Dec 31, 2006

The Nosurf Family Rodent Chronincles, volume 1

My family has a rich and flavorful history with rodents. Ok, no-- not what you're thinking. We're not a family that enjoys living in filth. These rodent episodes are purely happenstance-- not a result of lifestyle. Bad things happen to good people, guys. C'mon.

Anyway, first experience. This one began with good intentions. When I was living alone with my daughter, I kind of got baby hungry. Moms, you know what I mean? When your youngest child hits about the 2-year mark, and you start seeing these gooey little bundles all around and you're just like, I want one.

Well, in order to stave off this craving, I bought a rabbit. A cute little mini-rex with reddish brown hair and bright black eyes. He was adorable, and very friendly, and very smart, too. I named him Rudy and trained him (mostly) to go potty in one corner of his cage. He would hop up in peoples' laps sometimes and sniff them just like a little cat or dog. Man, I loved that rabbit. But it didn't completely help with the baby hunger-- about six months later, I bought a mini lop and named her Chloe. She was just a baby, so I didn't switch her cage yet, but I bought one, just in case. And then, a few months after that, a baby netherland dwarf, which Loli named Honey. At that point, Chloe was in another cage, of course, and so I put Honey in with her.

OK, yes. Eccentric. A woman living in an apartment with three rabbits. And it was completely against the apartment code. My roommates complained, so I moved them to my little tiled walk-in closet.

Well, the other two weren't as happy as little Rudy. Chloe was weird from day one-- there was something wrong with her back legs so that she sort of weirdly dragged/crippledly lopped across the room. She didn't like being held, either. She would put up a fuss unless you allowed her wherever, whenever, whatever she wanted to do. She never was box trained-- she absolutely refused. So I decided she had to be a confined rabbit.

I felt bad-- she never got enough exercise, or attention, but it seemed after a few weeks that she sort of liked it that way. She'd look at you angrily and stomp really hard if you came too close to her cage. And she'd nearly tear your hand off when you dropped food in there, too. I devised some ingenious strategies for the purpose of cage cleaning-- drop a box in, and when she goes in to exmamine it, slam a top on it, pull it out (avoiding the handle holes, of course) and then place it carefully back in and whip the top off and slam the cage shut when I was done.

I think it was living with Chloe that made Honey the nervous wreck that she was. She'd cower pathetically in the corner. I'd take her out a lot and soothe her, but she just wouldn't calm down enough.

One day, I decided to take all of them to the vet to get checked for health. In particular, I wanted to find out if something was wrong with Chloe. She'd outgrown her weird cripple-hop, but she was just so angry all the time. My roommates called her the demon rabbit. We could hear the sound of her angry thumps all the way in the living room.

I took them in, and they were each weighed (Chloe with a towel around her) and their claws were trimmed (Chloe flailed herself out of the arms of the vet and landed weirdly, breaking a nail off and bleeding profusely all over the clean floor of the examining room.)

The vet examined all of them and told me something surprising: contrary to what the pet shop people told me, Chloe was not female. She was a he. The vet said that Chloe was actually quite normal, just... how did he put it? "Feisty."

Well if that's feisty, I don't want to know what disturbed is. Or rabid. A rabid rabbit must be a thing of montypythonic proportions.

Well, it was a toss up. I most definitely couldn't put Chloe and Rudy together. I tried it once, and Chloe had hunks of fur out of him within the first three seconds.

I was concerned about the pairing of Chloe and Honey, for reasons I already explained. And I figured that, as Honey was not old enough by the book to have babies yet, maybe I'd be all right putting her in with Rudy, who was sweet and companionable, until I could buy a third cage.

A month later, I bought the third cage and put Rudy in it, leaving Honey in the first which was much larger, cusher and had more bunny toys. I figured she needed the TLC.

Four weeks later, she was tearing hair from her chest and belly and shredding newspaper. I'd read enough rabbit books to know what that meant, and so I gave her lots more newspaper and called around at pet stores to see if they would take mini rex/ netherland dwarf mix rabbits. I was worried about her, as she was supposed to be too young to have babies, and so I watched and fed her carefully. A couple of days later, I discovered her babies, which were actually quite a bit bigger than I'd been told they should be, and they had lots of hair too.

Wierd. Oh well. Three weeks later, I sold them..

and then two days later, I found eight MORE.

I stood in front of her cage, watching the little, squirming, eraser-pink rabbits (which were quite a bit smaller, and quite a bit more hairless than the last batch had been when I discovered them) and then finally came up with what must have happened-- She'd already had her babies when I switched rudy out of the cage. She'd just hidden her nest somewhere I couldn't see until I moved the furniture around, and then she kept adding her fur because she didn't have enough newspaper. Rudy'd impregnated her AGAIN, within days of her giving birth to her first litter. It happened not once, but TWICE within the month of her rooming with Rudy.

I read my rabbit book again and found that, when a female rabbit is paired with a male, she matures much faster (sexually) than she does in a cage by herself.

Well, I sold her second litter and examined her sadly-- she was very thin and tired looking.

I thought to myself, I'm a terrible person. I can't handle rabbits-- I can barely handle my own two year old. It was accidental cruelty, but cruelty nonetheless.

I called mom and asked her if she'd take my rabbits home with her and sell them. She graciously agreed to do so. I think that my two little sisters enjoyed them while they were there and gave Honey and Rudy some good attention. Chloe, I hope they left alone. But my sisters still have all their fingers, so I figure my Mom advised them on that score.

Mom found a good home for Honey and Rudy, but (surprise, surprise) could not place Chloe. Nobody wanted him. And so she decided that she would put a little rabbit hut in our orchard and let him romp around in there-- she lives in a very temperate climate, and there's plenty of rabbit fodder in the overgrown jungle of the fenced in area our family calls an orchard.

Chloe LOVED the freedom. He would run all over the place. My little sisters would go down to feed the sheep and they'd see Chloe out there in the middle of a grassy field, jumping ecstatically, doing back twists, springing madly all over the place. One time my grandma, who lives below us, called and asked whether my mom had gotten a dog-- a weird brown and white creature was growling and dashing in and out of her garden.

Sadly, Chloe's freedom only lasted for a few weeks. A coyote got him in the end. I feel badly about that, because I know I could have done better by him. Maybe bunny obedience school? Is there a such thing as bunny therapy? Or bunny juvenile lock-down?

At any rate, my one comfort is this-- the last few weeks of his life were the happiest a bunny could ever have. Ever. And it was quick.

Thus ends the first of the Nosurf Rodent Chronicles.

Dec 20, 2006

What color green

A new fun quiz!! Because I like to think of myself as green (environmentalist, vegetarian, etc) anyway.

You Are Olive Green

You are the most real of all the green shades. You're always true to yourself.

For you, authenticity and honesty are very important... both in others and yourself.

You are grounded and secure. It takes a lot to shake you.

People see you as dependable, probably the most dependable person they know.

True? I dunno. But it would be nice, wouldn't it?

Dec 19, 2006

Dee dee dee dee, dee dee dee dee--

that's supposed to be twilight zone music.

So, over Thanksgiving vacation, I had a disturbing experience. I got into my poop covered red intrepid (bird poop. It's a story for another blog.), turned the key, and whose voice do you think blasted through the speaker system?

Rush Limbaugh's.

In my car.

I stood, staring, dumbfounded for a moment, and then laughed as I realized that, no, my car was not possessed. My mother had borrowed my car the day before. My MOTHER listens to Rush. She listened to him in the car on the way home from picking me up from school every day. I think it's one of the main reasons I became a Democrat.

I don't think I can summon up any name that I would enjoy less to have to exorcise from my car than Rush Limbaugh.

Except maybe George W. Bush.

Or maybe Paris Hilton.

Anyway, I kept the station on just for a few more minutes out of pure morbid curiousity. After listening for a good fifteen minutes I realized that it wasn't Rush Limbaugh at all-- it was another bitter, loud-mouthed, sarcastic, belligerant, ultra-conservative male.

What, there are more than one????

I mean, what does that say about America. Seriously.

OK, really seriously, I want to know: how do you all feel about that sort of abraisive media personality (think Dr. Laura, Dr. Phil, as well). Do you like, or no? And what do you like or dislike about them?

I think that the reason why people call up Dr. Laura even though they know she's going to tell them in five different ways how they're stupid is because they want someone to tell them what to do. Ditto dr. Phil. Rush? I have no idea why people listen to him.

Why do you? (really curious-- not trying to be accusatory here).

Dec 17, 2006

Dec 12, 2006

all about Loli

This is Loli, full name, Lolipopoholic. For those of you who haven't followed this blog, her name stems from her intense love of sugary delights, which I am (somewhat unsucessfully) trying to wean her.

This next item

Is a picture of the rock collection that we painstakingly (well, actually, rather sloppily, but it was funner for loli that way) put together. The labels may or may not be accurrate-- mom has absolutely no interest in rocks (this was loli-fueled) and so she had to read a lot of books in order to teach loli what loli wanted to know.


Is our fun snowy backyard. Loli buried her dinosaur "to wait until springtime" and made a castle by sticking a gnarled stick in the mount of snow (and dinosaur grave).

This is Loli Shorn, as of today (11/12). She's still iffy about it-- but I decided that it was a necessary step to take in order to avoid hairballs. (If you've ever raised a little girl, you know of which I speak.)

This is her assignment today-- we learned about Kangaroos this week (on Loli's request). I have loli draw a picture about something we learned, and then narrate the picture underneath. In case you can't tell, this one says "Kalme (she named the kangaroo in her picture) looking for food."

Ta Da.

Dec 3, 2006

Back from CA

Hello, all. I hope you guys have had a good Thanksgiving. Ours was an extended vacation (for me. Dh worked from home. :( But he did take Thanksgiving and half a day off, so he did get a holday, thank goodness. Because of the Entreprenuereal nature of the company he works for, it seems that there is hardly ever a day we can call our own. But that's OK, he loves it).

We ate lots of pumpkin pie (and all got sick... sigh.) But it was still good. And possibly worth it.

What was your favorite thanksgiving food this year? My vote is definitely the blueberry cheesecake-- it was delicious. And I happened to be the one who made it, from a recipe that the ward gave out. I was pleasantly surprised by the deliciousness of it.

1 block of cream cheese

2 cups of whipped cream (sweetened, of course)

2 tsp lemon juice (you can add more to taste)

-- mix these together.

the crust-- half a cube of melted butter and nilla wafers-- add butter or wafers as needed for how much crust you're making.

A can of blueberry pie filling (or cherry, or whatever you like on your cheesecake).

Chill for at least an hour.

Hope you all had a good time, too.

Naked Barbie Doll

I remember one time when I was about sixteen- far too old to play with barbie dolls- my Grandpa happened by randomly. My mom is a little perturbed when people happen randomly by, because she has so many children that, in the normal course of a day, she cannot get the house to a pristine state. And so she has to make a special effort, and this requires notification.

Anyway, he came in and sat casually on the couch and engaged me in conversation. Among the randomly-strewn objects that he had to sweep away was a barbie doll. Veronica, I think her name was, or maybe Emily. It didn't matter to me anymore-- I didn't play with them. My little two-and-four-year-old sisters did.

I was totally embarrassed. I mean, you don't think of these things normally, you know? I grew up in a house full of girls. We all know what we look like without clothes on. And so the fake plastic-y, impossibly domed breasts, bottleneck midsection, and oddly prong-like hips were not really that arresting. Naked barbie dolls were a common sight at my house.

But when my grandfather picked up Debbie (I think that's what her name was) so that he could sit down, I experienced a flash of intense embarrassment. I mean, my grandpa. He's six feet tall, and taught me how to drive off road vehicles and survey with tin-can lids. He was the one who first induced me to bait a hook. I never heard him utter a single swear word (Then. Now I have. He's less worried about his influence on his impressionable adult granddaughters, I think.)

He had to look at a naked barbie doll. My insides recoiled, and ever since then I have not viewed barbie dolls the same way. I mean, despite the fact that their main purpose is to be dressed and undressed, consider. There's a Ken doll, too, with very removable clothes. What are kids supposed to do with these dolls with over-sexualized forms and skimpy ensembles?

Seriously. What is the purpose of a barbie doll? Think about this for a moment. Have you ever seen a barbie doll without feet that are molded so that they can wear anything but the barbie equivalent of six-inch stilletoes?

Out of all the barbie outfits, what percentage of them would you let your toddler leave the house wearing? Or your junior-high-schooler, for that matter? And yet, when do barbies lose their attraction? Somewhere around junior high age. Far before the time when such outfits are acceptable (if, in fact, you are EVER willing to let your daughters leave the house wearing such ensembles.)

My hypothesis-- barbie dolls are intended for the young exploration of sexuality. No, no, hear me out.

What are the primary features of a Barbie or Ken doll? Think about that one. What do the designers include, and what do they leave out?

A Barbie doll has breasts but no belly button. She has a defined behind, but her fingers and toes are crude-- in the cases of older versions of barbies, the foot is just one solid block, shaped to fit into a stilleto.

Why do barbies need an anatominally correct behind? If the purpose is to dress them in beautiful clothes and have them be Mrs. President or Nurse barbie, such specificity is obsolete.

The same with Ken's anatomy in that region-- why do we need something vaguely suggesting genitalia, when none of his pants are form-fitting enough for such accuracy (or rather, laughable inaccuracy) to matter?

Ever since the grandpa incident, I have pondered this from time to time. I ponder it as I look at the barbies that have been donated to my 4-year-old-- yes, I admit that I didn't object to them when I could have. It's far too easy. And she's only four, right? So it's not like she'll notice anything.

Well-- it's not so simple as that, I don't think. Even though barbies are generally put aside at around the time sexuality becomes an issue in a developing girl (or boy)'s life, they retain that image of the strange, domed breasts, the impossibly long neck, the waist that, in real life, would require the removable of several ribs to achieve. You know where I'm going with this.

I remember the first time I realized that my own figure wasn't odd and unattractive-- when I lived with roommates at Rick's college. Before that, I had only my mother-- and she was very modest. The only glimpse of a real breast I ever had was when she breastfed-- or those diagrams they give you in sexual education class. But I dismissed both of those-- my mother and I share the same genes, so of COURSE I inherited her strange, non-perky cleavage. And those diagrams were obviously poorly drawn, probably because the artist was too embarrassed to render an accurate drawing. Right?

It was a relief for me to realize that I wasn't ugly and dumpy and squat-- that most (normal, not anorexic or plasticly enhanced) girls share the same figure that I did. That actually, I had quite a nice body.

But I still can't quite internalize it. I mean, I grew up thinking of this

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

as what a naked woman looks like. And as for a naked man-- well. I wasn't even supposed to worry about that, right? So I tried not to think about it. But I remember being extremely horrified the first time I went swimming with my guy friends and saw their extremely hairy armpits. I mean, I knew that armpit hair existed-- I had to remove my own on a regular basis. And theoretically, I knew that armpit-hair removal wasn't a thing that most (non-supermodel, Mattew McConaghuey in how-to-lose-a-guy-in-ten-days) guys engaged in.

Consider my utter horror when I discovered that, in addition to to this, some guys have hair on their backs. (not, thank goodness, my dear sweet spouse. Ok. Anybody who's reading this who knows us, don't tell Skywalker that I wrote about his patterns of hair growth).

And, let's face it-- a Ken doll is a very innacurate representation of the male anatomy. If you grow up thinking of guys as hairless, rounded, and possibly with patterned underpants printed on their skin, you're going to be rather rudely awakened on your first real encounter. Is that really very productive? (I mean, if, for instance, you've waited until the honeymoon to engage in physical intimacy, the shock of such things could render you, erm... a little hesitant. I mean, couldn't they?)

I have decided that the barbie dolls have GOT to go. I don't want my girls to grow up thinking they're deformed. And I don't want my boys to grow up thinking that a normal woman is shaped like a wasp with breast implants.

I'm not saying that there aren't other ways to mitigate this-- sexual education is very important, on the part of parents especially. And being afraid of your own body will have a significant effect on your children. But I still contend that the barbie dolls--

they have a significant effect on how girls (and curious little boys) view their bodies and those of the opposite sex's. So, dolls should either be very accurate or not even try. This idealized hazy suggestion of sexuality is too potentially damaging.

So now, I call upon y'all to THROW OUT THE BARBIES. Buy my little ponies or cabbage patch dolls instead.

Unless of course, you're willing to go to the extreme that one of my childhood girlfriends did-- rub the front of her barbie dolls on the pavement until the breasts are down to a reasonable size and sew permanent panties on. But that seems a little neurotic-- I'd worry about my girls if I saw them doing that.

I'd love your comments.