Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2003
Dear Diary:

My cat, Norma, fell for the daughter's sweetie while he was here over Christmas. There were many love offerings--she brought him mittens and dirty socks to show him just how much he meant to her. She even slept with him at night.

The slut.

Well, now that he's gone she's grudgingly gone back to being my cat but it's just not the same because now I know I'm her emergency back-up human and not the human she really loves.


Last night in the stupidly early dark hours of the morning Norma came upstairs singing that "I've Got Me A Dead Thing, Momma" song that she always trills when she's "caught" something. Normally I make a big fuss about this in the hopes it will encourage actual hunting of rodential creatures. A few have been roaming our home. However, since prey for Norma has always been hats, mittens and dirty socks, and I was very tired, last night I tried to ignore her, did my best to drift off to sleep.

There was a kind of tussle sound in the darkness and then Enid leapt up on our bed and began vigourously batting something around. Putting two and two together, I figured that Enid had swiped a mitten or sock from Norma.


Except whatever she had was very "battable" and she was really, really having a good time with it. When she started batting it up my body, I decided it was time to turn the light on. And what to my wondering eyes did appear?


I let out a sound of pure horror. While the spousal unit can sleep through most things, when he hears the sort of sound a woman might make when a slavering pack of wolves has broken into her home and are about to consume her, he wakes up. Abruptly. With fear in his eyes.

Quickly assessing the situation, he rolled his eyes. I endured some severe mockery over my lack of mouse-related courage. I didn't care. Grovelling, I begged him to take the mouse away from the cat and throw it out the window.

He tried. Oh how he tried. Now normally Enid is the most gentle, loving and affectionate cat on the planet. However, there was no way no how that Enid was giving up that mouse. She instantly transformed from Enid, loving house cat to Enid, Cat Who Will Rip Your Heart Out and Julien It With Her Claws For Good Measure.

It was truly scary. Her fur puffed up. Her ears went back. Every time the spousal unit would make a motion towards the mouse, she would let out a very low, deep, penetrating growl. In the end, the spousal unit picked up the cat and carried her outside with the mouse firmly clamped in her jaws.

There was no sign of it when she came in for breakfast. Some situations are better left unexamined.

So it appears we have adopted at least one hunter. Glory, hallelujah. It's about time. When you live in the country, mice are a given. Having three, count 'em THREE, cats lounging around the house while mice skitter about gets old fast.

Now you might think that an exciting tale about how I was awakened last night by my cat playing with a dead mouse might be all the entertainment offered for today, but here at MarnCo--the ruthless multinational behind The Big Adventure--we're All About The Value.

Yes, There's MORE NEWS!

Proving yet again that some people just never learn from their mistakes, the 500 Miles to Nowhere Posse is reforming for 2004.

Yes, a small but determined group of us has decided to pledge that we will go in the vicinity of 500 miles next year without actually travelling anywhere. To accomplish this rather bizarre goal, we will hop on everything from treadmills to rowing machines, do everything from dancing to dog walking to swimming.

I myself have pledged to cover 1,000 miles in 2004 going absolutely nowhere for no discernable reason. This is the sort of New Year's Resolution that has the words "Nothing But Grief" written all over it, but I can't help myself. The way I see it, I am 80 kinds of eccentric but this sort of bizarre pledge leaves me too tired to be a danger to either myself or others.

Going Nowhere is much harder than one might think at first glance. Less than half the folks who started out with the posse in 2003 actually made it across the finish line. But even you know what? Any extra motion we fold into our all too sedentary lives is an enormous bonus.

This goes beyond shedding the pounds, although it's this sort of exercise that does help you whittle away those pesky love handles. The real benefit (at least for someone such as me who will be fighting depression for the rest of my natural life) is that it releases endorphins into your system. Endorphins are nature's little happiness chemical.

Yup, get your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes a day and watch how it gradually changes the way you see your life. It's an amazing thing and you can do it for free. You don't need to join a gym. You don't need to buy special equipment. Power walking will do it, and almost all of us can find a safe place to walk quickly for at least 20 minutes.

How 'bout it? Anybody else up for making 2004 The Year of the Blister?


P.S.--To those of you who've already signed on, an e-mail will go out sometime tonight with a instructions on how to tweak bios and update stats and I'll post the 2004 posse page. Some of the returning posse members haven't had time to send me new bios, so I've just written quick placeholders for you, and you can update when you have time.

If you've signed up for 500 and don't hear from me by tomorrow, don’t' hesitate to pull my chain. There's been a lot of interest and while I do my best, remember that I'm older than dirt and my organizational powers (never strong) are fading fast.

Mileage on the Marnometer: 0. Starting over. Yeesh.
Goal for 2004: 1,000 miles - 1609 kilometers

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