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Kittens: One Year Later

It's been a little over a year since we brought home our kittens Marcello and Bolvar. And in that time, they've truly developed their own personalities -- and their own flavor of sibling rivalry.

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Marcello remains as handsome and charming as his namesake. His key traits are his aggressiveness and his playfulness. And the fact that 99.99% of the time he is about to do something very naughty.

What do I mean by naughty? Shredding the notes slipped under the door by our property manager and then soaking them in the water dish for good measure naughty. Drowning grey mousey in the water dish naughty. Luckiy for him the naughty is balanced with his sheer joy of playing.

Although he can entertain himself for hours chasing light beams from the window around the living room, his favorite game is fetch. He'd fetch a flippy toy or a mousey for a half hour if you had the patience for it. He murps and runs and retrieves the toy, running it back to you with immense pride.

Much of the aggressiveness comes out towards his formerly BFF, his brother Bolvar. Gone are the days of the two snuggly kitties on the chair. They are engaged in a full out battle for dominance of the household. And the war is typically started by Marcello walking up to his brother and giving him a slap (or three) in the face. It'w one of the funniest interactions to witness. Especially once Marcello runs away murping, after Bolvar takes the bait and comes after him.

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Over the past year, Bolvar has really come into his own. Gone is the somewhat passive, teeny kitty that would get pushed aside at the food bowls. He's now the bigger of the two, and a real chowhound (every kitty gets his own dish here, and there's no stealing each other's food, thus his bulking up.)

He's nearly as handsome as Marcello, save for a big raised scar across his nose, which we think came from one of his boxing bouts with his brother. Bo's the lover of the pair, always coming up to us looking for pets and chin scratchies. And frequently lolling on his back for belly rubs and gentle wrestling.

He tries every so often to vocally communicate with his humans, sounding off with the most pitiful wails if we are 15 minutes later than usual with dinner time. But his most common sound is that of purring. At about the time my alarm should go off each morning, I am instead awoken by PURRPURRPURR in my ear. I've never met a kitty whose motor sounds as loud as Bo's. And if you pet him...it gets even louder!

These little guys have helped immensely in replacing the void left by Mister Bill.

P.S. for more kitty baby photos, check out their flickr album. I can't believe they were ever so tiny...


Marin County Fair Recap

  Llamas at the Marin County Fair

For me, it's simply not summertime without at least one county fair visit. Typically, our fair of choice is the Sonoma County Fair, but this year we decided to mix things up a bit with a trek to the Marin County Fair instead.

Overall, the fair seemed a little bit smaller than the other ones I've attended, which probably makes sense given the cost of the land in Marin County versus everywhere else. But this fair had stormtroopers, courtesy pf being in ILM/Lucas Ranch's backyard. How many other fairs can boast that? I was also seriously impressed with their culinary competitions -- and I am inspired next year to enter some of my own creations. Specifically, some baked goods. Unlike many other fairs which limit entrants to the local county, Marin's are open to any California resident. Huzzah! Now to decide what to bake...

In addition to taking a gander at all the adorable farm animals, we did a serious once over of the food vendors, because fair food is serious business. As we entered, we saw a few small ubiquitous fair food vendors, including funnel cakes, but we kept moving through the crowds until we hit the permanent structure housing the "Marin Food Court." I had a hunch that much like the fairgrounds in the central valley, the permanent structures would house local ethnic and civic organizations for whom the fair was a primary annual fundraiser. And I was right!

Although there were some of the expected fair food staples, like hot dogs and hamburgers, this being Marin County, there was also a self-billed "healthy gourmet vegetarian" food stall as well. Which seemed to be where the Perry Farrell-lookalike had gotten his food from. We settled on the Greek orthodox church's gyros stand, and some lemonade from the lemonade stand. And I couldn't have been happier. Well, unless I'd had a Lagunitas Farmhouse Ale. But that's a Sonoma County Fair thing.

Overall, a nice way to pass a couple of hours. But I miss the Stanislaus County Fair's linguica. I think we may need to make that next year's fair pit stop.

You can see more pix of cute fair animals in my Marin County Fair flickr set.