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Grubs and other culinary adventures

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This is what I saw in the grocery store today, right next to the peppers :

They look just like some sort of insect larvae don't they? Yum Yum!

I can't say I've ever seen insects for sale to the general public in a normal grocery setting. And while I've eaten crickets and ant eggs down in Mexico on more than one occasion the idea of frying up some grubs for breakfast just didn't do it for me today.

Fortunately my good opinion of the grocery store is restored. My SP friend STRIVER57 identified these little beauties as Chinese artichokes (also called Japanese artichokes) and apparently they are really root tubers and not larvae. They are to be cooked just like Jerusalem artichokes.

So I may get some next week if they are still there, just to try something different.

And to let my daughter think I am frying up grubs to go with her eggs in the morning emoticon emoticon

I still haven't gotten around to cooking the horse steak in the freezer. One day soon. But I AM expanding my horizons with...cheese.

Cheese, in my life so for, exists for just one reason. It goes on pizza. And that is my experience with cheese.

But here cheese is like a national passion. There is an entire refrigerated aisle devoted to nothing but cheeses. There is another complete section for cheese in the fruit & veggie section of the supermarket. And, even more amazing, people seem to know what all these cheeses are. They just walk right up and grab the one they want, and sometimes I could swear nothing on the packaging even identifies what kind of cheese it is.

So I bought some cheese this week to see if I can do this cheese thing when I have a meal with other people. I stuck to names I recognized...Camembert and Brie and something called Rondelé which looks like a spreadable cheese with raisin, figs & nuts (it looks like a whipped cream cheese and I don't know if Rondelé is the kind of cheese or the name of the package or whatever). And, after years of thinking cheese was icky I have decided I can do this cheese thing. Maybe. If they bring out something that smells like my daughter's gym socks I draw the line.

Unless it is accompanied by grubs and there is a dare involved emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FINEBABY72 11/26/2012 5:32PM

  Your way braver then me,I just couldn't bring myself to eating those artichokes! Please if you do try them let me know how they taste!

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SPOOKYTHECAT 11/25/2012 9:40AM

    Yum!! Cheese!!!! Try cheese & apple, pairing cheeses with fruit really does it for me. I love Brie & fig jam on a water cracker - it's my go/to app these days when we have company.

Lol about the whole aisles & unidentifying packaging ;)
Take a cheese course class some night if you have time. It is really wonderful & helpful!

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GARDENCHRIS 11/24/2012 9:47PM

    I LOVE cheese! Have fun experimenting!

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FROSTY99 11/24/2012 8:06PM

    Cheese calls to me-I love it and not being able to eat much of it while I am following this special diet is hard. I do get fat free varieties but they lack something! Hope you learn to love cheese in all it's many varieties and tastes.


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ILOVEMALI 11/24/2012 5:21PM

  Cheese is Heaven!! I even like some stinkier cheeses! LOL

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IMPROVINGME 11/24/2012 4:05PM

    I don't know that I could handle those little artichokes... but CHEESE is my downfall.
What a great opportunity to learn all about new cheeses!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLIMMERJESSE 11/24/2012 3:55PM

    OMG! I should put that pic on my fridge door as it's repulsive.

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NAYPOOIE 11/24/2012 3:54PM

    Got to agree, I expect those things to be squirming.

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Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

a book by Peter Walsh, who is an expert on decluttering.

I wish I had read this book 2 years ago. As it was the book sat for more than a year in my "to be read" pile of...clutter. A bit ironic perhaps.

The premise is that the physical clutter in our homes is a manifestation of unmet emotional needs, and creates a vicious cycle. We turn to acquiring stuff because we are unhappy with some part of our life and the more stuff we get the unhappier we are which leads to more stuff and less happiness and so on.

And so too with our weight. Food becomes our drug of choice, creating that same vicious circle of unmet needs, unhappiness and excuses...excess weight is simply the embodiment of the physical clutter in our lives.

So his solution to starting down the path to weight loss and better health is to declutter one's space and by so doing eliminate many of the excuses and stresses that leave us to self-medicate with food.

This is a bit simplistic of an analysis but he makes many points which are spot on, and doesn't try to coddle one (oh sweetie, it's not your fault you're's your genes, it's your mother's fault, it's your doctor's fault, you're not really fat you're just curvy, look at how many other people are even bigger than you!).

I can so relate. Over a period of years I was unhappy with my life but hadn't consciously admitted it to myself...and I was a shopaholic as a result. My home was the Kingdom of Piles of Stuff. Which contributed to my unhappiness, although I didn't realize it at the time. Clutter creates stress, shopping for more stuff temporarily relieves the stress but creates more clutter and more stress and more shopping....and weight gain because eating temporarily relieves the stress but creates more unhappiness over the extra weight which causes more eating and more shopping which creates more stress...

A vicious circle.

None of this is news to the Spark Community. Before joining I had made half-hearted attempts to get organized and lose weight, neither of which ever lasted very long and I would wind up more cluttered and heavier than when I had started.

But one of the first things I did when I joined SP was the sleep challenge. One of the steps was to clean out my bedroom to create a nice, neat organized and restful place in which to sleep.


I felt emotionally lighter immediately...just from cleaning my room! Who knew!

I expanded to the bathroom...then the kitchen...then other rooms. I tried to stay on top of things, to not let the piles start to grow again. And as I decluttered my home I also had more focus on decluttering my body, which I truly think was possible in a large part because of getting rid of the physical stuff I had accumulated. Less clutter meant less stress meant less mindless eating meant being happier and more involved with my life and the consequences of the choices I made.

Eventually, though, the piles started reappearing. My bedroom was no longer a nice neat calm haven of rest. Counter tops again disappeared. And I gained weight again. Oh, not much, I stayed within 10 pounds of my goal weight, but this time I knew what was happening.

Moving in August was a good thing as it gave me the impetus for a big decluttering push. I had to completely empty the house and because I've downsized domiciles I knew I couldn't take everything. I wound up with 3 piles, roughly equal in size - take, store and donate/trash.

I ended up roughly 1/3 lighter in total possessions. Most of what is in storage are things like my power tools and pictures/memories and Christmas decorations, and kitchen stuff I will give to whichever of my children moves into his/her own place first. And my couch which was too big to bring (too big to fit in my house here anyway).

Everything I chose to bring with me is something I use. Or at least try to use, some of the small appliances work with the converter/adapter plugs and some don't. So some things being replaced with local items and the US versions going into an organized pile in the basement to await the move back to the US in 3 years, at which time I will again be able to use them. I will sell or donate the local items before I move.

And everything I got rid of was all the stuff I had been hanging on to forever because "I might use it one day". But one day never came and I had to force that realization in order to add things to the donate/trash piles. It was hard.

But I felt better afterwards. And I don't think it is just coincidence I'm back at goal weight again. I feel lighter physically & emotionally by having 2/3 fewer things here with me. Keeping the piles banished and counters cleared and an overall lack of clutter makes me happy...I can consciously feel there is less stress in my life and more energy to concentrate on other things.

This Peter Walsh guy is on to something.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MZKYND 11/21/2012 8:01AM

    I love the feeling of decluttered, if things seem to be getting a tad too cluttered in my environment, dusty etc It usually means in other areas of my life, ie.e emotional , mental or healthy. I love putting on some LOUD music and speed cleaning like a demon, by the time I am done with the physical clutter I usually have an answer to my mental clutter AND got a kick butt workout in too boot!

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IMPROVINGME 11/20/2012 11:27PM

    I'm another SparkFriend who can totally relate to this blog. Except that I am still stuck with the clutter, still overweight, and my book by Peter Walsh is buried in this house under the clutter somewhere!
I've had enough of the clutter and I'm clearing some out. Also working on diet and exercise again.
Hopefully this will be the year that I get serious!
Good for you for all your successes!
Cheering you on,

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FROSTY99 11/19/2012 11:04PM

    Yes, it is best to have less. Living in an RV means if something new comes in something old must go out. Of course, I usually made sure it belonged to DH!! emoticon

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 11/19/2012 10:21PM

    Having moved every 3-4 years for the last 20+ years, I can attest to the fact that it is liberating to go through your junk and really decide if you want to take the time to pack it, move it, unpack it etc.

Good for you! emoticon

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MCJULIEO 11/19/2012 12:44PM

    I have a pile of "How to Declutter" books, too!!!!!

Your blog has really hit the spot today.... I am touched down to my bones... maybe it will force me to do something about it!

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CAROLCRC 11/19/2012 8:15AM

    Check out - same concept, along with lots of assistance in building routines to keep things from re-cluttering.

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LITTLEFARMMOMMA 11/18/2012 10:20PM

    What a great blog! That book sounds like one I'd leave on the table, too, because it addresses stuff I'd rather leave undone! Good for you for going after it! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NEWSGIRL2177 11/18/2012 8:53PM

    I always feel better immediately when I clear out unneeded things. Whether it's clothes, old papers or medicines, anything that's no longer useful or relevant is given away or trashed. It's like I can breathe a bit better with fewer things around me.

Great insight!

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ALWYS-LKN-UP 11/18/2012 6:24PM

    I adhere 95% of the time to the theory that if I buy something, something has to go. Also, in the dead of winter, I'll go thru all my crap in the basement & in spring time, go thru the garage - between the 2 it makes a pretty good load for charity. I agree that it does reduce the stress plus someone else can use it!! BONUS!!

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CAKEMAKERMOM 11/18/2012 4:39PM

    I completely understand. I've been buying for "that space I'll eventually have" and not the space in which I'm living. I've been getting rid of things slowly, but it will still take a while to get myself to the place that I really am now.

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GOPINTOS 11/18/2012 3:47PM

    Fantastic Blog! Thanks for sharing!


Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda (gopintos)
Perfect Health Diet Team
Country Living Team
Dr Oz Show Fans Team
Wheat Belly Team


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DOODIE59 11/18/2012 3:38PM

    Mm. I think I need to read that book. This blog is full of advice that is helpful to me in particular. I'm messy, and it doesn't just stress me out -- my husband hates it too. I remember a time when I shopped for comfort, and I see a beloved friend doing it now. It is definitely a "soothing, comfort, being nice to yourself" kind of activity -- but only while you're doing it. The junk you purchase haunts you from piles:)

My daughter is coming home for almost a month at Christmas. My goal is to de-clutter the guest room so that it is pristine by December 12, and that it stays like that ever after.

Thanks for the impetus, and for sharing your light bulb experience:)
Deirdre emoticon

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ILOVEMALI 11/18/2012 3:02PM

  I felt great when I dropped off some bags at Salvation Army yesterday --you are so right!

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SLIMMERJESSE 11/18/2012 2:04PM

    So true! Have a wonderful day.

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BOILHAM 11/18/2012 2:00PM

    Yeah, sure can relate to this blog. Congrats to you for decluttering the home and excess weight!

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MYOWNHERO 11/18/2012 1:44PM

    Cool! That book sounds interesting. I'm good at cleaning out but they just creep right back in.

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YOGAWITCH 11/18/2012 1:42PM

    Amazing book!

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Fitness Junkie

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nope, not me. I retain a healthy core of laziness to balance out the Crazy One living inside my head.

My daughter's dog has turned into the Fitness Nut.

It took him 4 days to pick up on the pattern of morning walk; he still hasn't quite yet got it right after 16 days. He hasn't quite understood the purpose of an alarm clock and that he is not one.

He really can't be blamed too much. There are sound reasons I call him Stupid Dog. He tried to bite a wall once...2 seconds after I told my daughter that he's not as dumb as we think he is.

Yeah, sometimes I'm wrong.

His other nickname is Fat Dog. For most of the time we've had him (4.5 years now) he weighed 95 pounds. The family we got him from was an older couple in a tiny house (maybe 800 sq ft) with almost no yard, another lab mix even bigger than Stupid Dog, and a daughter and 2 toddlers moving back in. They would regularly feed him hard candy as treats and he didn't have much opportunity to run around. So he got fat. I think a healthy weight for a Labrador is around 60-65 pounds maybe?

He's so fat that when he walks his whole body sways side to side. You can get sea sick watching him.

Now though, as we were on the Morning Mile walk, I noticed that he doesn't seem to be swaying quite as much as before. Is it possible he's lost some weight? Could be, although I have no way to weigh him. He gets so excited to go on his morning walks, wiggling & doing his little Fat Dog hops all over the house until he gets leashed and we go outside. After the first day or two he doesn't even stop to much to read and leave his doggie messages.

This afternoon, as I was getting ready for my run, he started the whole hop/prance/wiggle routine again and I realized that he was expecting another walk because he saw me putting my shoes on. My daughter said after I left without him he just sat by the door for a while, then went and laid down and watched it the entire time I was gone, like he was hoping I'd come back and get him. Sadly (for him) I won't run with him; there's too much stopping & starting and change of pace and tangling of the leash.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MZKYND 11/21/2012 7:59AM

    Gotta love dogs and their enthusiasm! My Ozzy does the jellybean wiggle butt dance every-time he thinks I even squinted sideways at the door!

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FATBASTICH 11/19/2012 7:33AM

    That's cool about the dog. The best kind of workout partner!

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FROSTY99 11/17/2012 10:29PM

    Poor Stupid Dog is not so stupid-he associates you getting your shoes on with his walk! I am sure he looks forward to your morning mile. Our little shih=tzu loves to run, she is trained to walk beside me and when no one is around, I let her off the leash and she trots right along. Sometimes she likes to go on ahead so she can sniff-she knows I do not like lal the stop and start!!
Hopefully this exercise will help to take some of his weight off. I am reading so many articles recently about how we are killing our pets by feeding them too much. We have friends with a King Charles cavalier mix that has gotten up to 25+ lbs and she should maybe got 12-15 so they are killing her but they aren't willing to limit her treats and walk her more. She used to run and play with our baby but she can't do it now-she just waddles.
Keep up the good work and Stupid Dog will soon be sleek and slender!

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INIT2LIVEIT 11/17/2012 8:56PM

    Awww that is so sweet! He wuvs you and your walkies...

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FINEBABY72 11/17/2012 5:50PM

  Awww! He was so looking forward to another walk. Is there any way you can take him with you? I know you said his leash gets tangled and he stops for breaks. Well atleast he does get a walk,he seems so sweet! I agree exercising normally not being a nut about it. I use to be an exercise nut,2hrs 5 days a week. I eventually burned out and realized no more then 1hr a day 5 days a week and 2 rest days,this works for me and my body loves it too!

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ILOVEMALI 11/17/2012 4:19PM

  this makes me happy. Dogs love a walk. It will take a while for him to build up endurance, but he will lose that weight! Ask your vet what is FD's healthy weight! And FD will be protective of you on the walks, too!

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VONBLACKBIRD 11/17/2012 1:14PM

    AWWWWW I love this cute...Fat dog and Stupid dog...but he loves you...

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SCRAPPINPOLLY 11/17/2012 1:02PM

    LOL When my dog sees that I am preparing to go on a walk, he runs to the door and waits with that "bring me" look. LOL

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SLIMMERJESSE 11/17/2012 12:49PM

    Could be that he loves you and wants to be with you. (smiling) Sounds adogable.

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KIMBOLEAN 11/17/2012 12:44PM


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The right choice? Or sheer laziness?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wednesday night I traveled to Lyon as I had an all day meeting scheduled with my colleagues there. The hotels in Lyon were pretty full so I was booked into this hotel in Perouges, which is nearby. Perouges is actually a medieval town, movies have been shot there (at least one of the 3 Musketeers movies, I don't remember the other ones listed).

I was only there overnight & checked out right after breakfast but it looked like a pretty interesting place. I would like to go back one day to do the tourist thing.'s a medieval town. Little lighting on the streets after dark. No sidewalks. Road is basically rounded stones of many sizes, sticking up to various heights. Walking is difficult and downright scary for someone like me who can break an ankle walking through her front door. The roads are narrow and twisty and echo so you can't tell if the car you hear is 2 streets over or about to run you down. And did I also mention the lack of lighting and the super scary road surface?

So Wednesday morning I packed my duffel bag with outdoor running clothes, my shoes & my Garmin. I had every intention in the world of doing my 30 minutes Wed. night and my Morning Mile Thursday morning. Every intention in the world...until I got out of the taxi and nearly snapped my ankle within the first 2 steps. I only escaped a face plant because I landed on the concrete flowerpot in front of the entrance.

I decided that running/walking in those conditions was suicidal and instead stayed in my room (remember, this is a medieval castle / fitness rooms!).

My head says I made the right decision. But some niggling little voice in the back of my brain is calling me lazy for skipping out on my fitness commitments. I had my running shoes which would have been easier to walk in than my work shoes with heels. I had a head lamp. I could have walked instead of running to minimize the potential risk.

I also have a habit of a) getting lost (and I had no GPS) and b) tripping on anything, everything & nothing (and have only escaped recent injury through some out of the ordinary good luck).

The niggling little voice needs to be quiet and find someone else to niggle.

In other news, I got home about 10:30 Thursday night. Turtle greeted me with "FINALLY! I'm dying of thirst here, turn on the faucet!" yowls. Gandalf sat and looked at me to say "Have we met? Do I know you from somewhere?" Rocky cracked open a single eye from where she was sleeping to inform me "Meh. The food dish is almost empty. No one cleaned the box for 36 hours so I peed on the bathroom floor. Deal with it." And Stupid Dog, who barks his fool head off if a bird flies over the house across the street...never woke up. Until 5:59 this morning when he wanted his Morning Mile minute before my alarm went off. I hate waking up before the alarm.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAREN_NY 11/19/2012 2:29PM

    One day in the grand scheme of things. No worries!

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MCJULIEO 11/17/2012 12:10AM

    Mark it on your calendar to go back and take your hiking boots and some good walking sticks....

As to the menagerie,,, there's not a thing you can do about them, except ...

OBEY THE CAT (or all the cats, of course)

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FROSTY99 11/16/2012 9:14PM

    Glad your reasoning won out and kept you safe! Your animals are too funny and glad you know who is boss!


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TEENY_BIKINI 11/16/2012 8:10PM


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CODEMAULER 11/16/2012 5:12PM

    The effects of an injury outlast a missed workout nearly every time.
That said, you could use times like that for other indoor training, like squats, pushups, etc. Just sayin'.

I think that you made the right choice.

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SLIMMERJESSE 11/16/2012 4:08PM

    I have to say that I agree with erring on the side of safety. That town sounds amazing. I'd love to visit Normandy and walk the shores.

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ILOVEMALI 11/16/2012 3:35PM

  I agree with your pal. Safety is #1

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NAYPOOIE 11/16/2012 2:59PM

    Tell the niggling little voice to shut up. Even walking would be way too much chance of getting hurt.

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Revenge of the Kittehs

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Last week the Kittehs got their flea meds put on them. They were not happy, given that they view this activity as a "dog thing" which obviously does not apply to the more highly evolved felines.

Usually they find a way to exact revenge within a day. This time they waited, likely to plan something especially appropriate for the level of indignity they felt they suffered.

Because I, of course, found a way to make it worse.

I went grocery shopping on Saturday and picked up some more canned cat food. They eat dry on a daily basis but twice a week or so they also get canned food. I only looked at the brand and not the actual specifics of what was in the cans.

It was the pate style.

Oh, the horror!

The Kittehs do not care for pate. The Kittehs were not pleased.

For some background perspective this is what the Kittehs were like when they were just kittens :




Now you're all going "Aaawwww, how sweet!"

Appearances are deceiving. Turtle is a dainty Princess with a Diva complex, very demanding. She is small...but mighty. Rocky has the personality her name suggests; she grumbles & is feisty. Gandalf is very affectionate...until he decides not to be.

Their personalities shine through :




For their vengeance they decided that they would practice their hunting skills...while I was sleeping. Hair, toes, hands, fingers...basically everything was fair game. When I wasn't being attacked they chased each other up and over and under and around the bed.

Kicking them out doesn't work well since Gandalf knows how to open doors and there is no lock. And at 2 in the morning I wasn't up to moving furniture to block them out. Which wouldn't have helped anyway, nor would locking them in another room, because they would find other ways to exact vengeance (I know this from experience).

Eventually they decided to sleep...and the rest of their evil plan almost worked. I frequently wake throughout the night and every time I do and turn over I adjust for where they are at so I don't squash them. So last night they just kept migrating a little closer and a little closer...until I woke up to find myself on the edge, ready to fall off.

Sneaky little Kittehs.

I just hope that tonight they feel vindicated with no further need for revenge.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ILOVEMALI 11/14/2012 12:21PM

  I am laughing!!!

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MCJULIEO 11/14/2012 11:49AM

    That urrping in your shoes thing, that's really a low blow...

But they sure are cute when they're young!

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FROSTY99 11/13/2012 9:43PM

    I know who rules your house-the evil kitties! They are too cute to be called evil. They are just too funny and I bet you don't make that mistake again!!!

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SEXBOBOMB 11/13/2012 8:35PM

    "The Kittehs do not care for pate. The Kittehs were not pleased."

My Kittehs are standing with your Kittehs.
Solidarity, yo!

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GETSTRONGRRR 11/13/2012 8:21PM

    Remember.....dogs have owners.....cats have servants.....

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JEWELMAKER1 11/13/2012 3:17PM

    I have 7 of the little bast...ah darlings. Yeah, they find all kinds of ways to let me know when they are not pleased. They too get dry food daily, and wet canned food and Friskies Party mix also known as cat crack. Even the dog is hooked on them!

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MRE1956 11/13/2012 3:05PM

    Personalities notwithstanding - they're *still* *CUTE*!

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DEL-AND-COMPANY 11/13/2012 2:48PM

  That's a scary bunch! Hope you have some catnip bombs to roll out while you run.


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DOGSTARDADDY 11/13/2012 2:46PM

    Evil kitties...

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NAYPOOIE 11/13/2012 2:26PM

    You got off easy.

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SLIMMERJESSE 11/13/2012 2:22PM

    Sooo cute. Yes, cats are a trip! Very interesting purrsonalities.

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ALICIA214 11/13/2012 2:13PM


Cats Rule. emoticon emoticon emoticon Poor you!!!


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