Lucy is proving to be quite an adventurous girl, with one very impressive attempt to escape the playpen - a great leap from my shoulder to the top bar of the "pen." Luckily I managed to foil her plan.
Ethel is turning out to be the more "snuggly" of the two - she's the first to come when I open the cage and immediately wants to run up my arm and hang out. Lucy is still on the squirmy side when I hold her, but Amy at PX rattery says she should settle in as she gets older.
I am so enjoying Lucy and Ethel. I've set up a play pen big enough for the three of us to interact comfortably and their favorite activity is climb the mountain (me). When they are not sitting on the top of my head, the are scurrying around under my shirt on my neck and shoulders.
Unfortunately, when playtime ends I'm left with a horrible stinging sensation and red, red welts on said neck and shoulders. Apparently I'm allergic to little rat feet. A check of the rats rule forum confirms there is nothing I can do about it except buy some benadryl cream and perhaps wear a tight fitting undershirt so they can play in between the two garments. We'll see if that works because shutting down the mountain is simply not an option.
The girls are incredibly quick - and I looove the sound of their tiny feet running across the rubber mat in the play pen. They are also much softer than I expected them to be. Snuggling with them is a real joy.
Watching them is just as fun. I missed a kodak moment when both were standing up with their paws touching, drinking simulaneously from the water bottle, their little tongues going a mile-a-minute. It was over before I could reach the camera. One of my chief goals (and apparently a big challenge with active ratties) is getting more pictures to post.
They seem to be settling into the new home just fine. Lucy (pictured here) has claimed the upper level hammock as her own, while Ethel seems partial to the bottom level with all its eco-bedding.
Lucy is very affectionate and has been very easy to hold. Ethel's been playing hard to get, quite literally at first, but I think she is warming up to me.
Most be very tired from all the excitement of meeting their new mom and moving to a new home - because they are both sawing logs right now.
This is the RUUD cage by Martin's Cages. It's about five feet tall and three feet wide. The spacing on the interior bars is making it harder than I'd like to hang hammocks and other stuff - but I was able to get up one hammock on the top shelf where the spacing is wider, a rope climbing toy, a wooden climbing toy, two flannel cubes (for nesting), a Wodent Wheel for spinning and a flannel blanket for general snuggling.
Lucy is the chocolate girl in profile. Her "official" name is Reine De Saba (which is french for Queen of Sheba cake - her litter theme being international desserts).
The silver or "lilac" girl is Ethel. Her registry name is Charlotte Bronte as she comes from Phoenix Gate Rattery's "Classics" litter.
Both girls are just beautiful and I can't wait to get to know them and watch them explore their new surroundings. The super duper RUUD cage we got from Martin's is all decked out in hammocks and cubes and toys (with a decidedly purple theme). Pix of that later.
So my week of vacation is up and I didn't take a single photo or video. Instead I spent way (way) too much time playing online poker. Some of the biggest money-transferring sites have stopped doing transactions for U.S. players. Alternatives are already popping up, but what a pain. Stupid internet gambling ban.
On a brighter note, I did some major house cleaning over the week, taking it a room at a time, with rest days in between. The place is almost clean enough now for a visit from mom.
More happy news, my new baby ratties have been officially reserved in my name. I'll have pictures from the rattery very soon and will put them right up. Lucy's "official" name will be PX Charlotte Bronte while Ethel's "official" name is PX Reine de Saba (which is french for Queen of Sheba cake). Apparently each litter has a theme and Lucy's theme was "classics" while Ethel's was "international desserts." Whatever, I'm just thrilled they'll be home soon.
Suddenly I'm getting a lot of traffic at animalphiles and I'm not exactly sure why. Not complaining, mind you, just wondering where it all started coming from. I did get mentions and/or links on two other blogs - Liz Spikol's The Trouble with Spikol and Jennifer George's Blogarsay. (If anyone reading this is old enough to remember, this sort of reminds me of the old Spy magazine bit, "logrolling in our time."
I've still got a long - long - way to go before I'm getting a fraction of the traffic of my favorite animal-related site, cuteoverload.
I've had a rough couple of days with a cold, but I have an entire week off next week with no exhausing poker trips planned, so I should get plenty of rest for recovering.
Hmmm, maybe not so much rest. I have a long list of chores set for myself including (ack!) cleaning out the garage and finishing the taxes. To quote M. Emmett Walsh in my favorite Coen brothers flick, "the gov'ment do take a bite, don't she."
Speaking of movies, I am loving my new point and shoot digital video recorder from Pure Digital. So tiny, featherweight and easy to use. Downloaded some vids and put them into I-Movie pretty easily.
The first take was a bit out of focus, but I managed a semi-decent screen grab of Zoe, who compulsively licks the air.
One of the projects I've set for myself in the coming week is to get some really good video of both freaky dogs and work on learning how to actually post video to this blog.
I also want to learn my way around I-Movie so I can document my new life with ratties when the babies finally arrive.
Curtiss put the new cage up and its enormous (a RUUD from Martin's Cages). I've ordered all sorts of goodies - hammocks, cubes, yogies, etc. Lucy and Ethel are going to be in rat heaven.
One other big chore for the week ahead is getting the dogs bathed and their beds washed. The most noticeable thing about the video this still picture came from is the sound of the dogs' claws on the linoleum. Click, clatter, clatter, click. Very loud, but funny. I'll post when I figure out how.
I'm just back from another long poker weekend with nothing to show for it but some empty pockets and a few business cards. I'm most excited about the one from Felix Gutierrz, president of Screaming Eagle Poker, a league run by and for our troops in Iraq. In the past, I've measured the success of my poker trips by how much winnings I bring home. This time, I'm declaring a moral victory just because I never once visited an ATM looking for more money to wager.
Exciting news awaited when I got home, however. The mother of my future pets has given birth. Her name is Hugs and she is a lilac fancy rat (that's her on the right). The dad is a chocolate named Mousse Tracks. We are hoping to get two female babies (probably one of each color) and will name them Lucy and Ethel. I'll be a first-time rat owner, but my husband has experience with the little critters. In fact, he once led what I now call the Great Rat Relocation.
When we lived in an old (circa 1935) brick Tudor a few years ago, we had several wild rats move into the basement. It was somewhat distressing to sense their furtive movements whenever I was downstairs working on my pottery, but I really decided they needed to go when they started making themselves at home in our living quarters. The deal-breaker was when I reached into a closed (I thought) bag of dog food with a measuring cup and almost scooped up one of the little buggers.
Curtiss and I agreed we did not want to exterminate the rats, we just wanted them out of our house. We purchased a live trap and a temporary cage and went to work. We laced the trap with peanut butter and within two days had three rats scrambling around a wire cage wondering what the heck had happened. We loaded the cage into the car and headed far out into the rural suburbs west of town. We found a nice wooded area and released the rats. It was quite a relief to see them scurry away.
Those rats would not have been suitable pets, but they were really cute, in a rodent kind of way.
But my contact with them (and an excellent National Geographic special) helped me overcome any lingering reticence about the species. I did lots of research and decided I'd like to have a couple around to keep my company in my office (which is upstairs where the dogs are not allowed).
I've ordered a cage and supplies, and expect my babies to be weaned and able to come to their new home within about five weeks. Expect plenty of posts about my new journey as a rat owner.
I just returned from five days of poker in Tunica, Mississippi at the World Poker Tour's annual January tournament. I made a great showing in the single table satellites and at the cash tables - but just didn't have the staying power to cash in any of the big tournaments.
My best placing was in the Friday night no-limit event. 448 people registered and when I got knocked out there were only 93 left. That's 57 spots out of the money - but it's still top 20% of the field so I'm not too unhappy. I built up a huge chip stack early on - knocking out one player when my pocket pair of sevens flopped four of a kind - another when my ace-king suited flopped a king and my opponent's straight draw didn't pan out. Getting so deep meant I played six straight hours with nothing to show for it.
I immediately signed up for a $65 single table, winner take all tournament with a $550 prize. When it got down to two of us we agreed to chop for $275 each. I had a fairly big chip lead - but things can change fast in heads up and I didn't want to risk walking away with nothing. Got to bed around 4am.
Saturday - I played a $125 satellite - with top two spots paying. I won $550 and used it to buy into the day's big no-limit event. Nothing ever really got going for me and I only lasted about four hours. I put in some time at the cash tables and took a moderate loss. Decided to try my hand at yet another $125 single table tournament and again won $550. Plus this time, five of the ten players had a "last longer" bet on the side. Since I lasted the longest I earned that $100 side pot. Up til 330am.
Sunday was a fairly slow day, but it was brutal getting up at 7am to take my friend Kate to the airport. Went back to the room and napped, got up for lunch, had a massage and then took another nap. Headed back to the poker area and used my $550 winnings to sign up for Monday's Omaha hi-low. Got into a 3-6 Omaha hi0low cash game to get some practice but played too many hands and lost $149. At this point I'm thinking the ST tournaments are the only thing really paying off for me, so I drop another $125 and win - again. Since I was already signed up for Monday's tourney, I pocketed the cash.
Monday was my live Omaha hi-low tourney debut. I play a lot of pot-limit single table tourneys online but this was live - and it was limit. Ugh. Online you don't have to worry about how you look at four down cards simultaneously without showing your hand to anyone. It took a while to get comfortable and figure out what worked best for me. I also had some trouble getting used to the betting structure, but everyone was happy to point it out to me if I put out the wrong amount. I did much better than I thought I might. 336 players started and we were in level 8 (six hours into it) when I got busted. The level started with 110 players so I can safely say I bested two-thirds of the field.
I grabbed some dinner then settled in to the 1-2 no limit cash game with $200. Third hand or so I lose about $60 of it when my pocket jacks come up against queens. I don't let it get to me though and decided to play tightly but aggressively and it works. Within a couple of hours, I had recouped my losses and quadrupled my buy in. I cashed out for $873.
Since I turned a modest overall profit for the trip, I get to head back to Tunica Friday for the World Series of Poker event. Four more days of cards - I can hardly wait.