Don’t know if you have read about this case. It involves tax deductions for unreimbursed expenses for animal rescue volunteers. Stray Cat Strut: Woman Beats IRS One Easy Way to Lose That Charitable Deduction A lot of people shared this article with me this week, and I found it very interesting – and only partly … Continue reading “6/17/11”

Don’t know if you have read about this case. It involves tax deductions for unreimbursed expenses for animal rescue volunteers.

Stray Cat Strut: Woman Beats IRS

One Easy Way to Lose That Charitable Deduction

A lot of people shared this article with me this week, and I found it very interesting – and only partly because when a citizen beats the IRS, it’s a BLOW FOR THE LITTLE PERSON, huzzah!

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How do you keep your cats away from the catnip growing? I tried one time to grow up some nip, and my cats murdered that plant before it even had a chance.

The raised beds and bales are in a section behind the back yard with a fence around it, only accessible through the gate at the back of the yard. I was more concerned about the cats using the raised beds as litter boxes, but now that I’ve got the catnip going back there, I’m doubly glad there’s a fence!

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Just noticed the link to 2000 has a quote with the word “Mom” in it, which leads me to wonder how your kiddo is doing? You haven’t mentioned her in ages, which I’m hoping means that all is well in the land of Spud?

The Spud is doing very well – she’s now a manager at a fast food restaurant. I don’t know that she’s planning on staying there forever, but having the management experience certainly doesn’t hurt. She still has the yellow car I passed down to her several years ago, and her father and stepmother bought a house… last year, I think? She’s living with them. She’s going to be 23 in October, can you believe it??

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Hi Robyn – I don’t often comment but have been reading for years, and so when I saw this story I immediately thought of you! Well, I know folks in your neck of the woods are used to tornadoes (especially after this crazy Spring), but living in Massachusetts we most certainly are NOT! Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, we actually had a couple of devastating twisters come through our state completely ravaging a few towns. After reading this story this AM, I thought you might appreciate it….

It’s so mind-boggling that that tornado struck in Massachusetts, the weather has been absolutely nuts this year! I’m so glad that all of their cats were found safe and sound.

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I almost never open the door, and I don’t care if they’re looking right in the window at me (and now that we live in California, very often they are because it’s open). The door, like the phone, is for MY convenience, and my convenience is entering and leaving the house, not being harassed and/or cased for a burglary.

Anyway, here’s my suggested answer if they catch you, like that jerk did one day when I was waiting for the plumber to come back with a part: “I don’t discuss my current or future home security configuration unless I initiate the contact. You can leave a business card if you like*, and we’ll keep you in mind if we decide we have needs we need to discuss with you. Have a nice day.”

*Usually they won’t. Some of them are commission-only outside sales (base equipment is free, but extras and monthly monitoring are not) and don’t work for ADT or whoever. The others just want to break into your house.

Of course, in retrospect I wonder what the hell I was thinking. You know, so WHAT if he could look through the window and see that I was ignoring him, what was he going to do, tattle to the neighbors? “I could totally SEE her laying in there with cats all over her, watching the Housewives!”, and then the whole town would know that – gasp! – I don’t open the door to strangers? I’m absolutely terrible in the moment, though, and at the time I felt like I’d been “caught.” Next time, I’ll just roll my ass onto the floor so he can’t see me from the window.

Oh, and we DO have a security system – AND stickers on the window by the front door – so I was just a wee bit offended that he was casting aspersions on our perfectly good security system. I’ve never – and will never – buy anything from a door to door salesman and I don’t for the life of me know how any salesman could possibly make a living that way.

I would say that surely no one ever buys anything from a door to door salesman, but my neighbor signed up for some supplemental health insurance (I think it was) last year and then told the guys our names and that they should look for “the little blue car” (ie, Fred’s car) to know when we were home. I think you can imagine how much I appreciated that.

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Our security screen door w/dead bolt lock is a nice buffer between us and others. Because I’m cynical, I hesitate shaking hands with strangers at front door. They might yank me out of the house/hurt me and holler for the rest of their thug friends. I have an active imagination!!!

I was definitely kicking myself afterward for opening the door. I wish we had a screen door on the front door, but we don’t. That might be something worth looking into.

Last year (possibly the year before), two men stopped by and knocked on the (side) door. I figured they wanted to buy eggs, so I went out there – no actually, now that I think about it, I was already outside doing some chore or another, and they drove up the driveway and saw me, so I felt, y’know, “caught.” They were trying to ask if we had a pond for fishing – their English wasn’t great, I was having a hard time understanding them – and as we were standing in my side yard trying to communicate, I suddenly thought “What the fuck am I doing? This is how I’m going to end up in the newspaper, ‘A Smallville woman was brutally raped and beaten today…'” When I’m home alone and out in the yard doing chores, I’ve usually got my gun on me, but I wasn’t that day because it’s sometimes a hassle when I’m wearing shorts without pockets in them. A dumb move on my part in retrospect, I guess I was lucky.

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Robyn, about those Housewives…What are you not liking about this season? I feel like everyone is SUPER annoying, which makes it worth watching! But I have the feeling that without untreated alcoholism, none of the Housewives shows would have any action. (A friend who is a producer for one of them admitted as much to me.) Are you watching NJ? Did you watch OC? What do you think of how monstrous Vicki looks with those dermal fillers she got before the reunion? Sad.com!

I have – I am not even embarrassed to admit! – seen every episode of every season of the Housewives except for Miami because one of the women in that season scared the bejesus out of me with her face, and I gave that season a very wide berth.

What I’m not liking about NY is… mostly, everyone. Alex seems to be going out of her way to be confrontational which, okay, find your voice Alex. BUT she can’t find her words when she’s in the middle of a heated confrontation (neither can I, so I can sympathize, but don’t start a confrontation unless you’re able to follow through, is my opinion), and she gets all blotchy, and I think if you’re going to stand up for yourself, you can’t be standing there with your mouth gaping open while you search desperately for words. It just doesn’t work, and it leads to the other women steamrolling right over her. Sonya is annoying and that talk she had with Cindy about knowing her place, well, UGH. Luann is pretentious and condescending, and the more I watch the show, the more amazed I am that the woman was able to publish a book about etiquette – ETIQUETTE, seriously? – with a straight face. She’s mostly a bossy bitch who just wants everyone to do what she says and if they don’t she DAWLINGs all over them. Kelly is a lot less batshit crazy this year, but her shutting down every confrontational conversation so no one can come to a conclusion is annoying. Ramona MUST have a 75% blood alcohol level because nothing she does ever makes sense (and those eyes are the stuff of nightmares). Who am I forgetting? Oh, Cindy. About Cindy, I just say ::shrug:: meh.

I’m also watching NJ and I find the whole Teresa-Joey conflict to be weirdly compelling because I can’t decide whose side I’m on. I mean, she’s a loon, but Teresa DID write the letter to try to make amends. And Joey DID show up to Gia’s meet late. But then again, Teresa is pretty full of herself and that ridiculous “I HATE SPRINKLE COOKIES SO I THREW THEM AWAY!” made me laugh. I’m looking forward to the Jacqueline-Ashley blowup because that Ashley is one entitled spoiled rotten brat. Also, I like Caroline, but did she think that her boychildren were going to live with her forever? Did she truly structure her entire life around them without considering that one day they’d leave? She needs Bethenny to call her up and tell her to get a hobby.

OH. Did you SEE that weird scene with Melissa and Joey where she was singing Amazing Grace (“saved a wench like me”, she sang, by the way) and he was all “Shh, listen to Mommy” to the kids and then they had that stupidly weird, stilted conversation about how she has such a wonderful voice and a great body and how she’s gonna be a STAH. I laughed so hard at that damn scene!

I did see the OC reunion (both parts!) and you know what I don’t get? What I don’t get is why these women spend so much money on botox and fillers and put crap in their lips, and then they walk around with wrinkled and saggy necks. Now look, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG with wrinkled and saggy necks, but when you have a completely smooth and nonmoving face and then a wrinkled neck, it just looks awful. Your face should match your neck. None of these women even resemble living humans any more and for the love of all that is holy I do not for the life of me understand why anyone would ever have anything injected in their lips. It looks so AWFUL.

My favorite part of the reunion was at the end when Alexis was all “Oh, and I JUST got a text from my husband, he says Peggy STALKED him!” and I so wanted Peggy to say “Have you seen your husband, Alexis? No one is stalking his ass.” Alexis is the most ridiculous woman on that show, she’s desperately insecure, and her competitiveness with Peggy was idiotic. I mostly like Gretchen, though the whole “chubba wubba” thing with Slade made me want to poke her eyes out. That is so fucking RUDE.

Tamra is a shit-stirrer to the nth degree and does it surprise me that she couldn’t see how much what she’s been doing to Gretchen over the past couple of years is very much like what Jeanna’s been doing to her? Doesn’t surprise me one little bit that she doesn’t see it.

Okay, that’s all I can think of. Y’all weigh in now!

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I wonder if kittens who are allowed to nurse as long as they want are less neurotic than kittens who were taken from the mama too soon? I had a cat who would nurse in my hair. I’d wake up in the morning with a slobbery, rat’s nest from him sucking, drooling and sewing in my hair. We got him at 5 weeks, I believe.

Kittens who are weaned too soon do tend to do that – for years Sugarbutt would wake me up in the middle of the night, kneading on my shoulder and licking my neck. He eventually outgrew it, but I think that some cats never do.

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What I did last year was buy some “natural” (can’t remember what they called it) rolls of weed cover that gradually decomposes and disappears. It may even be organic; can’t remember. It’s long rolls of brown papery stuff, and you can plant right through it as well as put it between rows. After I rolled it out in the rows (I weighted the ends down with bricks so they wouldn’t blow away), i heaped grass clippings on top for an extra layer. And it really worked! Not 100%, but good enough that I only weeded once in a while, and then it was minimal. I bought this stuff at Lowe’s, and OF COURSE they don’t have it this year.

We actually saw some of that when we were at Lowe’s. We thought about it, but we have 17 rows in our garden, each of them 75 feet long, so it was cost prohibitive. I did cut feed bags (from pig and chicken feed) and put them down around the tomatoes; I’m planning to put some bags down around the peppers and squash plants, too, and then clippings on top of the bags. It’s a pretty damn good thing that we have 4 1/2 acres, because we certainly have need for a LOT of clippings!

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Do any of your cats get under the covers with you and then the others jump on top of them? ๐Ÿ˜€

Actually, no – Mister Boogers was one who would get under the covers with me almost every night, and then growl when one of the other cats walked across him or batted at him. None of our current cats get under the covers, though.

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You’ve mentioned allergies in the past. Does grass bother you or are you not allergic to it? It makes me go crazy. Do you take anything first? The grass clipping idea sounds great. Weeding is awful, especially in the oppressive heat.

Grass doesn’t bother me at all – I don’t really suffer from allergies, just a few days in the Spring. Back when I was cleaning at Petsmart every week, I’d get really itchy and I guess that was from so much cat hair in the room, but a child’s Benadryl helped knock that right out. You’d think I’d be itchy with all the cats we have in the house, but I’m not at all.

When I weed, I only weed first thing in the morning, and I refuse to do any outside work after 9 because it’s just way too hot. If it’s outside work that can’t be done first thing in the morning, I’m not gonna do it.

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Since it was my subconscious brain that declared there are cats every where…follow up question…are you ever anywhere in the house when there is NOT a cat around you or in the room with you or darting past? I have this picture in my mind of there literally being cats EVERYWHERE obviously ๐Ÿ˜‰ But when you said in this post that you love seeing kittens darting about – it made me realize that there probably is no place in the house without a cat, right?

There is truly no place in this house where there’s not at least one cat – except, that is, for the bathroom. I refuse to have cats sitting and staring at me when I’m in the bathroom (or batting at the shower curtain when I’m trying to take a shower), so I kick them all out. I swear it’s just like having little kids sometimes, because I’ll see a little paw come under the door and wave around. I don’t know if they just want to let me know they’re there, or if they think they can reach me or what, but it always makes me laugh.

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Okay, so I know you’re not THIS bad, but you were the first person I had to send this to!

That cracked me UP. I also really really liked The Engineers’ response:

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When I first started to read your journal (oh so many years ago), I was struck by how similar my StanLee was to Mister Boogers. Now that both boys are gone, I look forward to each and every picture you post of Jake and Elwood. Those two don’t just look similar, they are wonderfully spookily identical to my StanLee down to the patterns in their fur. When StanLee was a kitten, the vet informed me he was a Russian Blue, even though he was a tubby boy and didn’t have the green eyes either, so I’d definitely agree that those two are Russian Blues.



I reference to today’s comment about the Blues Brothers…. Most people think all blue/grey cats are Russian Blues, but one of my two cats is that color (with the silver/shiny coat), and she looks & acts much more like a Korat, which also only come in that color.

My cat does have bright green eyes, which I noticed you said Jake and Elwood don’t have, but when I did a google image search one night for Korat cats when I was investigating what kind of breed I thought she was, (since I got her from the animal shelter, I don’t know for sure) I came to the conclusion that she was probably part or all Korat. I wonder if Jake and Elwood might be all or part Korat too? A lot of the pictures I found look like them too.

What’s kind of odd is that I think Elwood looks more like a Russian Blue, but Jake looks more like a Korat.

Do they do those DNA tests for cats? I know they do them for dogs. I sure would be curious to find out exactly what breed they are!

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Has having kittens — and foster kittens — made Maggie less vocal? Her miaow on one of your first posts about her was such a delight.

Actually, I didn’t even realize it ’til I read the question, but the only time I hear Maggie’s voice these days is when she thinks I’ve got food she thinks she should have. She figured out VERY quickly that the kitchen is where the food comes from, and I cannot step foot in there without her appearing from out of nowhere to demand that I give her food. She always acts like she is on the very verge of starving to death, even though cat food is always available.

About a week and a half ago, after eating a jar of chicken and gravy baby food every day since the babies were born, she suddenly decided she didn’t want it anymore, and won’t even look at it beyond a disgusted sniff. We keep a bucket on the counter to put kitchen scraps in, which gets taken out to the pigs at the end of the day, and we had to move the bucket to the cabinet under the sink because she was rummaging through the bucket looking for food. We can’t put anything at all in the garbage can that has ever held food, because she’ll knock over the garbage can and drag garbage out into the kitchen and lick food off the wrapping. I know she’s always hungry because she’s got babies still nursing, but I really wish she’d give me some idea of what she wants. One day she’ll eat an egg yolk, the next she turns up her nose. It’s kind of frustrating, but it’s more annoying than anything – I know she’s not going to starve to death because there IS cat food available, but I wish she’d STAY OUT OF THE TRASH, MAGGIE, DO YOU HEAR ME?!

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Brussel sprouts? Below the Mason-Dixon line? Wow, these miniature cabbages have really gotten trendy, haven’t they?

When I moved down here, most people didn’t know what they were.

I don’t know how trendy they are – Fred’s a born and raised Alabaman, and he grew up eating them. I was born and (mostly) raised in Maine, and I didn’t have a single brussels sprout ’til after I moved down here. (Of course, that’s due to the fact that my mother doesn’t like them, so doesn’t serve them, rather than them not being available.)

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I have a question for you about hay bale gardening… mainly – how do you do it? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m intrigued!

Here’s a page that has step-by-step instructions, but basically you spend 10 days watering and fertilizing a straw or hay bale (we’re using straw), and then you put soil on the top, and plant your plant in the top of the bale. So far our tomato and watermelon plants look happy (though one of the tomatoes is listing to the side a bit), but I’ll try to report back at the end of the summer as to whether or not it was worth it.

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This video should amuse Clove. It’s a cat playing in a hamsterball! Do the cats watch video?

That is SO CUTE! I actually took my iPod upstairs to play the video for her, and she slapped at the screen and then ran away. She’s not as brave as she looks!

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Clove, you are PURFECT!! Would a kiss be too much to ask?

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Clove is obviously a girl with plenty of cattitude. ๐Ÿ™‚

Is she as vocal as she seems to be?

Like Maggie, unless there’s food involved, Clove isn’t terribly vocal. When food IS involved, all three girls will howl until the food is in front of them. Like such:

(my apologies for the accidental shots of the litter box)

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What kind of camera do you use?

Most of my pictures are taken with my Sony A100, but occasionally (especially for the up-close pictures of kittens who like to sit in my lap) I use a Sony DSC-W300. Enough people have asked that I should probably just put the info in the sidebar. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Maggie = Your Butterbean?

I know, I know, everyone is always trying to get you to keep your fosters.

I kind of thought that very same thing, but I get the impression in the past few days that she’s tired of kittens, poor thing.

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Okay, here’s something to look forward to, but it may take a long time. I had a serious scaredy cat — she was born in a woodpile and chased around by some well-meaning kids who were trying to rescue her. For the first fourteen years of her life, she loved me and only me, and only if I approached her in certain situations, and very slowly. Then, she began to show some signs of deafness and perhaps a little cognitive impairment that the vet thought were just age-related. Well, she has totally forgotten that she is afraid! It probably helps that she can’t hear noises that might spook her, but she’s positively brave, social and engaged. She’s 18 now, and while still a little skittish, loves my husband, comes out to check out visitors, etc. Cool!

Our Spot, who passed away a couple of years ago, was a scaredy cat his entire life until his last few years. And now Spanky, our old man at almost 15, has always been skittish of strangers. But the last couple of years, he seems to be relatively unbothered when new people enter the house. I wonder if cats hit a certain age and they think โ€œWell, no oneโ€™s killed me yet. Maybe I have nothing to worry about!โ€

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I’m sure this has been asked before, but I always wonder…

Why is the lovely Miz Poo called Miz Poo?
I guess I’m asking because I imagine some dramatic poop related incident! ๐Ÿ™‚

For the life of me, I don’t know how exactly her name came to be Miz Poo. I do know that there was no poop involved, thank god. I always baby-talk the cats (I know, you’re completely shocked!), and I believe that somehow one nickname evolved into another, and I ended up with “Miz Poo.”

I have a friend who insists upon calling her “Mrs. Poo” and it makes me want to smack her because HELLO that is not her NAME! It’s MIZ Poo. MIZ.

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Did you get a weight on Maggie before she birthed them babies? She looks half her previous size!


Maggie’s looking really tiny without the baby belly. How’s she been after the operation?

Maggie is doing just fine – she is definitely a small cat right now, but her belly has healed up well, and she’s getting around with no problems at all. I managed to not write down how much she weighed before she had the babies, but I believe it was in the 11 – 11 1/2 pound range. I’ll try to get a weight on her this week, and will report back.

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Finnegan in the hammock on the cat tree in the front room. They love this cat tree EVER so much.

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“What? What you want, lady? What?”

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“YOWZA! I do enjoy a good nap!”

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It’s exhausting being this cute.

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Cillian (right) and Finnegan, napping on the guest bed.

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Cillian and Mr. Bear, who you may (or may not!) remember from this picture of Terry from the True Blood 6:

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Fergus Simon and Ciara, on the cat tree in the guest bedroom.

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Cillian, on the condo in my room. He’s such a sweet boy.

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Miss Coriander’s all “What?”

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Kitten-roebics. (Note Maggie in the background waiting by the door, all “You can let me out annnnny time now, thx.”)

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“What? Sisters fight sometimes.”

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“I bite you face!”
“No, I bite YOU face!”

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Elwood, who now has the nickname “Ellie Belly,” (and sometimes I call him “Ellie Bells”) hanging out by the blueberry bush. At 14.2 pounds, he’s one of our biggest cats, if not THE biggest. He outweighs Jake by almost five pounds!

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2010: Iโ€™m not judging Mark in Tennessee, but youโ€™d better believe that I am struck with the urge to call and ask if the Venus Butterfly will be used in conjunction with the Pink DVDs.
2009: Their lobster roll is FABULOUS.
2008: And that whole throwaway โ€œWell youโ€™re fabulous of course at any size, Samantha, that goes without saying, but my CHRIST, when you gained the first pound and a half, how were you able to LIVE with yourself?!โ€ line.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: And I so desperately wanted to say โ€œDid I see? Yes. Do I care? No.โ€
2004: Ten
2003: I’ve never been the patient sort.
2002: Damn YahooGroups.
2001: No entry.
2000: I’ve always felt that I have a lucky life.