Friday, June 28, 2013

A Loving Big Sister?

Pinni and... um... Cannoli?
I walked by the cage yesterday and seemed to be short one guinea pig.  It's not the first time I've had this issue.  On closer inspection, I realized Cannoli was still there and snapped a photo as proof.  There are two guinea pigs in that photo.  Really.

I shoved Pinniped off of the cozy and opened it to make sure Cannoli was alright.  It was cooler yesterday than it had been all week, but I wanted to make sure she wasn't overheating.  Plus I wasn't sure if being wrapped up like that was entirely her idea.  Visions of older brothers squishing younger siblings into sleeping bags or squashing them into closets suddenly popped in my head.  What a nice big sister, Pinni!

Cannoli wasn't in a rush to get out of the cozy; I shooed her out anyway.  What is it with warm weather and cozies?  Soon after I adopted Willow and Pippin I found them wrapped up in the same cozy with the edges tucked under.  What dopes!

So what do you think?  Was this an innocent (if unfortunate) choice of sleeping spots?  Or was this intentional imprisonment by a fatheaded older sister?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Love This Oven!

I spent four years in a house with an oven that I hated.  It was so tiny it didn't allow for proper air circulation:  my cookie sheets nearly touched the sides of the oven, and anything placed on the lower rack burned on the bottom.  I tried compensating by changing the temperature and constantly rotating whatever I was baking, but what a pain.

Saturday night I gave the new oven a proper workout.  I made coconut macaroons, zucchini bread and evil bars.  I had multiple things in there at the same time and look!  Everything is baked to perfection.  The macaroons are golden brown, the bread is a uniform color and the evil bars aren't over crisped around the edges.  Of course, if this oven had turned out to be a disappointment, I have two other ovens in this kitchen (is that insane or what?) that are nearly as large.  I'm looking to lots of happy baking in this place.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Guinea Pig Adventure

I uncovered The Guinea Pig Adventure during our move.  It was a high school English assignment to write and illustrate a child's storybook.  I can't draw worth beans, but paper cutting was within my skill set and this was the result:

The story was to be an original work and the students had been warned that a copied story would result in a failing grade.  I panicked when my mother came home a few days after I handed this in with a library book featuring nearly the exact same title and plot.  Since then I have seen several guinea pig books with the same basic story.  I guess it's an easy scenario to imagine for anyone who's had pigs.

My book has not aged well.  Much of the construction paper has faded and the paste is showing through.  It's days are numbered - I'm surprised it lasted this long!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fancy Feet

Freshly inked to badly faded
I know.  I'm so strange - a blog post about my feet.  But look at that nifty henna tattoo!  I really enjoyed the one I got last year at Kripalu, so I decided to do it again this year. 

Since I've been working at home, I'm usually barefoot all day.  I also figured the tops of my feet wouldn't get as much wear and tear as my hands and arms, so I hoped the tattoo would last longer.  One of my friends was concerned that my tattooed feet wouldn't get appreciated - who would see it?  Me!  I would!  I get out of bed in the morning or kick my feet up on my desk in the afternoon and it makes me smile.  But she should rest assured - plenty of people noticed and admired the artwork on the day of the move, at the pignic and at a contra dance.

I loved watching the artist pipe the henna on my feet.  It looked like melted unsweetened chocolate.  She worked quickly and I enjoyed watching the pattern appear.  The upper left picture was taken right after she'd completed her work.  It started flaking off later in the day and I peeled the rest of it off by the following morning.  The henna continued to darken over the next day or so and then stayed that way for two whole weeks.  A bit of the inside arch wore off because of wearing sandals, but the rest stayed pretty much intact until last Thursday.  Into week three, all but the outside edges had faded away.  Ah, well.  I enjoyed it while it lasted; a little extension of my Kripalu weekend. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Major Move

We have arrived.  After nearly two weeks of unpacking, the place is starting to look settled.  We still have several boxes of stuff and two rooms that look like a tornado hit.  There's plenty of space, but not enough convenient storage.  So I'm shuffling stuff around as I figure out where it should go, and search for a set of shelves for our books and my teacups.  We'll get there, eventually.

The first day in the new house surrounded by boxes and debris
Pinniped and Cannoli have just started to adjust to the new place.  They were moved in the day before everything else; we thought it would be less stressful.  This was their first trip sharing a carrier.  The half-hour drive was about 28 minutes too long according to both girls.  I had thought that sharing a carrier wouldn't be as scary as traveling alone but I failed to factor in the annoyance level.  Cannoli screamed during much of the trip because she kept invading Pinni's space and Pinni kept biting her.  Two very determined little rodents that weren't taking "no" for an answer.

They calmed down a bit once they were in their travel pen, but overall, I think the new sounds and smells were overwhelming.  Their regular cage was damaged during the move and it took a day or two to find the zip-ties to repair it.  Although they were happier being in their usual cage, I could see they were still confused:  the sunlight was all wrong, the kitchen was on the wrong side of the cage, and the sounds of the great room were so loud.  People walked by the cage all the time!  Panic!

Oddly enough, they calmed right down when I cleaned their cage last weekend.  They were skittish right up to that point, but the routine of being weighed, put on the floor (even though it was a new floor) and then returned to a clean cage put them at ease.  A day or two later, they started begging for morning pepper and wheeking for treats.  See?  The new place is not so bad.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Boston Spring Pignic 2013

This spring pignic was, in my opinion, one of the best ever.  We couldn't have asked for better weather; it was warm, dry and sunny.  The grass was green and lush.  The Pig Patrol showed up in force.  Tammy came all the way from DC!  We had a nice mix of newbies and old pros and an average-sized crowd:  just over 40 people, and just under 40 guinea pigs.  People trickled in and out most of the afternoon.  It was a relaxing day for everyone. 

Clockwise, upper left:  Ice cream break; pigs going home with grass-coma; full time-out pens;
sows pen; a loafy sow; Pig Patrol clipping nails and doing a health-check

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hidden Treasures

I loved treasure hunts as a kid, and reveled in any story that involved secret passages or hidden clues.  I still eat that stuff up.  One of the things I enjoy so much at Kripalu is exploring the grounds, finding shrines and the gifts other visitors have left behind.  My favorite is a shrine featuring Ganesha, in the woods behind the main building.  The scattered offerings provide a glimpse of others whom have come and gone.

The spring is so beautiful at Kripalu, all green and growing.  This year's exploration yielded a terra cotta head hidden in the grass and a huge field of Queen Anne's lace.  I spent much of my hiking in the shady areas, to avoid the heat.  I ventured out for my annual trip around the labyrinth, but it was too hot to linger long at its center.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pressed Dates

Back in March I discovered a local middle-eastern store had pressed dates.  It took me a while to describe what I was looking for to the guy behind the counter:  dates, all squished together in a brick, sometimes called baking dates or pressed dates.  We wandered through the store stopping at various containers of dates before we happened upon what I was looking for.  I, of course, threw my hands in the air and did my touchdown victory happy-dance. 

The guy was amused and tried very hard not to laugh.

I made cookies with those dates a week later.  They were not quite what I had expected.  They weren't whole pitted dates squashed together.  It turned out to be date meal, all ground up.  I don't think I'd like to make date bread out of this, but it was perfect for my date filled cookies.

Just before we moved, I stopped off at the store to buy a couple of more bars.  I went right to the aisle they had been in, but couldn't find the pressed dates.  I searched around a bit before going to the cashier and asked him where I could find the baking dates.  He took me to the containers of loose dates, and I found myself describing what baking dates looked like.  We stopped at several shelves before we ended up in front of the baking dates.  Just before I went into my victory happy-dance, the guy looks at me and says "hey, I remember you."

I bought two bricks.  Once again, the guy was very amused as he rang up my purchase and I whisked out the door.  Happiness!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Chick Yoga Weekend XI

Huzzah for Chick Yoga Weekend!  After the weeks of stress from apartment hunting, packing and strangers parading through our place, I needed a break. 

There were ten of us this year, four were newcomers.  We had a dorm room all to ourselves.  Hiking to the fourth floor multiple times a day gave everyone a workout beyond the yoga classes.  Oof.  But the air circulation was good up there, and it ended up being comfortable even with the hot weekend (there's no air conditioning).

I skipped both afternoon yoga classes this year.  Shocking!  I chose instead to spend time gabbing with my friends and napping.  Wow, I needed that.  I attended a few of the workshops, but for the most part I spent time outside, wrote in my journal, and read.  I even had a chance to try out the new-and-improved mediation room on Monday.  All of the windows allowed for abundant sunlight and air.  It was delightful.