Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Chillaxin’ Under an Icy Glare

Filed under: Rats! — folkcat at 9:37 pm on Monday, July 28, 2008

Five days later, and Lily and Laurel are settling in pretty nicely. They are full of energy and can often be found wrestling with each other all through their cage.

Their appetites defy their still petite sizes – they plow through two adult-size portions of fruits and vegetables in no time at all, and usualy settle in for a heavy snooze afterwards.

Lily (L) and Laurel (R) Snooze Off a Feeding Frenzy
Lily (l) and Laurel (r) relax after a meal

That object on top of their felt bag is a half a grape – the only produce that was left at this point.

Lola is still not too thrilled with the situation. She’s tending to sleep in her hammock more, which is at the end of her cage that is closest to the babies. This is her usual pose:

Lola Glares
Are They Gone Yet?

Her fur is all fluffed up. She’s glaring in the direction of the girls, the better to catch every movement and fully document all their transgressions (like daring to exist in HER home). The paw is braced against the wires, the better to support a lunge if an opportunity presents itself.

Gryphon and I are making sure all the rats get separate but equal attention. Lola, however, isn’t entirely thrilled with me, either – I think she may blame me for these new girls coming into the house. She still goes to snuggle with her daddy Gryphon when she can, but she is simultaneously pulled to see how close she can get to the little ones’ cage.

I’ve been orchestrating small, fully supervised meet-and-greets on my lap. Lola and the boys still tend to lunge and try to toss the babies. But the last one, Lily responded by rearing up on her hind legs and getting into a staring match with Lola – who also reared up. Lola soon broke the staring with another lunge, and everyone was put away. But Lily trying to stand her ground, that’s progress. She’s not going to be a submissive rat, she’ll find and insist on her place in the family. Laurel hasn’t had the same opportunity yet, but if she’s anything like her sister, we’ll be fine.

We won’t force them into the same living space until we’re sure it’s safe. In the meantime, I’ll continue to find small ways to let them work out the Rattie Hierarchy.

That’s about it for me. Beyond the Rattie Report, about all that’s been happening is lots of EverQuest 2 playtime. I’m getting a great deal of satisfaction from that right now, and learning the game more in-depth than ever. I have a number of new characters that I’m enjoying, and have been making rapid progress with whoever I play at any given moment. But I’m guessing most of you don’t come here to find out what I’m doing in an online fantasy world, and I’m not sure how much I feel like re-hashing my adventures here.

Yes, I’m still knitting. I’ve taken on a new project, in fact, a scarf for a charity raffle that Mainely Rat Rescue will be holding later this summer. They want to raise the money to file for their tax-exempt status as a 501c3 non-profit organization – yay! For the early details about the raffle, just go to this post at the GooseMoose Pet Portal.

I did some stash-diving and came up with some lovely black mohair, and several partial balls of novelty yarns in rich, deep pinks. I’m knitting a lengthwise scarf with pink stripes set against the black. Right now, it’s just the first few rows of black, so not picture-worthy yet. I’ll let you see it when there’s something to see.

The Ametrine Phoenix entrelac shawl is on hold while I whip up the scarf for the raffle. The scroll lace socks are on hold until I finish the shawl. The Adult Surprise Jacket is on hold until the socks are done. I just hope I can manage not to add too many more layers, or nothing will ever get finished!

Meet the New Girls

Filed under: Rats! — folkcat at 8:25 pm on Wednesday, July 23, 2008

They arrived home about 7 p.m. tonight…please meet Laurel and Lily!

Laurel (brunette) and Lily (blonde)
L. to R.: Laurel and Lily

Laurel is an agouti berkshire. Agouti means her coloring is very similar to wild rats, a mix of flecks of brown and black. Berkshire means she has color all over her body, except for a white belly and feet. Some berkshires also have a white tail tip – Laurel does not.

Lily is a beige hooded. As you can see, her coloring is mainly on the head and shoulders, with a broken stripe partway down her back.

For reference to the rest of the brood, Leo is also hooded, and Lola and Yuri are both berkshires.

All these pictures were taken within about a half hour of the girls arriving home. In that time, they began:

Exploring the boundaries:

Lily says, “How far down is down, do you think?”

Learning new tricks:

Lily is already an adept at “walking the arm bridge”

Discovering new hidey-holes:

Laurel Explores the Tissue Box

Laurel took an early shine to the tissue box.

Inciting interest among the previous residents:

Yuri and Leo Look On with Interest

Do I smell – more girls?

Not pictured, but also in evidence very quickly – Lola spent time in the top of their cage, staring in the direction of the new girls and pacing. Then she curled up in her hammock and very pointedly did NOT look in their direction for a while. Jealous much? I’m sure she’ll get over it once the initial shock is past.

Both Lily and Laurel used the arm bridge to come out and crawl all over my shoulders. Lily has already made attempts at cleaning my ears. Both girls spent time tunneling under my shirt.

I have to say, these girls are obviously very well socialized already. They were not nervous in the ride home in the carrier – there was nary a poop in evidence when I took them out. They have eagerly come to get my attention every time I come near the cage, and run to the door and your hands when you reach in. And no poops of nervousness while being handled, either.

Kudos to Mainely Rat Rescue for coming through with another pair of adorable, healthy, friendly Ratties! If you’re anywhere in New England and are thinking of bringing rats into your family, I highly recommend them. They are very supportive of the rats and those who adopt them – they want to make successful matches, after all! Personal thanks to Kim, who not only swiftly approved us to adopt again (we got Leo and Yuri from them in January), but talked us into taking not just one, but two of the girls. I don’t think we’re going to regret it a bit, Kim!

I Know I’ve Been Quiet

Filed under: Daily Life,Rats! — folkcat at 3:24 pm on Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I haven’t knit since Thursday last week. Well, I’ve been knitting a rat rug, but only a few rows a day. Knitting has been on hold because I’m just not feeling it most days right now.

I was sick from heat exhaustion Saturday night after our errands that afternoon. Sunday was mostly recovering from that. And of course, Sunday began all the excitement about the new rat babies coming to us.

Monday Gryphon and I had some personal business emergencies to deal with. Tuesday, a doctor’s appointment (everything is going well). It’s been one thing after another taking our attention away from having just normal, routine days at home.

Tonight, I pick up the new girls, Lily and Laurel. Lola is all excited – she sees the other cage set up near theirs, and keeps peeking to see if anyone is in it. Yuri and Leo, well…they’re boys. They’re sleeping, and showing no particular interest at all. I’ll bet anything that will change as soon as the scent of two new girls hits their noses later.

It seems like almost everyone I know is having a similar slump period – depression, unsuccessful job searches, financial woes, health issues. I don’t know what’s going on in the cosmos to bring such a trend around. Here’s hoping it passes quickly!

And of course, I promise…baby Rattie pictures will be posted as soon as it’s at all practical!

Guess I Come By This Purple Thing Honestly

Filed under: Uncategorized — folkcat at 11:57 am on Monday, July 14, 2008

you are mediumorchid
#BA55D3

Your dominant hues are red and blue. You’re confident and like showing people new ideas. You play well with others and can be very influential if you want to be.

Your saturation level is medium – You’re not the most decisive go-getter, but you can get a job done when it’s required of you. You probably don’t think the world can change for you and don’t want to spend too much effort trying to force it.

Your outlook on life is brighter than most people’s. You like the idea of influencing things for the better and find hope in situations where others might give up. You’re not exactly a bouncy sunshine but things in your world generally look up.

the spacefem.com html color quiz

Really, We Can Stop Anytime…

Filed under: Rats! — folkcat at 4:47 pm on Sunday, July 13, 2008

…but do we want to?

Rats. They get under your skin and you find you can’t do without them. You make up excuses to get more. “It’s been six months since we adopted Yuri and Leo!” “My birthday is coming up in August!”

So I go looking, out of idle curiosity, at the Mainely Rat Rescue site. Among the many listings on the “Available Animals” page, for some reason “Dave-ette? Babies!!!” catches my eye. I go to look, and find love in the form of a beige hooded girl the rescue has named “Lil Mama”. In fact, I feel so connected that I immediately know that her real name is Lily. At least, that’s the name I hear in my head when I look at her picture.

I consulted with Gryphon, and we decided that, yes, we were ready. I wrote to Mainely Rat Rescue, and had a reply mere minutes later – yes, Lil Mama is still available, and has been reserved for us. But are we sure we don’t want to take one of her sisters, too?

Oh, we’re hooked all right. That’s all it took to get us to say, “Sure, can we have the agouti hooded, Cierra, as well?”

An hour ago, I’d have told you we had no specific plans to adopt more rats – yet. Now, we’ll be bringing home two new girls in a little over a week. Whee!

If you’d like a peek at the new Rattie Sisters, you can find them on the page with Dave-ette’s litter here: http://mainelyratrescue.org/rattieblog2/?p=123. Cierra is the agouti hooded female at the top of the list; Lily (listed as Lil Mama) is the beige hooded who is at the fifth row.

I’m excited by this – these will be the youngest rats we’ve adopted since our original pet store Rattie Sisters who started it all. Lily and Cierra were just born on June 16th, and will be five weeks old when we bring them home. From what they say at the website, they’re already friendly and social. This will be a hoot!

Edited to add: Things are moving fast – while our reply zipped over to Mainely Rat Rescue, someone else got there first for Cierra. So we’ll be taking the agouti berkshire, Taylor Swift, instead. She’s the ninth rat down in the pictures.

We’ve also decided that her new name will be Laurel, to go with Lily. It works on two levels – the obvious alliteration, and the meanings. Laurel means “glory”, and Lily means “majestic”. Works for us.

Thursday Quick Takes

Filed under: Knitting,Movies,Rats!,Spinning — folkcat at 1:42 pm on Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hope you’re all having a great week! I’ve been keeping busy here in New Hampshire.

Illegal firecrackers going off mere yards from our home are an annual problem here every Fourth of July. So many of the neighbors are the type who just don’t care, and the houses are so close together.

Gryphon and I decided to avoid the issue altogether this year. We went to the movies.

A little dark, but that’s what it really looked like at that moment. We visited the Milford Drive-in (celebrating 50 years in business), and saw Wall-E.

You are hereby ordered, if you haven’t seen it already, to go. Immediately. As quick as you can manage, at least. It’s that good. I’m not saying anything more, it’s worth seeing with as little knowledge of the story as possible.

Not for the Faint of Heart

I finished my shawl last Thursday. Attached the border and everything, except for blocking and weaving in ends. This is what it looked like Friday afternoon.

Ametrine Shawl - finished?

Here’s what it looks like today.

I know, I know – some of you just gasped, others felt a little faint. Fact is, I examined the results carefully and decided they weren’t good enough, darn it. My gauge had lied and come out smaller, the whole shawl wouldn’t block as large as I wanted, and I absolutely didn’t like the way the border fit around the corner of the shawl (the pattern is designed with no extra ease there, so it cups).

So, yes, I frogged a very nearly complete object. It’s the right thing to do if you know you won’t be happy with the end result. And honestly? I love knitting entrelac so much that I’m kinda secretly thrilled that I get to do it again!

I’ve cast on for a base of 27 triangles instead of the 25 called for in the patten. I’m working with a needle a size larger than before, and so far it’s giving the correct gauge. I’ll re-calculate the border when I get to it, and I’ll include a little extra so it can be properly eased around the point.

I was calling this my Ametrine Shawl, for the combination of purple with yellows and oranges. I think now I’ll call it my Ametrine Phoenix Shawl, for being born, returned to its source material, and reborn better than before.

Spinning

Progresses fairly rapidly.

I’m managing up to an hour at a time now, and it’s coming along well. This is around half of the fiber spun. I can’t wait to ply this (it’ll be my first chain-plying) and see how it comes out. The singles are very thin, I’m guessing I’ll get fingering weight or maybe a little thinner when I triple-ply it.

Reluctant Model

Here’s what happens when I try too hard to get a picture of the Ratties for you:

Nose of a sleepy Leonardo

Leo gets pissed at me for disturbing his sleep.

Sorry…I tried!