Sunday, March 30, 2008

Book Meme

I'm not usually one for memes, but this one sounded fun.

The Rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 (or more) pages.

"Dinosaur Bar B Que: An American Roadhouse" by John Stage and Nancy Radke

2. Open the book to page 123 and find the 3rd sentence.

"Pop the pan in the oven while you're mixing up the corn bread."

3. Post the next 5 sentences.

"Mix the cornmeal, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and melted butter in another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and give them a good stir, just til everything is moistened. Pull the hot greased tin from the oven and pour in the batter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or til a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean."

4. Tag 5 people.

Nope, not going to guilt people into doing it (not to say that everyone else does, but, being not generally a meme-type-person, I feel guilty if I'm tagged and don't do it).

Also, incidentally, the full recipe for Honey Hush Corn Bread is available on request.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Oh, Edinburgh, why do I love thee so?

One of the reasons is this - the great architecture. It's fuckin' grand.

All of these photographs were taken from George IV Bridge - they're of buildings on the bridge itself, and those on either side. This is, literally, a 250 foot stretch of road.

NOTE: The Elephant House is included pretty much only for the reason that it's where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter. Also, my camera batteries ran out before I could get a picture of the Bedlam Theatre (yet another ex-church).

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Friday, March 21, 2008


Christ on a bike!
Ok, they may work, but it just made me think of another step towards Blind Faith. Good book, by the way.

The 6 Cutest Animals That Can Still Destroy You
And, from the same site...
The 5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World

Not suitable for work, or for those of a more religious nature...
The Leather Last Supper

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

There was one, there were two, there were three little ratties...

So we were talking about my daemon, my little girl, my Hastings last time.
Well, she was doing well, taking her medicine, her stitches were growing out, her face was deflating, and all seemed well.

Then we decided to take her off her immune system diet. It said that it should be a short-term diet, so we thought we'd give her a few days off it.

That was a mistake. Within 36 hours of being back on normal rat food, her face had started to balloon again, although thankfully nowhere near as bad as it had been.

She's been on her immune system diet again for three days, and her face is going back down.

She's also been medicated all along, and she's going to the vet again tomorrow. Hopefully all will be well.

Now, want to meet my other rattie darlings?
I'd like to introduce you Tiglath Pileser VI and Spock.
Tig's actually not as dark as I thought. Her brown patches vary in colour from middling shade brown to black. Spock has a charming really ginger patch between her shoulder blades, and has huge eyes.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Doing well. And you?

Well, first things first.
Let's talk about Hastings, since she's been more than ever my obsession over the last few weeks.

My last update was last Saturday, and wasn't that encouraging. The vet was still worried about her.
Since then, we've been giving her daily new meals of the immune-system-boosting food, and dabbing her wound like we're supposed to. We've also been medicating her, much to her disgust. I could swear that she grows extra limbs when it comes to the 'evil parents forcing her to take 0.16ml of medicine by syringe' time of day.

Now... Monday morning we get up, we dab her wound (no scabbing) and we give her her medicine.
12 hours later, we get home, and there is no wound. Where the wound was is still red, but it is closed and flat.
We did spend quite a while holding her and saying "But... how did you do it?"
We thought it would be better to take her back to the vet early (her check-up was due to be Friday), and we got an appointment for Matt to take her on Wednesday afternoon.
Well, the vet was extremely surprised to see how well she'd recovered. He said that she was far, far better than he thought she would be at this point.
He checked her over, and said that she still had a little bit of an ear infection, and that we should keep up the diet for now, and continue to give her medicine for the next two weeks.
Looking at her now (which is more difficult because she's back to her normal speed and activeness), all that's visible of her wound is the area of stitches, which are specially done in rats to be internal, and then grow out as it heals.

She's still baldy from the operation, and still looks like the Terminator, but she's doing bloody well.
I'm very pleased.

So, other news!
In exciting new pet news, we're buying two little rescue rats next week. We've noticed that Hastings seems to be a bit lonely since Hobble died back in December, and we found what may be quite the most charming pet shop in the world.
It's run by a couple who used to run an animal shelter, and they treat all the animals like they're theirs. When we went in today, we were able to handle the rats, and there were two rabbits flumping about on the floor for exercise.

In fact, when we first stumbled into their shop a month ago, we were talking to the woman, and I said something like:
"It's weird. The two rats in the cage over there are really freaked out by people, but these ones are really friendly."
Her: "Well, yes. We're looking after those ones as a favour to someone, but these ones are mine."
Me: "Yours?"
Her: "Well... mine until we find good homes for them."

That made me adore their attitude to the animals they're selling.
They take in a lot of rescue rats, and the two we are getting are part of a group they got in about six weeks ago. They're nearly four months old, and they are darling.
We've reserved the two we especially like, and we're picking them, and a cage for them, up next Saturday.

One of them is dark brown, with a white tummy and white legs. We're going to call her Tiglath-Pileser VI. She's named after several kings of Assyria. Now, there were three or four Tiglath-Pilesers (the third is also called the fourth), plus a cat belonging to Bunch and Julian Harmon in the Agatha Christie books. So she'd have to be the sixth.
Incidentally, I'm looking for the nearest-to-proper pronunciation of 'Pileser'. I don't know if any particular syllable should be emphasised, and I can't find anything that suggests so.

The other girl is a ginger hooded rat who reminds me strongly of Hobble, but without the many genetic and medical problems. We intend to call her Spock.

In non-pet news, I'm back working at Pseudonym School, which is fun.

And Matt and I had Mr Brain's Pork Faggots for dinner. We'd been admiring their rather wonderful name for ages, and we thought it was time that we tried them.
They were ok. Rather disintegraty, but tasty.

And now I'm weary, so weary, from this almost entirely rat-centric post.
I'll talk again soon.
*blows kisses*

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Hastings (ii)

Sunday 17th February - We notice Hastings has a bleedy ear. We think it's due to her scratching.

Monday 18th February - I get Hastings out of her cage, and the side of her head is swollen, beneath her ear. I take her to the vet, who says it's an abcess, and that we should give her antibiotics orally.

Over the course of the week, we do so, but they have no effect, and the swelling gets larger.

Friday 22nd February - We take Hastings back to the vet. He says that the only other option is surgery. She's booked in for the Monday.

Monday 25th February - Hastings is taken in for surgery in the morning by Matt. I receive a phone call at around 11am to tell us that she has come through, and that she's doing well. At 4pm, another phone call tells me that she's had problems with her legs. She's sniffing around and eating and so on, but she doesn't appear to be able to use her front legs properly.

Tuesday 26th February - The vet calls me to say that she had a critical period in the night, but that she has rallied well, and that she is now able to use her legs again. He says that he thinks the problem stemmed from the pressure of the abcess and the intrusion of the surgery on her inner ear. We pick her (and the antibiotics she's to take) up that night, and she seems happier than she did before the operation, despite her half-shaved head and her wound.
Here's a video of her having an indignant wash.

Friday 29th February - We take her back to the vet's for a check-up. He expresses disappointment that there is still pus being produced in the wound, and tells us that if it keeps on like this, it could be dangerous. It seems her immune system isn't kicking in as he would have hoped. Hastings is lively and alert, however, and eating like a horse. The vet flushes out her wound, and tells us to keep it scab free, and to dab off any pus with a cotton bud. Mouse sends me a link to a page that gives a recipe for immune-system-boosting rat food mix (which we make the next day), and we clean out Hastings's cage, as we think there's a possibility she's allergic to her new bedding, which may be compromising her immune system.

We're doing all we can.

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