Tag Archives: Ninja

Distractions

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Tulip

Yikes! It sure has been ages since I last posted! As always, I’ve missed my sunny scrapbook. Here’s why I’ve been quiet:

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Home at last

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Decor

Hello there friends!

I’m back at last, finding a new normal with my Ninja and the fuzzies in our brand new home. Thanks for your patience while I was away; I’ve missed reading your blogs and sending out some cyber scribbles of my own 😉

Wow, what an adventure the past few weeks have been! Moving house sure is messy, whether you do it all in one go or bit-by-bit over many weekends like we did. Towards the end we were sleeping on just a couch cushion on the floor, with no furniture or appliances left except a tiny bar fridge that held only a few meals’ worth of groceries, and clocking hundreds of kilometres driving back and forth between the two homes on weekends. Exhausting.

Read more…

101 goals for the next 1001 days

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Note: In case you missed my previous posts relating to this new list of goals, you might like to first stop by here, here and here 🙂 Goals 1 through 47 are adapted from my previous list, and goals 48 through 101 are the most recent additions. Where I’ve been working on an old goal but haven’t quite finished it yet, you’ll see the weird numbers reflect where I’m at today as I begin the new list (applies to goals 6, 9, 12, 16, 23, 26, 27, 30, 33, 34, 36, 40 and 47).

Enjoy! And let me know your thoughts…

Wood pennyfarthing

101 things in 1001 days

From 21 March 2014 to 16 December 2016

1. Read through the Bible in a year

2. Knit a couch throw with natural yarn

3. Get to my goal weight and/or goal size and maintain

4. Finish our wedding scrapbook

5. Go on 3 hikes

6. Go on 2 motorcycle rides

7. Work through Love Dare again

8. Get a pretty girly camera bag

9. Paint 4 artworks on canvas

10. Assemble an emergency kit

11. Visit a cave

12. Make a list of 48 things I’m grateful for

13. Complete a 1 000+ piece puzzle

14. Go on a rollercoaster

15. Find a personally inspirational quote and work it into a piece of art or home decor

16. Read 73 books and keep a list of them

17. Make a custom recipe book

18. Visit 5 different museums and/or monuments

19. Have a sleepover party

20. Go for a bicycle ride

21. Take 101 (poster-worthy) photos of my new pet rats

22. Grow a plant from a seed

23. Invite 5 different friends/couples over for a visit

24. Try 5 new cocktails

25. Write a letter to my favourite author

26. Apply henna 3 different times

27. Get 7 more hat badges

28. Navigate a maze

29. Use up a sheet of temporary tattoos

30. Write a list of 25 things I’ve already achieved in this lifetime

31. Leave an inspirational note inside a book for someone to find

32. Take part in a colour run

33. Eat at 2 new restaurants

34. Take 10 photos of 10 different birds

35. Go to Gold Reef City

36. Celebrate 3 obscure holidays

37. Make a time capsule

38. Visit a bird of prey centre

39. Revisit our wedding venue

40. Watch 6 movies I’ve never seen starting with K, N, Q, U, X and Y

41. Read Pilgrim’s Progress in the old English

42. Revamp my lingerie collection

43. Enjoy another spa day with my best friend

44. Photograph 10 old buildings in South Africa

45. Play the lotto with numbers from a fortune cookie

46. Put away R10 for each completed task

47. Write 4 letters to 4 people who changed my life

48. Buy 5 music CDs for my collection

49. Throw a housewarming party

50. Plan my 30th birthday party

51. Buy 3 more legit Bollywood movies

52. Complete a one-month photo challenge

53. Celebrate our 10-year dating anni in a special way

54. Get a good pocket/handbag camera

55. Interact with a raptor

56. Make a classic ‘Sunday roast’ meal

57. Get 5 new movies for my collection

58. Ride in a hot air balloon

59. Donate blood

60. Do 5 random acts of kindness

61. Find 5 inspiring new blogs to follow

62. Investigate becoming an organ donor

63. Plant a tree

64. Plant a vegetable garden

65. Go to the Lion Park

66. Host a Christmas gathering

67. Go to a theatre show

68. Visit an animal sanctuary

69. Go berry picking at Just Darling farm

70. Visit Lindfield Victorian House

71. See a movie at Rosebank’s Ster Kinekor Cinema Prestige

72. Have a ‘pretty boudoir’ photoshoot for Ninja

73. Hire an old car and go for a drive

74. Celebrate Raksha Bandhan in some way

75. Do a SCAD dive

76. Try 5 different natural foods from Organic Emporium

77. Get new running shoes

78. Get glasses frames that suit me better

79. Make or buy 2 decor items for the bathroom

80. Make or buy 2 decor items for the bedroom

81. Make or buy 2 decor items for the lounge

82. Make or buy 2 decor items for the kitchen

83. Get more potted plants

84. Upgrade our medical aid plan

85. Hire or buy another camera lens

86. Pay off our building loan

87. Make my own vanilla extract

88. Visit an organic/farmers’ market

89. Get a new set of bed linen

90. Make my own air freshener

91. Make my own potpourri sachets

92. Make my own jelly sweets

93. Make 5 new desserts

94. Create a photo album of all our pets

95. Cook homemade soup in winter

96. Define my own smart fashion style

97. Define my own casual fashion style

98. Buy 3 completely new smart outfits

99. Buy 3 completely new casual outfits

100. Revamp my jewellery collection

101. Take at least one mini-break away with Ninja

2014 storm predictions

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Roses

Shewwee! We’re only two weeks in and already 2014 promises to be a hectic and interesting year for Ninja and I.

For starters, we’ve just heard that retrenchments are planned at Ninja’s company for the first quarter of the year 😦 So we’re now pre-emptively on the search for new work for him. (We’re very grateful that my own contract has been extended for the year.)

Surprisingly though, it’s not nearly as stressful as you’d expect. I feel as though I’ve landed softly in a spiritual and an emotional safety net of faith. Of course retrenchment is disappointing and disruptive. Changing jobs is a stressful adjustment at the best of times. But we truly believe that it’s our Heavenly Father, and not our employers, who is our ultimate Provider… and He is eternally trustworthy, having promised not to put us through more than He enables us to handle.

Still, a retrenchment would have a knock-on effect on our other major plans for 2014: moving into our new home (a cottage we’re building at my folks’ place). We were originally planning to move somewhere in early spring (that’s September for us down here in the southern hemisphere), but now we’ve all agreed to aim for early May instead.

And that in itself is scary and exciting, stressful and rewarding. If we were very eager before to finish building and move in, now we’ll all be doubling our prayers and our efforts 🙂

All of this may also have an effect on the Sunshine Scrapbook, because as we get closer to the time of relocation I’ll probably have to take a break from blogging in order to tidy up our old home and sort out the new one. Will keep you posted on that.

But in the meantime I can say that I stand facing this new year with a deeper faith than I would have a few years back. Not so long ago I was completely disillusioned about what God was doing in my life, and I regarded each new challenge with suspicion, fearing that my precious little plans would be thwarted!

Praise God for growing me past that point, so that now I can stand firm. Where do I get this firm foundation? From childish airy-fairy hope that there’s a Good Guy Up There who’s going to make all my troubles go away? No.

Jesus said, ‘Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.’ (Matthew 7:24–25)

Storms will come – that’s a given. I’m definitely expecting a few in the year ahead. But God’s Word and my practical application of it are the two things that ground me during trials. May He give me grace to build my life on that firm foundation through 2014 and beyond 🙂

Rats in the spotlight

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It’s been a week of lows and highs for our ratties Moon and Knight. The lows, firstly, come from the fact that yesterday was their turn to be neutered. Poor wee critters! Little Moonbeam doesn’t seem to be doing too badly but our Sir Tiny is visibly upset by the trauma…

Luckily there was a high to their week too (not that they know it though!): both of these boys won first place in different categories in our rat club’s first online rat show 😀

Moon was picked out for his beautiful colouring, and won first prize in the Prettiest Markings category:

Winner: prettiest markings

Winner: prettiest markings

Ninja’s other boy, Knight, took first place in the mixed category of ‘Best Wannabe’ – and was dubbed ‘Super Ratty’ for his flying leap and determination to get to that salmon:

Winner: Best Wannabe / Super Ratty

Winner: Best Wannabe / Super Ratty

We’re suitably chuffed with these achievements, I have to say 🙂 Now we can tell people we have award-winning pet rats, hehe. We’re expecting their ribbons and prizes to arrive in the post soon, so watch this space!

The exciting thing is that next year there’s every chance of not only more online competitions like this, but also live rat shows hosted at the annual pet expos around the country. Hopefully we can take part in those too 🙂

So proud of all our gorgeous boys!

It happens to the best of us…

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It’s almost inevitable.

Somehow, one day, you (or your better half) will accidentally leave the rat cage open, lock up the house and drive away…

It’s so easy to do, especially when you just stuck your hand in the cage for a quick goodbye to sleepy ratties:

sleeping rat

Irresistible and innocent

But of course they always sleep with one eye open, just waiting for the sound of your car engine to drone away. And then!

Freedom!!!

Freedom!!!

So when Ninja and I got home yesterday, the first thing we saw was the empty rat cage and the door standing wide open.

Gulp!

I immediately closed the main house door and checked and closed the bathroom, while Ninja stepped carefully into the bedroom calling out for our furbabies.

But a minute later it was over.

Moon and Knight came running to Ninja within seconds, and I scooped up Voddy and Teddy as soon as they appeared. I was actually quite chuffed that the boys happily came running to us as soon as we called them 🙂

Phew! That’s the first time we’ve given them a run despite ourselves, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The boys were pooped but clearly happy to have had an adventure. They’d only been out for two hours; thankfully they didn’t destroy anything during that time…

What we really need is a cage door locking mechanism that will show us at a glance whether the cage is secure or not: sort of like those door indicators you see in public toilets!

Voddy and Teddy in recovery

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Poor Vodka and Mishka are a bit out of sorts since their op yesterday. The vet did a very neat job and apparently it all went fine, but the poor boys are sore and very grumpy! It makes me feel bad to see them slithering around their cage trying to find relief from the discomfort :/ But I trust that we did the right thing and it will be interesting to see whether the ops make the difference everyone says they will.

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Ninja and I have separated the convalescing boys from the little guys so that they can heal in peace without too much rough-and-tumble from their boisterous and unsuspecting smaller brothers. That’s right, Moon and Knight: it’ll be your turn next! In ten days’ time we’ll take them back to the vet for their stitches to be removed, and Lord willing they’ll make a full and fast recovery 🙂

Quick pics

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Hello there! It feels like an age since I last posted here… life’s been getting in the way a bit lately 😉 Summer has hit Johannesburg at last and the heatwave has been surprisingly draining. Ninja and I have been very busy with everything from work to trying to get fit for my first 5km run. My to-do list is overflowing, and often that’s meant that blogging drops down a rung or two. Sigh. I do miss my days at home when I was a full-time blogger, baker and bookworm!

Anyway, for now I have a moment to share a few recent pics of our ratties. They’ve been here for almost a month now and they’ve taken over the home :mrgreen:

Open that cage door and a mass exodus ensues

Open that cage door and a mass escape is inevitable

I’ve tried taking a few nice photos of them and have entered a few into a competition hosted by our rat club – which means I can cross off Goal #64: Send in a photograph to a contest 🙂 Would be so great if one of my shots got picked! But for the most part I have dozens of not-quite-awesome-yet-still-quite-cute pics…

Knight greeting Robert the Rat

Knight greeting Robert the Rat

It’s not easy getting good pictures when the rats are on the go all the time, so I also try to catch them unawares for sweet sleeping shots. Here are some of my favourites:

Moon and Knight: heads hanging over the edge of the cage level

Moon and Knight: heads hanging over the edge of the cage level

Moon: rolled into a ball

Moon: rolled into a ball

Knight: absolute innocence

Knight: absolute innocence

So far it seems our first impressions of the boys were pretty accurate. Their personalities are quite distinct and a joy to discover.

Moon (nicknamed Rover) is still the curious adventurer, who’s often awake when the other three are asleep and vice versa. He’s gentle and fast but in some cases still a little unsure of his place. You know how in big families you often find the one quiet kid who’s easily overlooked in the mayhem? Sometimes I think Moon is that kid, though his odd circadian rhythms do make it easier for us to give him special attention 🙂

Knight (nicknamed Tiny) is still very sweet; he’s bold with his brothers but gentle and trusting with humans. He only has one fault: he is sooooo squeaky!! He squeaks for anything and everything, be it a thorough grooming from his brothers or an unexpected poke from a playful human. It’s definitely not pain related – it’s all attitude and noisy protest from the baby of the bunch 😛

Mishka and Vodka with rawhide shoes

Mishka and Vodka with rawhide shoes

Vodka (nicknamed Voddy – I know, it’s lame, but sometimes the good nicks only come after a while) is the bright spark: I’ve been teaching the rats to leap from the open cage onto my shoulders when I ask them to, and Vodka was the first to catch on and make the jump. All the boys know two commands already: ‘Up’ for standing on their hind legs to receive a treat, and ‘Jump’ for leaping onto me or whichever surface I tap.

Mishka with a banana chippie

Mishka with a banana chippie

Of all our lovely rats, Mishka consistently steals the show. Not only is he the biggest and boldest; he’s also the only dumbo so he keeps catching our eye with expressions we’re not used to after our succession of standard-eared ratties. My friends go all mushy when meeting him and even Ninja admits there’s no denying Mishka’s charisma.

As for me, well… this boy is rapidly achieving ‘heart rat’ status. I always said Muesli was my heart rat, as he was my first, but I’m learning that the heart is big enough to hold more than one special furry object of affection 😀

I think what gets me about Mishka is that he has different sides to his personality. Ninety percent of the time he’s the big forceful alpha rat who ‘power grooms’ his cagemates and shoves human hands aside to get to what he wants. But then there are those odd moments when he suddenly turns sensitive. He’s really earned his nickname of Teddy Bear.

Mishka's heart-melting look

Mishka’s heart-melting look

The pic above was taken after I’d disciplined Mishka for nipping my fingers instead of taking the food from them. From the look on his face you’d swear I’d whipped him with a cane or something! All I did was squeak at him and tap him on the nose (trying to mimic a ratty way of saying ‘That’s enough!’)

Well, it crushed him. He backed up immediately and shot me this devastated look. Flattening his ears against his head, he dashed upstairs and leapt into his Sputnik. And there he stayed, refusing to be comforted or bribed with treats; just giving me the ‘Mommy how could you?’ look for over an hour. Oh my goodness! How to make a rat mommy feel like rubbish! LOL

So that’s the kind of thing that’s been keeping me busy… but I do hope to have more opportunities to blog more regularly. I’m itching to bake something new or take a day trip or do something creative again. As soon as I do, you can be sure I’ll share it here 🙂

Rats at play

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A few pics from our rats’ first week with us…

Moon: 'Argh, my brothers are so noisy!'

Moon: ‘Argh, my brothers are so noisy!’

Moon is still the little loner we first thought him to be. He has a very sweet personality but he’s always doing the opposite of what the other three are getting up to. He likes this corner of the cage where he can groom in relative peace.

Garden games

Garden games

While cleaning the cage (again!) this week, I decided to entertain the rats with their Ratty Eden. They had a blast tasting the soil and munching the pet grass. Here you can see Moon, Vodka and Knight. The perspective of this pic doesn’t show it, but Knight is still the smallest guy. What a sweetie though 🙂

Mishka: 'MY glass pebble!'

Mishka: ‘MY glass pebble!’

Mishka was fascinated by the blue glass pebbles I’d dotted around the garden. As you can see, this rat tests everything with his teeth. He’s the first chewing rat we’ve had – in one short week he’s chewed bits of metal, perspex and wood from the cage fittings, as well as several rawhide treats, cardboard boxes, his water bowl and anything else he can find 🙄

Moon nomming soil with one hand

Moon nomming soil with one hand

Ninja’s boys are very cute with their hands, often drinking and eating with only one hand. It’s adorable to watch them scoop water from their water bowl and lick it off their fingers or wash their faces with it!

Vodka: 'Ahh, rawhide FTW!'

Vodka: ‘Ahh, rawhide FTW!’

If you ever doubted that pet rats are like small pet dogs, just throw a couple of rawhide chew toys into the cage and sit back to watch. The rats leap on these tough treats and each drag theirs off a safe distance away, angling their bodies away from potential thieves.

Vodka, Knight and Mishka

Then they settle down with determination to gnaw those treats to shreds. They make short work of the hard rawhide and the first to finish will usually venture around to those who are still busy, looking for leftovers and trouble 😛

Moon with his munchies

Moon with his munchies

Little Knight is quite a vocal ratty, at first seeming like the victim most picked on. We thought it might be because he’s so small… but after a few days of observation we realised that he’s often the one to start the scuffles, sidling up to one of his bigger brothers and snatching away the food they’re eating! All of which prompted us to sing him this rhyme:

Tiny tot, tiny tot

Looks so innocent

But he’s not!

Mishka and Moon: ‘This gap ain’t big enough for the both of us!’

For me, the cutest moments with the rats are not just when they seem almost human in their antics, but also when they’re being so very thoroughly ratty. Take the pic above: give them one night with a cardboard box and they’ll chew a stereotypical round hole in the side… and then all try to squeeze through the gap at the same time! :mrgreen:

Rest in peace faithful Flea

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Yesterday we had our old Flea put to sleep 😦 Ninja and I couldn’t bear it anymore to see her struggling so much; the smallest movement became a flailing effort to our arthritic old ratty. We felt we’d done everything we could, and there comes a point where treatment becomes more stressful for a pet than a peaceful passing would be.

Baby Flea in Ninja's pocket

Baby Flea in Ninja’s pocket

Afterwards we took her to my parents’ garden, to bury her near the spots where Muesli, Scribble and Coffee were laid to rest. Of all the options available to pet owners for saying goodbye to their furry friends – be it cremation, burial or leaving the body with the vet – I’ve always felt that burial provides the most honour and closure.

Young Flea in a basket

Young Flea in a basket

Looking back on her 60-odd rat years, I can see how this fancy rat lived up to her proper name, Faith. First, when she was tiny, Ninja named her because she seemed to need a good dose of faith to venture out into the world. Later when she became comfortable roaming around our home we called her Leap of Faith, because she was never afraid to cover great distances in one bound… just like a small black flea, of course 🙂

Old Flea in the same basket

Old Flea in the same basket

Much later, after her tumour removal and the loss of her sister, she continued to live up to her real name, fighting bravely to heal after such an invasive op. And finally, just before her second birthday as she began ageing rapidly, her faithful little personality still led her to wake us up every morning for breakfast, even if she could only just drag her tired legs around.

Flea enjoying sweet papaya

Flea enjoying sweet papaya

Another thing that I loved about Flea was that she always seemed – if one can say this of a rat – grateful for the smallest thing. Towards the end when I had to pre-chew all her meals and wipe her face with a cloth because she could no longer groom herself, she would always brux and boggle happily in thanks afterwards. Ninja and I got to have many very sweet moments with the old lady as she cuddled with and slept by us for long periods.

Faith ~ 25 Aug 2011 to 11 Sept 2013

Faith ~ 25 Aug 2011 to 11 Sept 2013

Rest in peace our sweet old Flea. You were the softest ratty I’ve ever kissed and I loved your beautiful fluffy and colourful coat. You showed us the very best side of girl ratties and left us with so many funny and heartwarming memories.

I’d like to share with you a poem that was given to us by the vet yesterday (it’s marked as anonymous so I don’t know who to attribute it to). It was a blessing to me and I hope it’ll bring comfort to you if you’ve also had to make that tough decision to say goodbye to a furbaby. (But I warn you, keep the tissues handy!)

If it should be…

If it should be that I grow frail and weak

And pain should keep me from my sleep

Then you must do what must be done

For me, the last battle can’t be won

You will be sad – I understand

Don’t let your grief then stay

For this day, more than all the rest

Your love and friendship stands the test

We’ve had so many happy years

What is to come can hold no fears

You’d not want me to suffer, so

When the time comes, please let me go

We’ve been so close, we two

Through these years

Don’t let your heart

Hold any tears

Take me where my needs they’ll tend

Only stay with me until the end

Hold me firm and speak to me

Until my eyes no longer see

I know in time you too will see

It is a kindness you do to me

Although my tail its last has waved

From pain and suffering I’ve been saved

Don’t grieve that it should be you

Who has to decide this thing to do