smoke alarm. I blew out the candle and grabbed a towel and tried waving the towel at the smoke alarm, in hopes that it would cause any smoke around the alarm to dissipate and perhaps the alarm would shut itself off, but nay.

Do you suppose there’s anything at all in the upstairs of our house that I could drag under the smoke alarm so I could yank it out of its mooring and pull the batteries out? AGAIN I SAY NAY.

I ran downstairs and stepped onto the side stoop and bellowed “HEY!”, and because my bellow is a loud bellow, Fred popped up from the other side of the compost heap and was all “Wha?” I bellowed “Could you COME IN HERE PLEASE!”, and then I shut the door and went into the dining room and grabbed a chair and hauled it upstairs. Then I grabbed the goddamn smoke alarm and pullled both batteries out of it, and finally the ear-piercing scream of the smoke detector was silenced.

Then I carried the smoke detector, the batteries, and the dining room chair back downstairs, and as I reached the dining room, Fred finally moseyed through the door.

While I was bitching at him about the fact that when there’s some emergency requiring his presence inside the house, it would be much appreciated if he’d pick his pace up from a mosey to perhaps a saunter IF IT WOULDN’T BE TOO MUCH DIFFICULTY, I somehow failed to mention that it was the candle I’d been burning that set off the fucking thing in the first place.

What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right?

(And when I went in to check on the McMaos, sure that they’d be freaked out by all the noise, they were all sleepily rolling around with not a care in the world.)

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So? Has everyone been watching Extreme Couponing? I set the DVR to record it, and one day last weekend when we were looking for something to watch, Fred expressed some interest in watching that show, which surprised me. We watched a couple of episodes, and it was oddly fascinating.

I occasionally use coupons (though I tend not to go out of my way to get them), and have even once or twice scored some pretty awesome deals. I’d LOVE to spend $50 for $600 worth of groceries, but I just don’t have the patience to devote the amount of time to figuring out the deals the way some of the people on that show do. If I spend $30 at Publix and save (according to the receipt) $15 or more, I’m usually pretty happy with that.

I do follow blogs that figure out the deals for you – if you go to my links list, there’s a “frugal” section over there on the right – but I’m always so far behind in my blog reading that the majority of the time I glance at the post titles to see if there’s anything that grabs my attention, and then hit the “mark all as read” button without reading them.

I would usually vow to do better at figuring ways to save money, but given that we have freezers full of our own veggies and meat and don’t eat much canned stuff, I’m going to declare that I think we’re doing just fine.

(But given that we’re down to our last two rolls of toilet paper in the entire house, I’ll be dragging my ass to Sam’s soon. Y’all let me know if you run across any awesome deals on Scott Tissue toilet paper, would you?)

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Comfy Rufus.

Rufus, fangin’ it.

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Can you believe these babies are two weeks old?

First, the videos. In the first, Fergus Simon and one of his brothers (I’m not sure who) flail around and bite each other.

In the second, you can see how they get around. Not bad for two weeks old!

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The amazed face over there on the right is cracking me UP.

Fergus Simon and his serious little face.

The pouty princess (Ciara) and Fergus Simon.

Cillian seems worried.

Macushla, giving me a bit of the ol’ attitude.

Finnegan, wandering.

Sweet Declan, wondering what’s going on.

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The Anderson kitties (and Rufus) are nuts for ham.

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2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: Kara’s birth story.
2007: I don’t know that I’ll know how to act when I’ve got internet whenever I want it, it’s been so damn long since I’ve had it!
2006: No entry.
2005: Taking the week off.
2004: No entry.
2003: Fred: That was a cowardly yellow-dog liberal DEMOCRAT thing to say.
2002: Things are getting back to normal.
2001: One of these days I’ll get my ass in gear; I just never know when that day will be.
2000: Squooshiness begets squooshiness, you know.

4/15/11 – Friday

by @ Friday, April 15th, 2011. Filed under CAE, Fostering, Life

Reminder for the locals: Challenger’s House Cat Tales takes place in one week, on April 22nd at Monte Sano. Please join us as we celebrate cats & the people who care for them & love them. Enjoy the wonderful food & music as you browse & bid on donated art, gifts, & other items that will brighten your home & your life. It’s also a great place to shop for Christmas & birthday gifts. There will be a cash bar serving beer & wine. Dress is very casual so come prepared to have a good time.

Monte Sano State Park Lodge – 6:30 – 9:00 pm – $25.00 per person advanced or at the door.

We are still looking for auction items. We have lots of small stuff but if you know anyone who can donate gift baskets or other biddable type items, let Susan know (contact info at the bottom of the page, here.)

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I keep meaning to ask you…with all the kitten excitement, we all seem to be forgetting, how is your recovery going? Has the swelling gone down? Do you feel wonderful? What’s the dealio with YOU now a’days?

Oh, I am feeling just fine, completely healed up, and very little swelling at all! In fact, yesterday I decided that it was time to move my couch back where it belonged (I’ve been using the recliner since I got home after surgery), and I got the cover put on the couch, the couch moved (by lifting first one end and then the other) into place, and I got the top half of the recliner moved back upstairs to my room. I was in the process of trying to move the bottom half of the recliner upstairs, but it’s very very heavy and then Fred got home and carried it up for me. This morning, my muscles are sore, but the rest of me is feeling just fine. I’m happy with my arms and breasts, but the wobbly bit under my chin hasn’t gone away and will need to be revised at some point. All in all, I’m glad that recovery is done and over with!

Also…if I may beg your huge group of readers, Skeletors rescue daddy is looking for a landlord in Jacksonville, Fl., willing to rent to him and the adorable, well behaved, non violent Skeletor.

Readers? Anyone in the Jacksonville area know of a place where sweet Skeletor will be allowed?

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Thought I would share this video of cats getting into the fridge over on Justin tv. It starts right after the advertisement.

Watch live video from Kittycast From Kittyville™ on Justin.tv

That is WAY too adorable!

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Robyn, you keep your kitty rooms so clean. Your home always looks so nice… not a dust bunny to be found, I’m sure.

Oh, devil, if only that were true. My home is regularly INFESTED with dust bunnies and they roam in a gentle galloping herd from one end of the house to the other. They love to cluster on my stairs, and even after a good Swiffering, they wait a few minutes and cluster again. The foster room hasn’t been vacuumed since Maggie birthed those babies two weeks ago, and there’s Maggie fur matting the carpet from one side of the room to the other. This is a particularly bad time of year for dust bunnies, due to the cats shedding their winter coats, but do I respond by vacuuming more often? I do not. (Part of the problem being that I really miss my Dyson, which died a few months ago. I’ve been using the Sears Progressive canister vacuum we already had, and while it does a good enough job, I can’t say that I adore it the way I adored my Dyson. I’m not fond of canister vacuums, because the freakin’ canister is a pain in the ass to pull along.)

I think my home is just not meant to be spotless. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it. 🙂

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Was the order of Fergus Simon’s name chosen with a nod to the Flying Spaghetti Monster in mind?

No, he was named after Lori’s cats, Fergus and Simon (Fergus being the oldest). But it does make me smile that his initials are the same as the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Sometimes, when I am very tired and cannot remember whether it’s Fergus Simon or Simon Fergus, I pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster to help me remember!

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How is old Flappy McGee doing anyway. Me thinks you treasured that bird for the celebrity she was, heck. I hope you gotter stuffed when she passed on, and she sits like the prized burd that she was! No doubt from gosh darn natural causes, heck if Wilbur and Charlotte could do it Flappy surely did’er too!

After Flappy McGee laid that monster egg, she pretty much stopped laying eggs and, uh, she was the first chicken we processed and ate. It’s kinda rude that she helped make us famous (heh) and then we ended up eating her, isn’t it?

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I was wondering if you have used Twilight character names for any of your fosters? Bella sounds Irish to me!

I haven’t used Twilight characters, but I did a quick check of the names list I got from the shelter, and Bella, Edward and Jacob have all been used in the past, rendering them ineligible for use by me!

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I remember Beulah! I always loved that tiny little girl. I can’t remember who ended up with her but have you been able to get any updated pictures of her?

I did get some updated pictures of her back in 2009 – see those here – but none since then.

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Do you have to brush George and Gracie? I know they live outside, and they seem relatively free of big nasty snarls!

George and Gracie need lots of brushing in the Spring when they’re shedding their winter coat. Fred goes out with the brush and brushes and brushes them, and the amount of fur that comes off them is absolutely amazing (I’ll have to get a picture next time he brushes them). They require occasional brushing in the Summer, too, and then hardly any in the Fall and Winter. I always say that their fur is made of Teflon, because they’ll get absolutely filthy, then you see them an hour later and they’re completely clean again!

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Have the permanent residents shown any curiosity about what is happenning in the “nursery”?

Not really – they sniff at the barrier in front of the door sometimes, but they’re used to not being able to go in there sometimes, so they aren’t all that curious.

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Newt goes roaming where?

Newt and Maxi are our two free roamers, who are allowed in the house and also allowed outside (the real outside, not the back yard outside) to roam wherever they want. I know they spend lots of time at the house two doors down, and I believe they go down the street further to where there’s a horse barn. I was just telling Suzanne yesterday that I’d love to put GPS collars on them both to see just exactly where they roam!

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I imagine that their eyes open with a little “plink!” sound.


And their ears will pop up with a sort of ‘sprojoing!’ sound

I love the idea of this more than I can possibly express.

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I think you may have addressed this question before, but if so I’ve forgotten the answer. Here’s a random (and kind of gross) question: what do kittens do before they learn to use the litter box?

Warning: grossness alert. If you have a weak stomach (or are eating), skip down to the next section. I’m not kidding!

Oh, it’s grosser than you suspected, I bet. Before kittens are about 2 1/2 weeks old, they cannot urinate or defecate on their own. Therefore, they need to be stimulated to do so by their mother. How does she do this? With her tongue. What happens to the, uh, results of the stimulation? She. Swallows. It.

You weren’t eating, were you? 🙂

When I said Maggie gave me this look after she’d been licking some kitten behind the other day, it was for good reason.


When I’ve had to bottle feed kittens who were without a mother, I had to stimulate them to pee and poop using a piece of paper towel (you can also use a cotton ball or a soft rag) to do the same job, but at least I could throw the whole mess in the trash.

There’s not enough money in the entire world to entice me to do that job the way poor Maggie has to. And after having to do that with all six kittens, numerous times a day, don’t you just know Maggie is THANKING HER LUCKY STARS that she’ll never have another litter?

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Firstly, several people have asked what the “soothing-mama” noise that I’ve referred to sounds like. So I got it on video! You’ll hear her make it a bunch of times in this video (no kittens were harmed in the making of this video. I had to move them out of the cave so I could change out the bedding).

And then, kittens hanging out in a purple bed. I call this one “I sit on you head.” Watch it,and you’ll see why.

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Here are those wee babies at one day old:


And here are the little fatties at 10 (actually, might have been 11) days old, same bed:


Princess Poutyface would like to register a complaint, plz.

Fergus Simon McMao has a spotted belly. Awwww.

Cillian is confused.

Macushla rests his head on his brudder’s back.




He looks SO much like a little lion cub, doesn’t he?

Sweet Miss Maggie.

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Miz Poo, Jake, Alice and Rufus, hanging out in the kitchen. (And no, Rufus is not becoming a permanent resident. We’re just waiting for room to open up at Petsmart.)

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2010: I give you three more episodes to figure that fucking horseshit out, and then I’m going to drown the entire fucking cast in the nearest body of water.
2009: Scenes from around Crooked Acres.
2008: It just looked like a great big blob of tumor, is what it looked like.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: “Light” my ass!
2004: An odd duck, that one.
2003: Unfortunately, he lived.
2002: 10 Things I Learned Last Week
2001: No entry.
2000: No entry.

4/14/11 – Crooked Acres Thursday

by @ Thursday, April 14th, 2011. Filed under Crooked Acres, Fostering, Life

Psst! Over there in the sidebar to the right are links to Fred’s book on Kindle at Amazon and on Nook at Barnes and Noble. If you’re interested. 🙂

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Scenes from around Crooked Acres.

Gracie (front) always looks amused.

Gracie runs the perimeter.

Vicious, vicious pups.



It always cracks me up when Gracie bites George’s butt. When he’s chasing her, he likes to bite her tail.


They love to cavort, these two.

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Yeah, yeah. Keep crowing it, big guy. Maybe someday they’ll believe you.

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The movie: McMaos belly up to the milk bar. At the very end, if you listen very carefully and turn your sound way up, you will hear the sound of PURRING KITTENS, oh yes you will.

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I don’t remember who referred to what kittens do with all the squirming and crawling over each other as a “Kitten mosh pit”, but if that’s not an apt description, I don’t know what is!

The paws kill me dead every time.

As do the stripes.

They always get so sleepy after eating.

Ciara snuggling with mama’s foot.

Maggie was licking a kitten’s behind, and when she was done this is the look she gave me. I hear you, sweetheart.




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Spanky, laying on the scratcher in the sun. Have you ever seen such a happy boy?

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2010: “Hi, Mister! Hi! Whatcha doin’, Mister? You wanna play with us? We found a mouse and we was batting it around, but one of the big cats came and took it away from us, then hissed and smacked at us. That was mean, we just wanna play. You wanna play? Huh, Mister?”
2009: Am I alone in this belief, or am I the only one on earth who didn’t know that the Easter Bunny laid ten million eggs (and candy items) before delivering them to the bad little heathens of the world?
2008: Places where the Feliway bottle is NOT
2007: No entry.
2006: God save me from the permed ‘fro.
2005: Why do I bother to make New Year’s resolutions, I ask you?
2004: Bastard.
2003: “That’s right, you LITTLE SHIT, get the hell out of here!” I yelled, stomping at him.
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: Not much of an entry.

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