Fuming

Sep. 21st, 2010 09:18 pm
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I'm home from school. Too angry to do homework, and no one's home, so it took me a minute or two to figure out what to do. Answer: eat dinner. Maybe that will help.

I'm having one of those days. Well, that's not true-- I'm having one of those evenings. When every day is basically two days long, there's twice as much chance of a clusterfuck occurring and to be honest if you check back with me half an hour after I've eaten it'll probably be okay.

The real problem, with today and with my schedule, is food. I don't have the money to eat out three times a day, and I'm out of the house for between two and three mealtimes. I'm out of the house for long enough that food will go bad over the course of the day-- especially given that the first six hours of the period is spent in an especially warm room, and there's no refrigeration at any point.

My friend Eva suggested a wonderful idea-- I freeze things like soups, and then when I get to school in the evening I microwave them. The freezing should keep them cool enough. I tried that today and, of course-- the microwaves run, but after six minutes nothing was even approaching warm and my break was half over, so no dinner for me.

..and on no dinner, when the iMap government site we're using to do classwork returns me (and one other person) a series of proxy server errors while everyone else loads them up fine, it makes me crazy. The thing never loaded. Three hour class.

...and when my fancy-schmancy supposed-phone-type gadget allows me to recieve 30 emails asking over and over about things I don't have time to deal with right then, but DOES NOT ALLOW ME TO CALL ANGUS because it keeps dropping signal, I just want to kill someone. Anyone will do.

...and then I get home and there are all those little annoying house things, like the dinner from last night that I didn't pack for school didn't get put away and has so gone bad, and someone's left garbage in the middle of the livingroom floor, and it's definitely for the best that Angus isn't still home...

...I just don't know. I had a really rough weekend. I feel better today, I felt okay last night, getting enough sleep makes a difference. I'm still clenching my teeth often enough that my jaw hurts, and it's less that I don't have time for people, though that's true, than that I have patience for the presence of only maybe three or four people that I can think of out of everyone I know.

There's also a looming homework load-- a math quiz tomorrow, a test Friday on thirty or thirty five plants, ID and latin names, my first aid course Saturday. It really gets me to think about what's important.

And this is important. School is important. People I love are important. Exercise is important-- I'm squirrelly enough from all the sitting around that I've started doing pushups again as something I can do in the middle of a floor when no one's looking that's work. Food, much as it would be convenient otherwise, is important. Working is important; I need to feed myself and pay my rent.

Rats- are becoming less important, right now. Breeding is, at least. It's just not a priority, nor is having the number of rats I now do. I will definitely be downsizing over the next two years.

Social events, too, I have always cherry-picked but I'm feeling even more selective about them now. I like my friends because they're smart, they're fun to talk to, they're snuggly and they have sensibilities I like. Sometimes they're funny. Events that don't showcase these attributes, well, what's the point?

Enough. Dinner's ready. I'll worry more about things afterwards-- or not.
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So last night I had all these plans for the weekend. Even this morning, I got up, first thing I did was come write, sorta muddled, but there were things on the go. I was going to have breakfast with Bob, go to the farmer's market with CrazyChris and posse, start chicken soup, drop off a rat downtown, watch West Wing into the night-- you know, plans. I was going to do some rat cages before breakfast.

Thing is, we've had this bad air warning from all the forest fires lately. The air's been disgusting. And I have a lot of elderly rats with respiratory infections. The thing about rats is, they're smart, they have feelings going on, and-- like people-- they care about stuff. When I got home last night Corn Pops was dead. I'd known she was on the way out for awhile.

But-- last night another one went, and Heat Lightning and Olympia are both in bad shape. I'm pretty sure that last night that particular rat was just waiting until I got home and said goodnight to die. When I'm particularly close with them they've been known to do that, I am particularly thinking of Gabe who was boarded at Lizzy's and waited till I showed up, waited till I picked him up, then died in my hands within half an hour. He was a very old man.

Four is a big toll for one week. Olympia might still surprise me, as might Heat Lightning, but... I've had a fairly smooth stretch so far. It's just time. And it's just not easy. It sneaks up on you, something with a lifespan of a couple of years, because that time passes so quickly and then suddenly the young breeding girls' cage has all had babies and the oldest girl in the cage is coming up on 2 and it's... time to say goodbye.

I really don't care about my weekend plans anymore. I'm not going for breakfast; I need to clean cages so the cagemates of the dead ones can get on with it; I always scrub down the whole cage immediately after a death, and who wouldn't? The internet is a weird and fragile medium, it's just words and words and words. Right now it makes me incredibly angry to get those thin signals next to the intense reality of the life and death things I am engaging in, even just next to the smells and feels and sounds of the rattery. That's not the world and I don't want it right now.

Back to the rats.

Bullied

Jul. 15th, 2010 06:11 pm
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My breeding partner bullied me into posting a biographical thing on a rat mailing list I'm part of. I'm reposting here for archival purposes. Notice how it's slanted to a particular audience (boyfriend is singular, etc).

Apparently I like being bullied by people when I feel I can safeword out if necessary... this will come as no surprise to anyone.

I'm Erin (Greenstorm, not to be confused with Erin M) of Small Joys Rattery (JOY). I've been keeping rats for sometime between 6 and 8 years now, I think, and I've only been breeding for the last few of those. I really feel I'm more of an evil SITH apprentice than a real breeder because if it wasn't for Lizzy's constant support and the help of my boyfriend Angus I'd never be able to handle the nearly fifty that I have- it's quite a ride both emotionally and financially, not to mention timewise, but the longer I do this the more I am absolutely wedded to these great-grandbabies of mine.

I've had a couple of those ups and downs just recently: one of my absolutely favourite girls, Popcorn, and my dear Hades who is (finally) the descendant of the first two rats I got from Lizzy and thence from Uno have just had a litter. In addition to being very special personality-wise (it really is a pleasure and a privilege to share my life with these particular ratkids) I may have produced my first-- if not BEW, then my first almost entirely white rat with a debatable darkish smudge on the back but NO EARSPOT! I've been trying to do this basically since day one, and I know it happens to other people accidentally with dalmation lines, so I'm pretty chuffed. It doesn't hurt that the little girl is every bit as sweet as, well, nearly everyone from that line and licky as all get-out (except for the occasional explorabrat who reliably shows up). So that was an up.

The down was that I always breed two litters at once, and the second one produced only one baby-- and he was deformed and not mentally right. He didn't seem to be in pain, but his bones and legs didn't seem to be quite properly shaped, and he had a lot of trouble learning not to eat litter, not to get twisted and stuck in the bedding-- Angus rescued him any number of times. Trooper, as we called him, at least knew enough that when he was in a fix he could squeak loudly and if his mom couldn't fix it then we could. Angus works from home, so he could be around for that. But Trooper just wasn't destined to stay long, and after a month of devoted nursing he passed away quite recently.

Throughout this saga I've been putting in summer hours at work, and working a couple extra hours at a second job to pay tuition and put food in my mouth. Yesterday and the previous day, for instance, were 12 and 15 hour workdays respectively.

I spent most of my growing-up years on a hobby farm, and switched to rats as a more practical but still cuddly city pet when I moved to a series of apartments in Vancouver, Canada. I never have been interested enough in any other animal to commit to one as an adult, though I expect that one day the right dog will find me. I work as a very urban landscaper in the downtown core, and I am going back to school full-time this fall while carrying a three-day work week and keeping the rats and the boyfriend-- I'm terrified of the amount of work this will take, but I'm sure I'll get through it.

When I have time to daydream I picture myself as a market farmer or an ecosystem designer-- I'm very interested in agro/food systems and growing food in multi-use systems has always been my true love and my calling. My light reading is books like 'Design for Ecological Democracy' 'Gaia's Garden' and 'The One Straw Revolution' for the most part-- and I do love to read. In the chinks in my schedule I cook-- I love the challenges of cooking vegan or gluten-free, though I am neither of these.

I have a love/hate relationship with shows. I don't really have time to go to them, and can't really take time off work, but I make time to attend them to be around rat people and talk about rats-- then spend the next month running around trying to make up the work and money and vowing never to go again. Somehow I always do.
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I'm a little late out of the house today, but that's not entirely unexpected; yesterday I was working from morning to 11pm, today will be a repeat but it will at least end at sunset.

I need to make time to water my garden; maybe Thursday I'll start a little later, it's a shorter day. My tomatoes need it soon. My mint needs it sooner.

I have help today at work; this may prevent me from dying this year.

I'll be taking in two foster rats, old ladies whose owner is moving to Toronto. Not sure when I meet them.

This weekend is starting to look kind of fubar'd. The only ride down to the states seems to be Friday after work (what time, Andi?) and the return Sunday sometime (?) which would mean a 60-hour-ish work-week capped by basically not being at home until theoretically evening Sunday. That's not impossible, but very unkind to myself, and I am practicing self-care lately thanks to some journalling epiphanies (you know, the repeated 'it's okay to be nice to yourself' ones?).

Really wanted to make the Cancer party though. GARGH. Don't have time to call people and plan rides and stuff; am working ALL THE TIME.

Will at least try to get info from Andi and Cella and see if things can't be made to work.

Things. They happen.

Spinning

Jun. 29th, 2010 09:08 pm
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Here I am, home again. I know I've posted since I got back, but not a real post. This will be a real post.

First of all, I survived the trip. The show was actually really nice, between the people who were there and the fact that I didn't bring rats so was able to do things like eat and judge. I also love love love that road-- the I5 from Seattle to Portland and then the road over to Boise was really spectacular. It's amazing watching terrain change through the window, and awesome as well to see so many wind farms.

There was definitely some over-peopledness and some tension about getting back, but in the end it all worked out.

That's not really what I wanted to write about, though.

I did the piercing photoshoot with my friend-- well, with a bunch of friends the other day, Estry and Travis did the piercing, Cabbit did the photography, the Writer did handholding and general assistance. It was absolutely amazingly wonderful. The first picture is up here and is really lovely; there are tons of other nice ones which he is messing with and will put up as he finishes that. Not only do I look incredibly beautiful in these pictures, but we had an absolute blast doing the play-- as you will no doubt see in some of the pictures. I loved that and want to do it again. I had forgotten how much fun a group kink session can be. I was having so much fun I didn't even feel sad when the needles came out.

So I went on the trip with some needle bruising on my face-- it looked like oddly symmetrical acne with weirdly geometric bruising, but it wasn't excessive.

I got back very very late on Sunday night-- originally we'd been planning to sleep a couple of hours in either Tacoma or Everett, but I was really getting antsy to get home and Lizzy was willing to go for it, so we did. The US customs guys had forgotten to give us our passports in all the excitement about rats coming up, so we had to park, walk in to US customs, pick up our passports, and walk out before driving through the Canadian part of the border. Let me tell you, 1am's a creepy time to be wandering around the border on foot.

Made it back and into an improbably welcoming and wonderful place to sleep off my quarantine and most of Monday besides, then meandered towards work for a couple of hours of the most necessary watering before I hit movie night. Since Monday morning I've been wandering around feeling like I've just woken up, you know that feeling when you come up out of a deep sleep? Though I'm still very tired; the last week was one long series of four- and five-hour nights.

As a result I worked a padded-out ten hour day today and will do the same tomorrow, but Canada Day on Thursday gives me a day off that-- then another long day Friday and the week will be done. So too will my tuition pay period, and then I can relax a little.

I've found a new writing outlet in my life, which is really what I came here to confess, but it's been an hour and a half since I started this post, a time period full of interruptions by food and rats, and so I've lost the inspiration to speak of it. Perhaps next time.

You know, I came home from work today and didn't even stop in the house first, I went straight to the garden, and it was awesome. There's so much mint that needs harvesting, there's so much stuff exploding awake in there-- though the tomatoes and okra need more heat or they won't do anything this year. Then I came in and got a hug and stuck my hands in rat cages for awhile while trying to whip my laptop into shape, and here I am.

Life is good.

I may be more coherent when I'm less tired. I should do something about sleep soon.
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-UScash
-passport, record of landing
-check Idaho weather
-pack clothing toothbrush hairbrush Phone charger contacts pills meditation balls friskie
-call re: long dist & us data
-baby pictures taken & up
-keyboard or pen & notebook
-laundry (socks)
-thorough watering
-piercing shoot
-andi's thing
-interpersonal
-rat cages?
-download Sandel?

Expecting

Jun. 11th, 2010 12:35 am
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Popcorn is in labour right now. (two born) I'm nervous. This is the first time I've closely watched the process from close up, which I'm doing because I'm nervous. Sometimes I'll go in and pick them up and inspect them mid-process, but then I usually leave the room and leave the cage covered the rest of the time, and I don't inspect often during a labour.

Poppy is not a super big fan of this level of intervention. She puts up with it, but stops when I turn on the lights, and gives me funny looks from time to time-- yeah, yeah, I get it, what I'm doing is weird, Lady. Just finish having your babies.

I am trying to make myself a cup of something hot to drink, but keep forgetting to pour the hot water from the kettle over something.

It's funny, during emergencies if I need to be doing anything I can be very calm, especially when someone else is depending on me. Here there's just that sneaking worry-- a second litter is a little bit risky, Caramella's one baby came out fine and there doesn't seem to be anyone stuck in the birth canal, Poppy's keeping up a good pace for babies I think --but I keep getting flashbacks to Corn Pops last summer. That was a realy rough birth. I don't want to repeat that. I would really like an x-ray machine here so I could somewhat trivially see how many babies there are and no one's left inside-- taking a new mom all the way to the vet on no actual justification is kinda silly. Just nervous.

The problem is, of course, that I breed for temperament. That means I breed my very very favourite rats, exposing them to risk in labour. It also means I want the babies more, because they would be more awesome than any other rats who could exist. Poppy was bred to Jacob, who ia the son of Paris my favourite rat and daughter of Lightning and Roxanne, who is the daughter of Cocoa Puff and Quartzie, and Cocoa was the daughter of Erin (born Andromeda) and Eliott (Erin was not mine but Lizzy's, named after me; Eliott was Quartz's dad) who was the daughter of Lightning , who was one of the first two rats I had from Lizzy. I didn't have to look that up; I remember. Every name on that list is so cherished; there are so many snuggles and kisses and fond memories tangled up in each. Each birth is harder for me, therefore, because I have more to lose and I know more about what can go wrong.

(it's really hard to see what's going on with the lights dim, but I think 4 so far)

It's especially difficult because I'm trying to breed when they're older, to help with longevity and selection for health, but older pregnancies have more chance of being both smaller and more dangerous.

I'll stop now about that. I'll make myself some tea, or rather some fake coffee. I'll contemplate just how crazy busy tomorrow's going to be on no sleep. I'll keep checking Poppy. I'm too scattered to write.

I am excited about the masquerade though. That boy keeps teasing me about his outfit; I'm about to die of curiosity. Angus' is very pretty indeed. My own is fabulous; there will be pictures. Costuming is one of my chiefest joys. I won't tell you exactly what the costume is till after, but it's pretty meaningful to me, and it lets me play a lot when making it.
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So a couple of miles from the Mexican border a rat hoarder was found. Rats were running loose in her house... domestic rats, descended from a couple she'd originally got. The Humane Society was taking them away. The numbers we were hearing kept getting bigger... 120, 170, 300. The rats are all pink-eyed whites-- lab-rat-looking rats, very hard to find homes for with the general public, all of whom want fancy blue dumbo rats (if you don't know what this means, come to my housewarming and I'll show you).

The Humane Society was going to begin to euthanise the rats today, but between a large offer of help (just give us a few days to organize transport) from the rat community and a bunch of news outlets who were now covering it ( http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_15131269 & http://www.kfoxtv.com/news/23624490/detail.html ) they decided to wait a week, because-- well, because Pacific Northwest rat people are amazing. In the past, with the Petaluma hoarder, we'd organized a rat train up the coast, with different people volunteering different legs of the trip and people along the whole way adopting or fostering as many as they could. Many rats were saved from death. My own Honeypie was from that rescue, as fine a gentleman as you can imagine. He passed away awhile ago and was mourned by those that knew him.

Now it's happened again-- fewer rats seem to be involved in the hoarding incident than in Petaluma, but fewer seem to have been put down thus far, and as always no sex seperation means that we could have... let's see, assume half of the perhaps 300 rats are female, and half of those are at fertile age (a possible underestimate), and the average litter size is 6-8 pups. With good vet care many of those might survive. Now it doesn't usually work that way, we can do emergency spays if we get the girls early enough, if the rats are very stressed they reabsorb babies, but you begin to understand the magnitude of the issue.

The original thread is here: http://www.goosemoose.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,118/forum,rat/topic,4070335.0

If you can help, either by donating money or by fostering (for any length of time) or adopting any number of rats, can offer vet care at reduced rats, or can do anything else you can imagine to help, or you know anyone who can, please get the info to simone@littlemischiefrescue.org . She's coordinating. She basically makes the impossible happen on a regular basis.

We may just have found a miracle in the form of a pilot who has some time off and is willing to fly out there and bring back pacific northwest rats. We're trying to work quickly, because next week they start killing these kiddoes.

***

In other news, I've been using more pictures lately-- I thought hard about my own face going up. I've been taking a lot of pictures around the city with my iphone. I think I need to do some sort of pay thing or upgrade thing to post those pictures up here easily, and I'm wondering if I should do that. I thought a lot about voice posts for awhile, because they could be made from wherever, but the ability to organise my thoughts quickly enough as I go and speak at the same time may be beyond me-- at least for longer posts.

This place has been my voice for a very long time. I think it may contain my eyes too? A lot of stuff goes through here lately.

***

I'm rediscovering the art of conversational phone calls. This makes me so happy, in so many directions. It's an elegant solution to a bunch of things involving time, conversational styles and interpersonal awkwardness, and social drama for now. It's also something I haven't done in awhile. When I first asked if I could call him (after being reminded that the phone was an option) I felt as nervous as the firs time I called Kynnin. It's settling now, though I still-- you know, I do still feel like I'm an obstruction in people's lives, frequently, an intrusion or an unwelcome duty. I don't like to insert myself where I'm not explicitly invited. I get better and worse at this, and in different situations it switches around some, but there it is. It may be at the root of the interesting thing where people don't call me because they think I'm distancing myself from them which I'm only doing because they aren't calling me.

***

Speaking of distancing, here is a week in the history of my hair. Monday: aphids. Tuesday: unidentifiable kid sticky. Wednesday: raindrops, windstorm. Thursday: ficus lyrata latex sap. Friday: sunscreen & dirt.

Why am I growing it again?
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Ooooohhh, sitting down! Oooooohhh, food within an hour! Might actually survive this. I'm really a pretty capable person. I can't even say how much I'm looking forward to my own home and bed Sunday night.

I only wish I was in town to help Angus move the big furniture in the morning. Well, and that I had the energy. We've been hauling tons of cages up and down stairs all weekend. I thought my shoulders were screaming before!

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We got across the border no problem-- usually they pull you over when there are thirty rats in the van. The guard told us to have fun at Rattapaloosa. Ha. Shows are not about fun. They're about toughing it out.

That said, there are a lot of cute rats here. Basically this is where all the major pacific northwest breeders show up- we don't see each other very often at all, we live everywhere from Idaho and Oregon to BC, and we get to trade some genes, and we get to catch up on all the gossip (animal folk are very dramatic, and I stay out of it online). There are over a hundred rats in the house right now, Lynn of http://www.worldofrats.com has a bunch, and Michelle of CWR and Krislyn of RMIS are sleeping here as well as me and my breeding partner.

After we've had dinner we'll start clipping, washing, tail-scrubbing (with a toohbrush) and generally prepping. We'll get an hour or two's sleep, then the marathon begins tomorrow.

Seattle is really beautiful. It feels like it has more raw edges than Van, but perhaps that's just the areas I spend time in. I will post a picture of the Last Supper couch to facebook in the morning when there's light. You'll love it.

Oh Shit

Apr. 1st, 2010 01:51 am
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With all this gallivanting about and burning the candle at both ends and keeping way too freaking busy to breathe, I've missed the cutoff date for the twice-yearly order of lab blocks. I'm hoping that despite the fact that I missed the cutoff the order hasn't been sent in yet, but if it has then I've got six months of hand-mixing my food-- that's a lot of $$$ and time, and not as certain nutrition as I'd like.

I am so upset at myself. I've been relying on my breeding partner a ton for stuff like this, including for reminders, and she's been rock-solid reliable-- you'd think I'd be able to pick up the slack the one time she doesn't remind me day-of.

In other less-than-shiny news, I lost both Princess and Mikaela last night. Both of them.

Sure, I can be happy and all, but I can't let it get in the way of the nitty-gritty making-it-go bits, and this last few weeks I have been.

Grrr.

Okay, if I catch a couple of hours sleep it will help with this, then we're leaving.

Wow

Mar. 23rd, 2010 09:01 am
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It's not that i haven't posted for awhile; it's that a lot has happened since then. I have a lot a lot to say if I can remember it as I'm writing.

First: moved my stuff. Easy move, the drop-box got put a few feet from our patio door, it was glorious. We were basically moved by noon; we have a lot of books. Headed out to grab a couple more bookshelves (we can't afford enough more, but we can afford some) and then napped in the new place for a bit on my bed (which is there now).

I have a lot of cool stuff! Since it was all in storage, this is like Christmas. I have my pottery wheel, my sewing machine, my drums, my altar (I mean focal space), SO FUCKING MUCH COOL CLOTHING, my cloth stash, my costume trunk, my four foot stuffed unicorn, my aquarium... it goes on. Oh, and books. I have rad books, as Angus would say.

I'm looking into paint and wall decals for the new place with Angus today. We have more space than I remember, and I am so happy to be there. The ratkins have a room, which is sad in some ways but makes for easier visiting by people like Tillie and easier sleeping when they go crazy on the wheel (they're in a room with no walls that neighbor other apartments). I will have space for my pantry and spices and a deep freeze. I already have some natal mahoganies on order (actually a really big tree but not indoors here obviously (Paul, have you seen any of these around?)) which will be fabulous assuming they don't get scale-- which you can't assume EVER --but tending four plants doesn't take much time anyhow. Will be nice for Angus and I to have a 'date bed' too for people to come over.

Second: I got accepted into BCIT! Ack $$$!!! Need to stop spending money on wonderful ridiculous things and start saving, um, 7500 for this winter. Ulp. Excited. Nervous. Can I do this? Of course I can. Right?

Third: reached boy limit. No new applicants will be accepted. Don't have enough time as is. I didn't really sleep last night. Also: my life rocks more than I can say.

Fourth: Rats are really freaking cute. I will take pictures today.

Fifth: I need to eat something. Yesterday I consumed a mocha, a rice krispie square, and half a sushi roll. Um. No. When I'm done writing I am going out to get bacon and a pineapple to fry in the bacon grease. That is that.

Sixth: I am so looking forward to family dinners that I can barely wait. It kills me to have to wait for May, but that's what we've gotta do. I've been thinking about doing an all-weekend housewarming with some drop-in events-- like a drum making workshop and maybe a taffy pullor chocolate fondue pot and cookoff and. Hell, the way I'm feeling right now I think we should include an orgy. Also on the list for family dinner nights: duck risotto. Sopas and beans. Vegan chili w/ fresh anchos. Thom yum soup a la vegan. My boss is going to send me a souffle recipe that's eggless. And of course things which contain my kickass honey vinegar. I can't wait to be close to friends.

I've been trying to think about ways to incorporate permaculture learn-ins to family dinner- not just cooking, but some foraging or growing aspects. Still pondering how best to do that. Planning my garden based on what will work well in that capacity.

Seventh: April's gonna be busy. I need to come up with appropriate gifts for Pan and Aphrodite this year. I need to pack for SMF. I need to budget. Oof. SMF, rat show, rat food, and new cages all in the same month. Oof, tuition, I need to prioritize you but it's a tad late in these instances. Family dinner will at least help with budgetting. I can feed a ton of people for less than eating out generally.

Last but not least: There are so many many people who are blessings in my life, but it's Angus who is the most consistent. He's handled the last couple of months with exceeding grace despite my total lack of it, and it was with that same grace that he welcomed me home last night in a rather awkward situation. Right now I owe him a good sit-down-and-think about my life because he's worth more than my breaking stuff and him coming and picking up the pieces.

Mama Rat

Mar. 15th, 2010 03:38 pm
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The rats totally are our kids. We're moving to get them their own bedroom. :P

In other news, I am reminded of just how much I like the chase. Perhaps I'm learning better how to deal once I've done the catching? Time will tell. Regardless, I am sure still carrying my load of poly guilt.

Time Use

Mar. 13th, 2010 10:26 am
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You know how I'm always saying I don't have time? Here are the things I'd want to include in any given four-week (28-day) stretch:

16 days of work
4 days and 4 - 8 evenings of Angus time
1 - 2 days or evenings of extracurricular relationship activities
3 - 6 days or evenings of friends
6 days or evenings of special events (rat show, spring mysteries, family dinner, movie night). This could overlap with friend stuff, eddimication stuff, Angus time, whatever
4 days minimum eddicatin' meself and doing things I find exciting
4 days cleaning rat cages and doing rattery stuff
4 days or 6 evenings doing Greenie stuff
2 - 3 days cooking (can overlap)
2 evenings chatting about rat breeding

Plus maybe 8 - 10 hours of housecleaning, maybe an hour a day rat snuggling with no agenda, an hour and a bit a day doing email/livejournalling/etc, dinner which thank god can be multitasked, packing lunches which I always ignore, gardening which would ideally take about 6 hours/day.

This comes to mind because I've been thinking of restarting family dinners once I'm back in the neighborhood. My thinking looked like this: I really enjoy this feeling of being able to spend a whole day with Angus, it's been forever. I have four days a week of work, that means I'd have time to spend one day a week with Angus, one day doing cooking and housecleaning for family dinner, and I'd have a day left over for friends or whatever. Oh wait, I am only working four days because the rats are a full day in my own mind, so a day with Angus, a day of cooking and cleaning, a day of rats, and work... that leaves no time for anything! In the ideal world I'd have a whole day a week to bum around with friends, I sure do love open-ended days like that. I always get antsy if I can't do plant stuff, though, and there are a ton of gardenworks workshops coming up I want to go to. Oh yeah! The rat show is coming up. That's going to eat a whole weekend and a lot of my enthusiasm for large crowds for the next little while. Likely will make me wanna skip a couple movie nights. So's spring mysteries. If I build a schedule around four days of work, one day of rat cage cleaning, I'm going to very regularly have no time to spend with Angus or friends... wait, does that sound familiar? Maybe if I pack family dinner and the rats on the same day (always a good idea so they're clean for people) I can at least get people in. But wait...

Jeeze, I guess listing my priorities is a first step. It'd be interesting to assign weights to these times-- because things get weighted by how often I've done them. Like if I just had a crazy cool garden workshop this week, I might forego some other kind of learning in favour of hanging out with a friend, or vice versa. So there's a natural weight where something is a higher priority if I'm deprived of it for awhile. There are a lot of things I start to get twitchy about after a week of being away from them, and after two weeks I kind of forget that they're options at all much I'm a much less happy and resilient person in general. Over February almost everything fell into that category, but over the summer friends tended to, and in the past eddimacation has. (I am really enjoying the ability to listen to lectures at work, currently going through a biology 101 and a book-on-tape of /Outliers/-- I am thinking if I get into BCIT (they finally acknowledged reciept of my application this week) I will tape lectures and re-listen during work time)

I wish I could think up a system where I didn't forget about important things.

Also where my calendar doesn't fill up so freaking fast. Seriously-- April is more-or-less toast, all the weekends are booked at least, I believe there are two weekends in June, one in July, and one in August already booked, and that's without figuring out anything in advance (like housewarming, ratterywarming, people's various parties though I have the masquerade accounted for...)

To think that I used to worry about having nothing to do if I wasn't in multiple relationships!
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I don't have work today and here I am, up early in that time when everything is still dark and quiet. The rats are up, I'm up, and I have no distractions so I can do some of the emailing I've been meaning to do for, sometimes, months. I can do long-term planning that's been getting put off (I need make a who-goes-where plan for the rat cages, for instance, and ponder some financial stuff). I can look at exciting housing prospects on craigslist. I took a day to update my website on Monday with everyone's name, though I need to take some more pictures still, so I don't feel pressed to do that right now. I've been seeing my breeding partner regularly, so I have those tangles of genes for the next couple of months mostly straightened out in my head. When it gets lighter and Angus is awake I can repot some indoor plants and make up some bulb pots for outdoors.

I'm going to the Pan Pacific breakfast buffet thingy this morning -- some of my friends will be there and so will my boss, who would like me to show up. Angus is going. I figure the crowded chaos will be tempered by some socialisation. It's not something I would do on my own, but it's too damn close to miss meeting up with Marcella &c for a bit.

Besides, not having to think about breakfast means I can think about those pots, or who goes in what rat cage. It feels nice to finally get to a place in catchup where finishing one thing doesn't just mean that the next two things which depended on that thing need to be done.

Today is going to be a sad day. Between Angus and I we have a couple of rats that neeed to be put to sleep. I need to find the tubing for me CO2 setup we do for that-- I lost it in the move, or it got put somewhere, and I've been putting off looking for it because it's sad. It's past time, though. I've had a couple top-tier horrifying and gross experiences in my life (one of which involved Lady's birth) and the tumour in Vidi's eye socket is one of them. She's hung in there really well, but you can tell it's really starting to bother her, the eye is long gone, and it's time for her to just sleep now and not need to worry about it anymore. I'm ambivalent about taking a picture. :/

In other news I should be getting my rescue kiddoes today if all goes well. The girl, Cinderella, is a bitey girl who's had three litters and loved in a tiny cage with cigarette butts before rescue. The other girl is her daughter, to help reduce some of the transition stress for Cinders and to make sure that if she doesn't get along with my other rats for some reason that she has someone to be with. Since Fang is starting to warm to me (Angus says he still has problems, but Angus is terrified of that rat and doesn't touch him really) another biter is good to have around, and I've done very little for the rescue lately so it's nice to be doing this. It's on my mind because I need to get those two spayed both so there are never any accidents (in all my history of rat-keeping there was only one accident, and 6/7 babies died of a genetic disease. Planned breeding and known lines are important!) and so they can be less in the way of tumour factories when they get older. Right now between Vidi and Shady (never bred, thank goodness) with her big ole mammary tumours I'm getting enough of that side of things.

Hah, there's enough rat stuff in here that I should put some of it on my rattery blog. Updating that gets very last priority often.

I'm reminded that the rattery is at least a part-time other job - if I dedicate 20 hrs/week to it I'll still never get everything done, but I won't feel like an awful human being so much and I'll enjoy it more and stress less. When I think of it that way I get less confused about how everyone else seems to have more time than I do.

Speaking of other people, I'm living in a tiny yaletown 1bdrm+storage closet with Angus, have been for a month now, and we're doing great. I didn't think that was -possible-. I've had to relax some of my stuff around a messy house, he's had to work at tidying some, but we're both doing it and it's amicable and loving and warm and it feels like home. I want to be here nearly all the time instead of going "home" and taking off again. We need to find a slightly bigger space for our stuff, but our brains and hearts fit together with no problems so far like this. Well, no problems except for a couple of bad days in my cycle that recur with awful predictability. I need to write something into my brain which goes like *freaking out* --> is it a day or two before my period, or ovulation day? if yes --> wait 2 days, rethink :P

There, I've spewed out about as much as I have in me, time to go back to a warm bed and wait till the sun comes up. Be well, people.
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Mmm. Morning before a non-work day. Time for writing. It'll be a tight month but I'm getting my life back.

Have I mentioned I'm moving again? My roommates decided the rats weren't for them. I'll be moving in with Angus. I am very much looking forward to that. It's funny, I had about a two-second thought: man, housing would be easier if I wasn't essentially supporting a dependent (food + room) in the form of the rats. The thought left as soon as it came. I'm happy to be doing it, and I'd miss them a whole lot. Seems I'm still deeply committed to this negative-income hobby of mine. :) I do wonder if getting a business license would allow me to write off food & bedding & cage purchases, or if that only works against the income of the business in question. It's something to think about.

So we're looking for a two bedroom, big one-bedroom-plus-den, or anything bigger. There are a bunch of options- a yard or balcony is pretty mandatory though there's one two-bedroom by Juggler's place where I bet I could just trade him yardwork for a veggie patch. We're looking both in the Yaletown-box-with-gym-in-the-building category and in the east-van-on-bike-routes-with-yard category, so it'll be pretty interesting to see what shakes out. You'd think it would be an awful time to be moving but people do seem to be looking, not just for Olympics short-terms stays but for actual tenants. Who knew? If you know of a place, let us know. We're looking between 1000 - 1500/month, but there may be some flex there for the right place.

I am so looking forward to buying someday.

There seems to be a lot of mental illness going around these days. This sounds weird to say, and I'm not sure how to approach the thing in my head. In the last month my brother and a friend of mine have been having issues, my co-worker is always kind of iffy, and there are a couple more people in the wings that are going that way. I mean, you know what to do if someone is physically sick, but even having been through bad depression myself doesn't help me know what to do when someone's in that, or in something else. I'm so very glad Angus is through his recent bit. His body is still hitting him hard physically, but he's a tough cookie. Also I love him like crazy, have I mentioned that lately?

My mom is sick with, likely, h1n1 right now. I need to make her some soup today-- she's really terrible with self-care. Come to think of it, I should offer her my bedroom to stay in. I'm not using it at the moment. Don't want to infect roommates though. Hm.

Chucken-garlic-ginger-orange peel congee, I think.

Discovered a really lovely all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant three blocks away from Angus' place. Tamaya, I think it's called, on Seymour by Robson. It's perfect staggering distance from here, their selection is fantastic, their prep and cooking is good, and they both offer wild salmon for an additional charge and have enough other options that it's not missed. Also, raw oysters are part of the all-you-can-eat menu, and their miso is properly bonito'd. I think I have replaced Tanpopo as long as they can remain consistent for a couple of visits.

Yoink!

Oct. 25th, 2009 05:50 pm
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I'm still being ridiculously emotional and weird-- it got really bad today. I went from being super up and happy to a slow fall yesterday and a big crash this morning, and a nagging paranoia (I get classic comic-book paranoia when I drink too much caffeine). Exercise alone doesn't seem to be fixing this, but I realise I've been drinking a lot of "decaf" tea, and my sleep really has been mixed up some, so who knows? Glad to finally have my obligations over with so I can spend an evening with Angus doing very little in the nice warm.

I may be getting sick, cause or effect? I really do not want to get the flu that's going around, but this seems to be in my throat and forehead, so we'll see where that takes me.

Beef stew tonight. So glad I made it Friday. Angus and I are having a snack-fest with pudding and good apple juice and such. There will be playing with baby rats and some champions online.

My Fang-O has stopped biting me, which makes me pretty happy. I almost got him killed today (did lazy/optimistic introductions with some other boys who went for this throat) as a reward. I'm gonna give him a day or two to heal up and then bring him with me places. He doesn't deserve to sit in a cage alone.

It's funny, even just sitting down to write calms me down. There's some self-analysis and perspective-placing that I can't do if I'm not talking to someone or writing, and I just auto-impose it when I open one of these windows to post. It's very relaxing, and I haven't been relaxed lately. My job situation is pretty much decided, there's a meeting on Tuesday with roommates to figure that out, so those are big serious issues that are finally wrapped up. Angus remains the sort of steady warmth, home-ness, and comfort that you'd expect from a good big hearthfire. The rest of my social life has been naggling at me, though, and I guess now it's time to work on that.

I've been noticing people's faces especially much lately. The corners of the mouth where they arrow up into cheeks with a smile, or crank crooked or sideways when they don't quite make it to a smile; little wrinkles around the eyes; the flight of cheekbones across a face; the arch and crinkle of the upper eyelid: these make me happy. I like looking at people.

Here's to a smooth week for me, and a good one for you. One more week till my semi-vacation!

Morning.

Oct. 17th, 2009 06:44 am
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The body-clock says it's morning, though it's still dark out, and rainy. My alarm goes off at six every day but I've been waking up before it again by a few minutes.

Angus wakes up when I do. It's something I appreciate so very much. Morning can be a lonely time, especially in a condo when there are no predawn birds and not much way to bustle around with breakfast without waking him.

The rat rescue is looking for someone to take a bitey, pregnant female who was kept in a bird cage with a male-- this is her third pregnancy, as usual the cage was never cleaned, but they got this one complete with cigarette butts in the cage. They need someone without rats to take her for the three-week quarantine period. I think I will take her after if no one else steps forward. I don't have a rescue ratty currently, and maybe she'd get along with Fang after he's neutered. I wonder if it's too late to spay her?

I've been out in the rain a lot lately-- biking yesterday and then walking basically all morning. Apple fest today is supposed to be very light rain, but we'll see where it goes. Being outside in it is such a joy, especially when you can come in whenever you feel the slightest bit cold.

Still dark. Time to go back to bed and cuddle.

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