Archive for the ‘Garanimals’ Category


Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Specifically, Roborovski hamsters, also known as the smallest hamsters in the world. I’ve now got three of ’em, and they’re all named Javier. Check it!

Very, Very Leetle

Very, Very Leetle

Shorter Than the Food Bowl

Reach, Javi, reach!

Munh! You may not enter my tunnel!

Munh! You may not enter my tunnel!

Okay, maybe you can enter my tunnel.

Okay, maybe you can enter my tunnel.

Javi in Le Tube

Javi in Le Tube
Little Hammie, Big Wheel

Little Hammie, Big Wheel

Little Hammie, Big World

Little Hammie, Big World

Le habitat

Le habitat





Toots adorbs, right? I’m massively in love with them. There’s only one problem, which is that they sleep from 7 AM to 9 PM. And as I keep them in my office, I basically do not see them, except as a sleeping mass in their hidey-house. Whoops!

In my own I’ve-had-a-million-rodents-I’m-not-that-dumb defense, I must say that I know that hamsters are nocturnal. But I was assured that Roborovskis are crepuscular, like rats. NOT BLOODY LIKELY, INCORRECT PERSON. I was also told that they do not fight. ALSO VERY WRONG. Ah, well. At least they have plenty of room for their scuffles. And if at some point I have to separate them, I already have two cages.

And three hamsters.

Okay, let’s just stop worrying and everybody go watch the puppy bowl.

Today in Rats

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

For several months now, the rats have been systematically destroying an old chair in our front room/foyer/weirdly tacked-on  space that doesn’t have a proper name (or heat).

For the last week, Melanie has taken to spending her entire day in that chair, nesting among the innards.

And today, Melanie would like to say hello to you from that chair.

Little Rat Peep

Little Rat Peep


And it’s . . . Chlöe the Hedgehog!

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

A sweet little addition to a chilly Monday morning:

Pleasingly Pink

Pleasingly Pink

As some of you may know, in recent years I’ve been moving away from pink and toward orange as my ironic accessory color of choice. But I still feel the siren call of my historic obsession, particularly when such glorious hues of pink present themselves in wool-roving form.

In other news, I came up with a new (to me) technique for Chlöe’s quills, and . . . they’re not particularly quill-ish. But I think she still has a hedgehog-y look.

Here’s a bird’s-eye view. Or, perhaps, a fruit fly’s-eye view. (It’s summer, we eat scads of produce, and we compost. Ergo, we are living with fruit flies—John in harmony, I in agony.)

From Above

From Above

Here’s what’s on the bottom side of all those “quills.” My three favorite words: pink nubbin tailio!



And here’s Chlö-Chlö with something that may or may not be a friend.



Happy Monday, felt fiends!

Mother-in-Law Rattie Sesh!

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

I have three mothers-in-law.


I invite you to figure it out. It’s a fun logic problem! Or blindingly obvious, perhaps?

Anyway, one of them loves garanimals as much as I do. It’s such a pleasure to see her light up in the presence of anything furry.

On Sunday, we took her to Point Isabel, which I tend to think of alternately as Dog Heaven and Melissa Heaven. The dogs, there are so many! And they are off-leash! Jumping into mud puddles, or the Bay, or chasing after things!

I wasn’t sure whether this MIL would like the rats, though. Some people are against rats (for shame). But not she! She loves them. And she spoiled them rotten with lots of play time while she was here. Witness:

Two Happy Garanimals

Two Happy Garanimals

Joy to the World

Joy to the World

Ear Tickle!

Ear Tickle!

Love on the Shoulder

Love on the Shoulder

Rat Back!

Melanie the Intrepid, Michelle the Slinker, and MIL the Happy

Could you DIE?

Rattie Photo Sesh!

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

We’re heading to Mendocino for my birthday (Facebook me your love on July 26). In the meantime, here’s some cuteness to tide you over.

Bedding Bag

Bedding Bags

Melanie on the bags of bedding. Please may she never decide to chew through one of these.

Shoe Nibble

Shoe Nibble

Melanie loves toes—fingers and toes—because they’re nibble-ready. Here, obviously, she has encountered an obstacle.

The View from On High

The View from On High

The only way I can prevent Melanie from squiggling off of me is to get her up high. (Either that, or allow her to nibble my fingers and toes. See previous.)

Sorry about the blurry. I took these photos myself, people. While I was rat-wrangling.

Crawing into the Jacket

Crawling into the Jacket

Both rats feel safe inside clothing and tend to burrow into my fleece jackets. Sometimes I have to remove the jacket to get them out.

As you can see, no Michelle. She’s still a hide-and-seek kind of a rat. And always will be, I imagine.

Happy week! See you on the other side.

At Long Last, Crazy Monkey!

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Remember Brave Chicken?

Close readers will remember that Brave Chicken is married to Crazy Monkey, who until recently—very recently indeed!—had not been rendered into felt. Now, that sad situation has been rectified, as we introduce . . . Crazy Monkey!

Handsome and Alert

Handsome and Alert

He’s a looker, huh? Here he is on his dining room perch.



And here’s a top view.

Top o' the Monkey

Top o' the Monkey

Here we see him join forces with the Angry Woman Army.

In the Jungle

In the Jungle

And here he does editorial.



Finally, I thought you might enjoy a look at Crazy Monkey and Brave Chicken together, locked in loving embrace. Yes, CM’s arms are adjustable, as are his legs. Check out that look o’ love he’s got, despite Brave Chicken’s zombie space-out. Aw, Crazy Monkey. You’re a real heart-melter.

The Look of Love

The Look of Love

And who’s that silly brunette hiding in the back?

Self Portrait


Maybe next time I’ll get John into the photo, and all signifieds will be represented with their signifiers.

I Gots Me Some Rats

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

It’s been a while, so I know you’re craving a rat update. And today: photo shoot with Michelle!

What's that pink square thing in front of your face?

What's that pink rectangle in front of your face?

It’s not easy to capture a rat head-on, as they scamper quickly and aren’t interested in vogue-ing. Plus, that annoying digital delay renders intention pretty much irrelevant. You point, click, and hope. Also, sometimes they freeze in fear. Yay!

I'll perch here and have a little lookout.

I'll perch here and have a little lookout.

Like other rodents, rats like to hide behind things. Also like other rodents, their curiosity pulls them out of their hiding places and into the unsafe open. Again, yay!

How far down?

How far down?

Rats are excellent acrobats, far more agile than hamsters or gerbils. They can jump to and from great heights. Happily, this book case is a little too high for a free-fall.

How's the view over here?

How's the view over here?

Which doesn’t stop Michelle from looking and wishing, looking and wishing.

She’s cute, huh? I’m pretty fond of her.

In other rat news, Melanie is a nipper. I’m pretty sure it’s food-related, so I have various strategies in mind, but my favorite right now is denial. Wheeeee!

Felted Bun!

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

I have a nephew. He has a Bun.

Actually, he has a Bun and a Bun’s Mom. They’re two blue bunnies, gently stuffed, which he loves quite a lot. And rightly so.

For his birthday this year, I decided to felt him a Bun. Which—it occurred to me somewhat belatedly—might be a nonsensical thing to do for a budding five-year-old. I imagine him opening the box and running the following internal (possibly external) monologue:

“So . . . I already have a Bun. And a Bun’s Mom. And now here I am getting this new thing that looks sort of like Bun, but isn’t Bun, and isn’t as soft, and doesn’t come with a mother. So . . . point?”

Let’s nobody tell him that I spent like a million hours on it.

And in April when John’s in DC for work, he’ll present my nephew with felted Bun. You, of course, get an early peek:

Your Basic Bun

Your Basic Bun

His nose, I know, is funny. Partly, Bun the First’s nose is a little funny. And partly, I am a novice felter.

Bun and Friend

Bun and Friend

Bun and His Shadow

Bun and His Shadow

Bun's Bunny Slippers

Bun's Bunny Slippers

The cutest part about Bun is that he wears bunny slippers. Here you can see the less-than-perfect faces. Detail work is not easy, and I hope to improve over time. Either that, or make much larger felties.

Honestly, Bun is not my best work to date. But he’s special, because he’s all about my auntie love for my nephew. And is it not an aunt’s role in life to bestow odd, slightly off, borderline inexplicable handmade gifts?

I believe it is.

Beings of Cat-Dog Composure

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Every year at the beginning of Thanksgiving week, John and I head to Calistoga for fall foliage, wine-redolent air, and steamy outdoor mineral tubs.

(I’ve written previously about the cheese and the snow monkeys.)

And every year, we do mainly the same things—visit the same restaurants, take similar walks, and loll luxuriously about. As far as we’re concerned, there’s pleasure in routine, and we’re always happy to be deepening the grooves of familiar enjoyment.

But thanks to John and his spirit of adventure, we’re also likely to toss in one new thing. In 2009, it was a geyser. This year, it was a new route in our walk—which led us to an astonishing find.

This time, rather than heading directly north from our spa, we first went west. There’s a little more history closer to the highway, where the houses are older and some of the buildings historic. So for the first half hour, we kicked through fallen leaves and noticed what we liked best about the architecture.

A couple of miles in, the road took a sharp left, but a running path continued into the woods ahead of us. We saw someone head into it, so we followed.

And there we entered another world. There, instead of walking beneath a bright and open sky, we were shrouded in shade. And to our right, behind a rickety old fence, was an Italian villa. Or rather, there was what looked like an exact replica of an Italian villa. It was almost as though it had been disassembled, carted over on a ship, and reassembled in the middle of Calistoga.

There was no driveway or road access that we could see, so while we figured that we were simply looking at the back—complete with vineyard, carriage house, and iron filigree balcony, a la a certain pair of star-crossed lovers—the effect was even more surreal, like a fairytale castle plonked down in a cloud.

Nothing about it seemed to belong in America. It didn’t even seem to belong in this century. There was a grandeur-in-decay feel to it, as though it had been long abandoned. It was almost as though nobody could see it but us.

And then John said: “What are those animals?”

I was busy marveling at a grotesque tree, which had bulbous growths along the branches.

“What animals?” I asked.

J: Those animals.

M: Hmm?

J: Those cat-dogs. Sweetie, come here. You have to see this.

I tore myself from the tree and walked over to an opening in the fence, where he was standing.

He pointed.

And I saw them: two very still gray-brown animals, each sitting on a fence post.

M: Are they—real?

J: They look like statues, don’t they?

M: But they’re real?

J: What are they? I can’t tell.

They sat, patience on a monument. At the same time very alert, watching us as we watched them.

They sat. We watched. They sat. We watched.

What were they? They were like nothing we had ever seen.

And then one of them stood, swished its tail, and began walking away from us, along the fence.

It was lean and long, nothing like it had looked sitting, furry and full.

J: They’re foxes!

M: Wow.

J: They’re incredible, aren’t they?

M: Absolutely.

J: I couldn’t tell until it moved. Because the nose didn’t look narrow enough from the front.

M: Or the ears pointy enough, I agree.

J: But wow, huh?

M: Definite wow.

The other sat for a while longer, and then it, too, stood and turned to leave.

Thank you, wily and elegant foxes. And thank you, John Diller, for routinely bringing wonder to my world.

Killing Cokey

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

I have a problem. I constantly and unwittingly assign human feelings to animals and inanimate objects. And then I can’t interact with them in normal ways.

I’ve diagnosed myself with Compulsive Anthropomorphization, which is a disease I made up. And it doesn’t sound good, does it?

Here’s an example of how my CA is interfering with my life. I can’t get rid of stuffed animals. Can. Not. I *do* have a few of them stored in the basement, in a plastic bag, and if you remind me about this I will go into a spiral of self-recrimination. GAAAAAAH the suffering! GAAAAAAH the horror!

I’ve referred previously to ways in which my projection of suffering onto animals has gotten me into trouble, particularly when dealing with John, who lives in a world of butterflies and rainbows.

Welp, here’s the latest.

We have a coconut. It’s living in our kitchen. John intends to open it and let the juice out, which we will drink. To do it, he will bore holes into the top of the nut by driving in nails.

I was good with this plan, as a lover of coconut juice, until I noticed that those funny little indentations on the top of the coconut, coupled with the equator-like groove around the middle, make for a very sweet little face. And then I started thinking of our coconut as alive. And THEN I saw some weird red marks on its face.

M: What happened to Cokey?

J: What do you mean?

M: What’s all this red stuff?

J: I don’t know, nothing. It was on there when we got him.

[Five minutes pass.]

J: I didn’t know the coconut had a name.

M: Neither did I. He just told me.

J: Hmm.

M: You’re still going to kill him, aren’t you? You’re going to gouge his eyes out.

J: Yes.

M: Yes? YES?

J: Yes.

M: You’re going to GOUGE his EYES out?

J: I’m not going to gouge his eyes out. I’m just going to clean some of the gunk—

M: Oh, STOP!  I can never win this game with you!*

*I’m referring to the fact that whenever John plays along with the anthropomorphization, it makes it worse for me, because it makes the object even more alive.

[Howling laughter.]

J: Sweetie, what we have in the kitchen is not a person or an animal. It’s a coconut—

M: Don’t dehumanize Cokey! You’re dehumanizing him so you can kill him!

[Wheezing, tears.]

M: It’s a classic technique, you know. Dehumanization. Torturers use it.

J: You’re really making it hard on yourself, Sweetie.

M: It’s my CA. I might need a program.

J: Or maybe we can teach you to sew, and you can start making your own stuffed animals, and then you’ll see that they’re not real.

M: I don’t think so.

J: Why not?

M: Because then they’ll be my BABIES.

Yeah. So that went well.