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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Linsea and the Lizard

Linsea caught a lizard in the yard today, so we put it in a bottle for her to “play” with but not injure. She had quite a lot of fun!

Looks like they're best buds!

Halloween (and other scary things)

Just adding a wrapup of some stuff from around the house here, centered on Halloween.

We didn’t really do a full-on celebration, but we were still in the mood to carve. We got a couple of pumpkins, and made a scary face and a cat, but our real fun was in doing carrots! We spent an evening putting little faces on them and then posing them in front of candles for a neat little effect:

Halloween Carrots

There was a middle school social that Dave and Breck attended. Breck got zombiefied with a bloody face, while Dave’s outfit got misplaced somewhere in cyberspace:

Dave's Halloween "costume"

(The fine print reads “The Halloween costume you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. Or Mr. Stutz might simply be too lame to have made one in the first place.)

We had our own scary cat on Saturday morning, as Linsea tried to get into the fish tank. We caught her red-handed (or laser-eyed, as the case might be):

Linsea on the fishtank

Always an exciting time around the Stutz house…


Here are our vicious attack cats, keeping a close eye on our home and protecting us from all evil. We had a crazy rain, thunder, and lightening storm the other night, so Dori and Linsea took it upon themselves to make sure our home was invader free.

We are used to them bringing in cockroaches and geckos, but this time, they really outdid themselves. They somehow trapped an elusive jungle earthworm, and brought it in to toy with.

They would watch it slither a bit across the floor, tap at it, and just torment it from time to time. I finally rescued it and returned it to the wild. Nice to know that we are safe from marauding invertebrates…

Curiosity, the cat, and the cooler

Our cats hate the pool, but are still morbidly fascinated by it (sort of like Alea’s dedication to “Master Chef“). We tempted one of them out there the other night with our new cooler, which is pretty awesome in its own right (and cheaper to buy here than in the USA!).

Linsea and the Big Bobber

It is called the “Big Bobber,” and is shaped just like those red and white bobbers that you use on the lake. It is particularly sweet because it actually floats in the pool, and makes the most excellent holding spot for those cold drinks we need on hot days.

The cone of shame

Our pretty little horny kitty came home from the vet today, minus her ovaries and plus a shaved belly. She sported the infamous plastic “Cone of Shame” (which is apparently officially known as an Elizabethan Collar) to keep her from licking her incision.

Linsea and Dori hit it right off again, playing and wrestling (to our concerned chagrin – he goes in for spaying next week!), so there seem to be no concerns about them remembering each other. With Alea gone on her Project Week adventure to Manado, watching Linsea bob and weave her head as she stumbles around the house makes a great antidote to missing her!



Wildlife update – and the current score is…

Frog from Breck's "habitat"Dad 2.5, Rats 0.

The kids came home from school today and found a dead rat – with the sticky trap still affixed – out on the front lawn. While communication difficulties prevented them from getting a final answer from our maid and gardener as to whether they killed the rat or it had died on its own, I’m guessing they had something to do with the rodential expiration and thus am only taking an assist on this one.

The kitty hunt continues, with two neighborhood candidates being spotted the other evening. This weekend will be the “kitty litter and potty pan” shopping trip, and then we’ll try to entice them out with yummy treats. Wish us luck.

I suppose that if we don’t get any cats, Breck’s frog-hunting expeditions will take care of us. He made a “habitat” on the back porch out of the old TV box, and caught some local residents (pictured) for it. We’ll have to see how everything settles down as we spend the last evening before the last day of summer vacation…

Dad 2, Rats 0

While certainly not our typical “here-we-are-in-a-new-country” first blog post, our inaugural entry from Jakarta has the most important element of a good news story: if it bleeds, it leads.

We have indeed made it to Indonesia, have started settling in to our new home, gone through a week of school in-service training, and are looking forward to the beginning of the school year in one more week. But the most exciting news of all has been the ongoing battles between man and beast in our abode.

We are in a lovely house, complete with a back yard and a pool! It is the single-floor living, however, that is providing the most entertainment. On our second evening here, a bag of chips disappeared off a shelf during the night, only to magically reappear in the middle of the room, with teeth marks chewing through the plastic. We bought a series of small “sticky” traps, and by the next morning one of them had vanished (and we still haven’t found it).

But then, all heck broke loose. On the next evening, I was in the bathroom when Susan started shrieking about a rat. She chased it into the kitchen, keeping an eye on it and the 2 sticky traps attached to its body. When I got in there, she handed me my crescent wrench (the only “appropriate tool” we could find) and locked the door.

He’d crawled up into the stove, so I had to chase him out with a spatula – a process I had to repeat once he climbed into the base of the refrigerator – but then things got exciting. Chasing him around on my hands and knees and swinging the wrench like a wild man, we scurried together all around the kitchen. Sparks flew when I hit the tile floor, and his squeaks echoed into the living room (according to the kids). But the battle eventually ended, and the last task of the evening was to clean up the mess…

But then tonight, as we started Dr. Zhivago (we are so sophisticated), I saw another scurrying form head into Alea’s room. This one was a bit easier to corner, as it was a bit younger. Hopefully that doesn’t mean there is a nest of them somewhere.

In any case, we are on the lookout for more rats, and Susan has completely turned around concerning pets. According to her, we start actively asking around for 2 cats tomorrow!


BillyNo – not uncle Billy, although the name sounds the same. Billy is our “apartment kitty” – a stray that has adopted us (since we feed him and all the kids in the building love to play with him).

He is a young kitty now and very playful, so he is a ton of fun to chase around when we’re outside playing. The guards seem to tolerate his presence well enough, so we’ll have to see if he is still around after our summer break. We’ve let money for our housekeeper to give him some food, so we’ll see.

Mom will not let us entertain any thoughts of letting him be an in-house cat, so of course Breck, Alea, and dad had to sneak him in the apartment one day just to take pictures of him inside!

And his name? Apparently, the common word for cat in Hindi is billi, so it was a very easy stretch for us to name him Billy!!

Free verse Friday – Alea and the stray dogs

Alea and the CSR catAlea’s class went to care for stray dogs
at a shelter in downtown Mumbai.
Kids fed them and cleaned them and petted them all
to help them they really did try.

But Alea is truly a Stutz kid at heart
the reason I know this is that:
in the middle of a barking stray dog home
she tracked down and played with a cat!