Thursday, March 13, 2008

And then there were five...

Yes, I realize that a title like that is a sure-fire way to start rumors and invite people to look at my stomach to see if I'm in a family way, but really, now, I'm only speaking of the hamsters. Over Chinese New Year we decided to bring home two new hamsters (our super, best-in-the-world hamster, Cutie, having passed on last November). We found a nice pet store, with clean cages and a helpful staff, and asked for two hamsters that would cohabit happily in our big cage at home. I should have known something was wrong as soon as we got them in the car--they squeaked and scrabbled and appeared to not like each other at all. But we did take them home, and introduced them to their new home, and watched them continue to harrass each other. One was larger and generally sweet-tempered; the other--possible a runt--smaller and bizarre in behaviour, seeking out the larger one but then rolling on her back, practically begging to be bitten. Indeed, the larger one did just that after a few days together, so we dug out Cutie's first cage, a smallish one, and separated them. It was only a few days later that the little one, Indi by name, gave birth. Both of our hamsters are girls, and with a gestation of 20 days there is no doubt anyway that she was pregnant when we bought her. The suprise is that such a tiny thing could hold three babies and still be so slight. But mother and pups are all doing well (there is one runt, but it seems to be doing all right). They are two weeks old now, their eyes just opening and their legs finally taking them out of the nest they were born in. They are small-eared and downy-soft, and I want to name them all Beatrix.

In other news, 2008 is blowing by and with nary a dull moment: we enjoyed our Lunar New Year break, although we didn't do anything particularly festive; I went to Taipei on the high-speed rail All By Myself (that went on the calendar in red ink, don't you know) to give a talk to the Amnesty International group up there about the current state of affairs in Burma and how the Free Burma Rangers are working behind the scenes to help; I've led worship at church (not my gift, but my offering, I like to say), led Bible study, and planned the church picnic; I've volunteered at school for after-school activities (Nora and I head up free draw, or as she calls it, "Draw School") and with Cole's class as they prepared for their big chapel program and with the middle school drama group as they tried to figure out how to write dialogue; I have written a cooking article for a local magazine (I will probably write it as a regular feature from here on out), and worked on some other writings that have been languishing in the far reaches of my mind for a while; and amid all that craziness managed to make an astounding dark chocolate sorbet that is at this very moment begging me to finish it off. I may have to heed that call shortly.

I know at least one person will read this and appreciate the update (even though most of this he already knows, but maybe hadn't heard about the sorbet, eh, Kevin?). Hopefully there are a few others who continue to check in despite my long gaps between posts. We are doing well here overall, but are eager for Tim to finish his degree this fall so we can all see each other a bit more. Easter and the perfectly-timed Easter break are just around the corner--it is one of my favorite holidays here because the weather is usually gorgeous and the island is hard at work, leaving the scenic corners and beautiful drives wide open for us. I hope your winter is melting into a lovely spring wherever you are.