Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter

Traditional Easter Eggs by Petr Kratochvil
The BC Highland Games are always Easter weekend. Always.

Don't ask me why. I didn't set the date.

Because my brother competes on his Highland pipes at the Games this results in the following schedule each year: mom and Tall One leave on Friday, spend Saturday at competition, and then come back home on Easter. This has simply become the norm, and I started the tradition of hiding eggs for their return.

This year, though, we didn't discuss it before hand. I guess this led to them thinking that there wouldn't be a hunt, because mom's first words when I greeted them as they get home were "We aren't expecting an egg hunt." I may have wanted them to find the eggs accidentally, because I responded with the non-revealing "We didn't discuss having one."

But of course, there were eggs. Which still have not all been found.

Hand Painted Easter Eggs by Vera Kratochvil

Thursday, March 28, 2013

That book...

Book cover
I've mentioned my new obsession with the Terminator movies before. My obsession is such that I have checked out the TV series from the library and am working on getting ahold of the novelizations.

Based on the info I found on Wikipedia, I decided to start with The Terminator by Shaun Hutson. I wanted to borrow it from my local library, but discovered that it's not available from any of the libraries in my county. Nor is it available in the neighboring county that I have a library card with.

Further searching on Interlibrary Loan (ILL) led to the discovery that it's pretty difficult to find the book in any library in the states, but that there are quite a few copies over in the UK. I guess that reflects where this novel was written and published.

I put in an ILL request for this book, but due to some serious impatience on my part I then also ordered it on Amazon.com...only to realize that it would take a while to arrive because it was being shipped from another continent.

Then due to further impatience I ordered another copy of it, this time from somewhere in the states. Without canceling my first order, or my ILL request.

Um...I'm not sure what I was thinking. I'm just glad that I only spent maybe $7 per book I ordered. The sad thing is that when my mom inquired at our local library about where the ILL copy I got came from (she can do that since she works there) it turns out that they had to buy the copy they loaned to me. Why? Because they had a hard time finding it in the states.

Maybe this would be a good time for me to hang my head in shame.

The sad thing is that, despite my impatience, it wasn't a great book. I guess I should have just started with the other novelization by Randall Frakes and Bill Wisher, which is the only one that my boyfriend was familiar with and it seems to be the novelization to read. It's definitely much better.

So...morals of the story? 1. Patience is a virtue (that's sometimes out to lunch). 2. Just because it says Terminator does not mean it is awesome. 3. While waiting for the novelization of the T2 to come in, I may as well enjoy the books from The Dresden Files that my boyfriend is so happily supplying me with. Which may seem like a non-sequitur, but I figure I may as well mention it. Oh yeah, and... 4. Ask the boyfriend which novelizations I should be reading.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Going red

With same sex marriage being discussed in the Supreme Court, a lot of people are showing their support for equality however they can. One popular way is to change their Facebook profile pictures to a red equals sign.

I've got to say, I really like seeing so many people showing their support. Especially since I know that all the red I see as I scroll through my Facebook feed doesn't represent all who are in favor of equal rights.

The one downside is that it's making me take slightly longer to figure out who's who on Facebook. I normally go by profile pics, which of course doesn't work when everyone has the same (or similar looking) red equals sign. Then again, I guess I can't really complain. :)

Equality

Monday, March 18, 2013

Developing a fine taste

Pint Of Proper Guinness In Dublin by TBridget Mac
After some careful consideration I decided to document my descent into being a drunken sot.

Ok, so I didn't get drunk, and have no plans to get drunk. But I may finally be developing some good taste. And I did get tipsy. Twice. In a single day. I'm blaming it on my boyfriend.

For our last date Murray took me to an Irish pub. I was a bit wary when he said he wanted to get me Guiness, since he's fed me that stuff before and I could barely drink any. Yeah, I know it's the best out there. I just lack(ed) good taste.

Well, I still don't love the stuff this time, but I was able to down an entire drink over the course of a meal. Without shuddering or being unhappy about it. Which definitely suggests that I'm getting there.

Oh yeah...and the one drink may have gotten me feeling slightly...off? Possibly tipsy? Yeah, I guess I'm not much of a drinker if one drink does that to me.

I guess Murray was feeling enthusiastic about feeding me alcohol, because next he took me to a liquor store to get me some whiskey. He fixed it for me later at my place (mixed with some ginger ale, it was still almost too sweet) and it wound up with my mom suggesting that I sit down. Apparently I had a slightly vacant look?

Strange thing is, my taste in coffee is also suddenly changing. I'm using less creamer in it now. Hmm. I don't know if I'll ever be able to drink it black, though.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Project Lucid Dreaming

I am revisiting my old plan of learning to lucid dream. As part of this project I reviewed my old dream journal, which I kept from September 9th, 2010 to January 17th, 2011. I noticed a few trends, and it'll be interesting to see if my dreams (now that I'm starting the journal back up again) keep the same trends.

  • There's usually at least one person who I can put a name to, even if it's a fictional person (like Darth Vader or Gandalf)
  • I often know the place where the dream takes place, even if it doesn't translate accurately into dream land
  • In particular, I tended to dream about school...or at least, my dreams often took place on campus
  • Spirituality?
  • I may have been slightly horny in some of my dreams...

Also, although it wasn't exactly a theme, there were two dreams that...well, not to analyze them too much (ok, so I may be slightly) should have maybe suggested to me that I am bisexual.

As the journal progressed I was able to write down more details about my dreams. Entries went from being more bullet points to being written more fluidly. If that makes sense. Well, I've obviously lost some of that, since my newest entry for today basically consists of two brief bullet points.

...a strange thing I just noticed. I know I had a little bit of success with lucid dreaming. Not much, but some. Yet there's only one dream in the journal where I was apparently aware that I was dreaming. Huh. I guess the other dreams happened after I'd abandoned the journal.

Moon by Petr Kratochvil

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My birthday

Cake!

Cake and presents

I requested my favorite chocolate cake for my birthday. It is quite delicious.

Lit candles on the cake

Yummy...

Unwrapping presents

I got all of the Terminator DVDs from my parents, which was a surprise. I'd thought that I would have to get them on Blue-ray. I also got a giant journal. Oh, and mom bought me a sweater that I fell in love with last week.

Tall One got me an iTunes gift card, but he got it online then printed it off his computer...so that he could fold it up into an origami frog. As pictured above. And yes, the frog is sitting on a Terminator's face. The nerve of some amphibians.

My friend The Belly Dancer sent me a package that I got a couple weeks ago. In it were a broach, some art she made, and...I guess you could call it a small purse.

And I've already shared what my boyfriend gave me. :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

DVD vs. Blue-ray

Everything was awesome when DVDs started replacing VHS. DVD is clearly superior and I thought it was awesome.

Then Blue-ray came out...and even though it's better than DVDs, just like the DVD is better than VHS...I said no way. No way would they make me switch.

I guess I should have known better.

So far I haven't made the switch yet. But since falling in love with the Terminator movies I have discovered that it is pretty difficult to find them on DVD in stores. Which leads me to suspect that I may finally have to start doing the Blue-ray thing soon.

Maybe I'll get them, and a Blue-ray player, for my birthday tomorrow...?

If I think too much about this I wonder what will come out next to make the Blue-rays obsolete. That makes me grumpy. Still, at least DVDs work on Blue-ray players. Maybe they'll also work on the next big thing?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Birthday date

Chocolate bunnies
My boyfriend knows how to pamper me.

I don't turn 24 for two more days, but my birthday date with Murray was yesterday. He took me to my favorite chocolate place where we got milk shakes, and he also got me a chocolate bunny. We watched a couple of movies, and he took me to a wonderful seafood place where I had some truly heavenly crab cakes.

Oh, and my present...he had asked me what I wanted, and I thought I had a general idea of what I'd get. (Jewelry.) But nope, it was like he read my mind because he got me something that I hadn't thought to ask for but have been wanting for a while.

It's an iHome thingy, and I can plug my iPhone into it to get excellent sound when I play music. It's even better than my computer speakers, and I absolutely love it.

This may be one of the things I love about Murray. Even before we started dating he was figuring out things about me that I hadn't told him. Things left me asking "How did you know that??" I guess this gift proves that he's still good at figuring me out.

iHome thingy...plus an iPad, which I don't have

...I have got to say about this present...I am currently listening to a song that I'm used to only hearing on my puny iPhone speakers, and I am hearing little things in the music that I hadn't realized were there. Just, wow.

I really love that guy. :)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Weird wiring

My day had an interesting start. The following text message conversation might give you a hint of what happened.

Me: Any idea why the lights in the kitchen have stopped working?

Me: *dining room. Kitchen is fine.

Mom: Is the dimmer switch all the way off?

Me: It's on. First thing I checked.

Mom: Does the switch feel hot?

Me: No

Mom: Have you checked in the garage to see if any of the breakers are blown?

Me: Oh

Me: They look fine

Mom: Haven't a clue. I'd trouble shoot by replacing one of the light bulbs. But before that, I'd make sure that the other switches on the opposite wall are all turned off. I don't think they are related, but it's basic trouble shooting protocol.

Me: The lights are also controlled by one of the light switches under the coat hanger thingy!!!!!???!!?!?! Had no idea. Problem solved.

Me: We have too many switches in the dining room that are too confusing.

Actually, I guess that to say my day started like this may be a bit misleading. I discovered the problem pretty much first thing, but decided that I had to eat breakfast before I could be bothered to do anything about it. I'm not sure what that says about me.

I say again, we have too many confusing switches in the dining room. It isn't helped by the fact that we also have some outlets that don't seem to work. I can't even keep track of everything, as evidenced by the fact that Tall One later explained to me that I've made the discovery of the weird light switch before. So I was really just rediscovering it, not discovering it for the first time.

Whoever did the wiring in the dining room must have been drunk at the time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Introducing the rats

Introducing the rats to each other has been a little nerve wracking. Nothing bad has happened, even though I've had to break up squabbles quite often along the way. One or two of the squabbles even had me wondering how well my hand would survive coming between the rats, but they never did any harm to me or each other. I guess it was always more sound than substance.

My anxiety was probably unwarranted. I figured this out when I noticed that, even though most of the squabbles took place between Niki and Sabine, Niki was always eager to go running back to the older girl. I figured she probably wouldn't do that if she were in any danger, but I was still anxious over any little squeak.

Over the past month I've learned to relax some. I've learned not to automatically jump in when I notice that something's up, and to instead watch and judge first if they can resolve their differences (relatively) peacefully or if I really do need to get involved. After all, some amount of play fighting is to be expecting, in addition to establishing a pecking order.

Possibly the worst bit was putting them all in the big cage together. I was afraid that if that didn't work out well, all was doomed.

Luckily, they took more interest in exploring new place than in bugging each other. Well, it's a new place to Kora and Aniki...Sabine has been in this cage before, but I bleached it to remove her scent and put new hammocks to try to make it as close to neutral territory as possible.

As of the moment I'm writing this, they have been hanging out in the big cage together quite happily for nearly five hours. They're also cuddled up together, probably sleeping. I'm not sure if I should make the move permanent as of right now, or if I should put them in separate cages again for the night. I'll probably make that decision in a couple hours.

Either way, I'm finally convinced that all is well with the three girls. :)

A (bad) photo of the three rats

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

On pet rats

I've had a few questions about rats where I volunteer. This probably has something to do with the fact that I've been talking some about my new girls, Kora and Aniki. Here are a few of the questions I've gotten.

Sabine, recovering from her spay
What do you keep them in? 
A wire cage. Ok, so I occasionally use a glass cage if I need to keep them from climbing (for example, when Sabine was recovering from her spay), but that doesn't have proper ventilation so it's only ever a temporary thing. Ideal is a giant wire cage.

Some reference to wild rats...
I don't remember what form this comment/question took, but I found myself explaining that domestic rats are not at all the same as wild rats. Domestic rats are sweet and lovable, and very loving. However, I would not want to get up close and personal with a wild rat. Those are pretty much a different breed entirely.

Do they bite?
Sabine does, though she's only drawn blood once. (My mom's nose through the wires of her cage. I'm afraid I wasn't very sympathetic.) It's really only a problem if you stick your fingers through the wires of her cage, or if you stick your nose up against the wires. (Mother...) And the younger girls? They are as sweet as can be, and will gently lick delicious coffee off my finger tips without harming me.

It seems like there were one or two other questions I was asked, but I can't bring them to mind right now.

The big cage

I finally set up the big cage yesterday. You know, the one where I hope that all three rats will one day live in peace with each other. Right now they only get supervised play time in it, and today it ended when I had to break up a squabble. I'll probably write another post all about introductions...which can be a bit nerve wracking, even though nothing bad has happened.

By the way, I have filled the cage with wonderful fun stuff made by Rat Attack Team over at Etsy. I love what I've got here, and I think the rats also approve.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Squeaky cheese

Cheese curds in cuisine, or cooking, are the solid parts of soured milk either eaten alone or used in various regional dishes, mostly in Canada and the northeastern and midwestern United States. They are sometimes referred to as "squeaky cheese
-- Wikipedia

CHEESE!!!

I had not known about squeaky cheese until I found out that my favorite cheese place, Tillamook, was doing a special. Normally one can only get this special cheese by visiting a cheese factory because its shelf life is so short, but Tillamook was allowing people to order it online for one day only. Overnight shipping allowed it to arrive while still as fresh as possible.

When I found out about this special I knew I had to try some. I love cheese, and Tillamook is my favorite. I asked mom to order some for us, and then eagerly awaited its arrival.

I discovered that I love the squeaky cheese. My taste buds are delighted by it, and the squeak is really cute. Yes, it really does squeak. I'm thinking I need to see if there's a cheese factory around Portland where I can get this stuff on a regular basis.

My plan was to try making poutine with the squeaky cheese. Well, um...let's just say that due to my inexperience and/or my failed attempt at substitution in the recipe, that didn't exactly work out.

Luckily, Tall One's mac and cheese recipe turned out really well. He had to alter the recipe slightly since the cheese curds didn't behave exactly like cheddar normally does, but he's a good cook and could handle it. :)

Mac and cheese, along with a salmon pattie

By the way, the rats love squeaky cheese. My two younger girls, Kora and Aniki, are still mostly figuring out this whole "treats" idea. This stuff is one of the few things they grab at without having to question if it's really food.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

He's a Pirate

While some of the Pirates of the Carribbean movies may not be my absolute favorites, I've always loved the song He's a Pirate.

I recently discovered this rendition of it by David Garrett, and just had to share. I hope you enjoy it.



I think my favorite thing about this version is that it incorporates other music from the movie. :)