Portabella was a sweetheart

We adopted Portabella from the Arizona Humane Society on December 27, 2010. She was in a large ferret cage with her littermates and was the only little rat to stick her head out inquisitively when I opened the cage door. That’s how I knew I wanted to take her home.

Ideally if you have a rat it should have a rat companion but we decided she would be our only rat as they can be a little expensive in terms of health care. I was home a lot anyway and we planned to let her have the run of our place so she didn’t get too bored. This plan worked out well, but looking back on it I would have liked to have another rat for her to play with.

I also kind of regret not getting any video footage of her being her cute self. If we were petting/massaging her little face she would stretch her arms out for a massage. Sometimes she was over-excited at the prospect of food and would climb all over us. If we were watching a movie and she had her fill of popcorn she would take the excess and tunnel underneath us for storage. Portabella also had a strange rivalry with our toothbrushes. If we teased her with them it was all out war; that was the only time I saw her fierce teeth-gnashing huntress side. It was hilarious to see our otherwise gentle pet stalking a toothbrush. She was a fan of chasing ribbon and could do so as well as any cat, and she had a penchant for catnip filled fishes.

Arms out for a massage!


She liked stashing our things


We knew rats have issues with mammary tumors and respiratory infections. We dutifully took her to the vet any time we heard her sneeze; she never suffered an intense respiratory infection. The first time we discovered a lump we took her to the vet right away and had it removed.  Her recovery was a little tough, she opened her stitches once overnight, but after that she healed quickly.  Her second operation was difficult and she was getting older.  Her recovery time was a lot longer and she seemed so fragile.  She eventually bounced back but we found a new growth within weeks.  After that she developed a fourth growth and we knew our time with her was coming to an end. Friday morning was relatively normal.  She had to be hand fed and watered as she wasn’t eating her pellets, but she was very interested in fruit and beans.  By Friday evening she was having difficulty breathing and was very lethargic.  We took her to the vet so she wouldn’t die alone in her cage over night.  It was a difficult decision but I think it was the right one for all of us.

It’s sad not seeing her whenever we come home.  She was kind of like a dog in that she would stop what she was doing, come out of her cage, and wait for us near the door.  While our time with her was short she brought us so much joy and love. We will miss her very much.

April 2010-August 10, 2012
In the Kitchen, Random!

Barefoot Count Dracula

New post at Black Market Farm.  I’m not really gardening since we plan on leaving soon, so I’m thinking of changing that blog title.  We’ll see.

Portabella demands that I post more pictures of her since her projected lifespan is so short. Her name at the shelter was Diva which I don’t like but I get it now.

Doggelgänger is just too cute not to share

Yet another reason to love New Zealand:  Doggelgänger Human to Canine Pairing Software

This program was developed using NEC’s facial recognition software to pair real homeless pets with potential adopters.  They believe that since owners and pets tend to look alike anyway, maybe some people would be motivated to adopt a pet if they found their “doggelgänger”.  So far it’s only available in New Zealand.  As Chance and Portabella will tell you, we’d adopt a bunch of pets if we could!

My dog match, Elliot
DH’s Dog Match, also an Elliot. I hope these cuties find loving homes!
Drama, In the Kitchen

Successful Roast, Soufflé Fail

Dinner night was crazy busy, so please excuse the messiness you see in the pictures.  I had a difficult time keeping up with everything (I suck at multitasking).  Even though things didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped, it was still fun!

The roast pork tenderloin turned out nicely, even though I later found out my digital thermometer is off and I accidentally overcooked it by 20 degrees.  It was juicy last night but I’m not so sure about today.  Either way it will make good sandwich meat and we do have a butt load (cask load?) of demi-glace for it.  And the demi-glace!  I had a difficult time thickening it, but it turned out ok in the end.  I also made a pear chutney but forgot to get a picture of it.

The heirloom tomatoes in champagne vinaigrette were really good.  For that you will need:

  • 3/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup champagne (We used Moët et Chandon, from Napa Valley)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Whisk together vigorously & serve.

The good
The bad. Is this considered animal testing? That is a workout dvd in the corner, not some lame ballet movie. Just so you know.
I won’t even say it. DH had already started in on the yellow ramekin (he’s sweet). I think the recipe should have had less baking powder and that’s what I’ll do next time. They were edible, the poached pear really saved it.

Fun Things Today

Here are goofy photos of Portabella for a change of pace.  There is also a garden update at Black Market Farm.

Eating a croissant treat
Ratatouille croissant treats
Eating a yogurt treat. She does more than eat, really. Its just easier to take a picture when shes sitting still eating.
Being weighed after all those treats :)
Ecology, Educational, Environment, Global Change, Green, Rant

What to do Now? (Sorry, Rant)

Initially, I chose my major because it was interesting to me and very flexible.  I’ve always had this thing about not being caged in or tied down with limited options so I wanted a bio degree that would let me travel, be outside, and generally screw around.  Well, be careful what you wish for.

Now that it’s time to find a real job, narrowing decisions is tougher than expected and I’m not as willing to leave AZ as I was before.  This is due to DH’s education, as I have posted before he can only take so many credits at a time due to our financial situation and I would hate for him to take time away from it or get screwed over by credits not transferring to another school.  Many of the interesting jobs are located elsewhere and though we would love to get out of this state it isn’t looking so great right now.  I have an interview with an environmental lobbying group coming up but this is not my preferred route.  Field work would be awesome, but not like Game and Fish Biologist, out-in-fraking-Denali-for-months work (though I have it on good authority they have a lot of fun and mess around all the time, such as “sampling” fish stock on the clock).  Another opportunity is with the EPA but they aren’t interviewing until April.  I would like a crack at this!  Yet another thing is these fancy jobs are great for new grads but require a 2 year committment.  Do I just not say anything about the possibility of DH not being able to stay?  So I might go the consultant route which sounds fun and dangerous for nerdy biology types but could potentially be a soul-sucking-sellout thing if you have to make a bad company look good.

For example, one opportunity I passed on was as a private wildlife consultant for a defense contractor in Sierra Vista AZ.  They basically wanted fresh meat to write a nice little statement saying their plans to remove desert tortoises would not negatively impact the species or its habitat.  So not gonna happen, those vulnerable little guys are my homies!  And you know what else?  I do not feel adequately prepared in NEPA knowledge, much less EIS writing.  On top of this, to get certified in these things usually requires 3 years working in the field.  How am I going to get a job to get experience in NEPA if you have to have NEPA & EIS experience to get a job?

So for now, one step at a time.  My sweet mother-in-law insists the right job will find me.  I’m not so optimistic but she means well.  I could always study sloth migration patterns…

I did get some nice networking cards made. You never know who you’ll meet up with!
A cute picture of DH playing with our Rat, Portabella. We got her from the AZ Humane Society in December.
DH actually made this box for her to run around in. He’s kind of crazy like that :)