Saturday, October 25, 2008

Finding happiness in tiny packages

On the ugliest of days these little guys remind me of what the world is capable.

Begonia Prismatocarpa
Badis Buxar
Not sure what this flower is but I love it
Green Leg Lamasi
One of my favorite miniature orchids. I'm blanking on the name.
Pumilio Bastimentos

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A small vent if I may

The other day Jason told me that he wanted to see an "original copy" of the Declaration of Independence, that is currently traveling the country, during it's stop in Utah. After pointing out that "original copy" is an oxymoron I agreed to come along. At first I pictured a new but nicely made copy of the DoI and thought I was agreeing to a 20 minute, or so, event. We walked into the capital, where the document was displayed, and were immediately pointed toward a video that was playing with an explanation of what we were about to see. I was wrong. The document on tour was not a new copy, it was one of the original Dunlop Broadsides which are technically older than the signed DoI. At this point I was actually quite excited to see this important piece of American History.

We walked upstairs and stepped into line. Judging from the length of the line I thought maybe we'd be looking at 45 minutes, maybe an hour. We moved along slowly, so slowly in fact that at one point I sat down to give my aching feet a rest and the line didn't move enough for me to get up for 25 minutes. I can't imagine having been one of the several families with small children in line. After three hours Jason walked up to the front to ask why it was taking so long and could we find a way to speed things up. It was at this point that I got a clear view of how the viewing was being handled. They would have each party to walk up separately into the circle of rope surrounding the document and allow them whatever time they wanted. Even after Jason spoke to the attendant I saw a family of 7 or 8 walk up to the document, take a family photo, turn around and read for a minute or so, take another family photo, turn around and read some more and then take individual photos with the document before turning around one last time to read. Is it just me or is this little excessive? Well we and the several other families who had to leave, after over 3 hours of waiting, without getting to see the document, certainly thought so!!!!! I was so angry at standing in line for so long only to have to leave, so that we could make 7:00pm dinner plans with friends, that I yelled the whole way out of the building. Maybe excessive on my part but damn it I was mad! What I find most interesting is that we left at 6:30pm foreseeing at least 2 more hours of wait time ahead of us should we stay. The gal Jason spoke with said that the exhibit closed at 8:00pm and that they might be able to allow those in line to stay a bit after 8:00pm. Might?! How could they seriously have the heart to just kick people out after they waited 4 maybe even 5 hours to see this?

Anyway, if it comes to your town let's hope your event planners are smarter than the ones in Utah. It seemed like a really cool thing to see!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Gracie came through just great. She even seems a bit calmer now. Although it may just be that she doesn't want to move from the new heated bed I bought her. Regardless I'm so relieved. I am also extremely happy to have found a great new vet in SLC. Besides being the folks who have tended to Yankee and Gracie since birth, they are the nicest people I've talked to at any of the veterinary offices in SLC. Thank you Central Valley!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I miss Gracie

I took Gracie to the vet early this morning to be spayed which was long overdue. We went to Central Valley which is not the cheapest by far, but it's her breeder's vet and I wanted someone who wouldn't say "What's a Devon Rex?" They are very nice and I felt confident they would give her the best of care.
She cried the whole way to the vet and I almost turned around several times. I know it's absolutely the best thing to do but those pitiful meows were really getting to me. I took her out of her cage when we got there and just held her for a bit while they filled out paperwork. She snuggled right into my chest and buried her head in my neck which is a little unusual for her. She is Yankee's companion and has only ever let humans give her attention at her will.
I choked back tears as I walked from the office and tried not to think about the iv going into her tiny, fragile little arm. I'm a wreck right now waiting for the vet to call and tell me everything went great. I can't pick her up until 4:30pm. I miss my baby girl. Just look at those big beautiful eyes. I'm sure Yankee is a mess without her.

Friday, August 1, 2008

My favorite five gallon

Here are a couple recent photos of my favorite aquarium. The little red things are food that I threw in trying to coax the zebra Shrimp out for a photo. Please excuse the ugly equipment and lack of photographical prowess. I am no Takashi Amano.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Felix Mas

I fell madly in love with this artist on a recent trip to CA. We nearly bought one of his paintings titled Sirena. I also had a hard time walking away from Caballito De Mar. The pieces that were displayed in the gallery we visited can all be seen here

Here are a few of his works. The man is a genius.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Green Rocket Shrimp

I'm pretty excited. I picked up a few of these little guys the other day. First of all I just love the name. "Green Rocket Shrimp." It has a bit of a punch to it. These are some of the more interesting shrimp I've brought home. Some are a light apple green and others show tints of red. I like that the coloring is subtle. You have to spend a moment looking for them in the aquarium and then there they are, right in front of you. Just wish I had better photography skills.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fungus Amoung Us

My paludarium is going through a bit of a moldy stage right now. It happens often when the wood is fairly new to a wet environment and usually goes away with time.
Most of what I've seen is your garden variety, fluffy, white mold, but Monday I found this little gem. I know it's sortof odd to get excited over a mushroom but this bright orange little guy was straight out of a faery tale.

How Cute is This?

We were walking through Petsmart the other day and came across these little dolls all huddled together. I love birds. someday when I have a greenhouse I'd love to raise some little Finches like these in it .

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dario oh Dario

My poor little Dario Dario is losing color on his left side. I'm told this is common but I'm still sad!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Throughout my life I have been sortof an accident magnet with around 20 car accidents to my credit. Now I'm sure your first thought is "I'm never getting in a car with you." I wouldn't blame you. So why write about them now? Well on 7/1/08 I was rear-ended yet again. The most common theme being I sitting quietly at a stop light while some jerk blasts into the back of me, this was no exception. Although to be fair this guy was not a "jerk." He was actually quite nice and concerned for my well being. As I wade through numerous phone calls and procedures I recall that a nearly identical situation on 7/3/01 had never been settled. You'd think a simple stop light rear-ending would be fairly cut and dry right. Nope.
I called my insurance sobbing one day after the other guy's insurance company had relentlessly harassed me at home and work for over a week. My always helpful insurance agent suggested I claim the car through State Farm, pay my deductible and other such necessities, and let them collect on the other guy. I did so and went on with my life. For a couple years I called consistently, hoping "any day now" I'd be reimbursed but was always told the same thing, "his insurance is still fighting us." Something to do with the fact that he was an ex cop and that he hadn't been willing to stay around and wait for the cops to show up. Isn't that technically a hit and run? Well unfortunately the cop that showed up to the accident didn't write it down as such. Now seven years later I decided to call and see just what even happened to that claim. Now stop me if you've heard this one before because certainly this has to be a joke. I was told that because there was damage to another area of the car the insurance company wasn't going to accept liability. Their reasoning............if I were to ever get this other area(the left rear quarter panel) fixed I would have to repaint the bumper anyway so that the paint would match. WHAT?! Ok this is the most ridiculous rationalization I have ever heard but hell what can I do?

Car accident roll call.........
My first car accident ever was in my parents' 1987 Mercedes Benz. I can't remember the month or year even but we were cruising along the freeway when my dad had to stop short for traffic and a lady in an old Mercury Cougar slammed into us going 70 mph or so. No one was hurt thankfully.

My second car accident was in my grandmother's 1981 Buick Skylark. She bonked someone while changing lanes and repeatedly announced it was because the guy was in her "blind spot." For years I was afraid of this mysterious "blind spot."

My third car accident happened to be in this same Buick Skylark but years later when it was my turn behind the wheel. I was driving I-80 eastbound when I came upon a patch of black ice and suddenly realized that so had everyone else. I sailed through a blur of spinning automobiles finally coming to rest against a red Jeep Cherokee that happened to spin off into that location prior.

Throughout high school I had my share of necessary beginning driver dings, scratches and crunches.

In July of 1997 I got my first "mine" car. You know that first car that no one in the family is just loaning you. It was a 1994 strawberry red Geo Prism and I promptly
proceeded to add it to the damage club when driving to work one morning. I was turning left and some guy came roaring around the corner "like a bat outa hell" and slammed right into the side of my pretty little girl. Lame!

The next accident was not so much an accident but one of those "no see ems." My brother and his wife were watching the house while my mother and I were out of town. We left them the keys to my car should they need to move it from the driveway. Upon arriving home I found a large dent in the left quarter side panel(That same dent that later on caused problems). I asked if they knew what had happened and they said no. Hmmmm, maybe my enemies are sneakier than I thought.

In the summer of 1998 I was backing out of a parking place in the alley behind PC main street. I was nearly out of the spot when BAM. Young and dumb, I let the guy who hit me, scare me with tales of "company insurance companies that I didn't want to deal with." His excuse......."I saw you backing out and I thought you would have been gone by the time I backed out." What?! Duh Kate! If he would have said that to the cops they would have laughed. Oh well, the damage wasn't too bad.

A few more minor bumps and bruises later and we come to 7/3/01. Sitting at a red light, two cars in front of me, minding my own business. I look in my rear view mirror to see a red Corvette barreling down on me with a driver that is looking down at something on the passenger side. I braced myself for the hit and WHAM!

About a week after I got my car back from the body shop I was rear-ended again at a stop light. This time just as the light turned green. Apparently I wasn't moving quite fast enough for the poor teenage girl who's face was panic stricken as she exited the car. No damage to either car and I told her not to worry about it.

A month or two later I was again sitting at a red light, looking in my rear view mirror and thought "yep he's gonna hit me." The white truck racing up behind did manage to stop in time, but the moment the light turned green, BANG! What is wrong with these people? What was worse, I had my poor Chihuahua Diablo sitting on my lap, dazed from the drugs the vet had administered for his neuter operation. The guy begged me not to call his insurance and promised to pay for whatever damages were done. He made good on the promise and I fixed my car again.

I finally decided to retire little red and traded up to a 1994 Volkswagen Jetta later that year. Great little car other than being mildly possessed. I didn't mind so much that the seat heaters worked only when they wanted, or that the buttons to roll down the door windows changed which window they rolled down on a daily basis, but the sunroof opening and closing on it's own got irritating. This car started out without much better luck. A friend of mine rear-ended me while pulling out of a parking lot. No damage, other than to his pride I'm sure, but come on Richard. I mean I know your car was ten times faster than mine but couldn't you have waited until I was out of the way to prove that? All jokes aside things were looking glim.

In the summer of 2003 I was again at a stop light about to turn right. The guy in front of me went and so did I. It was a sneeze that did me in. Damn summer cold! In that split second where my eyes closed, he jammed his breaks and I ran right into the back of his truck. Ugh! How embarrassing!

In spring of 2004 I fell in love with Subaru's WRX and traded in my Jetta on a bright blue one. On 7/5/04 I rolled it off a cliff. When I dodged to miss the large truck that had come over in to my lane, my little car went over the side and rolled twice down the hill. After tons of tears and a lengthier story than need be written here I decided another WRX was all that would do.

I bought Belle, my first brand new car, on 7/18/04 and promptly wrecked her on 7/19/04. It was the morning of the SCCA(Sport Car Club of America) races and terrified as I was to drive again, I figured a planned course with an instructor beside me was the best way to get back at it. A few runs into the day I was feeling more confident. I came around the last big turn of the course but wait the breaks weren't working. The car was actually going faster. The instructor and I screamed as I did my best to dodge course workers and others cars. I ended up going through a large guard chain and hitting a parked truck. Thank god I'd steered well enough to miss the brand new BMW M5.

One more hit and run, to the driver side door, on poor miss Belle and that brings us to last week. Funny enough I passed the guy who hit me going south on I-15. I looked at the large load of loosely packed items, boards and such, in the back of his trailer and decided I didn't want to be behind him. I passed him and got off on the 45th south exit. He smacked into my bum at the first light after the freeway exit. The damage is fairly minimal and the insurance companies are being unusually helpful so hopeful this will be over quick.

No more accidents K.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Because I am a nerd. Ode to fish.

When I'm not doing school work or lavishing attention on Yankee and Gracie I spend most my time on fish. So this is my obsession and it deserves a moment in the spotlight regardless of how dorky it is.

I've always loved fish going back to the ten gallon community fish tank that my parents set up in my bedroom as a small child. I don't remember much about it other than a Firebelly Newt that I named Getaway because of his propensity for escaping. I would often wake up in the middle of the night to find him gone, run screaming into my parents' room that Getaway had once again gotten away and we would organize a search party. We typically found the newt close by, slightly dried out, but none the worse for wear. I the suppose the fact that my father was an importer and our basement was routinely full of saltwater fish waiting to be sold to the local fish stores may have also had an impact. Of course I'm being facetious when I say "may." I remember colorful fish in all directions, octopus and of course my favorite, the baby nurse shark.

In high school I again ventured into the fish world, picking up a small blue fish at Walmart to add to an aquarium which currently held a common Betta. The small blue fish turned out to be a Cichlid, which quickly dispensed with the Betta. I was enamored with the little fish and started to read about Cichlids in general. I kept several more throughout the following years. Probably a couple hundred or so.

In 2005, I decided I needed an eel. No idea why but for some reason it just had to be. I went around to local fish stores and inquired as to what they had in the way of eels. Steve at Mark's Ark pointed me toward a small spotted freshwater Moray Eel. That was it. He came home with me and was a great companion throughout the next couple years. I named him Flotsam and planned to acquire a Jetsam when I could afford a larger aquarium.

When I moved into my condo in SLC I adopted a Leaf Fish. This guy had major personality and responded to me almost as well as the cats. I loved the way he'd beg for food when I came home from school in the afternoon.
In May of 2007 I saw an online contest for planted aquariums. I was completely bowled over by the beauty of these setups. I went to Fish 4 You and walked up to their "planted show tank", promptly telling the owner Chris "I want to do that." He sent me home with a 10 gallon aquarium, a bag of substrate called EcoComplete, a few plants, a bottle of fertilizer and three small fish that he called Rasboras. He told me later on I might want to pick up some Cherry Shrimp. I had never done anything like this and had no idea what to expect. Within a few months I had this..........
A far cry from the pictures I had seen online, but I was just told to give it some time. I added a few more plants and in August went looking for Cherry Shrimp. None at the local fish stores, but one of the employees told me I might find some one who breeds them on I looked up the website and found that the local planted tank enthusiasts had a club called NACU(National Aquarium Club of Utah). I asked if I could come to the meetings. I learned a ton on that first night like who Takashi Amano is, the importance of light and filtration, and how awesome adding CO2 is. I followed advice and within a few months the aquarium looked like this.......
The Cherry Shrimp quickly became a favorite. I even named one of them which made even the guys in NACU laugh. Pictured here is Big Red. I could always tell him apart from the others by his size and coloring.

A berried(pregnant) female Cherry Shrimp.
It wasn't long before I was bitten by the shrimp bug entirely and started to research freshwater shrimp to find all the different varieties enthusiasts were currently keeping. I set up a second planted aquarium just for shrimp and brought home Amano Shrimp, a great algae eater
Mandarin Shrimp, very pretty but do not reproduce in fresh water
And Tiger Shrimp from Fish 4 You.
Soon after I came across what I decided was the cutest fish I'd ever seen, a Scarlet Badis or Dario Dario. I put four of them in with the shrimp.

My next planted aquarium came along in December. An odd size, it was a bit of a challenge but still fun.
One of my favorite pictures of Jason's niece with the aquarium.
Riccia pearling.
I added Blackberry Shrimp to this aquarium.

As well as another unidentified little red shrimp.
This small "pico" tank was set up in February 2008 with the hopes of someday adding the one shrimp that captivated and terrified me. The Crystal Red Shrimp. The plants are much thicker now.
One of my many terrariums when I stripped out the soil to convert it to a paludarium(half water). I'm waiting until it looks a bit better to take pictures with the water.
In March I started a new planted aquarium with a specific purpose in mind. I used this for a school project and documented every step. This was the best aquascaping I had done and I had stayed on a strict fertilizer schedule. The aquarium flourished. I added Amano Shrimp and Nerite snails to control algae and eventually a few Pygmy Corys, bigtime favorite. I wish I could get a picture of the Corys but they move too darn fast. Take my word for it though, they are a great little fish.

This little Cherry Shrimp was accidentally bagged with the Amano Shrimp and the tiny orange Pleco to his right was won in an auction at a NACU Meeting.
When I came across this brilliantly colored little Badis I had to have him even if it meant making poor Amber at Fish 4 You chase through the tank for the exact fish I wanted.
Facing off.
For my dad's birthday I promised to set him up a small planted aquarium so he could have some of the shrimp I had grown to love so much. It took a few months but, in June, we finally put this little beauty together. We hope to add some colorful little guys soon.
And here we are, to my first Crystal Red Shrimp. He's tiny and his coloring is not immaculate but I am thrilled to have him. He's been in the Pico for a couple weeks, eating well, and growing.

Three nights ago I picked up these beauties at the NACU meeting which was held at Fish 4 You this time. They called them Zebra Shrimp and they were reasonably priced. They hide constantly and I had to sit still, waiting for quite a while after dumping a favorite shrimp food into the aquarium to get these pathetic pictures. Hopefully you can atleast get the idea.

So this is my fish tale up until June of 2008. I'm a nerd. What can I say?