We have a few competitions going on over here in The Cheese House (yes, that is what we call our house here by Ocean Beach — very sophisticated, no? Or, would you prefer Chateau Fromage?).

The first competition is something I recently noticed. I’ve commented on the cats’ behavior since Walker has come home. I’m not sure if I mentioned that Wilson, our big black 16lb, 10 year old kitty likes to beat up on Moxie, our 13lb, 14 year old calico kitty. He hides behind doors and jumps out at her, he bites her butt while she’s sitting on the bed, prowls around the food dishes just to keep her from getting any of the good food first, and does other generally nasty things. Larry and I purchased a product at the pet store called “Good Cat” — a natural potion you put in the cats’ water to keep them from being territorial or being recalcitrant in some way. (While it didn’t seem to change Wilson’s issues, it did solve the problem of Moxie frequently peeing on the bed so we consider it a wise investment.) This bullying has been going on for the three years we’ve had both cats but recently I noticed the leaping from behind the door and Moxie running down the hall in terror has been greatly reduced. Further, I’ve noticed that the two cats share the rocking chair at night — Wilson on the seat and Moxie on the back of the chair (probably because Willy is a bit too big and fat to get all the way up to the top). I believe the two cats have become united. They realize they are now competing for my attention with the new alpha cat — Walker Douglas Young. He’s roughly the same size they are but only half the weight (but quickly gaining on them). They seem to like him well enough — they’re not jealous of him — so I am not concerned they’ll scratch or bite him. I think this is a healthy competition and I certainly won’t step in to change the balance of power. It has one interesting side effect. Wilson, already a very “talkative” kitty, has decided he needs to chat with us quite a bit in the afternoon. He is clearly trying to challenge us to feed him earlier and earlier each day. I guess he figures that the new alpha kitty gets fed every 2-3 hours, why shouldn’t he?

The second competition is between Larry and me. It’s a very recent development and it’s sort of a single-sided competition (given that Larry isn’t really competitive and I am…) At the center of the competition is LinkedIn, a site where people register a profile and collect connections to people they know. Now, I was raised to appreciate the power of old-fashioned networking. Who you know is key to achieving your goals — going to your dream university, getting a job, finding a mate, getting good deals on furniture, etc.  Also, being a Reform Jew from Cincinnati, I was born into a vast existing network that can be quite helpful if you’re in need of a doctor, lawyer, business man or merchant of some kind. Of course, being the head-strong young woman I was, I often didn’t call upon my available resources because I wanted to do it all myself, but nonetheless, I understood the value of The Network. Today The Network is powered by the Internet through LinkedIn (you probably won’t find the Reform Jews from Cincinnati on there but that’s what we rely on Mommo/Gigi to help us tap into).

When I met Larry, he didn’t really understand the power of The Network. He also didn’t understand the utility of Tivo but has since come to his senses on both accounts.  When I established my profile and started my collection of connections, he thought I was silly. However, he’s recently caught the bug and is now the proud LinkedIn participant with over 50 connections (and counting). I hadn’t done much with my profile despite the fact I’ve been thinking a lot about what powers Internet communities and the fact that one of my best friends is a product manager over at LinkedIn. It took Larry rapidly expanding his network to get me interested and I’ve added over 30 new connections so I’m over 300 now. I’m not proud of it but I am competing with Larry in cyberspace. Oh well.

In Walker news, he’s over 9 lbs now and we’re making some strides in how we handle the daytime hours. I’m able to make this post in the middle of the day because the little man is happily napping in the Bjorn after a nice lunch. Oops. As I type “happily” he’s waking up in a rather fussy manner.

One more thing, I have to say my brother is amazing. He’s off for three weeks to do a story on how to train to be a class 5 kayaker (so he can add this to his bio of “as a certified dive master and a class 5 kayaker…” — Larry owes me a dollar). And, last night at dinner with my father, he successfully picked up a beautiful woman. Good lord. Remember Thayer, with great power comes great responsibility.

Walker’s wails are more demanding now.

Signing off…

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