Monday, September 26, 2011

Monthly Fill In

It seems I only post about once a month, so here is the fill in.  Ben and Zoe had their first liter of pups (that's what baby mice are actually called).  The babies were born almost 3 weeks ago, and I just separated them into separate male/female cages.  Out of a litter of 5 babies, 4 were male, which is kind of odd, but I double checked them all.  Zoe is already about to pop again.  Since mouse gestation is only about 21 days, I wanted to make sure to get the cages cleaned and the older babies separated before she had more.  She kind of caught me by surprise the last time and I didn't have a chance to clean the tank before she gave birth, man it got stinky!

Zoe and Rogue, the lone female babe.
Ben and the boys.
I usually don't name the babies, as they will be food eventually, but Rogue has a bit of a story.  The other night my friend Ariel from Seattle was in town and we were looking at the baby mice.  One of them, Rogue, ran up our arms and jumped out of the tank.  It took us about 30 minutes to fish her out, she was having quite the adventure under the sewing desk, bookshelf, and the lizard tank.  So that's why she has a name, she was our Rogue runaway mouse.  Since she was the only female baby it seemed fitting.  Don't know if we will keep her to maturity yet, we'll see.

In snake news, my fingers are still jacked up.  The two joints on my ring finger are still pretty sore when I overuse my hand.  And I have a lump in my middle finger where the majority of the damage was.  It's either scar tissue or a piece of tooth left from Sancho, only time will tell.  If it's tooth it will fester out over time.

Not long after Sancho bit me, Isley grazed me during feeding.  She's been extremely aggressive at feeding time and we aren't sure why.  We are trying to feed her every week to see if that helps, but honestly she doesn't need to be fed that often.  We'll see if it how it works out.

The weather is starting to turn here, and fall is in the air.  Unfortunately, Gidgit's hair isn't growing back as quickly as I thought it would.  So, I've decided to enrich her wardrobe and make her a couple of sweaters.  Right now I'm working on a black hoodie that has a skull and crossbones with a bow on it's head on the back.  I'm almost done with it and it's thrilling me to death.  I make all of Gidgit's sweaters out of acrylic so I can throw them in the wash on hot and dry them on high.  I have all these wonderful extravagant projects going right now, and all I want to knit is acrylic dog sweaters, go figure.

Here's a pic of Gidgit in one of her older sweaters that I knit.
I finished up my hitchhiker scarf and I absolutely love it.  It will be wonderful to wear on fall mornings when there is a slight chill in the air.

Hitchhicker, 8/3-8/15,
Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs Gothling - Oleander in Zombie Prostitute
I also finished a hat for our favorite barista at the local coffee shop where we hold our weekly knitting meetups.  I don't have a picture because I'm lacking in a model, but I will post one when I deliver the hat to the recipient.

I'm also making progress on several other projects including a couple pairs of socks and what has become my own little baby blanket purgatory.  Three of my coworkers are pregnant, one of them is having twins, and they are all due in Jan/Feb.  That's not really a good time of year for accountants, so we plan to have the huge joint shower in mid December.  Since they all kind of piled up on me, I got myself in a little deep. 

When the first woman announced she was pregnant I decided I would make her a car-seat blanket, a hat, and booties.  Then the next woman announce she was expecting a few weeks later, Ok, I can handle two.  Then I came back from vacation to find out the third woman was pregnant with twins.  I still plan to make them all car-seat blankets, but I've decided to take the time, energy, and supplies I would have used on the hats and booties, and make those for charity.  Hopefully I will have a whole heap of hats and booties that I can donate in these lovely women's names, and hopefully it helps someone in need during this coming winter.

Cheers, and unless I get better at posting more often, see you next month!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

If you're going to own a snake...

You are going to get bit.  Period.  No matter what.  It's only a matter of time and severity.  Sure, my small snakes like Quinn & Isley could try to bit me, and it wouldn't hurt.  In fact it would likely startle them more than anything, a simple reflex.  Isley might actually be able to break skin, but she couldn't do any real damage.  Sancho however, or any larger breed snake for that matter, that's going to hurt.  Ask me how I know (actually, I knew before I got bit, but this just reinforced it for me).

There are generally two times when any snake will bite you.  One, when they are startled and it is a defense mechanism.  And two, when they mistake you for a food item.  The first is the far better of the two.  Most snakes will let you go quickly when they figure out what is going on.  The second, not so grand.  If you happen to have the misfortune of being bit by a hungry snake that mistakes you for food, it's just plain going to suck.  Especially if the snake wraps itself around you and tries to coil.  Unfortunately, the second is what happened to me.  And Sancho did wrap and coil my arm.

Last night Sancho had finished his meal and had the food down his body a fair bit, so it was time to move him back into his enclosure.  As I was reaching down to pick him up, I almost had my hand around his neck, he turned his head and latched onto two of my fingers, didn't even strike, just bit.  He thought I was course two and quickly coiled me. 

With the help of my friend, Ariel, we got him off of me pretty quickly.  It looks pretty gruesome, but honestly the cuts are superficial.  It's where he coiled my hand and bent my fingers in awkward positions that really hurts.  It felt like he dislocated the two joints on my ring finger, and the swelling didn't really help.  We got the cuts cleaned and disinfected, then iced my fingers until Sean arrived with gauze to bandage me up.

I went to urgent care today to make sure nothing was fractured or out of place, and to get some antibiotics to make sure I don't get an infection (he had just eaten a rat).  They said that everything looked just fine, and that I had done exactly what I needed to.  Hopefully the swelling goes away in a few days.

Honestly, things could be worse.  With his size, he could have snapped my wrist (which my wrist is sore from him coiling me, so it is honestly possible).  And at least he didn't bite my boob.  I think what really saved me in the end is the fact that I had already resigned myself to the fact that he was going to bite me eventually.  Sure, it still surprised me, but I didn't freak out.  I tried to keep my cool, and I tried to be mindful of the snake so I didn't hurt him as I was trying to free myself.  In that situation, I think it's the best I could have done.  The part that sucks the worst is that it hurts for me to try to hold knitting needles.  I foresee a lot of reading in my immediate future.

By the way, Sancho is fine.  His jaw was a little wonky for a while, but he looks fine now.  Snakes not only dislocate their jaws while eating, but the lower jaw splits down the middle to accommodate larger food items.  This is probably why his jaw looked odd, but it's all normal this morning.

Speaking of snake food, we have two new breeder mice in the house.  Meet Zoe (black) & Ben (tan).

Sean calls them Kibble & Bitt, I like Ben & Zoe better
These have got to be the two strangest mice I've ever had.  Ben is totally neurotic.  Instead of running on the wheel, he runs circles around it.  And now Zoe started to do it too.  But they seem to be friendly, they let us pick them up and hold/pet them, which is more than our last two breeders ever did.  I'm hoping they make pretty babies.  I mean, if I'm going to breed snake food, I may as well enjoy it, right?

Oh, and I also decided it would be a great idea to give Gidgit a haircut yesterday, before the whole biting incident.  It came out OK, except for a few bald spots where she moved when I was mid cut.  Hopefully it will help to keep her cool in the warm temperatures that seem to have snuck up on us.

All dejected looking, don't let her fool you, she's a happy girl.
I'm off to ice my hand and watch some movies with Sean.  Hopefully I don't go stir crazy not being able to do anything with my hands.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Finding Normal

A lot's happened in my life over the last year, and because of that everything in my life is changing.  If I were to look ahead at my life exactly one year ago I would be shocked.  I am now trying to figure out what I expect to be normal going forward.  As much as I hate to say it, my life is evolving into a "new normal" which is a buzz word in my industry right now that I absolutely can't stand.  But it's the truth and I have to come to accept it.

So with that in mind, and the fact that I've never been good at blogging regularly to begin with, please forgive the sporadic posts.  Life has been marching on here in the Kingdom.  My evil cat Loki is blossoming into quite the loving and mature adult cat, now if I could just get her to stop scratching at door frames.  My yearling corn snake is now about 2 1/2 feet long, maybe longer as it's rather hard to measure something that's squirming around, we usually just eyeball it.  Cricket is becoming old and crotchety, Gidgit still likes to try and herd the cats, Isley eats regularly again, but Bruce has become a finicky eater, and Sancho is slooooowly warming up to us (I still won't take him out of his enclosure without Sean home).  So life marches on.

I've been doing a lot over the last few weeks: 
I demonstrated spinning at the Marion county fair.
I made some progress on my knee-highs.
I knit a pair of anklets.  Arch-shaped socks, 7/11-7/17, Wollmeise in Spice Market colorway.
I worked on my KAL socks.  The KAL is over and I'm only on the heel flap, oh well.
I went to Sock Summit with a great group of gals.
Where I helped my friend Stephania set up her booth.
And watched a giant group of people perform a flash mob about knitting.

I knit another pair of anklets.  Arch-shaped socks, 7/17-8/10, Cascade Fixation.
And I started a Hitchhicker scarf/shawl, which I am absolutely in love with.
So it's not exactly like I've been sitting idle around here :-)  I also taught one of my friends how to knit.  She finished her first project, a hat, last night and is already working on her first pair of socks!  My plan to convert the world to knitting reptile lovers is slowly working, mwahahaha!

And of course, the mandatory cute and fuzzy picture for the post:

Loki has got to be the strangest cat I've ever had.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Knitting, knitting, knitting... oh, and animals too.

I've been knitting quite a lot lately.  I basically took the weekend to veg and not do anything.  I probably should have been cleaning the house, but meh, who really cares besides Sean & I.  I finished my brainless socks that I cast on when things got hectic and I didn't have the power to do anything but just plain knit.

Plain Vanilla Socks, 5/14-7/3, String Theory Colorworks in Copper colorway.
I've been plugging along on my May socks.  These ones will probably take awhile, they are knee socks.  And because I have curvy calves, I've added some stitches to make them bigger around.  Great for fit, but adds that much more to knit.

Clessidra in progress
And just because I'm a masochist, I've added another pair of socks.  A knit-a-long for Three Fates Yarn to celebrate her going to Sock Summit as a vendor this year.  I absolutely adore all of Stephania's yarns, and jump at the chance to knit with more of it :-)  But, this is about all I've got so far, I just cast on today.  I love the colors in this yarn, it's called "Lavender Mojito" it just sounds so yummy.

Three Fates KAL
I'm also participating in the Tour De Fleece this year.  Yes, knitters and spinners are total geeks, I honestly don't know why this surprises people.  Anyway, the idea is that while the riders are spinning their wheels so are we, but of course, we make yarn.  My goal was to spin one hour every day.  I say "was" because the kickoff was Saturday, and that's the only day I've spun any yarn so far.  I felt like absolute crap yesterday, and I've been out of the house all day today.  So this is all I have to show so far.

2 oz of merino I plied up, and the very beginnings of some merino/tussah roving.
So maybe I will stop being a slacker tomorrow and catch up a bit, we'll see.  Oh yeah, and since this is also supposed to be a blog about my crazy pets, I give you Gidgit and Loki, being complete lazy butts with me the other day.

Cuddle time in the recliner.
Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We now return you to your regularly scheduled....whatever

Hectic, this is the definition of my life for the last few months.  Shortly after my last post my wonderful sister-in-law and my awesome brother asked me to be their maid of honor and help them plan the wedding, with 3 weeks notice.  So, I did what I do best, I took the challenge, did the best I could, and totally stressed myself out in the process.  But everything was wonderfully dysfunctional, in the true fashion of my family.  We had an awesome time, but I'm really glad it's over.

My favorite picture of the bride & groom.
The whole group, it's not hard to laugh when my uncle is taking pictures!
Diana attacking me to show her appreciation.  This was shortly before mass amounts of alcohol became involved :-)
On top of all of the wedding stuff there were several memorials for my aunt to attend, my brother and his wife were in the middle of trying to close on their new home, and things at work started to pick up.  So that's my lame excuse for not posting for awhile.

I did manage to accomplish some knitting in the mass confusion.  My featherweight cardigan is finally finished.  Actually, the reason I finished this one was so I could wear it to the memorial.  There's an inside joke in my family, and I'm sure my aunt would have appreciated the humor.

Just before we left for the memorial.
I also finished Sean's socks finally.  They were supposed to be my April socks of the month, but well, life happens.

Dude & Dudette socks, 4/3 to 6/17, Three Fates Eponymous in Serpentine colorway.
I've started what were supposed to be my May socks.  I would like to finish them in time to enter them in the state fair (early August for entry submission), but we will see if that actually happens.  Sock of the month club, the definition of "best laid plans."  Ah well, such is life.  I'm off to spend some time with my knitters, peace.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sancho and Updates

Sancho is a 6' Colombian Red Tail Boa that we took in a little over a month and a half ago.  A friend of ours had him and decided he couldn't care for him anymore and asked us if we would find him a new home.  Sean used to have a red tail, and has always wanted another, so we figured home was found, ours :-)  Honestly, we have no clue if Sancho is a boy or a girl because he has never been sexed, but we go with boy when speaking because of the name.  He is about 4 1/2 years old (very rough estimate) and is fully grown.

Sancho getting used to his new domain.
Whenever you take in any animal from someone else there are always adjustments that need to be made.  Moving an animal is stressful, plus the change in environment, handling, feeding, etc.  It takes any animal a bit of time to come into their own and show you their personality.  We are still adjusting with Sancho, but we think the fit will be good in the long run and plan to keep him.

One of the adjustments that we thought we may have problems with was feeding.  Sancho has been fed larger live meals, once a month, and in his enclosure.  That's not quite how we roll around here, so we were worried about the obvious things.  Is he going to eat frozen?  Will he eat out of his enclosure?  How will he react to smaller meals more often?

We planned to feed one large/extra large rat every other week, which is an acceptable feeding schedule for an adult red tail.  We waited a few weeks before we fed the first time, not only to give him a chance to get used to us, but to make sure he was hungry when we fed.  The first feeding went fine.  We fed one frozen/thawed extra large rat and he didn't hesitate at all.  Sean said he did have a bit of trouble getting it down, so we decided to switch to the next size down for the next feeding.

We fed again last week, and again, had no problems.  He was definitely more aggressive this time, he struck the rat and coiled, a good sign that he thought it was live and will have no problems feeding on frozen/thawed in the future.  Once he released the coil he did do something that made us laugh (try being quiet when a snake is feeding and doing something funny, its rather hard).

We have some friends that have red tails, and when they feed they put heating pads under the feeding containers to encourage the snakes to eat.  Sancho got a bit confused by the extra heat.  In his mind, heat = food, and with more than one heat source (rat and bottom of Rubbermaid container), he couldn't decide what to eat.  He kept nosing the bottom of the container and acting like he was trying to eat it.  Over and over he would slide his nose around on the floor and try to open his mouth over a food item that wasn't there.  Finally we carefully slid him off of the heating pad so we didn't disturb him, and he found the rat and fed right away.

Overall, things are going pretty well, and we couldn't be happier.

Also, Isley ate again with no problems, yay!  Hopefully this is her getting back on schedule after her adjustments to us.

Beauty shot, I love her colors.
In other news, my mom sent me a picture of Spike, the only one she had.  This picture pretty much says it all about Spike, big cuddly lovey cat.

Things are going pretty well with cleanup at my parent's house.  We got a lot done this weekend, and now my childhood bedroom is emptied.  That's good for me, less memories for me to walk through.  But my parents still have a long haul in front of them.

Also in other news, my aunt passed last week.  I'm glad she's not in pain anymore, and 84 years is quite a long life.  She was with it right to the end, in true fashion for her.  Below is a picture of her how I will always remember her, spunky, fun loving, and happy.  She will be greatly missed by all those she touched in life.

Christmas a few years ago, and as always, she was cracking jokes.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm alive...

Just tired.  By the time the weekend comes and I feel relatively rested, then the work at Mom & Dad's place starts up all over again, then I'm exhausted and starting the week all over.  To top of the stress levels, my 84 year old aunt fell and broke her hip last Monday.  She had surgery on the 27th, but she is still in a lot of pain, and her condition varies day by day.

I'm sure I will get more into the swing of things as helping Mom & Dad on the weekend becomes more normal to me, but for now I'm just plain pooped.  I will post more fun animal and knitting stories as I have the energy.  For now, gratuitous animal photo of the day.

Cricket is tired too.
I do want to say thank you to all of my friends, in online communities and my personal friends in town, for all of your support and kind words through everything.  You have been a tremendous help whether you know it or not.  Just knowing that people care keeps us all going.  Thank you, everyone.