What Do You Bring to an Inter-Species Potluck?


Like most other offices, “Adventures in Cheeseland” has a holiday party between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Probably the only difference between ours and yours is that being inter-species, we don’t allow meat. It would definitely ruin the ambience if someone saw a friend/family member in the stew.

Being in charge means that Lenny and George (they are the mice in the header) need to make sure that everything runs smoothly. They are looking at the sign-up sheet to see what else is needed.

George: It looks like almost everyone is bringing something.

Lenny: Oh, no! Sigmund Squirrel has signed up to bring acorn squash again. It’s your turn to tell him that smashed up acorns are different than acorn squash.

George: Fine. But you tell Hortense Hen that it creeps out people when she brings in deviled eggs. Everyone knows where they come from.

Lenny: Eww! I forgot about that.

George: It appears that Snoops and Kommando are getting together to make catnip brownies. Do you think that’s appropriate for an office party?

Lenny: If you think it’s a problem, you tell them. They scare me.

George: They’re harmless. Cat won’t let them near us.

Lenny: Don’t you remember what happened last year at the party? Snoops threatened to make me the main dish!

George: I’d forgotten all about it. Well, you did make her pretty mad.

Lenny: I thought she’d like me bringing kitty kibble.

George: You brought kitty kibble from her secret stash.

Lenny: How was I supposed to know that?

George: It was behind the kitty bed in Cat’s office.

Lenny: Oh, yeah. I told you we should have gone in together and gotten pumpkin spice ice cream and pumpkin spice coffee.

George: Most of the staff doesn’t like pumpkin.

Lenny: But it was a great sale!

George: So do you have any ideas for this year?

Lenny: I think so. What are you bringing?

George: Well, I was going to bring a cheeseball. But when I bought one last year, the kids ate out the core. They didn’t think I’d miss it. So I’m thinking almond cookies. I can go down the street to the Chinese restaurant to get them. That way, the kids won’t even see them.

Lenny: That’s a great idea! Almost everyone likes almonds or cookies.

George: So what’s your idea?

Lenny: I was thinking hot chocolate. Well, not really hot chocolate because it’s served cold.

George: So you’re bringing cold hot chocolate?

Lenny: Yeah. I found it in an old book. It think it might be someone’s family recipe. Do you want to try some? I made a test batch and brought it in.

George: Sure! I love chocolate!

(They go to Lenny’s office and close the door. Lenny brings out a pitcher and two small glasses. He pours a brownish liquid into both glasses. George sniffs and wrinkles his whiskers.)

George: This smell kinda weird, Len. Are you sure you made it right?

Lenny: I followed the recipe exactly.

George: Okay. Well, here we go.

(George takes a large mouthful, turns green, and spits it back in the glass.)

Lenny: What’s wrong? Don’t you like it?

George: That is the worst cold hot chocolate I have ever tasted. Let me see that recipe.

(Lenny pulls out the recipe and gives it to George.)

Lenny: See, it says it was put together by some doctor in Spain in 1631.

George: It says “Take one hundred cocoa beans, two chilies, a handful of anise seed and two of vanilla (two pulverized Alexandria roses can be substituted), two drams of cinnamon, one dozen almonds and the same amount of hazelnuts, half a pound of white sugar and enough annatto to give some color.”

Lenny: Yeah, it didn’t say what kind of chilies, so I asked the guy to give me a couple of hot ones. And I told you it wasn’t served hot.

George: Did you try this?

Lenny: No. The smell made me sick.

George: And you want to serve this at our party?

Lenny: I said it was an idea.

George: It’s a terrible idea.

Lenny: OK. What do you think I should bring?

George: We still need napkins and paper plates.





Never Thought I’d Live to See the Day


It’s not like I have to look a long way to feel old. My kids have somehow morphed from being small, cute little people to fully grown, attractive people. I really don’t understand it. It’s not like I’ve gotten any older.

Even my husband has a smart phone. I have sat at dinner where he spends more time on his phone than the kids. Actually, he’s worse than the kids. My daughter uses the phone as a timer for some medications she has to take, and my son uses it to look up information we don’t know during discussions.

But my family is pretty traditional. You might have noticed that the paragraph above mentions both family dinners and discussions. We discuss politics, always a challenge (2 conservatives, 1 traditional liberal, and one populist). We also talk about religion, world events, literature, and history. I don’t discuss the dinners in public; it seems a little retro.

And (of course) the kids rarely swear in front of me. When I was young, someone told me that using too many “bad” words wasn’t sophisticated. It just showed a lack of vocabulary. I agreed, and over the years and have found various vegetables and animals effective substitutes for most things. Since it wasn’t a hot button for me, the kids respected my point of view. (I’ve come to find out that’s kind of weird too.)

There was also the issue of my mother swearing a fair amount. Who wanted to do it if their mother did?

But I have started a new job. You may remember that I am now working midnights. To stereotype, there are two groups of people there: Millennials and bitter people waiting to retire. Of course, there are a couple of people who fall outsides those groups, but they aren’t any fun to talk about.

Everyone is friendly and welcomed me into the group. I like them all. But I have never been with a group of Millennials who are relaxing with their peers. Some of them seem to be incapable of saying a complete sentence without using a word that used to be a vulgar term for sexual intercourse.

I went home and asked my Millennial son why some of his peers seemed to use the word as noun, verb, adjective, and (incorrectly) adverb. He joked and told me that if I hadn’t heard it used as a preposition, I had not heard everything. He then told me that people only used it when they were relaxing with their friends. Okay. I guess I’m flattered.

So I asked my Millennial daughter why. She said that people liked to use it because it was a “forbidden” word. She said that there were only two words that were now forbidden in “polite company.” (A term showing my age.) The other word is one that refers to female genitalia in a particularly vulgar way. Apparently that one is still more common on social media than general conversation.

I stock in an area that includes condoms and other personal items for a large chain store. I am totally in favor of condoms. Preventing pregnancy is good. Spreading disease is bad. And I’m sure that moving them out from behind the counter has been nothing but good.

However, I pity the poor teenager looking for something for his first experience. Gone are the days of choosing between three or four types of Trojans. I guess the variety in deodorant and toothpaste has come to personal protection.

There are three racks of choices, plus the selection on the shelf below and hanging on the display nearby. They pretty much all promise a more sensitive experience for him and a more sensual experience for her. You can now buy them in boxes of up to 40 which I hope are purchased by people in committed relationships. I guess the other option would be a guy with really high hopes.

The more surprising thing is that you can now buy items that go over the condom to give the female additional stimulation. I’m not sure, but I don’t think those things existed when I was young. At least they were not available on a rack in plain view of everyone, right next to the vibrators that could remove the male from the picture entirely. I wonder what the parents say when their child wanders down the aisle while they are looking at razors.

I kind of miss the days when s*** was still uncommon and the most embarrassing thing to explain to a child in a grocery store was the sanitary napkins.


Proceedings in the Court of Paws


I finally left the cheesewall. Yes, it is true; the name of this blog is no longer related to me in any way. It’s a good thing I turned it over to the mice a few weeks ago.

I am now stocking at another store. I work midnights in either crafts and stationery or the pharmacy, (Not the real pharmacy, the stuff next to it: pain relievers, bandages, etc.). I like it a lot better.

I thought the cats would be happier. Someone would be home almost all the time. Turns out, I was totally mistaken. My presence was requested at Animal Court for the case of Kommando Kitty suing Super Snoops for alienation of affection. My affection.

The case went as follows:

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ): Does anyone have any questions before we get started?

Kommando Kitty (KK): Why do we have a German Shepherd as our judge?

ALJ: All of the judges are German Shepherds. We’re intelligent. And can sound really scary. It helps keep everyone on track. So, Ms. Kitty, why are we here today?

KK: Everyone knows that Mom is MY human. I sleep with her. I sit with her. I even follow her sometimes. But now that Mom’s home sleeping during the day, she (points at Snoops) is crawling up and sleeping in her arms before I can get there. And Mom lets her!

ALJ: What do you have to say to that, Ms. Snoops?

KK: You always napped downstairs with Dad and I was upstairs with Mom. Now you’re hogging both of them!

Super Snoops (SS): What about you? I always sit on Dad’s lap while he watches TV. Now I come into the room and you’re already there asleep. I have to guilt Mom out of her chair so I have somewhere warm to sleep.

KK: Don’t you remember? The wires in the electric blanket irritate your delicate paws. So I get the blanket that just happens to be on Dad’s lap.

SS: I can’t help it if you have tough feet. And delicate feelings.

ALJ: So what outcome are you looking for here?

KK: Don’t you decide that? Like maybe split Mom and Dad each in half so we can share better?

SS: Sometimes I think your head is fur all the way through. If we cut them in half, they’ll bleed a lot. Do you want to lay in that?

KK: EWW! No! I hadn’t thought about that.

ALJ: Have you two ever thought about sharing?

(SS and KK look at each other, perplexed)

SS: I thought you said you were smart. Cats don’t really like that word.

KK: Yeah. What do you mean?

ALJ: Couldn’t you both sleep with a human at the same time?

KK: We do that now.

(Now the judge is perplexed.)

ALJ: So what’s the problem?

KK: Who gets the arms and who gets the legs.

ALJ: Couldn’t you alternate?

KK: We do.

ALJ: So, again, what’s the problem? (He’s starts to growl under his breath.)

SS: We’re cats. We don’t like change.

ALJ: (Barking) Get out of here.

KK: Why?

ALJ: Because if you don’t, you’re both going in the kennel for a week.

(Snoops and Kommando run out and stop in the lobby)

KK: I knew it was a bad idea to come here as soon as I saw the dog.

SS: Yeah, dogs are so stupid sometimes. Know what we should do now?

KK: Of course.

Snoops and Kommando Sleeping_05292015

Beauty and the New Chic


As you may have assumed, my children are just like your children. Perhaps a few minor quirks, but otherwise beautiful, intelligent, and overall wonderful people. ;)

Nevertheless, it came as somewhat of a pleasant surprise to me that my daughter (the cats call her Blondie, so I’ll use “B”) went to an audition for a talent agency and was immediately picked to represent them at a talent convention in LA (Los Angeles, not Louisiana) after the first of the year.

All that I know about this type of thing comes from America’s Next Top Model (which I watched with B) and my cousin trying to get her toddler into some beauty pageants back in the ‘80s. Every once in a while I would wander in and see part of Dance Moms.

Needless to say, as happy as I was for B, I was a little anxious to see how it was going to work out. I figured it had to be good that they were going to give her a scholarship for the classes she needed to take before the trip and for part of the trip. Apparently it helps to also be wealthy if you want to show the world how beautiful/talented you are.

B is going for photography, commercials and singing. I guess another 6 inches would have been beneficial for the runway part. She wears her own clothes which isn’t bad, but a little strange. They had a photo shoot the other day. (I guess the people in LA need to know that they really are only accepting beautiful people.)

She had a “casual” look which included something they called “army boots.” In black (of course.) No, not the ones that lace up to your ankles; the ones that come up to your ankles with heels and pointed toes. B had a pair, but she needed to get another pair because hers did not have a zipper on the side. The ones she got have zippers on both sides, but apparently that’s acceptable.

Before she went to the photo shoot, B went to the salon. I went with her because it was a ways from home and she didn’t know how to get there. It was in a chic neighborhood, so I knew exactly what to expect. The front would be quiet with extremely well-groomed young women who would ask you why you were there. An assistant would take you to the back where there were innumerable people walking around with good haircuts and casual (expensive) clothes. It would all be a little overwhelming. At least that was my experience from my days as a consultant when I frequented such places.

Times have changed. We walked in the front door and it was loud. Not loud music, just loud. She had to speak over the noise to be heard. They had her go to the “face salon” first; they pointed. They took a “before” picture, waxed her eyebrows, and did the final decision-making on her hair.,

The salon had a leather bench across from the reception desk where I waited. Apparently the salon caters to a clientele that is somewhere between chic and shabby-chic. I was expecting cutting-edge; I got suburban instead. How disappointing – it was all regular people with regular clothes and hair. There was a manager person in a mauve silky dress to her knees, ruffled maroon knee socks and black pumps. I knew the look she was going for. Unfortunately she didn’t get there.

On the other hand, B was stunning. In place of her wavy dark blonde, shoulder-length hair, she had a chocolate brown short bob with a chocolate glaze (kind of sounds like a pastry). She has dark blue eyes and high cheekbones, so the short hair really worked. I hardly recognized the exhausted barista I had brought in.

Before we could leave, B had to have her “after” picture taken and a final color consult for the actual shoot. Apparently she passed.

As we left, I had one thought: Thank goodness the agency paid for this out of the money we gave them.

If Everyone Loves Dragons, Why Don’t They Love Me?


Ricky T. Tavi, our Asian correspondent, received a telephone call from Kommodo Island requesting a meeting. Ricky was ready to go when we had to cancel the interview. Apparently our insurance doesn’t cover meetings between subjects and their known prey. Since we do not employ anyone who is not the known prey of a Kommodo Dragon, we had to do the interview via Skype. Below is the transcript.



http://cincinnatizoo.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/komodo-web.jpg  (Google Images)

Ricky: Good morning. Uh, before we get started would you please remove whatever is between your teeth?

Dragon: Huh? (Looks in mirror and pulls a foot from his mouth.) Sorry.

Ricky: So Mr. Dragon, what would you like to talk about today?

Dragon: Please call me Sal.

Ricky: Sal?

Dragon: No one can pronounce my real name (unintelligible series of hisses), so I go with Sal. I invited you here in hopes that you can help rehabilitate the image of the Kommodo Dragon.

Ricky: What did you have in mind?

Sal: For starters, we would like to be invited to join the Universal Federation of Quadrupeds (UFQ). We are the only major group of reptiles who are not members.

Ricky: I believe that may be due to your delegate eating his translator the last time you were invited.

Sal: That was a simple mistake anyone could have made.

Ricky: Well, you know the humans still have a lot of clout since there are so many of them. And the humans are afraid of you.

Sal: I really don’t understand why.

Ricky: Well, they can’t get over the time one of you sat outside the villager’s hut and waited for him to open the door. As soon as the door was opened, he ate the villager.

Sal: That’s one dragon! Humans are so stupid! They think we’re all evil because of one bad event.

Ricky: Well, you do dig up a lot of the dead people and eat them.

Sal: What difference does that make? It’s not like we killed them.

Ricky: Rumor has it that your mouths are full of bacteria that kills your prey even if you can’t eat them immediately.

Sal: That’s what I mean! Those are just vicious rumors that everyone wants to believe.

Ricky: So tell the world the truth.

Sal: We have venom, not nasty bacteria in our mouths.

Ricky: Most of us don’t really see venom as preferable to bacteria. Is it mild?

Sal: Of course not. We dragons are good at what we do. Our venom causes paralysis, extreme blood loss, inadequate clotting, tissue damage, and excruciating pain. What good is venom if it doesn’t get you something to eat?

Ricky: Let’s go in a different direction. What would you like to identify as the positive traits of your community?

Sal: Our children are really smart. They know to cover themselves in feces so the adults don’t eat them. Your children probably aren’t that smart.

Ricky: I believe you’re right. I don’t know of a mongoose child covering itself in feces.

Sal: Not only that. The children are smart enough to climb trees to keep from being eaten. We adults are too big to climb the trees.

Ricky: What else would you like to highlight about the dragons?

Sal: Our females can reproduce without a male. That’s something none of the rest of you can do.

Ricky: That is impressive.

Sal: And we love to swim. Maybe you could write a story about our swimming skills.

Ricky: You’re right; that might be a good angle. Let everyone know there’s another side to you.

Sal: Yes. We are more athletic than anyone knows. We can run up to 11 mph.

Ricky: Let me look into it. Maybe I can get a crew together and at least make a video for YouTube. With a little luck, it’ll go viral and you’ll get a chance to show the world a different side of you.

Sal: That’s great! I just have one piece of advice for you when you come.

Ricky: What’s that?

Sal: Don’t forget the extra feces.


If you think the dragon is crazy, look here:




The Great Zoo Escape – Epilogue


My apologies for this story getting to you so late. Apparently the mice running this blog did not realize that there is a difference between black bears (me) and grizzly bears (my subjects). It was a lot more complicated than they thought. (Ed. Note: All bears look the same to us: big, furry, sharp teeth, long claws. How would we know that grizzlies have been known to kill and eat black bears? We are sending Bosco to two apple festivals to make up for it.)

Coeur d’Alene, ID – When I left Bonners Ferry, I didn’t really have a plan. All I knew was that the grizzlies had headed to Canada, and I don’t speak grizzly. So I headed north.

I had just passed into British Columbia when I saw a family of grizzlies by a river. They didn’t look too intimidating, so I took a chance. As it turned out, they were up from Idaho visiting family, and the children knew a little of my dialect from school friends. They explained to their father who I was and why I was there. He seemed a little suspicious and smelled my entire body.

Once he were convinced that I had no human scent, the father invited me to sit with them. Through the children he told me that his brother had said something about some American escapees, but he really didn’t know anything. He pointed me in the direction of the nearest Inter-Bear Information System (IBIS) station and told me where I could find some berries.

Ibis Communications Network (Google Images)

I walked up to the IBIS station and was relieved to find it staffed by a combination of grizzlies and black bears. When I told them who I was, they needed to smell me again. (I thought Canadian bears were kind and trusting. Maybe these are transplants from the U.S.)

Once they were satisfied that I wasn’t sent by the human authorities, they told me what they knew about Brutus, Julius, and Marc Antony.

Brutus had received an urgent message from his family via IBIS. They didn’t say what was wrong, but that he needed to be there as soon as possible. Marc Antony is from the same group so he wanted to go home too. Julius is not related but saw an opportunity to go home. He separated from them as soon as they knew they were safe.

I asked if they could let me know how to get in touch with Brutus. They really didn’t want to, citing the privacy policies of IBIS. They finally relented when I told them that the other animals were concerned about his safety. They sent me out with a guide named Beowulf. I’m not sure if being with Beowulf made me feel any safer. A couple of times I think he was sizing me up for dinner.

We finally made it to Brutus’ family. They were surprisingly friendly (and they didn’t have to smell me). They pointed out Brutus to me. He looked relaxed and happy. He was sitting with a female and laughing. When he heard who I was, he motioned me over.


(Google Images)

I asked him if everything was all right with his family. He told me that the family was fine but that a strange bear was trying to take over with his lady friend. He made it home in time to convince the other bear that it was time to move along.

So there’s the answer. Brutus wasn’t planning a rampage, he just wanted to save his girl from the clutches of a strange bear. It’s really kind of romantic.

I made it back to the border with Beowulf. He apologized for scaring me. He said he usually did his “bear act” for the tourists, but was bored when he met me. He’s actually a very refined, well-educated bear. We promised to keep in touch via IBIS.

(Aside from Snoops: I am so proud of the alpha male human. He came home from work and told us that he had caught a mouse. Finally. Of course, he didn’t bring it home or have pictures. Hmmm.)

The Great (Zoo) Escape – Day 3


UPDATE – 9/8/15

Reliable sources have spotted our three fugitive bears crossing the border into Canada. They entered the country quietly in a heavily wooded area. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have stated that they will not be pursuing the bears now that they are in the country. Mountie Michael says that, “There is no evidence of the bears causing a problem. Additionally, The U.S. has been unable to provide us with enough identifying information to isolate those bears from others in the area.”

The Bonners Ferry Police Department has been working with the zoo to determine exactly what happened the day of the escape. They are not having much luck with the security tapes. It appears that the birds have turned the cameras in their part of zoo toward the peacocks and flamingos. They use the video feedback for preening. Other cameras have been modified to watch the humans rather than the animals, “to deal with the boredom of being here.”



Authorities are writing the escape off as an unsolved crime. There are rumors that some of the humans working at the zoo are secret animal libertarians, but I have been unable to find any evidence. The hyenas are no longer providing any information, so the case is at a dead end.

Ed. Note – Adventure in Cheeseland is sending Bosco Bear to Canada to interview the three bears. His report will appear shortly.