Sunday, April 27, 2008

Critters of India Part II

Howdy, Critterfarians!

I hope you have all been doing well this week! As usual, I will start out with a lame statement about the weather: it snowed and was cold and I did not feel like exercising. And I did feel like eating copiously.

My posting has become sporadic due to 1. improving weather 2. the end of the semester 3. increased busy-ness. Next weekend we're heading up north to Lake Winnibigoshish for the nuptials of R's youngest sister, JB!

JB in her CO hostel:

And also, soon I will return to the nomadic existence of being a temp. I know I will be reprising a previous position at a university bookstore, to once again work alongside 16 year olds and feel like a weirdo.

In critter news, today my critter skillz were utilized in a baby shower game; the guests had to guess the names of baby animals. Here are some examples for you to ponder!

Which Critter goes with which Baby?

beaver ********* hatchling
fox ********* cria
eel ********* joey
turtle ********* kit
opossum ********* pup
llama ********* elver

Here are the answers!

beaver ******** pup (or kitten)
fox ******** kit (or pup)
eel ******** elver
turtle ******** hatchling
opossum ******* joey
llama ******** cria

I think it was a fun game! Unfortunately I had to leave the shower early and missed the gift opening and other games. Shout outs to all the ladies and the expectant mother, JS!

While I have several ideas for interesting critter entries, today once more I will steal from recorder player PG and her recent trip to India!

The previously mentioned chipmunk of the Sub-continent!
a chipmunk on the grounds.JPG

A working camel:

A herd of goaters:
goats and sheeps everywhere-1.JPG

What cows eat in India:
this guy is hungry.JPG

A baby monkey!
a tiny monkey.JPG

Some building or whatever:

SO! Hopefully more entries will follow; of course expect a up north wedding adventure post next week. Finally, a huge thanks to world-traveler PG, from whom I've jacked all of these critter pictures!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Marmot Encounter

Dear Readers,

Has the warmth and sunshine this weekend lifted you out of your funk? Me too!

The critters are excited about spring as well. In fact, last Sunday, I had a close encounter with a marmot, IN MY OWN BACKYARD!


R took this picture of me later on Sunday. The important thing to notice (other than my fabulous sunglasses, which were $12 at TJ Maxx) is the ledge on which I'm standing. As I approached our Road Toad Honda, a marmot was peeking its head over the ledge! I paused where I was standing, wishing I had our camera (should have used my phone camera). Then I wondered if the marmot was going to attack me! I slowly walked forward, and the rodent retreated under my neighbor's car. The excitement! I almost wanted to skip the opera I was going to see in order to track the marmot!

I love marmots so much.

Several entries ago I stated we were thinking of purchasing a home. We have since decided that we should wait another year, and then after that thought made us sad, we cut our price point in half and started looking once more. R and I still might not buy a house, and if we can't afford one I have only one thing to blame:

I don't know; is it worse to use disposable razors or to use these expensive Mach 3 refills?! Disaster.

Today we combined a fabulous bike ride with some informal house-hunting over South. I checked out Powderhorn Park for the first time (fab) and had my inaugural crossing of the Hiawatha Greenway Suspension Bridge!

It was cool; almost like riding along the deck of a crazy ship.

The bridge is connected to the Greenway, a former railroad line that has been changed to a bike and walking path, which links the Mississippi River across town to Lake Calhoun.

After biking home, I hastened to the southwest side of our apartment building with an iced tea, a new book and my lawn chair. Is it wrong to say that one of the absolute greatest pleasures in my life is sitting outside and reading a great book? Inevitably I feel total contentment and peace with the world while doing those two activities.

A kitty cat walked by while I was reading, and paused and meowed when I called to it, but did not approach me for petting. His loss, I guess! I also saw the first one of these:
blue jay.jpg

I hope your week starts off smoothly!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Interloper


(P.S. How does one take a good picture of a critter on a wall? I have struggled with this for a while....)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Critter of India/Baby B

Hello everyone!

Happy April 8th to you! Any adventures today?

Fife player PG is still in India and mentioned that the only creature she has seen so far is a chipmunk! Obviously I put her on total wildlife patrol...hopefully PG will take some pictures of exotic animals to share with all of us!

It is for PG, then, and all of you, that I repost my previous chipmunk entry from 10/8/2005:

I'm afraid to report yet again that I have neglected to share some very important information with you all. This is a subject about which I have known for several years: The mammalian penis bone. penisbone.jpg

It's true! There are some mammals that have penis bones, scientifically known as baculae. (I think Bacula is also the name of some computer program?!)

As you know, my Dad knows a lot about animals, and a few years back I was looking through one of Maven's "Jane" magazines when I saw the raccoon penis bone featured as a pendant on some Hollywood stars. So I discussed this with my Dad, who proceeded to "collect" a bunch of these things! Raccoon penis bones are about three to four inches long, and there was one otter bone in there, which was a little longer. I brought these specimens back to MN to show to my friends, and in fact gave them as gifts to people! (Mine currently resides on the kitchen windowsill.)

The reason I was reminded of the bacula tonight was because I was researching the chipmunk, which has one! Other species that have penis bones include bats, other rodents, dogs, mink, foxes, bears, fishers, beavers and badgers! The largest bacula belongs to the walrus, which can get to be over 20 inches long! Inuit people use this large bone as a club or as part of dog-sled harnesses!

Primates have penis bones, too! But don't get your hopes up, men; our cousin the chimpanzee's bacula measures only six millimeters in length.

So, why do these animals have dickbones? Scientists aren't completely sure, but do have some theories. Obviously, they help with erections. Dogs start intercourse without having a complete erection, so it is thought that the bacula helps the dog get started. The bone also acts to help the urethra stay open, which is helpful for creatures who have several spurts of semen. Scientists also think the bone helps to better stimulate females who require intercourse before they actually release an egg. Also for animals mating in water or upside down (bats) the bacula can assist in helping nooky occur.

Raccoons have the largest penis bone in relation to body size. Raccoon nooky lasts for a full hour, which belies the belief that the penis bone is necessary for creatures with much shorter copulation times.

Are y'all educated yet? I'm so excited to present this subject to you!

So learning about the eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) might be a little less exciting. But maybe it will help if you picture their little penis bones?

There are about 25 species of chipmunks, which are differentiated from ground squirrels by the fact that chipmunks have stripes on their faces. Members of the Rodentia order, chipmunks are part of the Sciuridae family, which makes them cousins of the true squirrel, marmot and flying squirrel!

Cute chipmunks live in forests, near forests, and in suburban and rural yards. You can recognize a chipmunk hole because it will be about two inches in diameter and there will be no dirt pile outside of it. The chipmunk carries the dirt in his cheek pouches and removes it from the scene! These rodents have a territory that ranges from 50 feet outside its hole to a half acre. There are usually two to four chipmunks per acre on average.

From tip to tail the eastern chipmunk is about six inches long. They usually can be seen on the ground (playing grab-ass with each other as R and I observed) but will climb trees to get nuts. They also eat mushrooms, grains, berries, eggs, baby birds (!), insects and carrion. The chipmunks then hide food in their burrows, which contain several food storage chambers, a nest, side pockets, and separate escape tunnels. These chipmunk burrows can measure 20 to 30 feet long.

Chimpmunks, like skunks, don't fully hibernate. They rely on their cached food, and chill out when it is very cold. But the chipmunks wake up in March to make sweet love! Babies are born 31 days later, and become sexually active a year later. Chipmunks usually have two litters a year; the second mating season is in late July.

Chipmunk species are spread all over the western hemisphere, but there is only one species in the old world; Tamias sibiricus, which is closely related to the eastern chipmunk.

I hope you get to see and hear chipmunks soon, and that you think differently the next time you see a raccoon, chipmunk, dog, bat....

Ok, back to the present. Which is cuter, the above chipmunk chubby cheeks or our own nephew, Baby B?

(R placed Baby B on his skateboard; do you think B likes it?!)


Saturday, April 5, 2008

A mystical omen/Thrifting Part II

Howdy, all!

Happy Sunny Saturday! It's about time, man. Perhaps your week was like mine; starting off slightly depressed in mood after a wicked snowstorm, then personal negativity brought on by (possible) house-buying financial stress, and then finishing with major mood improvement related to sunshine and the approaching weekend.

Today R and I were looking at a house for sale in south Minneapolis (we're not yet working with a realtor) near 35th St and 35th Ave and what did we see? A white squirrel and a regular squirrel playing grab-ass!


Clearly an omen! An omen of what, I don't know.

While we're in the critter vein, R and I welcomed some genetically-altered fish into our aquarium! Check out these GloFish!

They are cute. As usual, I'm trying to get my fish to reproduce, and purchased a silver molly pair; the female looked quite knocked up. But no babies can be found in the tank!

Once again I've been hitting the local thrift stores, even while visiting the Motherland:

The above is a dress from H&M, bought at the Goodwill in Portage, WI for $6.99.

I had great luck at the Unique Thrift Store in the Sun Ray shopping center east of St. Paul. Although a pair of jeans turned out to be too big, check out what else I found!


A khaki twin of the adorable Nine West Sport skirt I found earlier this year!
The cardigan in the above photo is pre-owned as well, coming either from Goodwill or a TurnStyle.

But the piece de resistance was finding almost new Danskos!

Please ignore the non-pedicure.

The running callus on the ball of my foot is featured here. Foxy!

So altogether, the shoes ($14.99) the skirt ($7.99) and the jeans (not pictured, $9.99) all came to $23 dollars with the Monday 25% discount! Jes.

To close, another one of my coats that my littlest sister, KW, hates!

(I took the belt off of it.)

Happy Saturday to y'all!