Monday, April 29, 2013

Allergies

I'm not sure when it was that people started talking about how bad allergies are this year. All I can say is that I was rather perplexed.

You see, I have had seasonal allergies for years, a fact which I've complained about before. It used to be bad enough that it would seriously interfere with my ability to sing in choirs. Plus, for the last couple years, the seasonal allergies have started early for me. But not this time.

After more than a month of being semi-amused by people's complaints about allergies when I wasn't feeling them myself...they finally came for me.

It was on the equinox. I kid you not, exactly the equinox, officially the first day of spring. The allergies hit me full force, and I finally stop laughing to myself about how bad other people were having it.

The symptoms weren't exactly my usual allergies symptoms. There were no itchy eyes, for example. But they were easily recognizable, and far worse than usual. Bad enough that I might have thought myself sick if I hadn't recognized it for seasonal allergies. It even seemed to mess with my inner ear, something that allergies haven't done to me before. And my usual allergy meds seemed to be of limited help.

Luckily, I started to feel a bit better after about a week. And I kept getting better and better. By now I seem to be pretty much over my allergies. I'm still taking my allergy meds (in theory) since I figure I may still be having low level allergies that they're holding at bay, but I seem to be fine now.

I'm hoping this means that allergy season is basically over for me. But I'm refraining from saying that it definitely is because I really don't want to tempt the allergy gods. They seem like the type who have fun tormenting people, especially someone who has just declared their allergies completely gone for the year.

Oh yeah, and I did finally stop being amused by who are complaining about allergies being worse than usual this year. After all, I spent a week feeling rather sick from them.

Pollination By Bee by Petr Kratochvil

I thought this photo might be appropriate because it's an illustration of something that might be the source of seasonal allergies. Its beauty is an interesting contrast to the misery of allergies, isn't it?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The zoo

I went to the Oregon Zoo today. For some reason I got to thinking about my earliest experiences with the place...
  • The first word I could spell was Z-O-O. Zoo. This was before I could even spell my name.
  •  I had delayed language development due to a head injury when I was a baby. My first full sentence (supposedly when I was four years old) was a request for the family to go to the zoo. And yes, mom immediately took us there. Anything, anything, to get me talking.
  • There are some really tall structures on the ridge overlooking the zoo, and they have red lights to warn air planes about them at night. I called these the "zoo lights" and thought they indicated whether the zoo was open or not.
  • When watching the weather channel, I learned how to tell if the elephants were being rained on. That's right, I didn't talk about the weather in terms of how it effected me, I talked about the elephants.
I guess you could say that the zoo was pretty important to me from a young age.

Speaking of elephants, here's a photo I got of the newest edition to the elephant herd. Her name is Lily, and I've written about her twice before.

Lily

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Denim Day 2013

 SweetSouthernGirl
Denim Day

Yesterday I found out about Denim Day when a friend shared this link. It's a little late in the day, but I guess it's not too late to post. Rather than trying to paraphrase what started this, I'll just share a little bit of what Danielle wrote:

In 1999 an Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a 45 year old driving instructor for the rape of his 18 year old student. The reason cited was the girl’s clothing. It was determined that because she wore blue jeans the instructor could not have removed them without assistance, therefore she must have consented.

To protest this ruling, many women wore blue jeans. And to participate in it, you only have to wear blue jeans and talk about how why you're wearing them. Oh yeah, and we're supposed to share photos of ourselves in blue jeans...

...which I wasn't going to do, since I thought that I didn't a good pic to share. Then I remembered the wonderful resource that is Facebook, and found this appropriate one that sort of showcases my jeans (or really my spinning wheel) without showing my face.

Holy jeans and my prized spinning wheel

And, just for the heck of it, here's a YouTube clip that came to mind when I was planning this post. It's also about consent, though it's addressing the point of whether or not she's really "asking for it" rather than the "she's wearing too much for it to be rape" issue.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rats...

Sabine is lonely again. I'm trying to not feel guilty, since it's sort of her own fault this time.

She was getting along with Kora and Aniki for a while. I did notice some signs of over grooming behind Kora's ears, and figured that was Sabine's fault. She did the same to Beka in her last months, and I decided to not worry about it so long as Kora seemed fine. But then I discovered that someone had been biting Niki hard enough to draw blood, and I moved Sabine into a smaller cage.

I guess I couldn't swear to it being Sabine. But I know that she and Niki have disagreements over who's in charge of the cage, and Kora normally just stays out of the way. So I think it's a pretty good bet.

The three of them do still get supervised play time together, and that is still going well. But Sabine is spending most of her time alone again, and I think that makes both of us sad.

Hopefully I'll be able to put them all back together again soon. Hopefully.

In the meantime, here are some photos that I hadn't shared before.

Cute nose

 No idea who this is. But it's a cute nose poking out of a hammock.

Sabine? and ??

 I think that may be Sabine on top, and again I have no idea who the other one is.

Kora, Niki, and Sabine

I think I'm correct about who's who, from left to right. They liked to sleep together, and I managed to get a decent photo of them here.

Sabine

I had been sharing coffee with the younger girls, letting them lick it off my finger. I didn't dare try that with Sabine though, because I know what it would result in: her drinking my blood.

So mom came up with the idea of feeding Sabine coffee with a spoon. So she got a treat, and we kept our fingers in one piece. Everyone was happy.

Niki?

I think this is Niki. Anyways, I thought it was pretty cute.

One of the younger girls

 Maybe Niki? Hard to tell for sure.

Kokopelle saying hi to...who is that anyways?

I want to say that this is Sabine, but it's normally Niki who perches like that. I guess one downside to having three rats who look so alike is that it's sometimes hard to tell who's who in photos.

And yes, that's a Dresden Files book on top of the rat cage. Not sure why I put it there, but the cage was only on the floor temporarily and I figured that it was a good temporary spot for a book.

Sabine

Sabine spilled a wee bit of coffee on my computer desk, then had fun lapping it up. Naughty naughty girl...

I would like it to be noted that my desk is much cleaner now than it was when this occurred.

Monday, April 22, 2013

An experiment

Ingredients
No idea what to call this. If I do make it again I'll do things differently. That being said, I think it's interesting, and it's certainly not bad. It's the first of its kind that I made, so I decided to document it here.

I found this recipe (or something close to it) while I was looking up info on this other recipe. You put a few spoonfuls of this stuff in hot water, and it helps sore throats.

Ingredients

Lemon
Ginger root
Honey

Instructions

Cut the lemon into slices, removing the seeds as you go. Mince (or try to mince) the ginger.

Note: I sliced up two lemons, but I think I only used a little over one whole lemon.

Mincing ginger

Everything sliced and minced up

Put the lemon and ginger in a jar, and try to sort of mix it up together. I didn't get a photo of it at this stage. Oops...

Next, add the honey. To make everything flow more smoothly I heated it up a bit in the microwave, though I guess that isn't necessary. It probably just depends on how much patience you have, and how old your honey is.

To my surprise, the lemon slices and ginger float. Maybe it's just that the honey I used is so liquidy? Anyways, it's not quite as pretty as I expected, but maybe that's just because it doesn't look how I expected it to look.

The finished thing

My conclusions

Very yummy.

I guess that I somehow expected the ginger to liquify in the honey. Don't ask me why. The ginger bits are a little odd when I'm drinking it, but I've found I can just swallow them down as I drink the...whatever it is.

Next time I'll either find a way to mince the ginger smaller, or leave it out entirely.

I may also see if I can find some less liquidy honey, to see if I can keep the lemons from rising to the top. But that's about how it looks, not about the taste or texture.

I'm also wondering if it really needs to be refrigerated...I read it needs to be though, so that's what I'm doing.

The leftover on the cutting board...lemon slices, lemon ends, and seeds

Have you ever fixed this, or something similar to it? Any comments or suggestions?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Owie

Maybe this will be a boring post, but it'll be therapeutic for me to write.

On Easter I managed to bang up a finger pretty badly. It was really swollen, bruised, had an unpleasant cut, and it was painful to close it completely. In retrospect, I should have gone to the doctor the next day. But no, I figured it was just a banged up finger and that it would heal by itself. After all, I've had them before. But not this bad.

The swelling went down after a few days, and the cut took a while to heal up. It's still painful if I make a point of exercising it though (and I figure that it does need exercise) so I finally went to the doctor in the last week.

The doctor, along with my mom and boyfriend, think that I should have gone to her from the start. It turns out that a person won't always know if a finger is broken, so I should have gotten it checked out just for that. Luckily, X-rays revealed that my finger isn't broken, just very hurt. Though I'm not sure how that changes the treatment.

Makeshift "taping" job
What is the prescribed treatment? Tape my finger at night, and (try to) keep it elevated as I sleep. The doctor knows that keeping it elevated isn't really realistic, but she figured I can at least start out the night with my hand on a pillow.

I have provided a photo of my taping job. It's actually a bit of something that I think is meant for wrapping around sprained ankles, with two Disney fairy band aids holding it in place. It looks ridiculous, but it works.

And...um...after a few nights, I decided to abandon taping it.

As soon as I started taping the finger at night, it became stiffer and more painful during the day. Last night was the first night that I abandoned the taping, and it feels better already. My theory is that I'm moving it and keeping it limber at night, and that this is a good thing. I guess taping can help in most cases, and I'd even be willing to try it another time. But it isn't working for this finger.

By the way, about the cut...it finally healed up after mom suggested I use A&D ointment on it overnight. The funny thing? Mom was getting mixed up and had meant to suggest Neosporin. Which I had been using before, and while I'm sure it did some good it didn't seem to help the cut close up. So I'm not sure if A&D ointment is meant to be used on cuts, but if I have a stubborn one again I'll remember it.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Weirding out the employees

Pentacle
from clker.com
While I was volunteering today, a patron managed to weird out an employee. It may have been my
fault. :)

I always wear my pentacle pendant, though it isn't always visible. If I'm wearing something the pent doesn't look good with, I keep it under my clothing. But I had it visible today, and it caught a woman's attention after I'd been helping her for maybe a minute. "Oh, I hadn't noticed your necklace before."

She looked at me a little warily. Not a "You baby eating devil worshiper evil Satanist horrible person...etc. etc." wary, but more of a trying to take my measure and figure me out. I didn't want to miss what could potentially be a good conversation with someone who I had already guessed to be another Pagan, so after a minute of wondering what to say I offered "It's interesting the different responses I get to it. Some people know what it is, but others ask about it."

"Do you know what it is?" She asked. "Yeah. It's a pentacle." Usually I'll mention it's Pagan, but I don't think I did this time. I figured it wasn't necessary.

We said a few other things, and it ended with her saying "It's good for people to know what they're doing." From her tone, I figured that she had decided that I was ok. I finished helping her and she left.

(At this point, when I was telling my boyfriend the story, he said "Aw, she wanted to make sure you weren't a fluffy bunny!")

Now, enter the employee, who had been standing right there the whole time. Her opinion was: "That was weird." When I disagreed she pointed out "But what was up with her saying that it's good to know what you're doing?" I tried to explain, "She was Pagan. She saw my pentacle and wanted to know if I actually know what I'm doing. It's not the first time I've been questioned by someone a bit older than me. She wanted to make sure that I'm not a fluffy bunny."

"But fluffy bunnies are cute!"

I pondered whether I should try to explain properly about Pagans and our attitudes towards what we term "fluffy bunnies." I concluded that although she is the type of person I could probably discuss Paganism with, the time and place were wrong. So I just told her that fluffy bunnies are people who don't really know what they're doing.

It's interesting to be questioned by someone who's trying to figure out if I'm full of fluff. I think I've passed inspection both times it's happened now.

Note: I sort of wonder now whether I should have told the employee that the patron is Pagan, since the woman didn't actually out herself in a way obvious to anyone who isn't already clued in...? Thoughts, anyone?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Just, WTF

Have you ever been so angry that you had to cope by plotting a blog post? Yeah, that's why I'm writing this one.

I happened across another rat lover and we were both exclaiming over what wonderful pets they are. Hey, us rat lovers just do this sort of thing. Another woman heard us talking about how good they are, and interjected with "Yes, until they start eating their babies!" The other rat lover vanished about when this new woman started talking about the crunching sounds that occurred when her former pet rat ate its babies.

I guess you could say that I was a bit shocked, though I had to admit that rats will sometimes eat their babies. That's true of a lot of animals. However, that isn't the norm as this woman seemed to suggest.

But wait, it gets better. And this isn't even what had me angry.

The rat's cannibalistic meal occurred during the family's Sunday dinner, and I'm guessing it grossed everyone out. So the woman happily told me that the next day she fed her rat(s?) to a snake. She apparently considered it appropriate revenge, and was obviously quite satisfied with herself.

She may as well have told me that she killed a kitten because it clawed her up.

Unfortunately I was too shocked to say anything at the time, and then I was too angry to do anything but politely keep my distance. I guess I tend to turn very polite when I'm angry. I also wondered to myself furiously WTF was wrong with her that she took some delight in sharing this story with me right as soon as she found out I love rats. And yes, she was delighted with herself.

Ok, let me get one thing straight before people comment: I don't object to people feeding their snakes live prey. Some snakes refuse to eat anything else, and I don't exactly advocate starving those snakes. But there's a difference between getting feeder rats and giving the snake your pet out of anger. Also, I doubt that most snake owners actually take pleasure from the very fact that they're feeding their snakes a living breathing animal. So, I don't see much in common between what this woman did and matter-of-factly giving snakes feeder rats.

By now I'm not even exactly angry anymore. Well, maybe a little. But not like I was earlier. I'm not sure what I am now. Maybe sad.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Christian Radio

Grandma's radio
I discovered the radio when I was fairly young. Apparently I was fascinated by it, and found one or two particular stations that really interested me. Much to my parents' dismay, the station(s) happened to belong to Evangelical Christians. Yeah, I was raised Christian, but my parents didn't want to pound it into me. As such, they were concerned about me listening to stations that strongly encouraged conversion, and which discouraged questioning. But they decided to just let me listen to whatever I wanted to.

Somehow I lost interest, and I went for years without thinking about the radio. I really only hear it if someone else has turned it on in my presence, and that's pretty infrequent. My mom occasionally reminds me of what I listened to in my early years though, and as a Pagan I now find it quite amusing.

But then, we got a radio for my grandma...

Mom asked me to test the radio to make sure it works. I turned it on to FM, and started playing with the tuner. In well under a minute I happened across a singer whose voice I was amazed by, so I decided to listen. I realized two things pretty quickly: it was probably a Christian station, and the song was pretty repetitive. I decided to stay on the station though, because I really liked the singer's voice even though the repetition was getting on my nerves. I wanted to find out who it was, so that I could look up other songs of hers.

Imagine my frustration when a prayer was begun as soon as the song ended, leaving me with no clue who she was.

I quickly moved on to other stations, pausing briefly at each one. Usually I moved on because I had no interest in what I heard, but I'll admit to shuddering at the one that was playing what sounded like the latest hit songs. (I'm sorry, those don't tend to interest me...and can sometimes get on my nerves.) Finally I found another singer who I liked.

Much to my amusement, it turned out to be another Christian station. Luckily, this was a nice station, meaning that they actually told me who the singer was when the song ended. He was Big Daddy Weave, by the way.

Those were the only two stations that made me stop for a listen. I haven't turned on a radio again since testing that one a couple days ago, but it does appear that I, a Pagan, may have an interest in Christian radio stations. I don't know what my reasons were when I was young, but these days I just like their singers.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sore throat remedy

The ingredients
While looking up teas that might help with a sore throat I came across the honey and lemon remedy. Apparently it is fairly well known, and it could be that most of my readers will respond with "Well duh, you only now found this?" I don't really care though, because I am too happy with my discovery.

At my mom's suggestion, I added whiskey. I do like it without the whiskey, but I think I prefer it with the medicinal booze. By the way, this is the same stuff that I mentioned my boyfriend getting me in this post. :)

I've discovered that if you're fixing this regularly, it may be a good idea to buy extra honey. The honey in the regular little bear containers won't last very long if you drink this several times a day.

Ingredients

1 cup water (equals one mug, basically)
2 table spoons honey
1 table spoon lemon juice
1 table spoon whiskey

Instructions

Heat water as you would for tea. Mix in other ingredients.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Flip flop snob

Teva flip flops
I'll be the first to tell you that when it comes to flip flops, I'm a snob.

I won't touch flip flops unless they have arch support, which means that I regard the cheap $1 stuff you find in grocery stores with disdain. I just don't see the point of wearing them. I mean, if I don't care about arch support in sandals, I may as well toughen up my feet and go barefoot.

The result of my being a snob means that I have worn Teva flip flops for years. True, they cost a bit more. But I'll bet they last much longer than the cheap ones. And they are comfortable.

(Well, ok, I'm not so sure that I would like their wedges...)

That being said, even though I'm in love with Teva, I don't have so much brand loyalty that I won't consider other brands as well. I'm already thinking that I may try Crocs flip flops next pair when my current Teva pair wear out. (Note: Crocs is the only brand of shoes for which I will order new styles online without trying them on first. I trust them that much.) I've also just learned about New Balance, and am curious to see how their flip flops are about arch support.

Oh dang, and I just realized...I guess I am one of "those women," after all. I talk shoes, and have expensive tastes. Just, about sandals and Crocs, not high heels. After all, I just wrote a whole blog post about footwear...

Funny how this blog can reveal certain sides of my character to me. Then again, I guess I should have known already that I may be mildly passionate about shoes, since I'm a self described flip flop snob. :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Attn: Spring does as she pleases

"What's with the cold and rain? It's spring! It's supposed to be sunny. *pout* "

Every spring, and I mean every spring, people make this complaint in Portland. And I think it's time to share the following news:

Spring doesn't care what you want.

Spring has many personalities, and flits between them as she pleases. Sometimes in the same day. My brother may have said it best when we were observing the heavy rain earlier today, "Spring has multiple personality disorder."

If spring wants to rain, we get rain.

If spring wants to snow, we get snow.

If spring wants to thunder, we get a thunderstorm.

If spring wants to hail, we get hail.

If spring wants to be cold, we get cold.

If spring wants to be warm and sunny, we get warm and sunny.

If spring wants to be a few of the above in a single day, we get a few of the above in a single day.

Spring is a beautiful creature that does as she pleases, and that's one of the reasons this is my favorite time of year. This is why I love her many personalities, even though I have a definite preference for flip flop weather. Which...surprise surprise...we now have, despite the heavy rain a few hours ago.

Next time someone complains, maybe I should suggest they move to California. It looks like you're guaranteed hot weather down there, and you won't have to deal with this multiple personality stuff. But I doubt it'll be as interesting.

Daffodil In The Snow by Sharee Basinger

Monday, April 8, 2013

Since my birthday...

Red And White Wine by Petr Kratochvil
I've noticed two strange (interesting?) things since turning 24 almost a month ago.

First of all, I haven't been carded when going out for drinks with the boyfriend. This is a big change from that one time that he got carded along with me...which was particularly amusing for me, because he's about twice my age.

It's just strange to not have my ID requested when I get a beer. I mean, Oregon law requires everyone who looks under 26 to be carded. So, maybe I aged two years overnight?

Speaking of aging overnight...

The second funny thing happening is that I've got more white hairs. I'm not kidding. I'd already found one or two in the last year, but now I've got more. I'm hardly going silver, and I doubt most people would notice them, but they're there. And I notice them.

Before anyone asks, no, I'm not pulling them out. Or dying them (yet). I sort of take my mom's attitude towards them, which is that I earned them and I'm keeping them. That being said, when I get enough of them years down the road, I may dye them red. A brunette with red highlights... :) I'm afraid that I may have been planning that for a few years already.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Manners, people...

I was busy volunteering, and the employee I was working with was doing some cleaning. I don't remember exactly what she was using, I think just some Windex and a rag. We'll call her Lily.

Everything was going fine, until this little old lady stopped Lily and said "You shouldn't be cleaning. Not with the baby." And she gestured towards Lily's tummy. Um...

It's fair to say that I was a bit shocked by the fact that this woman was giving advice based on a false assumption. I was reasonably certain that Lily wasn't pregnant, and this was confirmed when Lily whispered a few seconds later "I'm not pregnant!"

Lily wasn't exactly flattered by this woman's presumption, and I hardly think I need to explain why I think the woman offering her advice was out of line.

I'm still amazed at how much some people will stick their noses into other people's business, though. Why in the world do people do this?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Darned cats...

Cat silhouette
From clker.com
Since losing Socks the dynamics between our remaining two cats, Kokopelle and Saphira, has
changed.

Saphira: a female Siamese with an attitude.

Kokopelle: an energetic male who doesn't know he's neutered. He also does not seem to understand what hissing means.

Things had always been a little interesting between these two. It has never been unusual for him to make unwelcome advances which are met with growling on her part, only for her to turn around and intentionally do her best to get his attention.

I think things calmed down a little after we lost Socks. Maybe they needed time to adjust to his absence. And maybe it would be appropriate to say that it was the calm before the storm.

The two seem to be getting into more disagreements than they ever did before Socks' death. A good example of this would be last night.

I was blissfully asleep, dreaming about who knows what, when suddenly I was torn from my slumbers by some serious hissing/growling/who-knows-what under my bed last night. And let me tell you, Siamese cats can be loud. So this wasn't exactly a polite awakening.

After telling Kokopelle off I discovered that Saphira had somehow been locked out of my parents bedroom. I also discovered that she was miserable enough to let me pick her up so that I could return her to them.

It's worth noting that Saphira normally disapproves of anyone other than my dad picking her up.

So...thus ends another night in this household. I'm hoping we'll get through the day without any drama. Though I guess I should add that their disagreements don't normally wake me up in the middle of the night.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The young architect

Years ago I fell in love with the idea of designing elaborate rooms, and then houses. I recently looked through my old notebook (well, sort of a notebook) of what I came up with, and decided to share one or two.

A few interesting things struck me as I was putting this house layout into a format that would be easier to make sense of on this blog. The two obvious odd bits were that I didn't know how to spell, and that I may not have had a good grasp of how big things should be. But also, other odd things I noted...
  • I'm also not sure why I gave Tall One and me our own secret room that we had tunnels to. I guess for the sake of having our own secret place? It's not even a very big place.
  • I gave my brother a box of snakes? I thought I was the one who wanted a snake when we were young.
  • On one hand I wasn't very considerate of my family in making this house. I mean, look at the windows. I put my parents bedroom in the middle of the house where they couldn't possibly get any windows, and even though Tall One's room is in the corner he doesn't get any windows either.
  •  On the other hand, I also notice that my bed is the smallest. So I was nice to them there, I guess.
  • I still think that the library is awesome. Though I wonder who I imagined cleaning the giant koi fish tank...probably not me.
Maybe these details give insight into my mind when I was younger. lol Not sure what it says about me though.

If you want to look at the house, I suggest clicking the pic to enlarge.

The house, tidy

Below is the original. It's messy, but it has details that I couldn't transfer over easily. For example, a secret way for Tall One and me to talk to each other. So yeah, we've got secret tunnels and a secret means of communication. :)

I do want to explain about the lab, since it's not something that most people would put in a house. My dad used to be an electrical engineer, and our last house was a five bedroom one. Two of the bedrooms were used as his office and laboratory, and I couldn't imagine a family home without a room for his engineering stuff.

The house, messy