Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Heat Seekers

Devons are heat seekers.

Ask anybody who shares a home with one; they most certainly will agree. It could be because they barely have any hair at all or it could just be they love to be toasty warm. Regardless, they will find the sweet spot and take full advantage of even the tiniest puddle of sunshine.

For me, it all started with of the Alien: what little hair he had was across his back, leaving his belly entirely naked. He would sleep for hours on top of the cable box, which I thought was so cute – till I noticed he was actually developing bedsores. I quickly created a bed for him out of his carrying case, putting a heating pad wrapped up in one of my towels inside, draping another towel over the top of it to retain the heat better, and taking the door completely off. He very happily moved in and within a few weeks the bedsores healed.

Humorous aside here: He always smelled like toast to me. He was also about 300 degrees! I had to occasionally get him out of his box just to air him out.

The Alien passed away several years ago (and is greatly missed) but now I have two more Devons, Thing and Djuna.

Another humorous aside here: Thing always smells like coffee to me (which is odd, since there is no coffee in this house) and poor Djuna, I’m afraid, smells like her litter box.

My house is now equipped with heating pads in almost every room because of my girls. The brand new woolen electric blanket Mother got for me quickly became the property of my girls; it is laid out across the foot of my bed during the day and moved down to the floor in the corner of the room at night.

Djuna LOVES that blanket. Every time I go to move it she gets a panicked look on her face and rushes over to the blanket, spreading her feet out to cover as much of it as she can (which isn’t much at all considering the fact that she is a teeny tiny thing weighing barely 5 pounds) as if to say “No! You can’t take it! It’s MINE!

So you can imagine my surprise the other day when I walked into the bedroom and saw her all curled up comfortably on the bed and not on the blanket!

Apparently my new Memory Foam Mattress Topper has now been claimed as hers, too.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Phone Conversations

ME: Hello!
ROB: Hey, got a question for you. Who should we call for an injured bird?
ME: What’s going on?
ROB: Well, one of the guys here at work says there is an injured owl in the parking garage. He says it’s been there for several days now. It’s up on the 7th floor, and it just sits there staring at him. We wanted to call somebody to come get it, but don’t know who to call.
ME: Hmmm, I think you should call Bird TLC. They’re the ones that take in all the injured birds around here. They’re your best bet.
ROB: Okay, I’ll give them a call.
ME: Let me know how it goes. If that doesn’t work, I’ll come up with another idea.

ME: Hello!
ROB: It’s me. I called the bird people but they didn’t answer. Their message said “If you find an injured bird, pick it up – put it in a box – and bring it on in” but I don’t really want to go pick up a two and a half foot owl!
ME: No, I don’t think that would be a good idea! Two and a half feet – that’s a big owl! Wonder what kind it is?
ROB: I haven’t seen it myself. The guy here at work says it has a reddish splotch on its chest, like its hurt or something.
ME: Tell you what; let me call a friend of mine. She volunteers for the Bird TLC all the time. She’ll know what to do. I’ll call you back and let you know what she said.

BRITT: Hey, Ruth! How are you doing?
ME: Hi, Britt. I’m good – how are you?
BRITT: Getting ready for the fund raiser tonight. Should be a fun evening!
ME: Hey, I’ve got a problem I think you can help me with.
BRITT: What’s up?
ME: Well, a friend of mine works downtown and parks in the parking garage that is the bus depot. Do you know that building? He says there’s an injured owl on the 7th level. We tried calling Bird TLC, but didn’t get an answer.
BRITT: Yeah, they’re all getting ready for this fund raiser tonight. Let me call Dave – he’s already downtown, so could pop over and get the owl easily enough.
ME: Oh thanks! We’re all very concerned about it.

ROB: Hello!
ME: Hey, I called my friend from Bird TLC. She’s having some people head over to the parking garage right now to take a look and see what they can do. Tonight is their big fund raising event, so they’re all over at the hotel there, getting ready. They should be able to get the owl right away, and get it to the hospital.
ROB: That’s great! I’m on my way there right now, too. I want to see it before they take it away.
ME: Cool – you’ll be able to watch them catch it even!
ROB: Yeah, that would be cool. Oh, here they are now – Hi! Yes, I’m looking for the owl, too. – Hey, Ruth, the bird people are here. I’ll call you back, okay?
ME: Okay, I’ll talk to you later.

ME: Hello!
ROB: (laughing heartily) Hello!
ME: What’s going on? Did you find the owl? Is it okay? Did they catch it?
ROB: (still laughing heartily) Oh, we found it alright.
ME: Well, what’s going on?
ROB: (laughing even harder) IT’S PLASTIC!!!
ME: What! It’s plastic??!!
ROB: (HA, HA, HA!) Yeah, it’s plastic! I can’t believe *John Doe thought it was a real owl! (* the name has been changed to protect the innocent)
ME: Oh My God; that’s hilarious! It’s plastic…
ROB: The bird people are all laughing, too.
ME: This will probably end up in their Christmas newsletter.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bear Creek Winery

My good friend Lorna gave me a bottle of wine from the Bear Creek Winery for Valentine’s Day this year: their special edition of Chocolate Raspberry Wine.

To celebrate my new-found freedom of NO MORE ROOMMATE, I decided to open it and have a glass the other day. To no real surprise, I discovered that my bottle opener had been taken. I will give her the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps she honestly didn’t realize that she took it, since there was a ton of stuff in the drawer most of which was hers. However, she did leave behind her crappy bottle opener and she did take my good one – so it is a very great stretch of imagination to actually believe that it wasn’t done on purpose.

Regardless, I did finally manage to get my bottle of wine open, and boy is that ever a good wine! I really like it, even though it is a red wine and I do tend to get some rather impressive migraines from red wines. It’s well worth a migraine.

In fact, I like the wine so much that I went down to the liquor store today and got two more bottles from that winery. I didn’t get the Chocolate Raspberry flavor this time, though: I got a Rhubarb Wine and a Spiced Apple Wine instead.

The Bear Creek Winery is a local one based out in Homer, so I feel good about buying and supporting local businesses. And the liquor store I went to purchase them is Gold Rush Liquors, another local business, so now I feel twice as good about buying and supporting local.


I Worked Hard This Weekend

And yet – looking back at it – I honestly can’t see that I did all that much. My body feels like I got run over by a Mack Truck, however, so I know I did something.

I hadn’t slept well at all Friday night, so after working at the Zoo for two hours on Saturday I tried to lay down for a nap. My girls were quite happy to join me, and even Tommy came and sat near the couch where I lay – as close as he could be without upsetting Thing, who still growls at him at every possible opportunity. I still couldn’t sleep however, so just ended up vegging out in front of the TV for a while.

Eventually Rob came over to help me switch out my bed. I have a double-sized one that I am giving to him so his daughter could use it, and am exchanging it for the queen-sized one that has been waiting for me in my garage for the past few weeks. With my back the way it is there’s no chance of me moving mattresses by myself, but for Rob it was no problem at all. He took the double-sized mattresses down to the garage while I vacuumed and cleaned up in the room. Then he had the queen-sized mattresses up in the room ready for the linens to be put on. It looks really good now, and isn’t nearly as big as I thought it would be (which is good).

I will at some point want to get new linens though. The ones I have now are actually for a king-sized bed: they work, but are a tad bit large. I think I can get one of those “bed-in-a-bag” deals from Bed Bath & Beyond that contains sheets, pillow cases, comforter and everything for a reasonable price. Especially if somebody had a coupon for them that I could use! (Hint, hint)

Sunday was mostly cleaning up my place, getting the spare room ready to be re-painted and re-carpeted. I have all sorts of possibilities in my head, so Rob and I went to Home Depot to see if my ideas are actually do-able and affordable.

We looked at paints and came up with a color scheme: I’m thinking of walls being a dark green with 1” thick light green stripes spaced about every foot or so, a light green ceiling, and trim & molding that is a darkish orange. Trust me; it will look much better than it sounds. I hope it will, at least.

We looked at carpets and got a few ideas on which ones I might want: I’m thinking a nice oatmeal carpet with tiny flecks of green and orange it in.

We looked at window blinds and actually came up with an idea I hadn’t even considered before: I had originally wanted wooden blinds with a pretty valance over the top, but found a really nice woven reed matt that can be used as window shades instead. I’ll still have the pretty valance, though.

We also looked at trim and molding, and have a plan of attack that will achieve the desired end results without having to take out a loan. Rob has all the tools and skills necessary to “make” our own, so we’ll be able to save quite a bit by not having to buy the ready-made ones.

At Burlington’s Coat Factory, I got myself a new shower curtain for the spare bathroom, as well as a good bottle opener. We also looked at bedding while there, but I didn’t really see anything I wanted.

I am not a shopper, so by this time I just wanted to go home. Of course, once we got there, we got sucked in to cleaning some more. Got the binds moved from the spare room into my bedroom. Got the windows as clean as we could get them, both inside and out. Got started on the bathroom, but will need to finish up on that later, when I can get a scrub brush and some bleach to disinfect the walls, ceiling, and flooring with. Rob even went down into the crawl space and came up with a plan to try to stop my house from resettling so much.

Finally I convinced Rob to stop. We still had to get the bed set up in his house, and get all that stuff organized and cleaned up. He had some pictures to hang up, some furniture to move around, and will eventually need to get some sheetrock hung and painted.

But that’s a job for another day.

IditaZoo 2011

This Saturday was The Alaska Zoo’s IditaZoo program, in celebration of the more universally known Iditarod Race. I got to work my 2-hour shift at the “Nome” Checkpoint station, near the porcupine exhibit.

“Nome” is the last stop in the Iditarod race, so at the zoo this was the last stop in our game of trivia. Each player gathered stamps on their map from all the checkpoints, and then got to turn them in at my station to claim their prize after answering one last question. I had 3 prizes they could choose from: Alaska Zoo Calendars, Alaska Zoo Pencils, or Alaska Zoo Animal Books.

I don’t know what it was like at all the other stations, but I had a line probably 15-20 people deep pretty much the entire time I was there. I went as quickly as I could, but I had to spend at least a few moments with each child to make them feel special and encourage them to think of the answers. Hopefully the crowds understood that and didn’t get frustrated with the waiting.

They did have the dogs right next door to watch while waiting, at least. Andy Larson, husband to Katie the education director at the zoo, brought his team over to meet everybody and give rides. They were very happy to be there, and got to show off their harnesses, boots, and sled. I got to enjoy the sounds of 16 very excited and happy dogs all day! I call that a win-win situation.

By the time I got to go home, I was a frozen block of ice, however. A nice hot cup of tea and some fuzzy warm socks (pink with purple and green polka dots) warmed me up eventually. Thing and Djuna did their part by curling up in my lap as I worked on the computer a bit.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The First Hike of the Year

Plan A was that Rob and my brother were to go ice climbing while Heather and I spent the day doing crafts. However, since things rarely go as planned, we had to switch over to Plan B: the 4 of us go out hiking up at Hatcher's Pass.

I have to admit that I was not very thrilled at the thought of going hiking. I am in full hibernation mode it seems, and the thought of hiking out in the freezing cold wind and deep snow was not my idea of a pleasant way to spend the weekend.

Thankfully, I was wrong on every count: the weather was wonderful, with clear blue skies and no wind at all. The company was great, too. Rob and I along with my brother Reed and his wife Heather – and we met up with Heather’s friend Audra and her dog Phoebe along the trail even. The trail itself was nice and easy, although if you stepped even 6” off the trail you did sink up to your hips in the deep snow. We know this because Heather accidently wandered off the trail and showed us!

It was perfect; just absolutely perfect.

We spent a good 2 hours up there before heading on back in to town to visit with Mother for a while. As always, we had stuff to exchange: I gave her some bread, a pair of socks, a pen, and some stickers for her cards – and she gave me some old photographs and a sack full of cat toys for my girls (who are in cat-toy heaven now with more toys than they know what to do with). We all sat around her table, sharing cookies and tea (or coffee, in Rob’s case), and talking about whatever came to mind.

Cookies and Tea are always good, and I would almost never turn that offer down, but I really did need some real food in my tummy – so our next stop was the grocery store to stock up on some fresh veggies and beer. Once we got back to Heather’s house, she cooked up the best stir-fry ever! It may have simply been that we’d all been out in the fresh air that afternoon, but honestly it was really good food.

Around 7:00 that evening I finally got Rob to take me out to Stewart’s house where I got to pick out a new gun! Stan left one for me in his will; all I had to do was choose – and there were plenty to choose from. I almost chose another shotgun for myself – a nice double-barreled one – but since I already have a shotgun and can barely shoot it anymore due to my back injury, I figured I should maybe get something else instead.

I chose the 1981 Winchester 30-30 that comes with a nice leather sling. It’s smaller than my shotgun, but I’m told it will kick much harder so I will probably have to have a butt-plate installed on it to absorb some of that impact. Also, since my neck is about 2 inches longer than a normal person’s, I can use the butt-plate to lift the gun up enough that I can actually shoot the thing, again just like my shotgun.

All in all, it was a great day.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Good Friends

I have such wonderful friends! I am so very thankful for each and every one of you – just wanted you all to know that.

This past week, I got to spend some time with a few of them:

Rikki and I had lunch at the Perfect Cup on Sunday. I met Rikki several years ago at one of the first Architectural Conventions I went to. She was a vendor selling Autodesk products, and I was working the registration table. We hit it off and have been friends ever since. She is quite pregnant now, so I got to hear all the latest news from the maternity ward. I am looking forward to the day when I can meet the little one!

On Monday I met up with my friend Anne for lunch at Terra Bella’s. She has a Gluten Allergy, and this place serves very tasty gluten-free food. Plus, it’s all organic – can’t beat that! I met her at that first Architectural Convention as well. She was on the planning committee, as was I, and also helped out at the registration table. Anne has been very helpful to me during my drama-infected roller coaster ride, giving me some very good advice and just being there so I could unload on her.

Then on Thursday, I got to have dinner with my friend Katie. Katie and I have been friends for well over 10 years. She works at the zoo and was the one who “convinced” me to sign on as a volunteer there. Rob joined us as well, so the three of us had a nice long chat. I am afraid it went a little long, however. It’s technically Katie’s lunch hour; I suppose a 2-hour lunch isn’t so bad if as long as it’s not made a habit.