Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Brought to you today by the number 10.....

Two tens actually. For those of you not in the know (like you missed the FB post) after 1.5 yrs we have finally managed to begin the procreation process for the second time. Apparently I'm not that easy a breeder, go figure. We are presently at 10 weeks and yes, I know, most people in my precarious position (Advanced maternal age, such a great title to be tagged with) don't tell the world until 12 weeks but back in the real world it just wasn't practical. Which leads me to the second 10, that's about how long I'll have had (in years) between my 2 children. Hiding it from the 9 yr old was going to become difficult right quick.

You see my mother in law flew out Christmas day to spend a week and a half with us. She'll be here for my first real prenatal appointment (I've already been once but apparently it doesn't count) (?) and she has 2 sons so the pregnancy/grandchild thing is a super big deal for her. Super big deal. FYI I'm not telling my own mother until I have to. Preferable never but I'm a realist. So maybe she'll figure it out in the 3rd trimester. Anyway the mother in law likes to buy all of the maternity clothes (fucking awesome). She did it for my sister in law for her one pregnancy (they tried to have another but she was in her 50's by then, no go) and she did it for me when I was pregnant with my daughter. Now since she lives in San Diego I knew that there would be some shopping involved in this visit. Shopping of the preggers nature. This basically made it so we kinda needed come clean with the kid because she's no dummy. She figured out the secret of Santa last year all by herself. Trust me, she'd have noticed something was up a lot sooner than my idiot mother will. And I'm ok with that. So we decided we'd tell her on Christmas day as an extra bonus gift. She's dying for a girl. Mother Nature being what it is she has a better than 50% chance of it being a girl. I always wanted a boy but really, I think it'll be a girl. Murphy's Law right?

I did have an appointment as soon as I tested positive. My doctor is paranoid because of that whole brain explosion thing 3 (was it 3?) years ago. I thought I was only about 5 weeks along so we didn't know if we'd see anything on the ultrasound. Turned out at the time I was 7 weeks along (wow, impressive math skills Michelle) and we got to see it on the ultrasound (doesn't look like much at that point) and most exciting, I got to hear the heartbeat. This is big for me. At my age (37) my eggs are old and there are a multitude of different things that can go wrong. The heartbeat tells me, at the very least, it's alive. I had a co-worker whose wife got pregnant at the same time I did with my daughter and she ended up getting a D&C because they never found a heartbeat. That's gotta suck. There's also a high risk of miscarriage, most of the women I know around my age had at least 1 before getting a viable pregnancy.

I have high hopes for this pregnancy. The last one was at a kinda precarious point in my life, was only really dating my present hubby, and we had no idea how the relationship was going to work out. And there were a variety of other health issues in the beginning so I was pretty much miserable on top of being hormonal. I don't have any happy memories of that pregnancy. Or for a good 2 years after either. It's been almost a decade since then though and I'm determined to have a pleasant, if not happy, pregnancy. I'm not worried about labor and delivery. I know all the horror stories and I have some of my own. And just so ya know, an aneurysm hurts WAY WORSE than giving birth. May you never find out the hard way. I know what I do and do not want. I have people (no, not the hubby) who will be there for me and will either kick out or beat the crap out of anyone who goes against my wishes. It's good to have some serious beotches at your back in the L&D room. Everyone needs at least one. I also don't have family telling me what I'm doing wrong. I'm a mom, my kid, my word is law, they can piss off.

I'm so glad I'm not a first time mother anymore, that was HELL. I have high hopes for this one. I may have to kill a few people who piss me off but I have no problems with that. I'm a chemist, no one can hide bodies as good as me.

Did I mention that (as an added bonus) my kid saw me in the shower yesterday morning and told me I didn't look like I was pregnant. She also said that her friend (a boy whose mom recently had a baby) said I didn't look pregnant either. I didn't want to pop her bubble and tell her it's because mommy already has too much of a belly on her and if mommy was skinny you'd be able to tell. No, I thanked her and told her it was a sweet thing to say. The child is built like the hubby, stick thin forever, so she doesn't need to know that there are those of us who will always be a bit round. May this next one have the same luck and get the skinny gene. Wish us luck!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Food for thought

Every once in awhile I flit across an interesting human behavior article on CNN (or maybe Time even, I like them both) and it gets me thinking. I know, I know, dangerous thing me thinking and all. This particular article was very short and to the point
Babies go to school to teach
And what it basically said is that they bring a baby in to class to see if the kids can understand what the baby is feeling through body language. The original point was to help build a more peaceful and civil society through children. What they found was that it reduced bullying because they could empathize better. And all they did was expose them to a baby and her momma and asked them about body language.

Seems simple doesn't it? But the fact the third graders learned important social behaviors from it tells me there are some bigger social issues going on here. Apparently empathy isn't something you're born with, it's something you learn. Where do you learn it? Your parents (I'm assuming here)? TV (more likely)? And don't you think many of these children would be able to see this momma baby relationship at home or with friends that have baby siblings?

And there's the rub huh? With the whole 60's sexual revolution women earned the right to be equal (yeah right) in the work force so now we all get to go to work for 10+ hours a day. And come home, cook, clean, do homework with the kids, get them ready for bed, and sure we've got plenty of money for multiple children. Now that both adults are working and we spend all that money on child care. Because we earned the right to be in the work force and pawn our children off to child care businesses. I have a problem seeing how we're so much better off this way. Now that we can mass produce offspring and pay a business to raise them for us.

So these children are learning about relationships and empathy by having someone other than their mom (who can't possibly have the time or money for another kid) and somewhere other than in their own home. Because, you know, the public schooling system, in theory, is not responsible for building the basis with our children's morals but in the end somebody has to do it. It's not like parents have the time for it any more right?

See, it was a short article but I think they left out a whole bunch. Talk about not seeing the forest through the trees. Or maybe I'm just hormonal today. Lord knows it's always a high possibility.....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dennis the Menace

I wish I had a photo for this post, I really do. I'm going to try and make a point of taking my camera in the mornings specifically for y'all and the visual that you really need for this.

I live in a 'brick home, in a school zone, with the doors locked and alarms on' neighborhood (name that song). It's a gated community, and yeah the gates are constantly broken so I'm still not sure why they bother. Regardless, it's a somewhat hoity toity hood and there are different levels of stupid expensive homes in it in different sections. We don't really belong there but I fell in love with the house so there we are. Their are rules pertaining to all kinds of things in my hood, as to be expected with a gated HOA hood. People break the rules all the time but rarely to an extent where they'd get popped. One of the rules is no free roaming animals. Even cats. I like this rule personally because walking my big psycho dog is a beotch if there's a wandering animal about. Impossible really. Mostly it's the super rich homes that let their animals wander. They either don't want to spend the money on a fence that matches, don't really care, or both. They just open their doors and let their pets out. I'm sure they crap everywhere else but their own lawns so it's a double bonus for their lazy ass owners. I don't live in the richy part of the hood though so I only see this while either driving through their end or on the rare occasion I take a 2+ mile walk over there with my big psycho dog.

Recently I've seen a stray in the hood. You can tell it's a stray not because it doesn't have a collar (most of the richy dogs don't) but because of the breed. Best I can tell is that it's a big black pit bull boarder collie mix. Black with a bit of white around it's neck and chest. I was a vet tech for over 5 years, I can often call the mix of breeds. He is neutered and seems nice. I'd like to catch him but it's hard to get him close enough. I know that many of the neighbors have tried because we all want him caught. One neighbor came around to let people know not to call animal control because she wanted him. Too bad she didn't leave any contact info. Idjit. It's been at least 2 months since he was (I'm thinking) dumped in our hood. Lets face it, we're way the Hell out in suburbia and no one owns a pit mix in our hood. Not pretty or purebred enough for our hood. It's gotten below freezing at least 3 times in that time span and he's still doing ok. I'm hoping someone is feeding him or something. I see him just about every morning and occasionally in the afternoon.

Here's the sight that just killed me though. Last night I see 2 women walking their golden retrievers at a decent clip. Goldens are real laid back go with the flow kind of dogs and they don't mind much as long as you take them out for exercise. Along side them is the stray (I've nick named him Dennis the Menace) as if he's totally park of they pack. If you didn't know that he was a stray you wouldn't know it watching him walk with them. It was so sweet, you know that poor dog wants to have home. It was just heart breaking to watch because I knew those women weren't going to take him home. If I didn't have psycho dog I could try to get him but alas, my psycho would flip the hell out.

My mission for today is to get a hold of a slip lead and see if I can't wrangle his butt up. I see him just about every morning at the same time when I drop the kid off at school. I can't get him with the kid in the car but after I drop her off I'm hoping I can con him into jumping in the car. Dogs are such suckers for rides. I don't know what I'll do with him if I do catch him. Maybe wait until everyone gets home in the evening and then take him door to door to see if anyone will either a) take him in or b) donate money for his care. People don't like taking in a responsibility but they'll assuage their guilt with money. Hey, it's just that kind of hood. Then if I can get someone who will take him I can give them the money to get him shots and whatnot. I'd rather not give him to animal care, they're the only ones with room right now and they have a high kill rate. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Uninspired

Every year I make my own Christmas cards. Not because I like Christmas, I don't, but because I like making cards. If you get a card from me it's 100% made by me. I have a scrapbooking room, it's filled to the brim with an ungawdly amount of crafting things and an ungawdly expensive sewing machine because I quilt too. On rare occasion. The hubby makes fun of me because I have all these hobbies I've put time, energy, and a stupid amount of money into but they lay idle for a year or two at a time. No, really just a year mostly. Every year, at the very least, I unbury my scrapping table (I tend to pile stuff on it throughout the year) and get to the Making of the Christmas cards. I don't have to make many. I don't like a lot of people so my card list is limited to those I like. And those who ask for one. I post up on FB for people to send me their address if they want a card from me. I always get a few takers. Must be an 'in the holiday season mood' thing. The process of making the cards is what I love. Each year is different but that year only has 1 variation. That way I can assembly line the process. One year I had a card that was no less than 12 different steps. It was a nice card. One has to keep in mind though that if it goes past a certain thickness or weight you have to pay extra for postage so I avoid ribbons or fat embellishments.

Every year I go to a card/scrapbooking forum (Split Coast Stampers) to mooch ideas from others. I call it 'gaining inspiration'. Sometimes I totally copy the idea, other times I modify it for the particular stamps I own. There are pages and pages of card examples in their gallery. Some of these things wouldn't even fit into an envelope and were obviously made for the sake of making, not mailing. Others are so detailed and involved I'd need an art degree to re-create it. Lovely, just not practical. This year I was at Michael's getting some figurines for the kid's yearly project and I found a stamp set on sale that I just could not pass up. I went to look at the gallery on Split Coast Stampers to get 'inspired' with the intention of starting, if not finishing (whoa), my cards for this year. For the first time ever I did not see a single one that caught my eye. Not one. I mean there were dozens of beautiful cards, just none I wanted to re-create. Normally there's at least a few that I will want to re-create bad enough to even buy the stamp set/embossing panel/shape cutter that I'd need to make it. This time, not so much. Odd too since most of the stamp manufacturers have a new holiday stamps set out that is to die for. At least one! Not this time. At least nothing that caught my eye. So sad...

Regardless the stamp set I had found inspired me enough so that I'm pretty sure I can come up with something all on my lonesome. Not my ideal but you know, I can be creative too! I think. We'll see huh?

On that note if you'd like to get one of my super special handmade Christmas cards then email me/pm me your address and I'll put you on the list.

The basics

If you haven't figured it out by now the holiday season is my least favorite time of year. It shouldn't be, I have a school aged kid (they always love Christmas) and the vicious grip of summer has been released by this time of year. Well kinda, this week (Thanksgiving week) it'll be in the 80's all week long. For us that isn't bad though and we consider that the beginning of winter (no real fall). It's a Texas thing, move here and you'll understand. Still, I hate this season. Oddly it's not even really dealing with family or making the food. We don't live near family except for my mom and we avoid each other for the most part. What bothers me the most is other people's behavior. The holiday season brings out the asshole in everyone. Driving in this state is scary enough as it is. Texas is by far the most horrid state for drivers in the nation. I've driven on both coasts, in the middle and even New York city, which wasn't bad at all. Texas drivers suck balls. It's astounding to see the kinds of moronic mistakes they make. Add the holidays in the mix and that's it, nightmares-r-us.

Shopping at something as basic as the grocery store during the season? REDUNCULOUS. I tried to get everything I needed for Thursday's dinner purchased by this past Saturday. I was almost successful. I forgot the gravy. No I do not make my own gravy, it's too easy to buy it in a jar and I can't tell the difference in taste. Yes, I do the whole turkey dinner thing all by myself for just me, the hubby, and the kid. Yes, it's a lot of food but when I got the turkey I called the hubby to let him know that some how (miraculously) the thing fit in our freezer. He then asked, just to make sure, if I bought one big enough that we'd have left overs. Let's think about this for a moment. The average small turkey is at least 10lbs right? Maybe? Close? There's 3 of us and one of us is 9 years old. How much of that bird do you think we're going to eat? Yeah, not all of it at once.

We have a thing for turkey leftovers in our household. A week out, when everyone else is sick and tired of them we're getting sad because we don't have anymore. I make a turkey noodle soup with matzoh balls (basically the same as my chicken noodle soup with matzoh balls) which is always a hit with the homestead. Yes, it's made from scratch, no it's not hard at all. I can even whip it together after coming home from work for dinner that night. Seriously easy as long as the chicken or turkey is already cooked. That's what I use those roasted chickens at the grocery store for. I also make left over mini turkey pot pies using a muffin pan, pie crust (pre-made, I don't have the patience to make pie crust), green bean bake (the Campbell's soup version), and turkey. There's a more fancy version here : Second day turkey and string bean pot pies
But you can change it up of course, I don't bother with the milk or chicken broth. We also have a thing for the basic turkey sandwich with just mayo salt pepper bread and turkey. You know, the old standby right?

For the dinner I do the most basic turkey day dinner. Turkey, mashed potatoes (yes, I leave lumps in and I don't mash them into some semblance of soup), gravy (from a jar), green bean bake (Campbells soup version), stuffing (no cranberries or walnuts, I use olives, celery and water chesnuts), and a dessert. The turkey is not brined. I tried that one year and we all hated it, too salty. I do mine in a bag and I've always had awesome success with it. I grow my own rosemary and do a rosemary butter rub with it and it's divine. Ahh turkey...
The dessert we've tried different things with. The hubby doesn't like cakes or pies for the most part so I've got to get creative. I tried a pumpkin cheesecake one year but the damn crust wouldn't come out of the pan. Rock freaking solid. I personally love pumpkin pie from Costco but it's HUGE and the hubby doesn't like pumpkin pies. Last year he finally tried pecan pie (yes, homemade, soo easy!) and he fell in love with it. I'm sooo glad too since I love it. I decided my adventure this year will be a small twist the Pioneer Woman did on her throwdown with Bobby Flay, I'm making the whiskey maple cream sauce to go over the pie. Whiskey on pie...just can't go wrong with that huh?

This prompted an alcohol purchase and of course I didn't have my hubby with me so I had to wing it. Lucky me they had a taste testing at the Costco alcohol section I was shopping at last Saturday. FYI I don't drink alcohol. Never learned to like the taste so I am not a good judge of alcohol. I went with the one that didn't make me cough. Sound about right? Yeah well it's going into a sauce anyway.

So yeah, with the exception of the whiskey cream sauce going over the pie my turkey day dinner is super basic. Might I also add I don't know why people spend so much time on these dinners. Turkeys are just big ass chickens and as long as you follow the instructions normally on the package somewhere (lbs and minutes to be cooked) you're golden. Everything else is just as easy. So not a big deal and it doesn't take all day! Well peeling potatoes can take awhile but really that's it. Even if you make your own cranberry sauce, it's easy peasy! I don't. The kid LOVES the kind that comes in a can. Works for me...

So how about you guys, do you make your own dinner so you can get left overs? I swear even if it was just me and the hubby I'd still make my own dinner. I hated going to see family and listen to their bs just so we could eat. Yes, the holidays are so not my fav time of year.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Since it's been awhile for pictures...



I have a camera, a really lovely one at that. I posted about getting it way back when but sadly y'all don't get to see pictures from me all that often. That's because I suck about actually using said camera. So pathetic. But I have used it a few times these past few months. Only a few times though. And for those of you not into reptiles this will hold no entertainment value.

You see I had a few new happenings in the vivariums in my house. The monster big ass Vietnamese mossy frogs (T.corticale) that were the size of a man's thumb finally popped all 4 legs, sucked up their tails, and came out of the water. Finally, real frogs!
The first one to come out of the water, notice the small tail remanent


You see there are 2 mossy frogs here if you look close. They're the 2 blobs that look just like...moss...



But wait, there's more! First weekend of November NARBC came to Houston for the first time. They didn't advertise it worth a damn though so while there were a lot of vendors there weren't a lot of people buying. Sad because this means they probably won't come back again. BTW, NARBC is one of the biggest reptile shows going. It's awesome. So I was getting into the whole gargoyle gecko thing already. I bought 3 6 month old clutch mates the week before going to the show so when I saw they had some there I ended up buying one. Shocking? No I didn't think so. The new one is 13 months old and no, I can't tell the sex of any of these guys yet. They have to get bigger. I've taken to naming them after orange sodas since they are all considered to be of the orange variety (they come in red, orange, and black and white but the colors are not always all over them, mostly just hints). Their colors change depending on levels of aggitation or day and night. "Fired up" is when they are darkest, normally at night. "Fired down" is when they sleep during the day, yes they are nocturnal. So now we have the orange sodas...

Nehi
Fired up


and fired down sleeping all funky like they are aught to do


Then my smallest Orange Crush semi fired up while sleeping



Then there's Fanta, totally unfired and looking like whitey



And lastly Sunkist, my scardy cat who is getting more and more used to me. He's semi fired up.



For reference that water dish Sunkist is next to is one of those 2oz containers you get dipping sauces in. The 3 youngest ones (not Nehi) are 3-4 grams each. Nehi is a whopping 8 grams. They'll get much bigger 40-60 grams, at about 2 years of age. I got these guys because they are VERY easy keepers (unlike the dart frogs) and the kid wanted something she could hold. She asked for a bearded dragon and I don't like their toes. The geckos have cute toes. And there you have it, obviously Michelle has some strange reptilian toe fetish. Again, surprised? No? I thought not.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Winter, love it or hate it?

Well I'm bored at work with a brief amount of time on the internet. This always results in some random brain blop of thoughts for you. My deepest apologies.
Texas has almost been released from the tenacious grip of summer. It's only going to have a high of 82 today, woot! Please note that the opinions that follow are from a woman stuck with her husband's Jeep. The one that has broken a/c. Again. We've had it 'fixed' 5 times in the last 1.5 yrs of ownership. Fucking Jeeps.

I know people who absolutely dread the coming of winter months. I find that if you live in the sunbelt the dread is not so intense. My minion at work is really into tropical so he loathes winter. Which down here in hot land is not so bad. Really. It's not like San Diego but hey, I can own a house here so there's a trade off right? My minion would be happiest in Florida. Or maybe Hawaii. I could pass on Florida but Hawaii I'm sure I'd be game for.

My hubby and daughter love it when it ices, they think it's cool. As long as I don't have to drive in it I like it. I think those 2 wouldn't mind living in the snow though (freaks) so I don't count their opinions. Well, that and neither of them have actually lived in a snow city before. They just don't know....
I was living in the Washington DC area for 6 years. No thanks, not my thing. Mainly because people don't know how to drive in the snow worth a dick. And those snow plough drivers are psychotic. Scary as shit.

So hows about y'all? Winter, love it or hate it?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Peppermint ice cream

After Halloween I believe the year goes down hill. Fast. I'm a Scrooge, I think I've told you guys this before, yes? Thanksgiving is ok because it has that food thing going for it. The kid doesn't like it so much though because I had that aneurysm that one Thanksgiving. I can understand her misgivings. Christmas just bites. It's only redeeming quality is Christmas music. That I can do. The commercialism disgusts me as do all the frantic people who suddenly lose the ability to function during the months of November and December.

The big thing I love about the holiday season, and might I add that I share this delight with my mother in law (let it never be said that we don't share some commonalities), is the seasonal peppermint ice cream. It rocks. I'm not a huge ice cream fan, I can go long stretches of time without it, but this stuff. Oh yeah, it's the stuff.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Please tell me why....

I have this running dialog in my head some times. There are random questions that come up. These are the ones that seem to repeat:

If you can't park your freaking car DON'T BUY IT.

Why do people think it's ok to roll out of bed, get dressed, and go out with just brushing their hair and teeth? If we're lucky? I don't like the smell of unbathed people, it's just gross. Bathe people BATHE! You stink no matter how used to the smell of yourself you are.


At what point of grossly obese does one look at ones self and say, Huh, maybe I should slow the gluttony? Seriously, 15-25 lbs of excess weight I can let slide. And even then it's pushing it but man, these people carrying so much extra weight they're losing the ability to walk? How do you let yourself get that way? Freaking terrifying.

It's October. Not even the end of October. Why do the stores no longer have Halloween stuff in them? Why is there only Christmas stuff up now? CHRISTMAS BLOWS. If you want my money you'd best celebrate Halloween until OCTOBER 31st. You know, Halloween day? Fucking morons.

If you have any other reoccurring random observations feel free to comment. I may even add to this list later...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Have I mentioned lately?

Well now I couldn't have since I haven't posted lately huh? Yeah I know, whatever. I've been busy!

So it's October yes? It's the greatest month of the whole year. You know why? It's my kid's birthday month. It's also the month summer seems to loosen it's strangle hold on Texas (thank gawd). And the month that baking finally can be done because who wants to turn on the oven when it's over 90 degrees at midnight? Yeah not so much.

The month so far has been insanely busy. I feel like every weekend I do a thousand and one things and I still haven't finished what needs to get done. The hubby is gone this week for work training so that doesn't help any. If he's lucky when he comes home all the inhabitants of the house will still be alive (and probably fed too) and the house will not have burned down. The dishes, laundry, and poo picking up in the back yard will be waiting for him though. I get the kid to school on time every morning though (and fed!) and her homework gets done everyday. The trash went out on trash day and the recycling on recycling day and I need to get me another housewife because doing all this shit by myself is total and utter crap. The floors did not get done this week. But the kid was bathed every night (and fed).

I'm very neurotic about feeding things right now. I've got all these vivariums with different inhabitants, only 2 of which are on the same feeding schedule. The snakes (thank goodness) only eat once a week and that's now the hubby's job because his 2 new gray banded king snakes are 'nippy'. I watched them eat last week and those psychos strike at their food. My hand is not going in those cages oh HELL NO.
The dogs normally get fed in the am by the hubby and pm by the kid. I have to make a concerted effort to feed them in the am because it's not part of my regularly scheduled program. Hubby gone for the week jacks everything up, I don't do schedule changes well. Don't like it when the system gets messed with! All creatures of habit please raise your hands now...

This Saturday the kid turns 9. FREAKING NINE. WTF? I still remember putting her in pink footed sleepers. Jeez we're old. And we're trying to make another one? At this rate she'll be old enough to have kids before we can make another. Nothing like trying to defy mother nature...

This kid is awesome though. I know all parents say that but I have teachers and other parents go out of their way to tell me how great she is. Actually they say great and unique. Apparently our geek is genetic and she got a double dose. She's also very scientific which seems to impress grown ups. She loves it. Plus it's just damn cute.

We had her first parent teacher conference for this year Monday night, I'm always curious to see if her teachers find her interesting. I'm not worried about them liking her, they always adore her. She's one of those that stays friends with all of her past teachers through the years. It's wonderful to watch. The year her teacher went on about how she's one of the kids that a teacher remembers through the years.

Our kid is awesome, we rock.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Another one....



The San Antonio Reptile show was this weekend. Oddly enough I have never been tempted to purchase a reptile or amphibian from this show. 1st cardinal sin of reptile shows, buying an animal that looks cool but you have no idea what it is or how to take care of it. Happens constantly! I'm scared of doing this, to the point of OCD. I have never gone both weekend days of this show so I've never had the chance to go, see something I like, come home, research it sufficiently, and then go back and buy it. This weekend was an adventure. Since the hubby is gone for 12 days (he was promoted to sergeant and they have to leave for training) I had a super free weekend (minus the chores that still aren't done) the kid and I went to the show Saturday and then again with my neighbor friend on Sunday (he worked Saturday). I found a teensie tiny frog that I fell in love with. The seller called it a Peacock Reed Tree Frog, aka Big Eye tree frog. They start out a vibrant green peacock like color but normally turn brown as adults, which get to about 2-3" big. I'm ok with that and so I went home to study up on it with the intent on buying Sunday if I deemed it a frog I could handle.

The only reservations I had were the seller was a regular at the show and my minion has purchased from him before. With less than stellar results(many died in less than a week). Apparently the seller often sells wild caught animals. Wild caught animals are usually smuggled out of their country of origin (yes, illegally), shipped under poor conditions in crates to other countries. Then sold in bulk to middle men (like this one). A business practice I don't really want to support. These frogs though, they didn't look wild caught. Wild caught normally look emaciated due to stress, they won't eat, and they also get skin lesions. Also these are so small they can only eat basically what dart frogs eat, fruit flies and spring tails. You have to culture these feeders yourself and not everyone is willing to do this. Well ok most people aren't willing to do this. These frogs are very young and about 1/2 inch long. I'm thinking a month ago they may have been tadpoles. It makes it less likely that these were wild caught, they may very well be captive bred. I asked the seller (not expecting the truth but you never know) and he said wild caught. Then he said well, he didn't really know because they came from a new supplier so they could be captive bred.

I decided to get 2 because they were cheap and pretty and I knew that if anyone could keep them alive it would be me. Vain? Yes. Meticulous? Dude, I'm an analytical chemist. So we'll see how long I can get them to survive. I'm super excited about raising fogs that are not commonly found and I can't find anyone who breeds them yet. Maybe I got a pair with these two...

This image is from Google images, since my shot was so terrible (I need a macro!) I figured I'd give you all a better idea of what they look like in real life. Really, lovely frogs.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Down for a day

A whole day. My Internet. DOWN. This was a tragedy, seriously I'd like to see how you weather through it. I'm not talking about you traveling and hanging out on the beach all day no Internet. I'm talking regular at work then come home to no Internet. The kid had homework due that instructions were to be downloaded and printed out. I had to email her teacher (from my phone) admit my plight, and have her print it out for the kid and send it home. I mean GEEZ!

There is a method to the madness though. We had Time Warner Cable. The bundle of home phone (useless much?), cable, and Internet. They pissed us off. First off it was cheaper to get the bundle rather than just the 2 services we need (cable and Internet). Then it was insanely expensive regardless unless you got some sort of special. That ran out after 12 months. On month 13 you'd get a super sized bill and have a coronary, call TW cable, and beg them for some new deal. And swallow that one big ass month 13 bill. Every 13 months it reoccurs like some evil birthday. I don't want a special freaking deal, I want service that isn't astronomically priced! Apparently that's too much to ask. And I did ask. Every 13 months.

Then there's the service. There's nothing special about the phone, we only use it to receive telemarketing calls. The Internet was fine but nothing spectacular no matter how many times Manu went on about speed. The cable is what really pissed us off though. We only watch a few channels (like 5) and we have a DVR to record mommy and daddy's shows. For whatever reason (and I really don't give a shit what the reason was) the few channels we watched (including the kid's channels) were coming through pixelated. Completely unwatchable.

So let's do the math. We were paying close to $150 a month for a phone we don't use, Internet, and tv shows we can't watch. Seriously I can't believe we stayed with them for as long as we have. It's embarrassing to admit. Now mind you I didn't bother giving TW cable a chance to fix our issues with the cable. After evaluating what we were paying and what we needed I really could care less if they could fix the cable box since I payed so much for the 'special' and it only lasted 12 months.

One day last month AT&T Uverse called and asked if I wanted to switch. I half listened to the spiel and went with the cheaper one. Hey it couldn't be much worse than what I already had and it cost less. It took a little while, the phone was switched right quick though. The tv came in, we somehow ended up with Direct TV, whatever. It's totally watchable, clear, survives during storms, and easy to use. We're good.

The Internet. Yeah it was a bit more convoluted, took a few phone calls for us to figure out what we needed vs what we had. Finally got the box in though and my turn on time was scheduled for the next day. Now by this time I had cancelled only the phone and cable with TWC, my TW Internet was still going. Of course when AT&T took over my lines the day before activating me they kicked out TWC service. Hence my day without the nets. Once my go time passed I got on the phone with tech support though and was great. Hooked fast with no issues. The day between though, wow. My iphone had the battery almost sucked dry with doing Internet stuff on it.

Embarrassing, really....

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pet #95,456, yet another mammal....

I am on a 'no more mammals unless I give birth to it' kick. I'm done with the dogs. Love them, just not ever going to get anymore, I'm done with them. I was over chinchillas before moving back to San Diego in 2000, Smidgen is well over 10 years old and can't possibly be long for this world. In the meantime his cage is being used as a stand for 2 new vivariums. My new motto is 'pets only in vivarium form'. If I can't seal them up in a glass box I'm not interested.

Of course there was that whole 'grandmother in San Diego bought the child a rat' thing. Remember me blathering on about that? Well since grandmother did not want to pony up the $75 to ship said rat home with the child we, thankfully, dodged that bullet. Not completely though. The bargain was when the child got home we'd get her a critter of her choice. As long as it wasn't a rat or a hamster. I hate hamsters, they bite. She had her heart set in a guinea pig. I'm oddly ok with that. Then again, even though I don't like rats or hamsters, I've always had a thing for rodents.

So this past Friday (yesterday) I took the child to the pet store and let her pick out a rodent. We already had a guinea pig cage from when we first moved to Texas 4 years ago. I got rid of the chinchilla cage in San Diego with the hopes of deciding on a new bigger one out here. I bought the guinea pig cage as a temp while I ordered Smidge his massive condo. The temp cage has since been stored in the garage. When the kid found out we already owned a cage for a guinea pig she just about had a fit of delight. It basically set the deal in stone. She was waffling between the pig, a bunny (I've raised dwarf holland lops before, I don't want to again), or a turtle (I would have talked her into a tortoise). The guinea pig was by far the lesser of many evils. Many evils. Did you know hermit crabs stink? Yeah we got off easy.

So even though we need another pet like we need another hole in the head (did I mention a friend of mine is giving my hubby 2 of the gray banded king snakes he's always wanted? No? Yeah...) we now have a guinea pig. Named Topf. She's a girl, black with gray and white. I'll get a picture of her when I get off my lazy duff. BTW Topf is the name of an Earth Bender from Avatar, the last Air Bender, the kid's new fav cartoon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Haunted...by a drink...

A non-alcoholic one at that. Of course if you knew me you would know that since I don't drink alcohol. Never really learned how to acquire the taste for it so I don't bother. In high school I got to drive everybodys car since I was always the designated driver. It was fun. Anyway last week I was visiting San Diego and I got to out a lot to dine with friends. Oddly this was almost never for dinner, mostly lunch and 1 breakfast. Even more strange, I went mostly to places I had never been before.

One lunch I had with my friend Anna and her co-worker and they took me to Eclipse Chocolat. Yes darlings that's a foodie chocolatier place and it is divine. We ordered a fruit and nut platter with melted chocolate fondue to munch on and some divine 'cupcakes' for lack of better descriptions I suppose the title cupcake is close but really, does them no justice. They have a variety of different chocolate, chocolate/coffee, and teas, both hot and cold, drinks to choose from. I also noticed that they had their version of Thai iced tea. I have a weak spot for Thai iced tea, especially with boba (not what they had here) so I actually ordered a non-chocolate drink from a chocolatier. I was feeling a bit guilty until I tasted it. OMG it was the most amazing Thai iced tea I have ever tasted. Ever. It was very unique, I could recognize the Thai iced tea taste for the base of the drink but they took it someplace else too. There were coconut and chai undertones that made it something above and beyond your average Thai iced tea. Hats off to the creative streak of those chocolatiers. They rock....

Yes, I just wrote a post on a glass of tea I drank in San Diego. If you ever are near there you must go and try some.....

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ranitomeya orange lamasi


AKA thumbnail sized poison dart frogs of the orange variety. I smuggled these home from San Diego. You see the alternative was to ship them overnight which is insanely expensive and the frogs are very temperature extreme intolerant. And no, poison dart frogs are not allowed as carry ons on Southwest Airlines. Or any airlines for that matter. I printed labels with their name (the one in the title, not poison dart frogs) and tropical frogs written on it and put each in an individual 16oz clear deli containers. Then handed them to security and told them they needed to be hand inspected. They took them to the hand inspection area and gave them back once I made it though x-ray. I put them back in my big purse and proceeded to fly to San Antonio without ever mentioning them to the stewardesses. Yeah, I'm sure I broke a few laws but really, how dangerous are these little things? They aren't poisonous unless they are eating their native prey in south america. With their domesticated diets of fruit flies they aren't poisonous anymore. And they're smaller than your pinky nail, not exactly 9-11 material. They are so damn teeny and adorable even the hubby admitted that he thinks they're cute. Because they are.

Once I got them home I put all 3 in their quarantine container (a 190oz clear deli container) where they will stay until they get a clean bill of health. What does that mean for a frog? They can get internal parasites just like dogs and cats so they have to have fecals run. And just like in dogs and cats they have to have one run every 2 weeks until 3 in a row come up clean. Alternately you can just own frogs and not care if they have diseases. All frogs can have these parasites, most people just don't know it and for the most part don't care. Your average pet store frogs is cheap and if it dies because it has hook worms it's no big. Dart frogs are expensive, some go for over $200 each. I don't own any of those. Yet. But you know I was a vet tech for 5 years. Those fecals run on dogs and cats? You know who ran those? That would be us, the vet techs. The kid has a microscope, I have the know how, I can check them myself no problem. So it's not as financially silly for me to keep them in quarantine and run the tests. There is 1 other test that is more expensive that I will be running but even then, since I work in a lab I can reduce the costs greatly. There's a disease wiping out entire species of frogs in their native habitat called Batrachochytrium dendrobaditis, or more commonly known as chytrid. They do PCR testing (really insane) to figure out whether or not captive bred frogs have it. It's nasty, aggressive, and will wipe out an entire collection of frogs so yeah, I'm testing for it. I'm a scientist and PCR was something I watched neighboring biologists do at my old research lab. Yes, I am a nerd. Plus it's the responsible thing to do. Gawd I'm so old....

Belly shot!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Things to get done whilst in San Diego

This trip is almost over and I have, for the most part, completed the things that need to get done here because there is no where else I can get them done. Not visiting people, I mean things to get done. I made a hair appointment with Lynell, my hair dresser since 2000 in SD, a week before I came out here. I went Tuesday morning and while I was there I asked her if she could recommend an esthetician. For those lucky souls out there who do not know what I'm talking about an esthetician is a wax person. You know, eyebrows, upper lip, under arm, bikini line. These people are hit or miss and lemme tell ya, you want a good one because a bad one can scar you for life. Physically and emotionally. I no longer trust those crazy asian ones set up in the back of a nail shop. They are whack. The non-asian ones are few and far between though and normally cost a fortune.

Note here, if you want a good one you need to go to either southern California or (and this is just a guess here) Brazil. You can probably figure that one out if you think about it for a minute huh? I haven't even put real effort into finding one back in San Antonio. I figured I would get it done while I was out here if I could find a good one on short notice. Hence asking Lynell when I had my hair done Tuesday morning. She set me up with Nicole Wednesday (this) morning. Now I have had just about everything waxed before and the only pain (yeah, this shit hurts) that I can't take is waxing the legs. Everything else is fine, painful but I can suck it up.

This time was a new experience. When she asked me if I wanted just the bikini line or a full Brazilian I opted to go big and take it all off. Never done this before and lemme tell ya, it's a whole different experience. You must go to someone good for this one peeps. You don't want that much hot wax near your parts unless that person knows what the hell she's doing. Trust me on this one. Don't try for the budget back of the room wax place for this level of hair removal.

Fun stuff! It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a party by any stretch of the means. But it was an experience. Live life to it's fullest right? And whilst in So Cal take advantage of all it has to offer....

Monday, August 16, 2010

A small quick vacation

You ever notice that a vacation that includes any sort of travel is never ever restful? It's always running around like a chicken with it's head cut off to get everything squeezed in that you want to do. I try to never ever vacation outside my home for these reasons. I am a total homebody. Of course every decade or so I end up doing it anyway for whatever stupid reason.

This time around it was to escort the child home from her summer in San Diego. Now mind you I have not taken a vacation from my work since I started there. My plane left for San Diego last Saturday. I had to be at the airport at noon. My boss was calling me at 10:30 am on a Saturday I was leaving for the airport, expecting some results from things I had running on the instrument Friday night. I had already gotten preliminary results at 5:30 pm on Friday night that were basically the same exact answer she was going to get when I went in on Saturday morning to look at the results. When I should have been preparing to get on a freaking plane. I haven't left them for 3 years, this was the first time. I'd like to look at it as job security. All I could really feel though was bitterness at the audacity. I earn them almost $40,000 a week. A week. In the testing I do. They can get the freaking Hell over me leaving for the first time in 3 years.

Moving on....
So I am now in San Diego and was finally getting to see my daughter after 3 very long months. She was sooo glad to see her mommy and vice versa! I'm pretty sure she'd be happier to see her daddy though. I am staying at my friend's house on their couch so while I take the kid during the day I send her back to her grandmother's to sleep. If her daddy were here he'd be sleeping on his mother's couch and she wouldn't be saying good bye to him every night. You may think that this should not be traumatic since she's sleeping anyway but she's 8. She'd rather be sleeping with me. We fly back to San Antonio on Thursday so I'm only here for 6 days, 2 of which are essentially travel.

I told very few people of my arrival in America's Finest City. Mostly just the ones that would be pissed if I didn't tell them. The others can blow. Yes, as a matter of fact I am warm and fuzzy, not.

So here's how the itinerary is going/has gone so far (please note that my father paid for me to come out here, he gets priority):

Saturday: Jas and Alison (my friends putting me up for this trip) were in San Francisco for work, my dad picks up my kid early (her grandmother had left this past weekend for a quilting trip in Palm Springs), entertains her for all day, then picks me up at the airport with her (she's super excited). We find Jas & Alison's house and drop off my and the kid's stuff (she's staying with me for just that night). We go out to dinner then go back to the house to sleep. Amazing what you can get done in 3 hours.

Sunday: Brunch with dad, pick up Jas and Alison from airport, take them home, go out with Alison and the kid to get groceries for dinner, make/eat dinner, take kid back to grandmother's house, come back, collapse. Trip is starting to make me very tired.

Monday: Get kid, stop at a nursery to look at plants (yes, it's an obsession), drive ~20 minutes north to a pho restaurant to eat lunch with co-workers from old San Diego job. Hi Donna, love ya babe, congrats on closing! Drive to exotic pet store (was slightly disappointed), drive to expensive tourist toy store in Old Town(kid was happy), drive back to Jas and Alison's. Please note, I am driving Jas' HUGE Queen Mary truck. Some big ass towing capacity Chevy that I have problems seeing over the steering wheel but can reach the gas pedal and brake so it's ok. It is lifted though with no step bars. Did I mention I'm 5' short? Fun stuff to watch. Also it's the only 'car' Jas and Alison have so I try to keep my borrowing of said vehicular to a minimum. They also have a pair of motorcycles though so it oddly works out ok.
Dad comes and picks us up and takes us to his fav place in the whole world. He essentially lives at O'Brien's Pub. Everybody knows him there and he takes the kid there too when they visit. It's licensed as a restaurant but it's like Cheers and he's Norm. My kid has been there this summer, she loves it. Not for the beer. There's a Hello Kitty store next door and she waits patiently until dad takes her over there and buys her whatever she wants, smart girl. But wait, it gets better. Apparently everybody there loves my dad. That translates to the kid. So one of the other guys there has been known to be taken next door by the kid and get squeezed out of $. I had heard about this and had just figured he'd had too much to drink. Not so. That guy was there this afternoon when we stopped. And he conversed with the kid about Hello Kitty stuff. She went over with my dad and he bought her a bag of loot. Then later this guy takes her back over and buys her another bag of loot. Yeah, she loves this bar. My kid, she's good.
After dinner we go to another nursery. Kid gets a plant. Surprised? No I didn't think so. We then go the book store because you know me, I'm already done with the book I started reading on the plane. Yes, the kid got a book too. Seeing a trend? I'd say she was spoiled but she behaves so well that it really is a moot point.

Future plans? Yeah. Tomorrow is the pick up kid early (9:30 is early) and go to hairdresser's to get my hair cut. I get my hair cut like once a year and my hair stylist here in San Diego I've had since 2000. I miss her so. I'll probably have her trim the kid's hair too. Then dad is picking us up and we're driving up to see my grandmother and aunt up in North County (45 minutes north of San Diego). This is going to be an all day affair. I also plan on visiting another exotics pet store and picking up some stuff I can normally only get on line. I hate paying shipping and this place happens to be someplace we pass up whenever we go to the aunt and grandmother's preferred restaurant up there. We may even get to go to a nursery up there if I don't totally run out of steam. It's a possibility since just writing this is tuckering me out.

Wednesday is my odd day where I don't have plans with dad. I am going to lunch with another old (met in high school) friend of mine. After that another old hs friend will be returning to town so I've set aside the afternoon with her. I don't know long that will last though so dinner is still a bit in the air. I do know that late that night I need to go to Chula Vista to pick up 3 poison dart frogs I put a deposit on. Yes, I am going to smuggle them on to the plane after showing them to security. It's much safer for them to be in my carry on luggage than to be shipped and they are smaller than a person's pinky nail so they are no chances of trauma to anyone on the plane. Unlike peanuts. I was on a flight that was delayed because someone with peanut allergies insisted everything with peanuts had to be removed from the plane. That included any that other passengers already had on them. Can you be more obnoxious?

Tired yet? No peace for the wicked and I am still missing squeezing in at least 2 sets of friends that I can think of. I haven't been able to book Darryl and Denise (our paintball friends) and David and Alena (their kids went to preschool with mine). Not enough time in the day...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bargaining

When dealing with parenthood and children in general the fine art of bargaining often comes into play. Also known as bribing we like to use the less mercenary term of bargaining but really it's a give take thing where the parent may really not care much what they have to give to get the desired results. Mind you the age of the child must be taken into consideration. When said child is very young the object of the bribe is normally not terribly expensive. A Polly Pocket or Littlest Pet Shop whatnot is all it takes but it must come often and be pretty instant in the younger years. We used this ploy when the kid was 5 and we really needed her to stop sucking her thumb. When she was an infant we tried every pacifier on the market but she insisted on the thumb. It's easier to ween the paci, trust me on this one. As the child got older the stakes went up as did the time. When trying to get over the thumb sucking she got a bribe once weekly for every week she didn't suck her thumb. In the 1st grade she needed to be at a certain reading level or she would not pass the 1st grade. The bribe was the Nintendo DS. She missed that first goal but we gave her a second chance. In order to play DS games you have to read directions, if she couldn't read there was no use to owning one right? The next time her teacher tested her she passed 2 levels and went beyond her goal. She got her DS.

We have an only child, for the most part she gets everything she wants. At a price because nothing in life is free. We're mean parents like that. I also don't want to raise a trust fund baby, she can pay her way through college just like her momma did and not spend the whole time partying and pissing away her family's money like I watched many a co-Ed do. Not my kid.

So this brings us to the give take bargain as it stands now. The rat thing. You remember the rat thing? I don't want the rat. I thought the kid wanted the rat. Well here's the deal. She wanted a guinea pig or a turtle. Her cousin wanted a rat. Since she follows what her cousin does she got a rat too. Now don't get me wrong, she loves the rat and plays with it and talks about it all the time. But I don't think she's in love with the rat. If you know what I mean. Her grandmother told her that she'd try to donate the rat to the local school's science program once she left. The kid said she wanted to keep the rat. The husband said we'd take the rat. The mom (me) said the grandmother would have to pay for the rat to come home. And when all was said and done the grandmother balked at the $75 price tag to get the rat to said home. Don't get me started, I did a lot of research to figure out how to fly a freaking rat across state lines at a decent price. Trust me, this is way cheaper than flying any other warm blooded animal ($330). The rat counts as a lab animals, hence the lower price.

I talked to the kid this morning, we chatted about this and that and I eventually asked her if anything had been decided about the rat. Short answer, no. I don't think the kid was keen on giving the rat to the school. Until I started bargaining. I told her that if she could find a good home for the rat that we'd get her a guinea pig when she came home. Trust me when I tell you this is the lesser of 2 evils. Guinea pigs don't stink the way rats do. Not even close. I think they don't live as long either. Double bonus! I made sure she knew I was adamant about her needing to find the rat a good home. That's a MUST. I did also mention that we already have a guinea pig cage here at the house. I bought it for the chinchilla before I bought his monster 2 level mansion. That he only uses 1 level of. I took the second level down last week to put 2 vivaruims on top of the cage. I'm pretty sure the chinchilla hasn't noticed yet.

So yeah, she likes her rat a lot but she'd like a guinea pig more. Momma latched onto that bargaining chip like you would not believe. We may not have to acquire a rat and this would be good. Very very good. Let's just see if grandmother gets on the ball and finds that rat another home. Cross your fingers, I really don't want a rat.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The pet rat

You know how I said that we weren't going to add anymore pets to the house that weren't in an aquarium? Because I am just sick of the mammals in this house? Well yeah, don't you know the kid, the husband and the mother in law are on a mission to subvert?

2 weeks ago the kid and her older cousin (he's like 14 I think) were sent to the San Diego Humane Society summer camp for a week. A camp that, I'm assuming, familiarizes kids with not only all of the types of pets they foster there but the plight they are in because of irresponsible owners. At least this is what I hope they were trying to get the kids to come away with. I see no other reason why the HS would have a kids summer camp. Well it turns out the mother in law adopted a rat for each of the grand kids. 2 males. 1 that bites (the cousin's, thank gawd) and the other that my kid just dotes on (hers doesn't bite). Last week she called me to tell me she was teaching hers to dance. I asked her how she was teaching Oreo to dance. She said she didn't know but that she was. OK, sounds good to me. She also refers to Oreo as a 'she' but because of what they had available and/or her cousin both of these rats have balls. Hey, if it works, run with it.

Needless to say I was less than pleased to find out their grandmother had adopted rats for them. I mean I don't care if her cousin gets one (his mother won't let it in their house either) but I had no desire to buy a plane ticket for a rat. Seriously, oh fuck no. The kid then begs me to let her keep the rat. She knows that I'm bringing back frogs on the plane and doesn't see why she can't bring her rat too. This is a fair argument but not realistic. I'm not telling the airlines I have frogs in my bag, just security. The rat would be impossible to hide and lord forbid someone notice it. Not good. Vermin are looked at in a slightly different light than a frog half the size of your pinky nail.

Yesterday the kid tells me her grandmother doesn't plan on keeping the rat once she leaves. She was told the rat would be given away. Alright wait just one minute here. Why send her to a camp that is trying to teach (I would hope) responsible pet ownership if you were just going to dump the pet after the kid leaves? And tell her this before she even leaves? I'm hoping I'm missing something in the translation and she was actually told something else. Because in our house (and we were doggie foster parents you know) we don't adopt any animal we have no intention of keeping. That just isn't right. Setting poor examples much? I told the husband this and he said we should let her bring the rat home with her (not on the plane, Southwest doesn't do pets). I told him that he'd have to be responsible for the upkeep because I think rats are nasty. They stink. Bad. Plus those feet, and the tail? ICK. There are a few 'pets' I don't do. Rats and ferrets. Why? Their feet and tails are gross and oh, they stink to all high heaven. The dogs smell bad enough as it is, a rat is going to make me less than happy. I'm thinking the kid will figure out real quick that keeping that cage clean will be the difference between mommy letting it stay or finding it a new home.

Hey, I didn't adopt the thing, don't expect me to be sympathetic to it existing in our home. And I'm not paying to have it shipped either. Grandmother had best pony up to the responsibility that should be hers. I did, however, research it and figure out the best way to go about shipping a rat. I am not without connections in the world of such oddities...

OK, rant over. I'll let y'all know how this pans out. I don't see good results any way you cut it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Long time no blab


Once again I've been remiss in keeping you guys up to date. Summer has been less than exciting (which is really fine with me) but that's no reason to keep from blathering useless drivel to you guys. SO lets see... update on the kid? She's doing faboo out in San Diego. Yes, she is very responsible with the phone, calling us when both her grandfathers had birthdays to make sure we called them and wished them a happy birthday. Girlfriend is on it. So far she's gone to Northern California, camping at a cabin up there, Fisherman's Warf, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We are both insanely jealous of the kid. She also has gone to at least 1 week of camp, at the San Diego Human Society. I didn't even know they had that available but it's absolute perfection for my kid and her animal oriented lifestyle. Here's the real kicker, she and her cousin both went to the camp and you know what? Their grandmother let them both adopt a pet rat. Ick. I happen to be a rodent lover, I even bred chinchillas (still have one)for awhile. There are 2 I don't like, 1)hamsters, those fuckers bite and 2) rats, I hate their tails and feeet, they gross me out. The good news? She's leaving it there (much to her dismay and my delight). I know it's horrible of me to not encourage her adoption of an animal since we are all about adopting animals and what not. I mean we have a friggin zoo here already, what's a little rat? Yeah, NO. I may culture bugs to feed my animals but I don't want any more mammals. DONE WITH MAMMALS. Unless I give birth I don't want anymore warm blooded animals in this house. The rat stays in California. On the (maybe?) up side I do get to meet said rat. My dad wants me to come visit so he's paid for me to come out for a week before the kid comes home. I'll be staying with friends and visiting, then escorting the kid home. Yup, no solo flight back for her which makes me happy.

I will also be smuggling 3 frogs back with me on the flight. And by smuggling I mean I will have them hand inspected by airport security but I'm not telling the actual airlines that they are in my bags. It's my own 'don't ask don't tell' program. I figure it'll probably work better for me than it does the military and if it doesn't I have a back up plan. Always have a back up plan when breaking the law, good rule to live by.

I have finished, or rather, my minion finished the vivarium for the to be smuggled frogs. It's much smaller than the other one I have since the frogs are that much smaller. I am still debating whether or not I'm happy with the way it came out. I wanted the huge green and red plant in it but it dominates the bottom of the tank. That wouldn't be too terrible but he set it up with a dripping wall (in the center back, you can't really see the water flowing) and all of the dirt on the bottom made for a bog. The return for the water is seated in the dirt in the front of the tank so it's kind of meant to be a bog but to get the water pump working right I had to add more water. Resulting in more of a swamp. I wasn't digging the swamp. So I moved the dirt to the side (to be dealt with later) and put gravel in the bottom for a kind of creek bed. It worked and I'm pretty pleased with it. Not exactly what I had in mind but I'm flexible!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We went to the movies...



Novel huh? We kept talking about how often we'd go to the movies this summer as the kid is not here and we can see grown up movies without sending her to my mom's house (she's a freak, I try to limit my kid's exposure). So far the count is at 1 and it wasn't really a movie on my short list. It was on the hubby's though and I didn't want to bother being picky with him (his hours changed at work, he's been kinda tired) so we went to see Clash of the Titans. Do you guys remember the old version way back in....1981? Good gawd that's old. My fav was Bubo (pictured above) and he had a short cameo in the new one. They pulled him out of a box and threw him back in, it was cute.

The rendition itself had a ton of changes, or as my husband put it they 'took liberties'. That sort of thing doesn't bother me at all as long as they make it work, which they did. I am all about being entertained at the movies, make up whatever story you want, take all the liberties in the world, just make it entertaining. I like that they were able to do a lot of much better special effects, ah the upside of modern technology! The actor playing Perseus, Sam Worthington, did a great job but his accent (they may or may not have been trying to hide it) kinda faded in and out lightly. Oddly I find it somewhat distracting. I love accents (like what American woman doesn't?) but I want it either there or not. The fading is annoying. Liam Neeson (EXCELLENT actor) played Zeus who, in this rendition, is not really a good guy.

I used to LOVE Greek Mythology. Starting when I was about 8 I had several books on it. Yes, I was that kid in elementary school who spent her recess in the library. And here you wondered what happened to that weirdo kid, here's your answer! I have, unfortunately, not kept up that particular fondness and have become woefully remiss in my study of Greek Mythos. So through the whole movie when they'd be describing a god or creature I couldn't for the life of me remember if that particular version is the one that is most often recounted or if they just made it that way to fit in the movie. It did, however, remind me of how very wrong the Greek gods were. The Greeks back in the day must have been some very strange people is all I have to say.

There was a part (if you remember the story) where they have to go to Medusa and cut off her head so they can use it to turn the Kracken to stone. They repeat the story of Medusa being a snake with snake hair whose eyes turn anything living to stone. OK, that's about on par with what everyone knows. They went into how she was cursed to that life though and I couldn't remember if it was on par with the common stories. As per this movie Posiden wanted her (as a mortal woman I'm guessing) but she didn't want to be with him so she ran to Athena. Athena didn't care that she wasn't interested in Posiden so he (and I love this phrase) took her on the floor at Athena's temple and then cursed her to a life as a snake with the hair and whatnot and no woman was allowed in her dwelling, only men. Now here is where I love what the Greeks came up with. So this chick didn't want to bang a god (supposedly one of the good guys they are supposed to worship?!), ran away to one of the other gods (another good guy?) who didn't care and so she was raped and punished forever? Yeah, love that style of justice! Makes me want to worship that awesome group of gods, how about you? Who comes up with this shit? I mean it's great when you can make movies about it but in real life? Could you imagine? Yeah, sign me up for that time period! Hell even the dark ages were better than that, give me the black plague any day!

So all in all, I totally recommend this movie. Does it have to be on big screen? No, it's not Transformers or anything that spectacular but it does have some great big screen fight scenes. They made it so that Andromeda (the sacrificial princess) was not Perseus' love interest. And it worked well because instead they gave him the love interest of an absolutely beautiful, just gorgeous actress (Gemma Arterton) playing Io, a woman who, again, refused to be seduced by a god, and was cursed to never age. Not the worst of curses, just as Medusa....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New vivarium


Look, a post with pictures! I've been doing most of my computing (i.e. web surfing) from the iPad and you can't download pics on it from the camera so for the most part pictures are being taken and stored on the flash card. I know, what's the point huh? I finally took some and downloaded them. Novel! My minion at work (the plant guy) needed more room to work in his garage space so he finished his biggest project (my mossy frog terrarium) and brought it over today. It's sitting sideways on my kitchen bar (we have yet to decide on a stand for it) so it was super awkward to get a picture of it.

In the pictures it looks totally narrow but it's not really. The dimensions are 18" wide x 18" deep x 24" tall. It has a waterfall starting about midway up and enough water can be kept in the bottom to house fish (it's connected to a filter that feeds the waterfall) that the mossy frogs will most likely eat.



No, I don't have the frogs yet. I want to make sure the tank is fully functional with no issues before having the frogs shipped out. The plants inside the tank will grow in and fill it quite a bit more given time. I will be taking pictures in the coming months to show the growth and we'll see what survives and what doesn't. I love some of the plants and others are just there because that's what my minion thought would do well or work as variation in texture and color. Really it's kind of like making a painting, monochromatic isn't what you are looking for and nature doesn't like patterns. There are a few flowering plants in there too, even an orchid. I wan anxious to see if I can't get the orchid to bloom. I have like 10 orchids but none of mine bloom, my house is probably too dry. I take them outside a lot and water them more often than recommended because they dry out really quick inside but I suspect the one in the vivarium will bloom faster. I'm a plant freak, did you know that? I may have majored in chemistry but it could have just as easily been botany. If it weren't for the fact that I kill plants more often than not. I try though! And I do love plants so. This vivarium thing is rad for people like me, it's kind of a gimmie as far as keeping plants alive.



By the way, those big gray rocks you see? Those are all fake. My minion has newly perfected rock casting (it's a really involved process, you would not believe the effort and money involved) and all those rocks are barely a few pounds. Of course the gravel and water weigh a ton but hopefully I'll decide on a permanent shelf for this lovely structure and will only have to move it once. Or so the husband hopes!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Eagle has landed...

This morning was the morning. It was the morning that we sent off our 8 year old daughter to San Diego to spend the entire summer at my mother in law's house (we call her Nanni, pronounced nonni, don't ask me why she spells it with and 'a' because it annoys me to no end). This was not, by any means, the first time she's been on a plane. It was, however, the first time she went unaccompanied. Nervous parental breakdown much? Why yes, yes it is time for that. My hubby and Nanni thought she was perfectly capable of doing this and I agreed. I do not, however, trust other people. I just don't. I don't know the people who will sit next to my child on a (3 hour 9 nonstop of course) flight to the west coast. I therefor do not trust them to be near my child.

The bonus of this was that she was given incentive to do this flight on her own. The bribe? The cell phone of course. She got it last week (see previous post) and has spent the past few days becoming acquainted with it. It's not as easy to use as the iPod that she's been making documentaries with (how scary is that) but she got the hang of it. I was not going to get her an iPhone so don't even get me started. Her daddy is just tickled that he can text his child and I think the phone was worth it just for his entertainment alone. She's been very good with it, texting mostly which is what we want her to do. It helps with her spelling (yes, she spells out her words on the phone, none of that short hand crap) and her reading. Plus we can always get a hold of Nanni who doesn't like using a cell phone herself. Again, one of those old dog new trick that isn't going to happen things.

So the hubby gets the kid on the plane this morning. He gets there early since you have to do a bunch of paperwork with an unaccompanied minor. Could not have worked out better. 3 people sit in a row on Southwest flights to San Diego. There are 3 unaccompanied minors to her flight this morning. The hubby spends the wait chatting with the mom of one of the other minors. The plane boards and the kid is happily making new friends with the other 2 kids she's sitting next to and so they all go and board together, just an off handed wave to the dotting parents. I think she'll be in her own apartment before she hits high school at this rate. Really, why does she even bother keeping us around? Cash? Maybe but only just.

To add to the 'perfect' flight scenario the plane lands early (gotta love those SW Airline pilots, they haul ass) and she calls us as soon as her Nanni meets her at the gate. She's a smart girl, she knows who pays her phone bill. But wait, there's more! She's going on a ton of camps this summer. San Diego Zoo, Museum of Natural History (bug camp, once again, jealous), swimming, gymnastics, constantly going to the beaches. Oh and BTW, during this phone call Nanni mentioned that they are going to drive up to San Francisco this weekend. Going to hit up the Monterey Bay Aquarium on the way. Have any of you ever been there? It's a fav of mine. Like if I had the opportunity I'd move there just so I could go every single day. The place is amazing. I have a thing for aquariums ya know. Seriously, a thing. So I mention this on Facebook (my instrument gacked up a hairball last night, my work day is hosed and I consequently have nothing to do, HELLO Facebook) and our old neighbor lets me know that HEY, she's on that drive and we should have the kid meet up with them while she's up there. This neighbor has 4 kids and my kid has been missing them something awful. They are a super sweet family. Except the ex-husband (hence their move away from us), my dog didn't even like him.

So I gave the friend the kid's new cell phone number with instructions to txt my child. She's going to vacation in San Diego all summer starting with a drive to Nor Cal and maybe even a visit to some old friends of ours. Isn't this right out of the book of vacations you should have as an adult? WTF? I'm having coronaries just telling people to txt my child to have lunch or some yuppie shit.

How does one come to terms with the fact that their kid is now all that and we are so not that anymore? Sooo beyond my prime, swear to gawd.

The up side? The hubby and I have all summer to ourselves. To , you know, make another kid. Hell, maybe this one Nanni will vacation to Hawaii with or some such. Hey, wouldn't it be nice if she took us along to like, babysit or something?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Twitter, and those who follow....


I'm on a couple of these 'social' (a 4 letter word in my vocab) sites. 2 actually and I actively participate in 1 forum. I think that's a new social max, I just don't need anymore. Add this poor neglected blog to it and yeah, I may have to hole myself every once in awhile just to recover to my normal level of bitch. I'm pretty uptight about these sites though, my comments on this blog are moderated. Some freaks followed me back from commenting on P Dub and told me not to be so negative. I told them to get of my piece of the net. Specifically, IT'S MY PIECE GO FIND YOUR OWN FUNDY. Short and to the point. Then I moderated the comments. Facebook, yeah I don't actually 'friend' everyone who asks and then I block all the updates from you losers who need brown cows in farmville. Ya, I don't need to know about it. See? Social, it's all relative. Mind you these jobbers are all accessible via iPhone so it constantly updates. That and my email. No, I don't need to do this but there it is. I pay enough for the damn phone plan, might as well squeeze it for all it's worth.

Twitter is one of those things I started and would probably not have it at all if it weren't for my friends Alison and Jason in San Diego. Alison is kinda insane about it and about 15 times a day it updates her status to where ever she is standing in the city. Because you know, we all need to know where Alison is. It's important right? I follow 16 people. Only 4 of which who regularly post. Which is a good number. Probably too much if they all posted but they don't so I continue to have it as a kind of back ground. Plus it does help me keep in touch with Jas and Ali and any disasters they have going on. Don't make fun, we can help from halfway across the country too. Really!

Now what I don't get, seriously, are these people following me. I have 25 followers. Dude I don't think I have 25 friends, wtf are these people? I mean I have a few fellow bloggers who follow me (Hi Steph & Lisa!) and I know who they are. And a few (yes few) friends that are up there but the rest. I dunno where they came from. I even found that I have a 'list' that's following me. A list? WTF is that? And why do they give a hoot what I tweet? My tweets are mostly a back and forth conversations with someone (Alison 99% of the time) that I could just as easily do texting. It's one sided for those that aren't friends with the both of us too so it must look...odd?

So yeah, Twitter. I think it would have worked better if Facebook hadn't come along. And with all the security issues with Facebook have you noticed it's not like we stop using it. People just put up a note that bitches about it? We're all a bunch of semi-social losers.....

P.S. if you are just that nosey my sign on name to just about any site (including Twitter but not Facebook, you need my full last name for that) is MichelleSG. Not saying I won't block you but there it is, in all it's antisocial glory.

*Note that within 3 hours of writing this post I had 3 more complete strangers follow me. I'm not sure if they were individuals or businesses of some sort. Curiuos to see if there are more by days end.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Parental preferences


There is much debate with parents about modern day gadgetry and how old a kid needs to be to own certain things. Last Christmas I asked if y'all thought my kid (age 8) was old enough to appreciate an iPod Nano. We decided to get one for her, it was also the Christmas she found out the Truth about Santa. She was thrilled with the The Truth BTW, she now gets to be Santa and it delights her so. Really, she always exceeds my expectations in departments like these, I had no idea she'd take it so darn well. The Nano was a great hit. She sometimes uses it for music but mostly she makes documentaries. They are so damn cute, especially when she puts her face in front of it while holding it, all you see is from her nostrils up to her forehead. Hilarious moments to be sure. She was totally old enough to appreciate this complicated gadget, I don't know why I question these things anymore.

This year is a whole new level though that I am uneasy about. Every summer she goes back to San Diego and stays with my mother in law and goes to a bazillion different summer camps. It's awesome in one way because there's no way we could afford all of these camps (mother in law pays for them) and child care costs over the summer would kill us. Really, kids are stupid expensive. The down side is we don't see her for 3 months. She, of course, is so busy busy busy that she barely notices our absence which is as it should be right? This year is going to be a huge step though. Previously someone would accompany her on the flight out there. This year she's doing it solo. Am I uncomfortable about this? YES. But my hubby and my mother in law think its fine so really, what I think is irrelevant. Yes, I'm going to catch shit about that statement from the hubby but I'm not really into lying to y'all and he hasn't noticed I've been posting again anyway.

The bribe to get her on the plane by herself was a cell phone. She goes on like a big girl then she can have a cell phone. No, we did not get her an iPhone. There was a lot of research done by the hubby on line to see what kind of phones would work best for young kids. There seems to be a helluva lot of young ones out there will cell phones. Yes, we did take into consideration the maturity of our child (not just other kids her age, but our child by herself) and whether or not she was old enough to handle that kind of responsibility. There really is no doubt in my mind that she can handle it.

Then choosing of said phone was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. We had been looking at the pay by minute phones, we wanted to minimize monetary parts of this and that seemed like the logical choice. Today we were shopping next door to an AT&T store (our carrier) and I suggested we stop in and see how much adding a line onto our plan would cost. If it was less than the pay by minute ones then I wanted to know. It was. Not only that but family mobile to mobile is free and we have unlimited texting. The hubby and I never use the phone minutes, we have like the least amount of minute plan but text all you want. We also have over 4000 minutes in our cache of minutes. I'll be surprised if the kid even puts a dent in it. One of the biggies that I liked about us getting her on our plan with this phone (the LG Neon, internet connection disabled) was that it had a QWERTY keyboard on it. If we can get her to text we can get her to read and write more. The sales guy was all kinds of impressed with this selling ploy, apparently he'd never heard of that 'bonus' yet. There are lots of parents buying young kids phones, I'll bet he'll be pulling that one out of his bag a lot.

So she now has her own cell phone. And we're just trying to start having a second kid. Age gap much? Dude, she has her own cell phone, we're old....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

About that obsession 'thing'


(Pic 'borrowed' form the Dendroboard forum, these froggies aren't mine, they belong to a woman that goes by Elkdreamer on the board. They did, however, inspire me to get this particular coloration of dendrobate.)


This most recent one is frogs. Yes, I know, you now pity the poor hubby. He'll survive but it probably won't be pretty, poor tolerant dear. The kid is totally with me on this one even though I won't let her get one of the main frogs she wants, a tomato frog. They are weird looking, even for a frog, and they are poisonous if another frog eats them. Some you have to worry about when mixing in the same tank. I'm not setting up a whole tank just for those ugly things (don't worry, I didn't say that to the kid). I just told her no poisonous pets. Then explained that the poison dart frogs momma is getting aren't poisonous in captivity. No, no one knows why that is but I will still use gloves when handling them. I'm a chemist and therefor more careful (ie paranoid) than your average herp geek.

The vivariums I'm having built are still not done yet which is fine. I think I've mentioned before that I'm kinda a research geek when it comes to diving into new obsessions right? So I am planning 2 froggie vivariums, 1 for mossy frogs and one for poison dart frogs. The mossy frogs are still kind of hard to find and I'll only go to a reputable breeder (picky much? Uh yeah) which I was able to find. They are still in tadpole stage right now and I won't be getting them until they have sucked up their tail and can be shipped. In the meantime I call up the breeder every month to check to see how they are progressing. Yeah I'm totally serious. The word I am using is obsession right?

The dart frogs are turning out to be even more convoluted. There are an amazing amount of variations and 2 sizes, damn small and minute. The minute ones are called thumbnails and not because they are the size of your thumbnail (that's closer to the 'damn small' size) but because they can stand on you thumbnail. With room to turn around. Yes, that small. They eat flightless fruit flies. That you have to grow/culture yourself. Then dust with vitamins before you feed them. Are you starting to understand why you should pity the hubby yet? Mind you this convoluted pain in the ass may seem insane to most people (don't ask how much these wee frogs cost, you'll just get a coronary) but it appeals to the scientist in me. I live for this kind of crap. I also view it as a great learning experience for the kid, seriously, how many kids get to culture fruit flies and springtails before they are 10 years old? Yup, I run an odd kinda household.

I finally decided which variation of dart frog I wanted. Newbies like myself are not recommended in buying the thumbnails as a starter frog. Smaller is more fragile. I never followed the rules beforehand I don't think I'll start now so thumbnails it is! I did not, however, start out with my favorite morphology (colors in laman terms) because they cost $105 each plus $50 shipping. I may be adventurous and overly confidant but I'm not a screaming moron either. FWIW you can't find these things in your local pet store normally. And even so I wouldn't trust them to live. Stress kills. Instead I found an individual on the main dart frog forum who had some froglets for sale. Upside? Great price, $35 each. Downside? He won't ship. Hasn't done it before. Upside? He lives in San Diego and my dad wants to fly me back out to visit him. I haven't seen my dad since 2007. So I gave the guy a deposit and I'm (hopefully) going to fly halfway across the country to visit my dad, bring my kid back from her summer in San Diego (she visits the mil and does camps out there all summer), and bring back froglets. Whole new level of geeky huh? Again, obsession is the key word here.

This is my youngest froglets in San Diego, notice it hasn't absorbed it's tail yet. It'll be a few months before I fly out anyway.