a girl and her boy

. daily life : wool obsession : bibliomania : living on purpose .

Tag Archives: pets

What a trip!

After importing my old blog, Little Bee, I took a quick spin through the archives from the beginning in 2007 to when I decided it was time to start a new project in 2009. It’s been a helluva journey. My first posts were at the tail-end of my graduate program when I was hard on the trail of my first teaching job and from there we went from Orono to Yarmouth back to Orono to Winthrop, and now to Boston following the sign posts of a long-term relationship culminating to a trip to the altar and then to signing divorce papers. Along the trail was a ton of knitting, reading, slices of daily life, and giggles at the shenanigans of my hamster, Clarence.

It made me realize how many loose ends there are! Let me tie some up so as you delve into the archive, you’ve got some sense of where the story ended up.

First things first, my dear little hamster, Clarence, died fall 2009. It crushed me. He was my confidant and entertainment during that first year of teaching living all alone in Winthrop. He’s now buried in the back yard of the house in Salem I lived at from July 2009 to July 2010. Poke through the “hamster” tag and you’ll find a video of him. He was the cutest little thing.

As far as people, Shana is still the bedrock of my life. She’s pretty much plain awesome. Amy is still kicking my butt and keeping me in line. Speaking of Amy, I need to call her. Allan and I are in touch from time to time. Luckily, things ended up amicable. Hallelujah to being friends with exes.

Ummmm, yeah. I think those are the biggest lose strings.

Have a great Friday night, all!



Looking at my desk and walls reminds me of an art piece displayed in Lord Hall at UMaine created by Yvette Tardiff a few years ago:  a round kitchen table full of espresso cups with varying levels of fullness, with a wall full of sticky-notes behind it. I don’t remember the title of the piece, but it was something along the lines of “American Dream”.

I remember standing there staring at the installation and thinking:  Damn. That’s me.

It still is.

My desk is full of tea mugs that need to find their way to the kitchen and my desk, walls, and planner are full of sticky-notes reminding me of things I need to do.

What is the American dream to you? I asked a group of students this once as part of a unit on The Great Gatsby. I got a range of answers, but each one included being happy and healthy as part of it. It never occurred to me, until now, to examine my personal dream and how close I am to achieving it.

When I was in high school, and a half-hearted at best practicing Mormon, my dream was to have a modest home with a door open to the community, a bottom-less cookie jar, a few dogs, a cat, and lots of people to love coming and going throughout the day and year. This vision of life included being married, having a handful of kids, and being completely immersed in family life.

And thinking about it now, my vision hasn’t changed that much. I still want that modest home with a door open to the community, a bottom-less cookie jar, a few dogs, a cat, and lots of people to love. Unfortunately, the kids part won’t happen, at least not out of my body without serious intervention that is not certain to work.

A few months ago, after experiencing serious pain in my pelvic region for several days straight, I called my doctor in Maine. I told him what I was experiencing and asked for a reference closer to me in the North Shore area. I ended up spending a few days in southern Maine being poked and prodded and imaged. As if I wasn’t already sore enough. But it was necessary.

I waited and waited and finally the results came in:  between cyclical ovarian cysts from the time I was 14 and the damage my reproductive organs sustained from repeated sexual assault, I am unable to have kids. The pain was from a cyst that burst through years and years of scar tissue build-up. My organs are too scarred up to become pregnant without medical assistance. And the PTSD would make being pregnant and giving birth likely to change the chemistry of any child born of my body.

Even though I had already come to (mostly) decide I didn’t want children anyway (I’ll get to that later), having the choice taken away from me due to years of assault and a medical condition that often develops in people who have been sexually assaulted hurts.

I am still dealing with it.

And more than that. I have been feeling hurt and angry the last week because I am remembering what happened and realizing just how much it has affected me and how much it continues to affect me. How much someone else’s actions has changed how my brain and body functions, and how much has been taken away.

Looking around at these sticky-notes full of reminders and mugs of tea makes me wonder how close I am to that dream, and how far I have to go to overcome and tame these demons to get there.

One More, with Pictures This Time

I haven’t said a word in months about little Clarence. Here he is!

Clarence the Hamster

Clarence the Hamster

Little Clarence has been just fine. He eats his pellets and seeds so well that we call him the Ferocious Fuzzy Little Monster. He terrorizes those seeds! 🙂 He still loves his wheel and ball. And he likes to climb still. And he’s still really little!

I also took photos of my new office space for the world to see.

the desk in its messy glory

the desk in its messy glory

My new office space has a great view out the window. We’re going to put bird feeders in the big pine outside the window so I can watch the birds come and go, one of my favorite hobbies if you remember last fall’s posts. I can’t wait to see the chickadees and nuthatches get chubby. It makes me happy to know that they’ll be all set for the hard winter.

the stack of papers and books to read for this coming week...

the stack of papers and books to read for this coming week...

And here is the pile of papers I’ve got to work my way through by Nov. 6 when grades are due.

I ran!

I went running for the first time in 3 weeks yesterday. What a difference it makes. Instead of lethargically going about my evening, I’m energized and I sit down and crank it out. I went again tonight, this time with a friend’s 2-year-old white lab and it was such a good run. Bauer was so enthusiastic about running that it encouraged me to run like I know I can. Tonight’s run was great. I ran my basic 2-1/2 mile there-and-back route 5 minutes faster than usual and I felt better than I usually do, too. It’s amazing what a good run will do for a person. My 2-1/2 mile run is generally about 25 minutes. I was back in 20.

I am definitely getting a dog that likes to run when I have a house of my own and the ability to care for a pup. There’s nothing better than having an enthusiastic running partner! 🙂

Clarence the Hamster…

…starring in his first movie!

Knitting on a Snowy Afternoon

I can’t believe it’s snowing, again, and it’s March 31. Geeze. And it’s not just snow, it’s the nasty freezing rain and snow that is fondly known as a wintry mix. Blech. Blargh. What’s better on such a gross day than hot cocoa with chili powder and knitting!

I finished the heel flap and the turning of the heel today. Now for the gussets and the foot!

I made the leg shorter by 2-1/2 inches because I want these to be lighter spring socks. That and my calves are a little too thick for the number of stitches cast on. I’d have to cast on more and decrease in order to make them fit well. I am really starting to like the colors on this sock! I liked them, then didn’t like them, now I really like them!

In other news, we named Little Bit Clarence! Thanks for all the suggestions and votes on the last post. We decided to go with Clarence because that is the first name I thought of when thinking of names. He’s a real-good napper and bed-maker. And he likes his hamster ball but it’s a little too big for him right now. He’s a little over 3″ when stretched out nose to tail and the ball has a 7″ circumference. I might go get him a 4″ or a 5″, depending on what the smaller size is.

I have mountains of grading and prep work to do for this week so I probably won’t be posting very frequently this week. I hope you’ll excuse the silences. 🙂

Little Bit

We got a new baby hamster today! He doesn’t have a name yet, but I’ve been calling him Little Bit. We’re thinking that maybe this little guy will be named Clarence, or Willow, or Clarence Willoughby. If we name him Clarence (Willoughby) it’ll be because of how awesome it would be to have a little hamster stand up for a treat when he hears “Clarence”! So far today he has built himself a little nest in his watchtower, carrying a mouthful of shavings at a time up the tube. After watching him do this for 15 minutes, Allan got the idea to give him one of my clean hankies. Allan opened the top to the watchtower and offered the corner of the hankie to Little Bit. The little guy sniffed it, looked at it and then grabbed it with his mouth and hands and pulled it out of Allan’s fingers with the look of:  “Ah! This is what I’ve been looking for! This’ll go on top of my shavings mattress perfectly!” He is currently cuddled under his blankie sleeping away the day. It’s been a busy day for such a little guy. I’ll post pictures of the little guy as soon as I have charged batteries.

Any name suggestions for a grey male hamster?

Best Idea Ever

So Allan and I were pretty bummed out when our little hamster ran away and died. We felt terrible about keeping this little creature that just wants to run and feel the grass under his little paw in a small cage. Little hamsters escape their cages seeking freedom and adventure. Well, while contemplating the joy of having little fuzz-balls for company and the sorrow of keeping them cooped up in cages, he figured out an ingenious plan we’re going to implement as soon as possible. The idea is to build a terrarium with soil and grass so the little guy can burrow and feel the grass under his feet! And, of course, we’d build tubes to go between the happy space and the playground (the terrarium and the cage). Neat, huh! All we need is some plexiglass and wood to frame it. We’ll be starting right away!

Knitting News and Life Stuff

The fancy socks are done and were worn to Easter dinner on Sunday. The second sock didn’t come out nearly as bad as I had imagined. And besides, it’s on the foot and toe, the very part that will be covered by shoes and slippers whenever worn!

I set aside the Mission Falls striped socks to work on the Sockotta socks because they’re lighter weight and I’m thinking spring. I have about 4″ done on sock numero uno. These are knitting up fairly quick so I’ll probably have the first one done by this weekend. I’ll have pictures soon. I’ve been too lazy to put my camera batteries on the charger.

In less happy news, I got and lost my first pet in 10 years this weekend. I adopted a teddy bear hamster from my local humane society and brought her home Saturday evening. She was happy as could be. She ran on her wheel and in her hamster ball and ate treats from our hand. She was the sweetest little thing. Then, Sunday morning I woke up and found her cage open and she was gone. I couldn’t find her anywhere. We put out humane hamster traps, searched the house, and waited patiently. Today Allan found her, dead, in the basement. She squeezed under the door and fell to her death. You see, the stairs to the basement are old and slanted, and there is about a 3″ gap from the door jamb to the first step. She must have squeezed under the door and fallen through the gap. It’s the saddest thing that’s happened to me in a while.

The only good thing is that, as unfortunate and sad as this is, it’s not the worst thing that has happened in the world. Earlier today, in preparation for my unit on tolerance, bigotry, and racism, I was reading about Emmitt Till, a fourteen year-old boy who was murdered in 1955 for whistling at a white woman. His brutal murder sparked the Civil Rights movement. I lost my hamster, but it’s a small loss compared to the continued hatred, injustice, and prejudice in the world despite all the sacrifices, laws, and changes enacted to make human lives better. For teachers or concerned individuals out there, go to the Tolerance Organizations page to find information for teachers, parents, teens and kids about how to be proactive with breaking down intolerance in our communities, schools, homes, and ourselves.

On an up note, and some what trivial in light of the content today, I’ve been playing this browser game, Travian, and it’s a lot of fun. I’m philosophically opposed to the war-like intention of the game, but I plan on playing without raiding other towns. Check it out.

With that, I’m signing off for the day! Have a great night (and week)!