Saturday, July 31, 2010

My rat obsession.

Okay, it's official. I am obsessed with our rats.

Shall we back up a step?
How on earth did this happen?

It all began when my 2 girls started asking for rats about 2 years ago. My answer? NO WAY!
I said that rats were not pets and I was not having a filthy rodent in my house.
I assumed (yes... assumed without any knowledge on the subject) that they were dirty, gross, mean little creatures that would bite, stare at me with glaring eyes and eat through anything they came in to contact with.
There was no valid reason for my feelings but this was my gut reaction to the idea. Even I have some very narrow minded moments.

After a year of begging without any success they started showing me videos of rats on YouTube. These silly rats were not so menacing looking but actually a LITTLE cute. They did tricks, they danced, they did not seem to bite but I was sure that was only for certain lucky people. Not me!
Cassie finally broke me down when it was almost her birthday and she said that she would buy everything for the rats. I told her that so long as she and Megan were 100% responsible for them and did EVERYTHING themselves then fine. I would buy the actual rats as her birthday gift.

So she gets these little creatures and they are actually cute. I occasionally went down and looked at them but they still freaked me out. No touching them for me! It took me over 2 months to even touch one and holding one was another month after that. A little odd for me since I am usually very open to most animals but the idea of rats still bothered me.

What happened next has shocked me and everyone else in the house. I actually grew to like them. We all did. Lenny started letting them lay on his tummy while watching TV, I started letting them sit on my lap while I tinkered with the computer (as I write this now, Tali is here on my lap and licking my fingers causing me to type with one hand). Travis even began letting them climb up his arm and sit on his shoulder each evening. After a month or so of never being bitten (they never bite), never having one stare me down or hurt anyone in any way... I melted. I fell in love with 4 silly little rats.

We take them outside (no leash needed), we let them play in the living room while we watch TV, I even built them a "playground" so they could have fun while we had fun watching them. We are starting to think we should cancel the TV service. We only sit and watch the rats play anyways.
I am almost ashamed to admit this but my previous rule of the girls being 100% responsible has changed to me wishing they would go out so they rats can come play with me. *laugh*

So I must admit to all of you...
I am officially rat obsessed.

If you watch my video, you might see why. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Learning to Write

I have been writing letters for 30 years now and the wonderful woman who taught me how to do it "properly" will be 107 on September 25th. Her first letter to me was fun and interesting so I wrote back with great excitement. I was only 10 years old but when she wrote me back she also returned my letter with corrections. Not my spelling, not my grammar, not any words I had used but the actual content.

I had written sentences like "I went camping with my Dad" and she had questions written in red all over all over that sentence.  
Where did you go?
Are you close to your Dad?
Was it pretty?
How did you feel when you were there?
Did you do anything that you think you will remember forever?
The whole letter was covered in questions and over the following years she slowly taught me not just how to write and post a letter but how to really speak to the other person and hopefully make them feel like they are right there with you having a friendly chat. I learned so much from her (I still do!) and although my letters will never be perfect and her replies will always include corrections (yes... 30 years later she still happily and politely corrects/questions and probes me to dig deeper) she taught me what really counts in a letter.

Who cares if you went camping? Honestly very few people will although they will be polite and pretend that they do. *laugh*
They WILL care if you tell them that your single father had to deal with your first period and how embarrassed you both were. 
It will make someone laugh if you tell them that after spending 4 or 5 hours driving to the campground named "Lost Forrest Park" that your father somehow managed to always laugh at my question (every 2 minutes I am sure) "Are we Lost yet? I am wondering why he never strangled me. What a patient man he was.
It will create an amusing picture in their mind if you tell them how you spent the whole weekend catching great big "wart" covered toads for "Toad Races" with all your friends and that you even spent several hours making a track for them to "run" on... which they completely ignored! How ungrateful!
When I read a letter it is not the day to day diary that I care about anymore although without Olive it might have been okay with me. Then again, I doubt I would still be writing. How sad that would be.
Olive taught me that it is how you felt on that day, what made you laugh when you were there, who made you feel special, what you saw that just took your breath away for a moment that really matters. 

In the end I learned that the ungrateful toad is far more important than the trip.

When I get a copy of this back from her, I will expect it to look a lot like this.
Thanks Olive!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Living Life 80-20

In my younger years, I was always devastated every time I made a mistake or messed something up. It always felt like the world was going to crash in around me. Then I had a really rough patch in my life and had to learn to be kinder to myself. I decided that I would start living my life 80-20 and it is certainly a much easier way to live.

This is what it means...

80% of the time you try to get things right. Arrive on time, stay healthy, fulfill commitments, have fun with your children, be sweet to your husband, handle stress with dignity, eat properly, give the pets fresh water, get the housework done, get enough rest, have a great day at work, remember someone's birthday, speak kindly to those around you and all the other million things that we do well each week.

20% of the time you accept that you are going to get things wrong. Arrive late, eat junk food, forget to give the pets fresh water, break a promise, get mad at your children, say something nasty to your husband, let stress overwhelm you, leave the house a mess so you can sit on the computer, stay up too late, have a crappy day at work, forget someone's birthday, say something unkind about someone and all the other million things that we mess up on in a week.

The biggest part of this way of living is that you have to accept that we are all human and we can all learn to be kinder to ourselves. We are all good and bad, smart and stupid, happy and sad, organized and disorganized, prompt and tardy... and it is okay!
Do well 80% of the time and forgive yourself for the 20% that you are not.
Nobody's Perfect!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


After seeing posts made my a few of my other friends, I have chosen to pick the colour green and do my own photo essay with it. 

GREEN : The color of harmony and balance, Green symbolizes hope, renewal and peace, and is usually liked by the gentle and sincere. Greens are generally frank, community-minded people, fairly sociable but preferring peace at any price.

A lovely wispy tree.

Cassie with her flip flops.

An old shed door.

My prickly cactus.

Candy cake sprinkles.

Megan's wish for a greener world.

The Book of Me - Literally.

Gel pens.

 The bunting bag I have made for the next Mullaly baby. 


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Whales turned to fog.

I did all my errands early and rushed back to the North Shore where I live because the whales seem to think that 4pm is feeding time and I wanted to get some pictures for my friends. I got myself all set up and in a great position to get some good pictures... then the fog rolled in and completely covered the water!
I could hear the whales but could no longer see them and the camera only picked up a white blanket over the water.
I am fairly sure the whales were laughing at the clever prank they pulled on me. Foiled again!

When I decided to stop looking for whales I was able to let myself see how beautiful the fog looked as it began to climb it's way up the cliffs. A really stunning sight in my books. I took this picture just as it began and marveled at the beauty of the white encroaching on the green.

I have to wonder how many times we go somewhere looking for something or expecting things to go a certain way and when they don't, we just leave. I am starting to feel that perhaps we need to stay awhile and enjoy what shows up naturally. It might be just as beautiful and worthy of our time.

And if we are really lucky? Maybe even more beautiful.