Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A dying bookstore

I went to Borders last night. It's a bookstore that is closing down in a day or so.

When I was outside the store I felt like a vulture circling around a dying animal that I wanted a piece of.

When I was in the store I felt like I was attending a funeral.

Never mind that I got a great price on a book and some chocolates -- it was sad.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Adventures

I went Geocaching for the first time today. (If you don't know what that is, look it up!) It went something like this:

1) I went hunting for the first geocach by myself. Couldn't find it.
2) Set out to find more with Tall One.
3) Got hot and sweaty biking to a park.
4) Waded through a creek that Tall One jumped.
5) Climbed a cedar tree where I was convinced I would find a geocach. It turned out to be a pointless exercise, but it was fun.
6) My brother and I found two of four that we looked for. We're pretty sure that one of them must have been muggled.
7) I took my bike on a major road for the first time.

Adventure successful.

No apologies offered

"You have a really strong British accent."

"Actually, it's a speech disorder."

Normally, when I tell someone that my awesome accent really isn't an accent, their response is to immediately apologize. But this particular young woman didn't seem to feel the need to.

I liked that.

It always irritates me when people say "I'm sorry" as soon as I tell them that the accent they just complimented or commented on is actually a speech disorder. It's as though they're saying it was wrong of them to notice it, and wrong for them to comment. Maybe that's not what they mean, but that's how it usually comes across.

There's nothing wrong with noticing how I speak. It's virtually impossible not to hear a British/Australian/Southern/other "exotic" accent when I open my mouth. And yes, my speech disorder has been described by one or two people as exotic. lol :)

(If you want to hear what it sounds like, I have a video in this blog post where you can hear the awesome accent that isn't an accent.)

I think that sometimes when people apologize they're also trying to be sympathetic. I don't mind sympathy, but I don't need it for this. Not anymore. It's true that I needed LOTS of help and sympathy when I was little, but the days of being unable to communicate are long gone. Besides, on the occasions that I simply can't pronounce a word correctly I can always spell it out (literally) to make myself understood. Problem solved!

So it irritates me when people apologize, although I may be unique in my irritation.

And I liked that this woman accepted my speech disorder without saying "I'm sorry."

:)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Earthquakes

Since people are talking about earthquakes...

I've been in two earthquakes. The first one was in 1993, and I only remember it vaguely. I was only four years old at the time. It makes a really good story (mom, I know you're reading this -- don't give anything away in the comments! I plan to share the story later) but I'm going to tell about the other one right now. It's also so a good story, though the other one is even better.

I'm not sure exactly which quake it was. I just looked online to find earthquake info about the place where I was living at the time, and this particular earthquake took place in either 2002, 2003, or 2004 -- maybe I was in three earthquakes during my teens, and only noticed one? -- so I was somewhere between 13 and 15 years old at the time.

I was doing dishes and the first thing I noticed was that the dishes in the sink started moving around, and the water was vibrating. I seem to recall my first thought being that Tall One was doing something to shake the house. Yeah, I tried blaming an earthquake on my brother. I guess I realized it wasn't Tall One when the shaking didn't stop.

I don't remember how I responded. I should have dived under the kitchen table, and I probably did. When I was in daycare/preschool we had earthquake drills and that's what we were taught. Then again, it may have taken me so long to figure out that it was an earthquake that it ended before I could get to the table. As I said I don't remember.

That earthquake was big news locally, although the only damage done was to old buildings and houses and there were no serious injuries. I remember watching the news about it in my parent's bedroom. Also, my mom's cat, Pi-Pi, came to me for comfort.

Gosh, I could probably write a whole post just about Pi-Pi...

Let's just say that Pi-Pi and I had had a rather interesting relationship ever since I nearly strangled him as a toddler. (However, he didn't savage me at the time because he knew I was mom's daughter. That was some cat!) It wasn't Pi-Pi's first earthquake but he was definitely not a happy kitty, and he decided to come to me since mom wasn't available. I remember being honored that he chose me.

And as for the dishes...

I was rather nervous when I finished the dishes later in the day. That chore wouldn't trigger another earthquake, would it?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cute overload!

For an overload of cute, and giggles, watch the following video.



I tried to do this with my rats but couldn't get them interested. I may have also been using a badly sized ball and ball holder...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

They're getting so big!

Yesterday I was looking at my rats and I suddenly realized that they've grown! Of course I'd known that they would be getting bigger, but it's weird to suddenly notice the change.

I don't have a photo of them together, but here's one photo I got of one of them (it looks like Sabine) last night while I was cleaning their cage.

Isn't she so cute?

FYI, that bathrobe you see on the floor? It's to keep the rats from getting into my closet. I used to have something nicer looking, but Beka figured out how to pull it out of the way and get into my closet. Fortunately Sabine doesn't seem interested in breaking into my closet so it's only Beka I have to worry about.

Look at this damage!

I made them hammocks, so guess what they did? While sitting on one of the hammocks, they chewed on the ribbon that was holding it up. Smart. Really smart.

I'm no longer Santa Rucker!

I probably should have updated people here a while ago on my status as "Santa" Rucker. For those who weren't with me then or who don't remember, you can check out the original post here.

The gist of it is that I have one poem published in a magazine, and that while getting put onto online databases my name got changed in one place to Santa, and that this was a mistake I found in EBSCOhost and Britannica.

The good news is that this got straightened out a while ago! I am officially Sarita Rucker again, and have been for some time. Which is a relief.

Or anyways, I'm Sarita everywhere except at one coffee place....

So I guess I'm Santy now? lol

Saturday, August 20, 2011

She's married!

I went to a wedding this evening. I suppose I could get really sappy about how the bride and I were close when we were young, parted ways, found each other again on Facebook...and I did (get sappy, that is), but then I erased what I wrote.

The bride and I aren't very close anymore, but we were best friends when we were younger.

I'm going to take a leaf from Christopher Paolini's book and just share tidbits from the wedding and reception.

...

I got there WAY early (I took the bus!) and I spent about forty-five minutes wandering and hanging out on the paths at the wedding location. It was a really lovely place, and I had never been there before.

...


I met someone who I took a SciFi class with at Portland Community College. Surprise surprise!

...

I finally understand why people cry at weddings.

...

When the bride greeted me after the wedding she forgot to introduce me to the groom. He had to remind her that we hadn't met. lol

...

Someone complimented me on my lovely five pointed star pendant.

...

That same someone later noticed that the same star symbol was on one of my rings, and asked what it meant. I found myself attempting to explain Paganism briefly, and then trying to figure out how to explain how Paganism "began." But that's about when the dancing started and the questioner found something more interesting to do than talking religion.

...

It is AWESOME to dance with a guy who actually knows how to dance. It would only be more awesome if I also knew how to dance.

Note to self: learn to dance.

...

I caught the bouquet!

Ok, so technically I moved quickly and grabbed it off the floor, even though I wasn't even the person closest to where it landed. But the point is that I did get the bouquet.

...

Someone came up with a new way of asking about my speech disorder that sounds like an accent -- he asked if my parents were born in the United States.

...

Instead of showering the newlyweds with rice, we blew bubbles.

...

The newlyweds are a lovely couple, and I'm sure that they will have a wonderful life together.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ok, so...

...I could really use some encouragement in the job hunting.

I have a hard time finding jobs to apply for, and then the one job I heard back about recently turned out to be in a really bad location. It wouldn't have been so bad if I could drive, but I don't. I use mass transit. Which is great, but has limitations.

And there ARE plenty of jobs within a reasonable distance from school, and which are also easily accessible using the bus/train. I just need to get one of them interested in my application.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Funny rat and cat story

I didn't actually see this for myself, but mom told me about it at lunch time.

It seems that this morning little Saphira was getting interested in the rats, AGAIN, and AGAIN was acting like she wanted to jump on top of the rat cage. Mom didn't think this would be a good idea, but you know cats -- they take discouragement as encouragement, and even if they apparently give up on something, really they're just waiting for you to turn your back.

So mom picked up Saphira and held her up right next to the cage so that she could get a good close look at the rats.

Apparently the Beka and Sabine were just as curious about Saphira as she was about them. Everything was going well until...

...mom isn't sure what happened. Either one of the rats moved too quickly, or else one of them bit/nibbled Saphira's nose. (I like to think that they gave her a love bite.) Whatever it was, Saphira suddenly took fright, jumped out of mom's hands, and went tearing out of the room.

Cats: 0
Rats: 1

Saphira will probably be more cautious about the rats in the future.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Religion and how it corresponds to education

I normally don't share articles here, but I decided to make an education for this one -- it's a study in whether the more educated people are more or less likely to be religious.

It turns out that the more educated a person is does not mean that they're less likely to be religious! This didn't surprise me, but it apparently did surprise some.

You can click here to read the article, or copy and paste the following url: http://news.discovery.com/human/education-may-not-limit-religion-after-all.html

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Of Garlic Festivals and Clueless Cats

I went to a garlic festival today. I didn't spend much time exploring, but I did find two things that made going totally worth it:

1) I got a free sample of garlic chips. Yummy!

2) I got a clove of elephant garlic. And I'm growing it. :)

In case you didn't know (I didn't until today), elephant garlic is named for its size. The following photo is of the clove I brought home.

A clove of elephant garlic.

Yes, that thing is nearly as big as a potato!

Now, on to the clueless cat.

It seems that Saphira only noticed that we have rats in the house today. Or anyways, she only realized today that they look yummy. Tall One had to stop her from jumping on top of the cage, and we're still not sure that she won't get on top of it when we aren't around.

The thing with having pet rodents in this house is that they just have to get used to the fact that cats are gonna be drooling over them. And I think that Beka and Sabine know they're safe inside their cage. Anyways, they don't panic when the cats examine them closely.

This being the case, and since I had a camera in my hands anyways (to photograph the garlic) I decided to use Saphira's enthusiasm as a photo op. It's photographic evidence of Saphira's cluelessness. I mean, come on, I've had them for like two weeks. And she's only now noticed that they look like food?

Somehow I like this, despite her being transparent.

I was a little concerned at this point, but not nearly as concerned as I was when it looked like Saphira was trying to jump from the kitchen table onto the cage. Fortunately, the rats didn't seem to mind her getting this close. Whew.

By this point I finally figured out that I should put my camera on the "kids and pets" setting, so the quality is better.
Fortunately the rats weren't traumatized by this experience. In fact, they seemed perfectly fine!

Whew.

ps. I finally figured out how to add captions to my photos. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Guess what!?!?!? =D

About a week ago a mysterious package showed up on my doorstep. It was from my friend The Belly Dancer, and guess what it contained?


Raw wool!!!


This is wool that's not ready to be spun yet, and I've never gotten ahold of anything like this before. It needs to be washed and, perhaps most importantly, carded. So if I want to do anything (other than ooo and aah over it) with this present I have three options (ok, only two once my budget is taken into account):

1) make do with something I can buy from the local store, but which isn't actually designed for the job
2) buy some proper hand carders to do the job
3) buy a drum carder -- this is what I reeeeeeeaaaaaaaaallllllllyyyyy want, but it's just too pricy


Yesterday I got the above hand carders in the mail. And since I didn't think to remove the price tag before taking the photo you can see how much they cost ($58.95). I might not have bought them if I had to pay rent and bills, but as it is I'm living with my parents and have some of money in the bank. So I can indulge myself a little bit.


Today I finally started figuring out how to use my hand carders, and as you can see Kokopelle kept me company. Amazingly, he didn't actually get in my way!


I came to one conclusion: hand carding is dangerous work! lol

I'm sure that I'll learn to avoid cuts as I become more experienced and less clumsy. Plus my hands will hurt less once I've developed callouses.


And here is the product of my labor so far. They're called rolags. They're far from perfect, but I'm sure they're usable...even though the yarn is pretty much guaranteed to have an interesting character! :)

What I really need though is someone to teach me. I've looked at YouTubes but that can only go so far -- a video can't look at what I'm doing and tell me specifically what I need to do differently. I tried getting in touch with local spinners last year but had no luck; the contact person for one group had died a few months previously, and the contact person for the other never got back to me.

Maybe I'll have better luck finding a spinners group in the area this year.

Mommy's daydreams

Mom and I went out for coffee at our local McDonald's this morning. After we had got our drinks a conversation like the following ensued, starting with a comment that mom made.

"They have a lot of nice people here. It's too bad their nicest guy had to get married."

"Why is it bad that he married?" I was puzzled.

"Because he would have made a great son in law!"

"...oh." It's not the first time she's fantasized about nice guys she meets being son in laws.

"He had a girlfriend, so I guess it's good that he got married, but just think. He's a dancer, so he's got to be nice. And you would have relatives in another country!"

Every so often she comes up with a guy who she dreams about being her son in law. The first one (that I know of) was a guy at a Girl Scout day camp we attended, and I think his camp name was Doughboy. He was a nice guy. The most recent one (that I know of) obviously works (worked?) at our local McDonald's, and I don't even know his name.

I let mom have her fantasies since I'm not providing any potential son-in-laws for her myself. lol So long as she doesn't foist them on me I won't complain. :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Meet the girls!

So for the first time ever, I have put together little clips of videos to make one big (ok, roughly 5 minute) video! In it you can meet my new rats Beka and Sabine, and watch them get into trouble. They were very inquisitive today, and managed to get into some new places that I didn't expect them to reach.

(You'll also get to see most of what I've got on my book shelves here.)



They're like a pair of monkeys. I don't remember any of my previous rats climbing book cases.

I do need to do something to ensure that they don't get to those forbidden shelves...

So what am I up to?

These days I am up to...

1) Job hunting

2) Becoming acquainted with my new pets, Beka and Sabine

3) Reassuring my pet of five years, Kokopelle, that I love him just as much as ever

4) Reading

5) Job hunting

6) Making my resume better by finding awesome details that I forgot to put in it (ok, so I only just did that today)

7) Job hunting

8) Reading and writing about Ursula K. le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness over at my book blog because I'm just nerdy like that. And yes that book even has its own page on my book blog now.

9) Job hunting

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My little monkeys

I rat-proofed my bedroom, the same way that you cat-proof when you get a new cat and that you baby-proof when you bring home a new baby. Honest I did.

My girls still found trouble to get into.


Tall One took the above photo for me, since I didn't have my camera or iPhone handy. This was yesterday, and it was the first time that I let Beka and Sabine lose on my bedroom floor.

I don't mind them climbing on my shelves, I just don't want them getting on top of my books. They aren't exactly potty trained.

I reorganized the books on that particular shelf of that particular book case, as well as the bottom shelf of my other book case -- I stacked the books on their sides so that the rats couldn't climb on top of them.

Then today...



...you can see her at the top right corner of the photo. And yes, she climbed all the way up to the third shelf of my book case, and on top of the books on that shelf, all by herself! Of course, I promptly rearranged that shelf the same way the bottom one is arranged.

My girls are like monkeys, and they love to climb. I think Sabine particularly loves it, but they're both climbers.

And they've only explored half my room so far. What trouble with they find in the other half of it?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The original notebook

I shared this at my book blog but also wanted to share it here.

~~~

Ok, so I'm not sure if this is really the original notebook, but I expect it was one of the earliest.




In the above photo you can see that I drew a smiley face and that I wrote the name of my home state.


I discovered this in the SCA tents at the Skagit Valley Highland Games about a month ago, and I got one of the SCA people to tell me about it.

The "book" is made up of three pieces of wood with wax on the inside sides of them. A person can take notes or compose a letter in this notebook, and then transfer what they've written to a scroll or paper. This had two advantages that I was told of:

1) A person could draft a letter on the wax before writing it down on expensive paper.
2) If a doctor-type person wanted to take notes on herbs found in the forest s/he could use this rather than taking an expensive book (which would be expensive because they couldn't be mass produced like they are these days) into the field and risk damaging it.

Once the notebook is full a person can hold it so that a flame heats the wax and smooths it out. Then -- ta da! -- the notebook can be reused. :)

Good news

Dad update

Good news: dad's doing pretty well. No more worries there. :)

Rat allergy update

Also doing pretty well! :) AND I'm no longer worried about having to give them up. Whew!

Here's what I'm doing:

*The rat cage is no longer in my bedroom
*Allergy meds
*I will bathe the rats regularly
*Saline nasal spray
*I will clean the cage frequently
*Vitamin C
*I no longer allow the rats on my bed

I'm not sure I would say that the allergies are 100% gone, but they're not bothering me much.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm begging for advice/help

It turns out I'm allergic to rats.

This is something I discovered years ago when I had rats, but after I lost my last rats I managed to convince myself that it must have been the litter I was allergic to, or something else.

But no, it's definitely the rats.

I'm trying to figure out what to do. I've got an air filter in my bedroom, which should help. Some. A little. I hope.

No, it WILL help.

And then I could also take allergy meds, but those probably aren't an actual long term solution. Why? Because it doesn't take too long for me to become resistant to them and for them to stop working. When I do use them I have to keep switching between Allegra and Claritin (one stops working so I go to the other, the other stops working so I go back to the one, and so on and so forth). By the end of the last allergy season they weren't even doing much good.

Of course, I could find another allergy medicine to use...but that might not change the meds being only a temporary solution. It might be a solution that lasts longer, but still...

Anyways, I'm rather frustrated and upset at this point. I don't want to lose Beka and Sabine. But I also refuse to live with these allergies. I did that for years when I had rats when I was younger, and I'm not gonna do it again.

Does anyone have any recommendations or advice for coping with allergies? Any words of wisdom? Please? I'm begging.

Kokopelle and the new babies

I guess I've had my kitty Kokopelle for about five years now. During that time he's been the only pet I've had. Yes, there are two other cats in the household, both of whom I love, but Kokopelle is my special one, and he knows it.

But now he has to share me with two rats. Oh, and I'm locking him out of my bedroom for a day or so, while they settle in.

(I did actually allow Kokopelle in yesterday -- but I found Beka and Sabine cowering terrified in a corner of their cage soon enough. I don't know that any of the cats were to blame, but I'm guessing they were. The girls will have to gets used to the cats eventually, though, and they'll learn that they're safe from hungry kitties in their cage.)

As happy as I am with my new girls, and as delightful as they are, I'm also a little worried about Kokopelle. He's had me to himself since he was a kitten, and we formed a very close bond. Me bringing new pets into the picture -- pets who, rather than belonging to other family members are supposed to bond to me -- I guess you might compare it to an only child suddenly finding a new baby in the house who demands a lot of attention.

Ever since I brought Beka and Sabine home I've been doing a balancing act of spending time with them while also letting Kokopelle know that I'm not abandoning him, and that I love him just as much as ever.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ratties!!!!!!!

I got my ratties today!!!!!!!!!!

I picked them out from the breeder's website, here. (The link is to their litter and probably won't last forever, FYI.) The two I chose are Boo Mortmorkinson and Camille the Chicken. I had planned to stick to those names, but that plan died the moment I laid eyes on them.

So please allow me to introduce you to Beka and Sabine Curlywhiskers! They are named after a Dog (law officer) and a knight (ok, so the knight's surname isn't actually Curlywhiskers...) in Beka Cooper by Tamora Pierce.


I carried them home in a bag, which they promptly peed and pooped in. Typical. I'll have to wash it.

The above photo was taken with my iPhone, but all the others were taken with my handy dandy digital camera.

I got mom to drive me to the pick-up because I didn't want to take them home on the bus. (And that was before I realized I would be bringing them home in my bag!) In return I said that I would buy her a coffee. I think I may owe her two coffees, though, because of traffic and the car overheating such that we had to pull over on the highway!


This seems to be their favorite corner of the new cage.

I know it's not the cage that I shared photos of the other day. It turns out that glass cages don't have proper ventilation so I had to go out and buy a wire cage. It cost twice what the glass one had, but it's also bigger.



This one is Sabine. You can tell because she doesn't have a white tip on her tail. Her whiskers are also slightly more curly than Beka's. And of course her personality is different, but I hardly know them well enough yet to tell them apart behavior-wise.



Yes, I got a little trigger happy. That's the danger of letting me anywhere near a camera! And I have more photos that I haven't shared. ;)



Yes, she is sitting on her sister.


They eventually figured out that they can climb! Those are Tall One's fingers, by the way.


Beka was the first to start climbing the walls.


They even ventured outside their cage. This is Sabine, as I recall.