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Things I have which will help me be prepared for the hurricane:
- bottled water
- a gas grill and gas stove
- freshly delivered veg and fruit
- a newly repaired porch roof
- candles and an oil lantern
- a big flishlight with good batteries, and a small flishlight with mediocre batteries
- previous experience with both hurricanes and power outages
- plenty of booze

Things I have whiich will help me be prepared for the party:
- bottled water
- snacks and dips
- soda and mixers
- ice, cups, plates, and napkins
- plans to make cupcakes
- power
- plenty of booze

Things I still have to do to prepare for both:
- clean the house after the workmen have been tropming around downstairs
- go back out and buy starter beer/cider
- actually make cupcakes
- shower and girlify
- batten the hatches

Thing on draft weekend I was totally unprepared for:
- the draft

See folks tonight!
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So as you know, internets, I hate people. Well, not hate. But not-like. You know what I mean. So usually, I avoid them, especially in large groups or where I can be cornered by them. This includes my neighbors, since I can easily be trapped by them chatting with me as I walk by. Worse, I hate working in the yard when they are about, because I feel like they're judging my mowing and gardening technique. And this weekend I found out they totally are! But it wasn't as bad as I'd thought.

Last night I was mowing, because I thought it was going to rain overnight (which it did), and because I wanted to be able to look forward to not-mowing today. I have an old-fashioned reel mower, the kind they probably used on Leave it to Beaver, so it takes a while and requires a certain amount of effort on my part (as an aside: I think at this point I've had every male neighbor around me offer to come mow my lawn, or at least loan me their mower, which is nice of them but I always turn them down. I'm butch that way. Plus, I don't know how to use a real mower).

People who I recognize but whose names I cannot recall (another reason I avoid my neighbors) came strolling by in the pleasant evening. The woman (who lives two doors down and goes to my dentist) complimented me on my weight loss, and the man (who nicely introduced himself because he could tell I had no idea who he was; I've already forgotten his name, though I think it started with a C) managed to guess the amount pretty precisely. So that was a nice interaction, and it was brief, as they went on their way. Not before the guy offered me his lawnmower whenever I wanted it, though.

(Note: since I've lost some weight, a bunch of people have commented how good I look, which is nice, because I think I look nice too. But I never really thought I looked that bad before...:) So there's a bit of cognitive dissonance there, but I suppose it comes with the territory. Or I looked hideous before and everyone just held their tongues, which was nice of them too.)

Today was Flower Day; I bought a bunch of things for the walkway flowerbed, and the patch of land that was opened up after the dead tree came down and I had it and all the vines and trash bushes removed. I was down by the tree stump, toiling away, when the Happy Carribbean/Canadian neighbor came back from some errands with his family. He complimented me on how nice I was making the place look with all my flowers, which I thanked him for, and then he said, gesturing at my relatively-freshly-mown lawn, "This looks good too. You are a woman, but you always do a very nice job!" And I thanked him, and they went down the path.

So here's why I'm a bad feminist: I can't think of a way to interpret the specifics of his statement other than he thinks women typically aren't good at lawnmowing, for whatever reason (bad spatial relaitons, lazy, weak, what have you), which of course is silly, because lawns are lawns, no matter your sexual organs, and mowing them pretty much works the same way for everyone. Even if he means that I shouldn't have to be mowing the lawn because it's a man's job and I'm making the best of a bad situation, it's still not great. But, I am not offended, and I wasn't offended at the time, and I just can't seem to get all wound up about it. As far as I'm concerned, what he meant was "Your lawn looks nice and you do a good job," and it's well-meant, and that's enough for me. Also, his sister is like, a neurosurgeon or something, and he sounded pretty proud when he told me that, so he doesn't appear to be Keeping the Sisterhood Down in his spare time, so that's all good.

In any case, I had a good day and got a lot done. Now, I will eat some roast asparagus and potatoes (with cheese!), have a soda, and watch a movie. Well earned, I think.
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The things I'd planned to do today, and their success/failure status:

1 - Mower, round one: Swung by the local hardware store to pick up my nice little reel mower, which I'd dropped off Tuesday to be sharpened. Found out when I got there that the entire neighborhood around the hardware store was having a big yard sale. No parking to be found. Decided I'd try again on my way back from the rest of the errands. Status: Initial failure.

2 - Garden store, round one: Drove on up York to Towson, intending to go to Valley View up on York in Timonium. Didn't go around the Towson Circle far enough, because 99.9% of the time, I go off at Dulaney Valley, not York. Went off at Dulaney Valley, and accidentally drove all the way to Loch Raven before deciding that really, I was probably not going in the right direction. Had to turn around and try to get over to York. Status: Initial Failure. However - bonus lake!

3 - Garden store, round two: Garden store was mad busy due to beautiful day at start of spring. Bought two tomatoes, a tomatillo, some beets and leeks, and some climbing vines for the back fence. Almost spent $30 on a daylily, not realizing it was not priced the same as the other daylillies - but noticed just in time. Did not buy nine million things I did not need but which looked awesome. Status: Success!

4 - Mall: Had a number of different things to do at the mall. Got my hair cut, and discussed retirement planning with my 28-year-old hairdresser (she's ahead of the game, smart girl). Bought exactly what I intended at Lush, and only slightly more of what I intended at Sephora. Spent maybe 60 seconds in the Game Stop buying Portal 2. Met a totally charming salesgirl at the Delia's, named Zoe - she chatted me up about my Lush bag, and I told her how I discovered Lush before it even came to America (it's true!) As she was teling me the sales, I commented that, as I was dreadfully old, and the store is really for girls, I would not be able to take advantage of their jeans sale. "Oh that's not true," she said solemnly. "My mom buys jeans here and she wears an 11/12." She nodded to underscore her point. "An 11/12." Somehow, she managed to make a 40-year-old woman feel like she belonged in a store for high school girls, which was quite impressive. Zoe, you have a bright future! And I bought a dress! Status: Success for me and Zoe!

5 - Mower, round two: This time I got the mower. Status: Success, but without an exclamation point, because whatever, it's a mower.

6 - Lunch: Stopped at Atwater's at Belvedere Market, and had a chicken salad sandwich and pretentious but yummy root beer. Also got spring chicken soup to take home for dinner, which I have just now consumed. Status: SuccessSuccess, for being both lunch and dinner.

7 - Grocery store: totally belw this one off. Status: Abject Failure.

8 - Yardwork: Once I got home, spent a couple hours mowing and planting everything. Leeks are super fiddly to plant, suspect a number of them will not make it. Dug along the fence to plant climbing vine; found a big root. Dug elsewhere; found another big root. Fetched pruning shears and dispatched roots. Planted climbers and cheap daylily. Status: Current Success, but tomorrow when the rash breaks out on my hands because I didn't bother to wear two layers of gloves, and touched plants with bare skin, Follow-up Failure.

9 - Baking: Plan to bake butterscotch chip cookies for tomorrow. Haven't started yet. Status: Incomplete.
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Looking back over some recent lj entries, I realized while I said farewell to Otto and Butters, and hello to PJ, I never really mentioned the acquisition of Piper! And that's not fair; she's a little bit of a bitch but she's mostly a sweetie, so today we will formally discuss her.

(I have ferrets, so I talk about ferrets. If I had kids, you'd hate me even more...:)

After Otto died, I thought PJ would be fine on his own, and he was...but I wasn't. I like multiple ferrets - I like how they play together, I like how they sleep in a nice warm pile, and I like how they generally keep each other company. And though I like to play with the ferrets, I'm really not that much fun - I can't run under the couch, or through the tube, and I don't really like being bitten very much. So, after a few months with just PJ and I, I thought maybe I'd get another ferret. I poked about on the adopt-a-ferret sites, but a lot of them either came in pairs (and I didn't want to get two; what if they ganged up on PJ?!) or were older ones (and having just lost two in a row, I didn't want to sign on to an elderly weasel right away). So, just for fun, I dropped an email to PJ's breeder, to see if she had any more available.

"Well, I don't have any more boys right now.....but I do have PJ's sister."

Yes! PJ's actual sister; same litter and everything. Apparently, the year they were born, the breeder had a surplus of sable females, and not all of them sold, so Piper got kept. She was not used to breed, but she wasn't exactly kept as a pet either - the breeder has a lot of ferrets, so Piper was basically raised in a pen with other ferrets, not in a home with people. There was always playtime, and she was socialized, but it was a very different upbringing; however, the breeder said she was very nice, and a lot of fun, so I said I'd take her.

At first, they got along like brother and sister - which is to say, she bitched and moaned that he was touching her stuff, and he followed her around and bugged her because he thought it was funny. I am totally not kidding; she would *squeal* like she was being killed, and I would come running to find out PJ had backed her into a corner with his butt and was trying to sit on her. She would bite and hiss and snap at him, and he, literally three times her weight, would just tag along behind her and try and lie on her. But eventually, they began to get along - if she managed to chase him away, she'd follow him until he paid attention again, and within a few weeks they were sleeping curled up together. It took a while for them to play with each other directly, so I worked overtime for a while, then they would play together only if I was watching, which was odd. But now they have all their own games and though I am tolerated, they don't require my presence.

Piper herself has not quite adjusted to living with people. She's a bit skittish, and doesn't really love being cuddled, whereas PJ loves a good hug. But she is adorable, and soft, and has come to accept that I am going to want to hug and pet and hold her from time to time. Overall, she's not my good friend the way PJ has become, but I'm glad she's here. And when I walk into the room and she runs away like I'm going to eat her, that is sort of hilarious.

Welcome, Piper!
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1 - I can walk pretty much non-stop all day.

2 - A heated window seat is exactly as awesome as it sounds.

3 - I have empirically determined that a clawfoot shower add-on of the smaller circle type (like this) is not really big enough for me. I'm not sure it's big enough for anyone, really. Maybe Melissa would not find herself enveloped in clingy shower curtain, but I'm dubious.

4 - That said, after non-stop walking, a nice hot shower in any sort of enclosure is wonderful. Though I guess I knew that already.

5 - The Phipps Conservatory is well worth the visit. Especially during the orchid show! Also their cafeteria is surprisingly good.

6 - Carnegie museums are not open on Mondays! Aaarrgh!!

7 - Peanut sauce makes everything better.

8 - They like stained glass here; in fact I think it may be mandatory. They are also big, big Steelers fans. Yet strangely, I have seen no Steelers stained glass. A niche for you savvy aritsts to fill!

9 - The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History are almost an all day affair, though if you skip Egypt, the Polar exhibit, whatever crap avant garde thing is in the Heinz Gallery, and give short shrift to Animals of North America and Africa, you can do it in less. However, the design section of the art gallery, and the dinosaurs, are both well worth the time spent!

10 - It floods here like woah.

Overall - big thumbs up to Pittsburgh! Also, I stayed at the lovely Parador Inn, which I recommend highly: breakfast every day was super-yummy, the rooms are cozy, and the owner gives information when solicited, but otherwise leaves you the hell alone. It's probably even nicer when it's not March...:)
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I am reviewing my wishlist, and thought I would break some of the major categories out, for no real reason except my own amusement, and it's the INTERNET AND I CAN DO WHAT I WANT!!! Yes!

Food/Cooking/Crafts: 18 (mostly food; anyone surprised? Also knitting, which I don't do but apparently want to.)

Xtreme Xploration: 11 (I have an Everest/mountaineering thing, plus I like to read about people suffering in the cold when I am nice and comfy on the couch. Is that mean?)

Auto/Biography: 30 (wow. I am a sucker for people talking about themselves (or, sometimes, others))

Behavioral/Economics: 7 (not many, but enough to count. I also included here Varsity Green, which is about the college sports industry...that's sort of both).

Non-Fiction on Other Countries: 13 (best title: The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You A Happy Birthday. I also apparently have a North Korea thing. It is messed up over there, let me tell you.)

True Crime/Psychology/Medical: 13 (this is after my recent purchase of a couple of serial killer books (books about them, not by them). Looking forward to the book on the autism/MMR scare.)

Other Stuff: 70 (mostly fiction, also a smattering of religion, other non-fiction in smaller categories, and books I can't recall what they're about and don't feel like looking up this minute.)

So that's my booklist. Basically, anything that looks good, or anything that's next-most-recent by an author I like, goes on the list. Then every once in a while I purge the stuff which I've forgotten. I do like books.

Snow Day

Jan. 27th, 2011 04:50 pm
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I'm apparently the only person in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area who did not have a 6+ hour drive home yesterday in the sleet/slush/snow. It was a bit long, but no worse than a summer Friday, and there were few enough cars on the road that it was pretty good throughout. It only got dodgy in Baltimore; I was mentally mocking a guy who was driving with his hazards on (yes, we all know you're going slowly and it's treacherous), until I realized that he was fighting skidding out the whole time; his tires must have been completely bald. After I (cautiously!) passed him, I watched him skid out twice in my rearview mirror. But I was fine, other than going the wrong way down a one way (nobody else was on it, so no harm done), and failing to parallel park (it was slippery!). I decided I would not brave the roads today, and so slept in. Which was fortuitous; by the time I woke up at 9, some kind person in the complex had already dug me out - all the way up my steps, even! I felt guilty; I can dig my own walkway - but it was very nice.

She didn't, however, dig out my car, so I did that myself, like a grownup. I finished my morning of hard work by starting to dig out my back steps and walk, but was thwarted by another helpful neighbor - damn them! This was the Angry African Man - so named not because he is particularly Angry, but because he's a bit loud and has a very rough voice, so he sounds angry a lot. However, he's actually a Happy Carribbean/Canadian Man - he rushed over to help me out, and we chatted while I did my steps and he did the walk. He's from Guyana (and was pleased when I knew where that was), lived for 20 years in Montreal, and now is living in Baltimore being super-helpful and nice to his neighbors. I am glad to have met my Happy neighbor!

Since I wasn't totally exhausted, having shoveled maybe 4 square feet of space, I walked to lunch at Donna's, where the waitstaff was attractive but vaguely hostile. The roads were surprisingly slushy, even the main ones, plus there was a lot of melt and runoff, so I am sure driving in the morning will be awesome. I walked back through the nice neighborhood, listening to the melt water rush through the storm gutters. Heavy, wet snow was falling from all the trees, and there was a lot of limb damage; two big ones came off the tree in the courtyard in front of my house. I got home, hung my pants on the radiator, and took a nice hot shower. The ferrets were enjoying their snow day by getting a few more hours of sleep in the upstairs bathroom, and were not overjoyed by my disturbing them. Luckily, they have the attention spans they went right back to sleep.

Now, my lunch is starting to wear off, and I have pretty much nothing yummy in the house. Though, I do have some potatoes...and cheese...hmm.....
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I've been spending the day starting off the new year right! First off, rung in the year with friends, and good champagne, while wearing velvet pants, which is always a good thing. Then a good rest, despite getting up about 15 times to deal with the eight bottles of water I drank before bed - but, awakened bright and early with no hangover! Came down for the first cup of tea of the year, and to clean the kitchen and otherwise get the house in order, another theme to maintain through the year. Cleaned the ferrets' room and played with them (see, more themes!), even let PJ go outside for a bit while I ran to the car to get the cupcakes I'd left in there the night before. He was in no danger of running off - in fact, he basically stood on the top step and watched sadly as I walked out of sight (i.e. five feet away), and he was still there when I came back from the car. I wonder if he thought I would start the new year by abandoning my weasels! Not a good trend.

After all the cleaning, I settled down to some potato leek soup, and a viewing of Easy A, which was very, very good. In a bit, I will do my bills (theme!), and think about going shopping tomorrow, since I have to go to the mall and get my flat tire fixed/replaced (I ended the old year with a flat, but at least I realized it as I was driving to the party, so I just called AAA and started drinking while I waited for the guy to get there...:) I will have a snack, watch some new year's day tv marathons (Jerseylicious? Or Cupcake Wars?), and maybe catch up on recorded tv. In fact, since my cable box has screwed itself up three times in the last 24 hours, maybe I should watch *all* my recorded tv, just in case.

2010? I had no problem with it; for me, it was a pretty good year. I know some of my friends had some rough times, and so for them, I'm hoping the new year is much better. For me, I hope that I end 2011 with not only the same number of ferrets I start with (2), but also the exact same ferrets, which is not something I managed in 2010; that would be good. Otherwise, stayed in pretty good health, lost a little weight, saw friends, and generally enjoyed myself. In 2011, maybe I will bake more cupcakes (what with my fancy new tins), travel a bit more, try and spend some time with some of my friends who I have a hard time pinning down - that sort of thing. I already have one trip planned, and one visitor coming, so it's a good start! Of course, some of what actually happens is to a degree out of my hands, so we'll just have to see how it goes.

One thing I tried to do in 2010 was read more books, which I did indeed do. By my records, I read 48 in 2009, which was not a bad number. This year, I kept three books going at any given time, mainly because the book I want to carry in my purse can't always be the big book I want to keep on the couch, and because I like a little variety. As a result, I ended up with 86 books read! That may be off by one, which I started in 2010 but have not finished, but one can only be so perfect. And really, I don't think I should count it anyway - it's supposed to be amazing, but I think it's sort of awful, and I am skimming in hopes that I will run into the amazing part. I think I will read less in 2011, because I got a subscription to The Economist, which is going to take up a slot.

So to my reader, I wish you a Happy New Year!! Now, a chicken chili verde enchilada!


Sep. 14th, 2010 11:01 am
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Things I have:
1 - two days off
2 - time to play with my perky romping ferret
3 - a chance to catch up on all the tv I've been taping
4 - an opportunity to nap at will

Things I do not have:
1 - my car

Things I am about to not have:
1 - money for the car repair

However, I have had a very productive day! I dropped off the car, had a nice long walk back, stopped at the Tea Lounge for fancy tea, and voted, all in about an hour. Then I came home and finished a book while sitting on my porch. Soon, I will go up and clean PJs room, and then I will come back down and read on my porch some more. Since I can't get the car until tomorrow, I am in Enforced Lounge Mode, which is fantastic.

I was reading back through some old LJ entries looking for a specific write-up (which I apparently don't actually have), and found a meme from 2005. One of the questions was, "What are the first five things you would splurge on if you were a billionaire?" I answered a house (check!), tivo (DVR; check!), iPod (iPhone, check!), and books (check!). I also answered a trip to Japan, so I still have something to reach for. Either my desires are reasonable, or my sights are set way too low. I don't even know what I would want now, but I'll think about it, just in case I accidentally become a billionare - I want to be prepared!


Jul. 16th, 2010 09:47 pm
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I was going to write a long chatty post about my trip to Atlanta, but it's too damn hot to sit at the computer for very long (especially when it's a laptop - my lap is melting!) So instead, a list, in interview format!

What did I do? Go to the Georgia Aquarium and, incidentally, Atlanta.

Where did I stay? An adorable hotel in Midtown.

Why did I go? For the whale sharks! The only ones in the US! Also, manta rays, otters, and other fishes.

What did I do at the aquarium? Other than look at whale sharks, I also pet cownose rays (and a bonnethead shark) in the petting pool, watched the whale sharks feed (on tiny shrimp from giant spoons), let my adopted plush whale shark visit, and also bought him a friend.

Did I like the aquarium? Yes I did! It had many other exhibits, some of which I took pics of and some of which I did not. It also had two beluga whales, which seemed sort of neglected after the whale shark hype, but that could have been the touch of food poisoning I had, making me not as attentive. They looked like nice whales though. There was also a 3-D movie (skippable), and a special shark exhibit (very enjoyable). Overall, it was a good experience, even with food poisoning, and it's right next to the World of Coke, so you can also go there, and that's your day!

What else did I do in Atlanta? Well, I went to dinner, sat on the hotel patio, walked around and got a sunburn, never heard the word Pepsi, and generally enjoyed myself. And really, it probably wasn't food poisioning, it was probably overexertion and underhydration - so the food I ate really can not be blamed.

Was PJ happy to see me when I got home? It seemed like it...:)

Other comments? I'm glad to be home.
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Today was a lovely day, the first day not in the 90s (and I think not even in the 80s) in maybe two weeks. So, since I had some work to do in the backyard, I thought I woudl put PJ on his leash and have him outside to explore a bit while I worked. PJ came with a leash and harness - and it's a big tough harness too, more like a vest than some of the ones I've had for other ferrets - but I've never really taken him out on it. So, I stuffed him in the harness, clipped on the leash, grabbed my gardening tools, and off we went.

He immediately poofed up all fluffy, and sniffsniffsniffed everything he could reach. I took him inside and got a nice long piece of string, tied the leash to the string and the string to a chair, and got to work digging. PJ went under the bushes, by the house, over by the fence, and had an absolutely great time, while I puttered about in the dirt (and took pics, of course). Eventually, he crawled under a plant by the house, and lay quietly.

Too quietly.

I turned around just in time to see his butt disappearing around the corner of the house; he'd slipped out of his harness while hidden from sight, and made a break for it!

I caught him before he got far, and decided it was time for him to go back inside so I could finish working and not have a heart attack in the process. But we'll have to do it again, when I am more attentive, and there are fewer mosquitoes. I am, apparently, yummy.


Jun. 27th, 2010 09:12 pm
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I am sad to announce that Otto passed away unexpectedly overnight this weekend. He had been doing perfectly well as far as I could tell; he showed no signs of being sick at all. But when I went in to let them out this morning, he had died in his sleep. He was curled up in his blanket and his eyes were closed, so at least it looks like he went easily and without any distress.

In the last week, I had been finding him and PJ sleeping together when I went to check on them in the mornings, so it looked like they were starting to get along very well. PJ seems to be doing fine; he had always been an only ferret until I got him, though, so I think he will re-adjust well.

Otto had just turned five. He seemed to be getting along all right after the loss of Butters, but maybe he was missing him. It's hard to tell with ferrets; they are very stoic. He was a good boy, and definately my special favorite; I will miss him very much.
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Well, not so much for justice, but I feel like I didn't get much accomplished over the weekend, so I will make a list to prove otherwise! And because I like making lists.
1 - Got PJ shot for the rabies, which will prevent him from getting decapitated in the future.
2 - Tidied up the library, such that books are on shelves. Also found that the nice picture frame I'd finally gotten back from a friend, was broken at the bottom of a pile of books. Boo.
3 - Filed all filing.
4 - Finished three books, and started two books.
5 - Had the infamous duck fat french fries (yum!)
6 - Catsat for mildly tolerant cats.
7 - Cleaned and roomba'd extensively.
8 - Installed weasel A/C (with assistance of Useful Boyfriend).
9 - Spent quality time with Useful Boyfriend, including watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox, which was charming.
10 - Spent quality time with nerds.
11 - Weeded, and staked my tomatoes.
12 - Napped, and lay about extensively; also sat on the porch.

Okay, so that was some stuff. I feel a little better now.
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When I looked at this house before I bought it, one of the things I loved about it was the nice glassed-in sunporch. I planned on getting a nice chair, a cute little table, and having a nice place to sit in the evening, read a book, drink my was going to be perfect.

At the time I bought the house, though, I didn't have a nice chair, or a cute table. However, I did have a round porch table which was left at the house, and a blue metal chair which instead of having four legs, balanced precariously on one long traingular leg, sort of like a warped rocking chair. So I put them out there - a place to sit, a place to put my tea - just stand-ins until I could get the exact ones I wanted.

I never sat out there. The chair wasn't very stable, so if you sat in it and didn't lean back, it would tip forward. The table was just a little too big, so when the chair rocked forward, it would whack into the edge of the table, and the whole setup would sort of lock together and was very awkward. But they were there, and I didn't see the point in trying to mess with the setup, since I would at some point get the perfect chair, and....anyway, so that was a few years ago.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I realized I was being a colossal idiot. I hated the chair, and hated the table, and in the meantime was in no way coming near to getting the perfect chair and table out there. And I own other chairs! And other tables! Maybe - and this was a revelation to me - I could put a different set of furniture on the porch!

So I did. The chair is a hard wooden one, and could use a seat cushion (but I could buy one of those, right?), and the table is an old spool table I decoupaged the top of at some point. I have a milk crate I put a little pad on, so I can rest my feet on it. It's not perfect. But it's pretty darn good...:) Heck, I get wireless out there; I can surf the web and drink my tea, and shop for a chair cushion.

Not bad at all.
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Here's PJ!

I picked him up from the breeder Friday. He is 3, and he's related to Otto in such a way that they are some kind of cousins. He is a happy, perky boy who, when I met him, was romping around the ferret playroom at the breeder's, talking to himself and generally having a good time.

Since then, he's become somewhat more oppressed. Otto followed him around for about an hour the first night, sniffing and talking and generally being curious but well-behaved, until he apparently decided it was time PJ went home, and so Otto jumped him. Since then, the relationship has not been the best. Otto is clearly not overjoyed, and PJ is a little less care-free than he was before. But, that's to be expected - Otto's had a rough month, and he's never met another new ferret, so he's a bit stressed out. I've tried a couple of tricks - tonight, I washed them both so they'd smell similar, which seemed to confuse Otto ("I don't know if I like this guy...but I hate him less than that other guy!"), and earlier I put a little ferretone on each of them, so they'd smell yummy and lick each other. PJ was totally into the licking, but Otto kept catching himself, as if he was happy, and then was like, "Oh wait, it's this guy - I hate this guy!" But I could get him back to licking, which was good. I'm just trying to foster some positive-to-neutral together time, so they see it's not so bad. Tomorrow, I will try another trick - I bought new toys which don't smell like either of them, and will put them in the spare room (which is relatively unferrety, and thus neutral ground), and see if I can get them to play with the toys, near each other, if not with. But overall, I also think I'm going to have to let them sort it out - as long as there's no blood, sometimes they might just need a few tussles to establish who's in charge (Otto), and then it should be okay. I feel bad for both of them right now, though, poor things. Otto wants Butters back, and PJ wants to not be smote. I can sympathize with both - heck, it's stressing me out, and I know what's going on! They're just ferrets, they're totally confused!

Other than that, and accidentally breaking up with my boyfriend on Twitter during the week (Sorry, Max!), which he was good about and let me take back, it's been quiet.
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My mom's birthday is this weekend, so I have taken tomorrow off and will trek off to the Shore, rather than making the long work drive. Otto will come too, of course, and perhaps have a chance to meet the parrot again, and sniff about the place.

This is a good time of year at home - everything is green and growing, it's nice and warm during the day, but cool in the evening. I won't bother taking Kara because there's no internet; instead, I will sit on the brick porch, read books, drink tea, and look at nature. It's pretty much the ideal weekend. And vastly preferable to the winter (cold cold cold, and also windy) or the summer (hot hot hot...and totally not windy). Spring and fall are the time to go.

In weasel news, I'm contemplating purchasing a friend for Otto. He's doing okay, mental-health-wise (as much as one can tell with a weasel), but he's lonely and bored. Much as I play with him, I don't have a ferret's level of energy, plus I do not curl up with him at night (hey, I offered). I talked to the original breeder, and she thinks she has a boy who might suit. So we'll wait and see; I think Otto would be excited to meet a new friend.

In other news, there is no other news. Which is nice for a change.

Sad News

Mar. 30th, 2010 08:20 pm
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I am sorry to have to announce the passing of Butters, a very good ferret. He was almost five.

He'd had surgery for a gall bladder tumor last week, and due to complications, had a second surgery today. It's complicated to explain, but the surgeon said that the problems he still had, could not be fixed, so I decided it would be best to not wake him up. He'd actually had a very good week after the first surgery; he was recovering nicely, eating his food and being very curious and perky, and was even toddling about and hiding his toys (with some assistance from me); so that was good. It was simply not to be.

Otto is doing fine, though he seems a bit lonely. I'm sure he will now be a very spoiled single ferret.

Goodbye Butters. I miss you very much.
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Late last week, I noticed that Butters was more lethargic than usual, and Friday he didn't seem to eat anything, so Saturday morning, in we went to the vet. They kept him overnight, treated him for a liver problem (as he was very dehydrated and his values were all off), and when he didn't get better, they did a barium series on Monday, thinking there might be a blockage. When the barium didn't even make it out of his stomach, they opened him up and found, apparently, a huge gall bladder tumor (size of a walnut, said the vet - and when you're the size of a ferret, that's pretty big!) The vet's done a lot of ferret surgeries, and says he's only run into two or three of these - so yay Butters for being special! The good news is, ferrets don't need their gall bladders. The bad news is, because of where the gall bladder is placed, it's hard to get the whole tumor out, and it's a very stressful surgery. However, since Butters was in good health otherwise, and the other main option was to just not wake him up from surgery, I decided the vet should go for it. And he did, and I wouldn't be writing this in such a cheerful fashion if he had not made it!

So, he came home yesterday, and I took off a half day today and all of tomorrow to sit around and take care of him. This is the first ferret-recovery I've had to do while I had a real job, so this is a bit more challenging. However, he's doing really well - he's interested in eating kibble (though he finds chewing it so tiiiring....he just stops and lies down mid-chew, which is adorable but not helpful), and he's slurping up the baby food-vitamin mix like it's going out of style. So much so, that I actually thought he might pop earlier. He did not.

So my planned Boston trip has turned into an at-home ferret weekend. But that's fine; I'm just glad he's here to fuss over.

Oh, and Otto? Totally freaked out by the whole situation, both Butters leaving, *and* Butters returning. They've never been apart until this week, and when I brought Butters back, they sniffed each other for over a full minute. Crazy amounts of sniffing! I still have to basically keep them apart, though, as Butters is still quite rickety. But soon, I'm sure, they'll be back together. And since Butters doesn't need to be watched every minute, I am totally going to read books and watch movies and play Bioshock 2 all day tomorrow....:)
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On day three of off-work (three and a half, technically), have cleaned all rooms, including the third floor bathroom and washing the sheets on the guest bed. Snow is coming down in big fat flakes right now, and the wind is gusting; was just upstairs and it whipped up snow off all the trees and bent them down sideways for a second. I've never been so happy that the dead tree in my yard went down over the summer, else it would surely be down now and everyone on my alley would hate me.

The ferrets have enjoyed being out of their cage for days, though Otto seems to be going stir-crazy - which is weird because it's not like they *usually* leave the house. Butters has spent most of the time in my homemade mouse-catching box, which was very good for catching mice for a while. A bit harder when it's full of weasel. That said, I haven't seen mice for a few days; I think I finally managed to kill/relocate enough mice such that I'm either out, or the others decided to move on. I'll stay on mouse vigilance for the rest of the week (heck, I'll be here, may as well), but next week if Idon't see any, I think I can move the ferrets back into their room and out of the bathroom. Not that I don't love having them stare beadily at me in the morning.

I don't know if I'll officially be off tomorrow, but if it snows and blows into the night, I don't know when I'll dig out today. Heck, depending on the Fancy Neighborhood Organization, my street may not even be plowed. So, even if work requires me, they may not get me until later in the day, if at all. We'll see.

Yesterday, realizing a storm was coming and I was out of coke, I walked down to the Giant, about a mile away. I went down Old York Rd, which is *not* in the fancy neighborhood, and I'd say about a third of the streets I passed had not been plowed, only dug out to one degree or another by people living there. On the way I also passed a backhoe just moving snow, in anticipation of today's weather. The Giant was packed, no surprise, but had soda. Walking about a mile through snowy streets with a twelve-pack was a bit of an adventure, though. I have had a lot more exercise than usual, despite all the snow. Saturday, it was four miles (round trip) to and from a friend's; Sunday I dug out my walk and part of the (rotten) neighbor's, and worked on my car; Monday, okay, that was mostly driving, and Tuesday was two miles round trip. Today, though, I think I will stay put until the snow is over.

Luckily, other than coke, my fridge was well stocked before any snow started. Right now, I am eating grocery store "fresh" pasta, to which I added sauce and spinach and cheese; I still have a serving of my chicken casserole, plus frozen things, and some fresh veg. And of course, snacks! I am set up until at least next week, if that's what it comes to, and it well may. Yesterday was a Law & Order: SVU marathon; now I am watching Weird Creatures, and learning about the slow loris. Well, I will as soon as they catch one.

Hope everyone else is doing well!


Feb. 8th, 2010 01:42 pm
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A 28" snow storm? For me? You like me; you really like me! But honestly, I'm so surprised and thankful, I don't even know what to say... *rustle rustle* Oh, look, a speech!

I'd like to thank the snow, for being so scary that everything shut down early Friday and let me run errands at a reasonable hour.
I'd like to thank my odd foreign friend, for having sent me bath treats which arrived well in time for me to have a nice hot bath while the snow was falling Friday evening.
I'd like to thank my lovely boyfriend, for trekking through the snow to my house so I could stay warm inside.
I'd like to thank my other friends, for virtually forcing me to walk through the snow Saturday afternoon, and again Saturday night, which was a wonderful, if cold and wet, experience.
I'd like to thank my thermos, for keeping my tea hot all day, though I left it on the counter all day while I was out. Maybe next time!
I'd like to thank my next-door neighbors, for not digging out their front walk or cleaning off the bush in their yard which was blocking the path, therefore requiring me to do it, and improving myself via struggle with adversity.
I'd like to thank my lovely boyfriend again, for doing the lion's share of the work involved in digging my car out, and being good natured when I then made him walk home rather than drive him through the icy roads.
I'd like to thank my car, for dealing with the cruddy roads despite the fact it doesn't have any four-wheel drive, chains, or high clearance, but it does have an overly confident driver.
I'd like to thank the fancy neighborhood, for paying for a plow so I could actually get out, though I still can't go back to my snow emergency street for the forseeable future.
I'd like to thank a small grey mouse, for getting caught in the humane trap and requiring me to trek to the park, which was empty of small children and peaceful. And now, mousier!
I'd like to...wait, why is the music starting? But I haven't even thanked Obama yet! Hey, get off me!! *gets dragged offstage to cheers*
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