Friday, September 30, 2011

A new look

I liked my old look. But thanks to a link that Magaly shared I discovered that it wasn't the most friendly layout for any readers I might have who are blind, so I decided to change it.

I've managed to keep my Oregon tartan background, but everything else has changed. And most importantly, my blogroll is now at the right side of the screen, instead of of the left.

I admit that I do like the red in my blog. Red is my favorite color and I've now got some of my favorite shades of it right here. Which is pretty awesome!

However...

If anyone knows how I can revert back to my old template but switch the blogroll to the right hand side, OR how to get the scroll/old fashioned look like I had before into this template, I would love to hear it. Really, I would love to use my old template and just move the blogroll, but I don't have the html knowledge to fiddle with it. *wistful sight* Actually if anyone knows how to mess with the hmtl and is willing to do that for me I might be willing to send them a thank you gift of something from my online shop...

The link Magaly shared: http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=57&TopicID=167&DocumentID=2757

ps. More changes might occur. Because fall term started back this week and my blog is obviously so much more important than my homework. Right?

pps. I know I'm complaining about losing the old look, but I do want to keep my blog easily accessible for anyone and everyone, and it just takes me a while to get used to new things sometimes. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Time to celebrate!!!

There are several things I want to celebrate.



End of DADT

I'm a few days late on this, but better late than never, right? :)

I can't say how glad I am that people of any orientation can serve our country without having to worry about whether they'll be outed and given a dishonorable discharge...for something they don't even have control over: who they fall in love with.




Mabon

The equinox was two days ago, and I did celebrate it, but today was really the first day of fall in Portland. We had rain, wind, clouds... :)


Back to school!

Tall One and I both start back to school tomorrow. Yes, I know it's really late in September. But both our schools just happen to start late. Don't ask me why. :)


Cake!!!

Celebrate by eating some of the cake!!

...ok, so you can pretend like the cake you see is real and that I'm offering you a slice. Use your imagination. :) 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Facebook...

FB is getting on my nerves.

It's annoying enough that they change things around and force me to get used to a new layout every so often. But their latest changes...

What's up with the thingy at the top right of the homepage which shows the latest things all your friends have done on FB? I don't really see the point. I don't know of any good it's doing, and it has done some harm: the same day that it came out Mrs. B. announced on FB that it had already forced one Pagan that she knew of out of the broom closet.

Admittedly, I don't think it's the best idea in the world to lead a double life on FB (example: chatting with fellow Pagans while remaining in the closet to your non-Pagan friends...all in the same FB profile) but for FB to introduce the new top right thingy that shows what you do to everyone... Why?

While I'm at it, why does FB get to decide which stories I'll be most interested in, and mark them out for special attention?

If you know who created this please let me know so I can credit them. I looked through Google and although I could find plenty of people sharing it I couldn't figure out who started it.

Lady Chatterley's Lover

In celebration of Banned Books Week I want to tell a story on my mom. Which she may suspect I'm going to tell, but which I haven't exactly told her I'm going to share.

When she was in high school some of her classmates got ahold of an amazing book: Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence. It was infamous for containing explicit sex, and there were several pages in particular that all of mom's classmates were interested in reading.

Mom took the book home with her...and grandma caught her with it. Grandma objected to the fact that my mom was reading it, but guess what?

My mom managed to convince her mom that she was reading it for school.

Grandma still didn't like it, but she stopped arguing. She even read it herself so that she could talk about it with my mom! Wasn't that thoughtful of her?

Of course, grandma never thought to ask the school if it was true that the book was required reading. And unlike grandma, my mom didn't bother to read the whole thing.

...

I haven't read this book, but I'm very familiar with the title because of the above story. The book was banned temporarily in the USA and in the United Kingdom because it violated obscenity laws. It has also been banned in various other countries.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_books_banned_by_governments, http://ftrf.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedclassics/reasonsbanned/index.cfm

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ratties

I took the following video over the course of several days, and finally put it together this evening. They're about three months old now. :)



Also, I have good news about Sabine, who I thought was having seizures!!!

She had another "seizure" yesterday and I looked up more info online. Someone had suggested that she might just be in heat, so I looked up videos of rats in heat. Guess what I found? A female rat in heat doing exactly what Sabine was doing.



It was such a relief to find this. Whew. Panic over. :) It's just funny because I've never seen a rat do this before, and I've had female rats in the past. I guess they react differently to being in heat, just like human women have different PMS symptoms.

Also, as they've aged there is now a new way to tell them apart. It used to be that the only difference was that Beka had a white tip on her tail and a white spot on her belly. But these days Sabine has a dark stripe on her head and Beka doesn't. So now I don't have to look at their tails or tummies to figure out which is which! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Virtual Read-Out

I wanted to share something that I just learned about.

Every year since the beginning of Banned Books Week (BBW) people have read excerpts from banned books as part of BBW activities. This year it's taken a new twist.

This year is the first year of the Virtual Read-Out, during which people will post videos of themselves to YouTube reading from banned books.

I think that this is totally awesome, and I wanted to share it here. I think I'll participate, even. I'm not so sure that I want to post my face for the world to see (even though I've sort of done that on Facebook...but in a slightly round about way...maybe, sorta...) but I don't have to point the camera at my face while I read, do I?

If you want more info check out these links:

Virtual Readout | Banned Books Week
bannedbook's Channel -- YouTube

I'll probably only share excerpts over at my book blog, so be sure to check it out if you want to see what I do for the read out.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Update on Sabine

This whole day seems to have been revolving around Sabine.

As mentioned in my last post Sabine had some mild seizures last night. Most of what I have done today is:

1) Look up info online about rat seizures
2) Talk to my mom about the dog we used to have who had epilepsy
3) Just spending time with Sabine to see how she's doing -- the good news is that she looks perfectly healthy and normal today
4) Going to the vet
5) Talking to other rat lovers on a Yahoo group about what's going on, getting their input -- one person isn't convinced it's a seizure, although everyone else thinks it is
6) E-mailing the breeder since this is the kind of thing she would want to know about

And...

7) Job hunting

I was so focused on Sabine that when mom and I went to Starbucks (their seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte is now available!!!) that I didn't realize until we were about a block away from home that I was wearing my house slippers. And when I did get the awesome Pumpkin Spice Latte I didn't spare enough attention to enjoy it properly.

The visit to the vet was scheduled for noon and I got my mom to agree to take me. I didn't really want to take the girls on the bus, although I could have if I needed to. Fortunately mom was more than happy to give me a ride -- I don't know that she was more worried than me, but unlike me she remembers dealing with an epileptic dog when I was young, and thinking about Sabine having seizures was making her sick at her tummy.

I need to get a small wire cage for future vet visits. For this visit I used a small cardboard box with air holes, with a small towel in the bottom of it. My idea was to take both of the rats so that Beka could keep Sabine company. Beka is the more outgoing of the two, and I figured that she might help Sabine feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar place.

That didn't work out as planned.

Sabine went into the small box with no fuss. But Beka... I have never seen a rat that panicky. You would have thought that I was trying to put her in a cat carrier already occupied by several hungry and bad tempered felines. I figured that a panicked Beka would be no help to Sabine so I let her stay home.

The vet looked Sabine over and said that she looks perfectly healthy. Her heart sounds fine, her breathing is great, she's a good weight (though a tad pudgy, which I'll have to do something about), and her eyes look fine. He thinks this is a congenital condition, possibly hereditary. He also says that seizures in rats are very unusual, especially in rats as young as Sabine. She's only about three months old.

Figures I would get a rat who has a rare condition. I cannot tell you how often it is that I get told that something that has happened to or around me is unusual. "The fact that your speech disorder sounds like an accent is unusual." "Starting speech therapy at such a young age is unusual." "Getting TMD symptoms like this at such a young age is unusual." "It is unusual for rats to have seizures, and even more unusual for them to have seizures at this age."

Unusual should be my middle name.

Anyways, enough with the minor ranting...

At this point we're going to just watch Sabine and see if this is a one time deal or if there are more seizures. If they're rare and stay mild then we aren't going to worry. If they happen frequently and/or get worse then we'll talk about meds for Sabine.

Update on ratties

Good news and bad news.

Bad news first.

Sabine appeared to have seizures last night. Thoughts, prayers, and good vibes would be appreciated. I've got a noon vet appointment for her, so hopefully we'll figure out what's going on.

I talked to my mom about it this morning. When I was little we had a dog with epilepsy, and it was not pretty. Not that I remember the epilepsy. I just remember that Sam, the dog, was a little weird. Among other things, mom was told me that it might not be a good idea to put Sabine on so many meds to combat the seizures that she would be too drugged to be herself, and I said "Mom, you're talking to someone who has experienced first hand the side effects of some ADHD meds. I know better than to do that to her." *sigh* We'll see how things go...

Now I just need to figure out the best way to transport them (yes, both of them, I figure taking Beka along will help keep Sabine calm and hopefully happy) to the vet. I'm figuring I'll use a small cardboard box, but I'm still trying to come up with better ideas.

Good news now.

My rat allergies seem to be gone! I think my body just had to adjust to having rats around. I'm no longer using meds to combat the allergy, and I'm still feeling fine. I'm not about to move the rat cage back into my bedroom, though. Having the rat cage in my sleeping space might trigger allergies again. But at least I'm off the Allegra (ok, truthfully, I actually took one this morning for allergies that I highly doubt were rat induced...) and handling them no longer makes me feel bad.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The things kids say

School is starting back, and the local elementary schools are doing their Back to School nights.

It turns out that this is a great opportunity to volunteer for my library, as I found out when I got an e-mail from the volunteer coordinator asking for volunteers to tend a library booth at these events. I offered to help, and dragged Tall One along for the ride.

It's been a long time since I was in elementary school. It's been a long time since I was in public school, since I started homeschooling in third grade. So I didn't know how things would go! I somehow envisioned that people would be milling around a lot with their kids in tow. But no, people mostly spent time in meetings, with frantic rushes and mild milling in between. Most surprising was that there weren't many kids. I guess that Back to School night is more for the parents than the kids.

There were some children present, though, and there was one particular girl who gave us quite a laugh when her family was leaving at the end of the shindig.

Our booth was next to a Cub Scout booth, and this little girl excitedly ran up to the Cub Scout table and said "I want to be part of this!" But her parents said "No, this is for boys."

She looked disappointed. Briefly. Her disappointment disappeared when she saw Tall One and me, and she jumped over to our booth saying "I want to be part of you! What are you?" Her enthusiasm was wonderful.

If only it had lasted.

You see, when we told her we were part of the library she sort of drooped and said "Oh, never mind."

I'm not sure what was funnier -- her reaction, or her parents' somewhat mortified expressions. Tall One and I waited (well, sort of) until she and her family were out of earshot before we started laughing.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nerdfighters!

Have you heard of the Nerdfighters?

They started a few years ago when a couple of brothers decided to spend a whole year not communicating via the written word. (Ok, so apparently one of the brothers made the decision and the other had to go along with it.) This meant no e-mails, no notes, no texts...and probably no Facebook.

So, they started vlogging. They spent the entire year posting vlogs on YouTube as the Vlogbrothers as a way to talk to each other. Some people started following their vlogs, and thus the Nerdfighters were born.

And I am proud to declare myself a Nerdfighter!

Here's one of their vlogs that will tell you just a little more.



DFTBA

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Awesome giveaway

I just found this awesome giveaway of a Nook over at Book Whore. Click here to see it.

The giveaway is open until November 14th, and I'm really hoping to win this Nook.

Changing memories

The scary thing about memories is that they change. Sometimes this can be a good thing, such as when people have experienced a horrific event but years later they don't remember it as being so traumatic. Sometimes memory changes in bad ways, such as when a person gets dementia.

Sometimes memories just change, and it's not necessarily good or bad. Just weird. And annoying.

I was already thinking about this in relation to 9/11, but I got a reminder of this fact when I was reading my old diary and I came across my post about an earthquake I experienced on 2/28/2001. It's an earthquake I wrote about a couple weeks ago, and you may notice that what I wrote in that post slightly differs from what I wrote in my dairy.

The only changes I've made in writing my diary entry here is spelling/grammar/breaking up one giant paragraph and removing Tall One's real name.

...

We had an earthquake a little while ago.

I was putting the dishes up when I noticed the water in the sink was moving, and my first thought was "What is Tall One doing?" Then I heard and saw the refrigerator moving -- it as bumping side to side but staying put. Immediately after the fridge started bumping around I heard the chimes chiming, and I heard things start to shake around. At that point I thought "Ok, Tall One couldn't make the whole house shake." Then Mom and Dad came and told Tall One and me to get in the doorway. About this time I finally figured out that it was an earthquake.

There hasn't been an aftershock yet.

It was a 6.something earthquake. The center of it was 200 miles north of here and it was felt 100 miles south of here. I think Solana [a pet rat] slept through it. Salita [my other rat] was probably awake. She is on my bed hiding right now. The earthquake also bugged the cats.

9/11

I should be getting to bed, it's past midnight. But I'm thinking about 9/11 and I need to write. And anyways, I've had insomnia the last two nights, so I'm not sure that I'd sleep if I went to bed right now anyways.

When 9/11 happened I couldn't find my diary. This was something that was frustrating, because I needed to write. I needed it.

I eventually wound making a sort of makeshift diary. When talking about 9/11 I mostly just reported what I heard on the news, but I did also write down some of my feelings. I'll share excerpts from it here -- bad spelling, super short paragraphs, and all. Well, all except for Tall One's real name.

It seems like so long ago...but it was only ten years ago. I was 12 years old at the time, and Tall One was 10. My dad's health had just forced him into retirement, and my mom was scrambling to find a job. I was working my way through Victor Hugo's Les Miserable, although I was skipping over the "boring" parts.

Ok, enough random memories. I'll share the excerpts, with occasional commentary.

9/11/2001

This feels like a turning point in my life.

Its strang becuse this isent upsetting me... [I'd like to mention that I was too numb to feel anything initially -- I think that writing helped me process things though.]

Is this all just a dream?

The TV showed the brother of the first Pilot whos plan crashed into the World Trade Center.

He said he kept looking at the corn feild behind him hopeing his brother would come out of it.

There is one thing that the people of America can do to help: Give blood to the Blood Banks.

But it turns out that my Mom can't because of menopoze, and Dad can't because of Bacol effects.

And Tall One and I can't because we're not adults.

9/13/2001

I hafe to do the dishes so I'm keeping this short.

A Fireman hase been found burried under World Trade Center #1 -- Alive!

9/15/2001

I can't remember what the news is I saw on the TV today.

9/25/2001

We know who it is who attaked us even though he won't admit it was him -- I can't remember his name.

He has dissapeared from where he lives and they say they don't know where he is.

He lives in Afghasistan.

They think the fighting will start in a few days.

10/13/2001

A few days ago President Bush did something Mom thinks no President hase done befor; He spoke to the children of America.

He wants us to donate one Dollor to a cirtin address witch will help children in or near Afghasistan.

Today I bought a pin that hase the USA Flag on it and says "Rember 9-11-01" on it.

The two dollors I used to buy it will go to the American Red Cross.

10/16/2001

The terrorists are useing Anthrax angist us.

[I'd like to note that a few months earlier I had read Rex Stout's Some Buried Caesar and the result was a serious terror of anthrax -- my parents eventually got me to calm down by telling me that people don't get anthrax. And then THIS happened. Yeah, it was pretty scary for me, though I didn't write about it.]

I know it was mailed to one news stasion maybe more.

A 19 month old baby got it on his skin but he'll live.

Another place I don't know the name of also got it mailed to them.

They may also use the black plague but we have a cure for that.

Oh yea, and they may also use small pox I think it's called.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Well that didn't go as planned!

I signed up for fall term classes last week.

I've had this niggling sensation ever since then that I'm taking a psychology class, which is weird because I signed up to take physics, not psych.

Or so I thought.

This morning I got two e-mails from my psych professor about our upcoming classes. (Classes start towards the end of this month, by the way.) I thought it was strange, because why in the world would I get e-mails about a class that I'm not taking? I decided I should e-mail the professor to say that I shouldn't be getting her e-mails, but before doing that I wanted to look at MyMarylhurst online to double check that I was signed up for physics.

Guess what? I'm registered for intro to psych, not physics.

When I realized this I laughed. And laughed. And laughed. I even sent an e-mail to my mom on the topic with the subject "lol".

This mistake must have been due to a typo on my part. After all, there's only one letter difference between PHY and PSY. ...although, it is true that H and S are nowhere near each other on the qwerty keyboard...so that is a rather impressive typo...

After discovering this mistake I did try to switch to the physics class. But guess what? It's full.

I guess I could put myself on the wait list, but wait lists are a nuisance and besides this psych class was already in my MAP (Marylhurst Academic Portfolio) plans, so I was going to take it anyways. Plus, it's online, so it's not like it's at an inconvenient time for me.

Guess what? I'm not taking physics this term. I'm taking psychology. lol

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oh, wow...

Ok, so I know they say not to feed the trolls, but this is too funny.

I found in my spam thingy two identical messages, talking all about how American men should boycott American women. And yes, he does use the word "boycott."

What the heck???

Apparently American women are too fat, are more likely to cheat, more likely to divorce, don't want kids, are sloppy, unchaste, don't have good manners...and that's only beginning to list all the things he says about American women. He ended by telling about his book (this guy wrote a book on the topic!? doesn't he have better things to do??) and his blog (http://boycottamericanwomen.blogspot.com/), as well as a website to find Indian wives.

I would have been insulted if I weren't too busy laughing.

And why in the world did he advertise (yes, it looks precisely like an advertisement) on this blog? Because, hello, I'm an American woman -- one of those fat*, unchaste**, unmannered*** American women. I'm not gonna buy his book. And I doubt anyone reading my blog would be interested either. So why my blog? I suppose it could be to insult me, but I'm too busy laughing at his gentlemanly manners to take offense.

I especially love his use of the word "boycott" -- and you know what? I think I'll boycott him and every other guy who thinks like him. Yep, that's exactly what I'll do.

*125 lb is not fat
**I've never even been on a date
***Oh, I've got lady-like manners...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

When Tall One stopped the earthquake

The girl woke up to someone pulling her out of bed. “Short Stuff!” Her mom called, and with the girl in her arms she raced down the hall looking for her son.

When they got to Short Stuff’s bedroom he was sitting up in bed, and was not at all pleased. “Mom, the bed’s trying to throw me out of it!” The girl was still more than half asleep, but she noticed that things did seem to be shaking and rattling.

“Stop!”

As soon as Short Stuff screamed this word at the world the earthquake stopped.



True story, though I barely remember it. I was maybe preschool age at the time, and Tall One (who was Short Stuff then) was even younger.

The story of how Tall One stopped the earthquake has been told and retold as we’ve grown up. We usually neglect to mention that it must have been pure coincidence that the earthquake stopped when he yelled “Stop!”

I’d just like to note that if you wake up in bed and there’s an earthquake, you’re supposed to stay in bed unless the house is falling down around you. Mom didn’t see this as an option, however, because she thought she saw me at the foot of her bed when she woke up. So, naturally, she went looking first for me, and then for Short Stuff. And she didn't want to let either of us out of her sight.

Dad slept through it all.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Let the race begin!

Tall One's bagpipe band will go to Scotland next year to compete at Glasgow Green.

I'm really excited for him, and also a little jealous. I'm of the opinion that I ought to be brought along as a chaperone, but apparently adult bands don't need chaperones. And I couldn't even be the designated driver because I don't drive. And I won't even mention one person's comment that I could come along as the comfort woman...oops, too late! I mentioned it.

But I'm getting sidetracked from my point, which is the race.

As mentioned in a previous post, Tall One and I have discovered the joys of geocaching. (If you're a muggle and don't know what it is, look it up!) Tall One deposited a trackable today, and this trackable's destination is Glasgow Green, Scotland.

The race? To see who can get there first: Tall One, or the trackable.

Tall One hopes that the trackable arrives before him, and that he'll be able to pick it up while over there to bring it home.

Let the race begin!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Booksies!!!

I won a $25 Powell's gift card for participating in the summer reading program at my local library.

So I was wondering...should I spend it now? Or should I use it to buy textbooks? After all, as an English major I do study novels that I can buy at a local bookstore.

I decided to spend it now. lol Or more precisely, yesterday.

I was careful with what I bought, and decided not to buy anything unless 1) I know the author, or 2) I've read the book.

The books I bought:

Abhorsen by Garth Nix -- I love love love this trilogy. Tall One (who was with me at the time) was shocked to learn that I only have the audiobook of Sabriel, the first in the trilogy. Abhorsen is the final in the Aborsen trilogy.

Malafrenda by Ursula K. Le Guin -- Haven't read it, but I know and love the author.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen -- There were quite a few of these on the shelf, actually! I got to pick and choose which one to get. It's one I've read and loved before, and it's on my official to read list for 2011. (This was actually the last book I grabbed and by this point Tall One had spent enough time in the bookstore and had left to go geocaching. I was definitely annoying him in the time I was taking to look for the best deals on the best books.)

Mort by Terry Pratchett -- I've read one Discworld book, and I want to read more. This book wasn't actually the best deal I found, but it was still a fairly good deal. Tall One was disappointed in my choice because he's already read it and he wanted me to buy one he hadn't read so that he could steal it from me.

Edges by Ursula K. Le Guin -- Haven't read it, but it looks great.

I got all this for under $25. And best of all? I was using a gift card that I won by reading other books!!!

And what is that Book Magic thingy? Well...

Please don't yell at me for marking up The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin. It's the only novel I've marked up, I swear, and it is for a good reason.

This should be handy for studying, both school stuff and whatever I feel like studying. :)

Last, and on a totally unrelated note, I'd like to share one photo that I took while geocaching that day (and no, we didn't find anything) that I like so much that I just have to share it.

At Multnomah County Library, downtown.