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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Snoozing on 12/13/14

Breck’s catnap today with Linsea and Dori…

Breck's Catnap

Into the firestorm

Well, hopefully not, but we leave tomorrow for a week in Bali. We plan on visiting Tulamben, a place we stopped at during our trip a few years back, but this time we will go as certified divers!

Our week here has been a bit crazy, with course selections for next year’s classes, end-of-term exams and projects, volleyball tournaments, Family Fun Fairs, and all sorts of social events (including a Bollywood party!). Poor Breck also came down with a nasty cold that kept him home for 2 days, so hopefully he’ll be recovered enough to enjoy the water.

If all that isn’t enough, today we got an email from our administrative team, pointing out this little tidbit of news. Then when we opened up the news here at home, we saw that this had happened and hope the events aren’t related. Oh well, maybe it is a good thing that we are landing in time for Nyepi and won’t be able to do anything anyways!

In any case, this is our “farewell” for a bit, as we head off into internet-access-unknown locales. We’ll post stories and pictures when we get back (and I’ll find out how my NCAA brackets are holding up – KY, MSU, OSU, KS – MSU to win in one bracket and KY in the other). Until then, here are a few shots – mostly stolen from Susan’s Facebook page – to tide you over.

Christmas time’s a-comin’

And the tree is up! We had a slacker evening for homework, so we decided to get this holiday show on the road. Judging by the cats’ reactions to the new living room denizen, we’ll have to wait a few days to put any decorations on it, but at least the first step has been taken!

The cats and the rat come back

Linsea showing her hunting faceSusan went to fix lunch yesterday, went into the kitchen, and then calmly strolled back into the living room. “Well, goodness mercy oh my,” she softly uttered. “It is my distinct impression that there is a hairy, long-tailed rodent nestled deep in Breck’s lunch bag.” Or words to that effect.

So, we tossed the kittens in the kitchen, blocked the doors to the garage, grabbed the camera, and locked ourselves in the room to search for the rat. After scooting the fridges (yes, we have a beer fridge and a food fridge) and the oven away from the walls, and we went a-hunting.

The cats sniffed all around, looking for the rat, but actually missed it sometimes when it scurried behind them. I was using a spatula to scoot it out from the fridge, and eventually we got it cornered under the stove. Susan suggested that I “wing” him, so the cats had a chance to practice their hunting skills, but I think I winged him too hard. I smacked him with a wooden spoon, and he flew across the floor, twitched a few times, and lay still.

Linsea jumps at the (already dead) ratAnd then, the game changed completely. NiDoriano, the big male hunting cat, stayed in the corner and yawned. Linsea, our sweet female cuddling purrer, started batting the corpse around. She pawed it gently a few times, and then started whacking the heck out of it. She’d jump way up in the air, land on the rat, grab it in her mouth, and throw it around. She was having a great time.

After a bit of this – and a cute video, located below – Susan decreed that enough was enough and that a proper funeral was in order. We wrapped up the rat in a plastic bag (no blood this time, thank goodness) and ran him out to the garbage. At least they seem to be getting smaller, so that’s something. No if we could only get the kittens to start acting like cats…

Just a few more snapshots…

We’ve taken a number of pictures that just haven’t really seemed to “fit” much of anywhere in terms of posts and so on. Some of these are from around the house, some are from our first week, some have been shared via email, and some are just for fun. Enjoy!


Ahh, the cat saga continues. We had quite the visit to the vet this weekend, one that will probably live in family lore for quite some time. We wanted to get the kitties’ first vaccinations, and so made plans to get into our school-provided minibus and go. Unfortunately, we made a series of mistakes that morning that were to weigh heavily on our adventure:

Mistake #1 – Breakfast for the cats was some kitty food mixed with some leftover rice and chicken from our dinner. Nice and bland, perfect for a couple of ex street cats, right?

Mistake #2 – I asked the kids to look up the address of the place we were going, but didn’t check on Google maps to make sure we knew (although, in my defense, even if I had looked online, the maze of twisting streets probably would have totally confused me anyways).

Mistake #3 – Susan asked if we were going to put them in a cardboard (beer bottle) box or something, since we don’t have a cat carrier. I thought that it would be no problem to just hold them in the van, and even let them explore, so long as we kept them away from the driver.

So off we go – and within 3 minutes of leaving, one of the cats is experiencing explosive diarrhea as we are weaving down the road. Because of mistake #3, we have no place to put her, but we still want to keep the flying feces off seats and clothing, so we empty out a canvas bag that Susan brought, and stick the cat – butt first, I might add – into the bag.

Now, cat crap is a pretty stinky affair. Loose bowelled poopers are even worse. So there the 7 of us are – the driver trying to drive, me holding the cat’s rear end in the bag, Susan cleaning the poop that got on her and Breck (and trying not to gag from the smell), and Alea keeping track of the other kitten (who is having a great time exploring the van and is totally unfazed by everything). We can’t really open the windows much because most are sealed shut and the others would present a great “jump out” opportunity, so we are stuck in a sealed metal tube, bobbing and lurching through Jakarta traffic.

And then we get lost. Not really lost, but when we finally get the building at #17A, it is a tattoo parlor, not a vet shop. We call the lady who brought the kittens, and she says that we are at the wrong 17A – the one we want is at the far other end of the road (and yes, she’s had people come to the animal shelter looking for the tattoo shop). So we turn around, make two more attempts to get down the road (with stinking cat, who is by this time pretty upset about having to stay in the bag).

But we finally make it. And get chastised in no uncertain terms for feeding people food to the cats. Apparently they can’t digest carbohydrates too well, so that’s why we had “Jakarta juice” all over the van.

And the surprise? Well that was finding out that, instead of two sisters, we actually have a sister and a brother. Oops. Susan is not happy about that oversight, as she is really concerned about male cats spraying things. Breck got very teary-eyed when we told him, and asked if we were going to have to sell NiDorianna and get a female. The decision was made to keep the cat, rename him to NiDorianno, and hope that he behaves himself when he gets older.

Then we all went home, jumped in the pool, and had a series of cold drinks to recover from the afternoon.

Send in the cats

NiDorianna and LinseaAnd now it is official: the triple play of rats ’round the house pushed Susan over the edge, and she made the plea for us to get some kittens. We contacted the Jakarta Animal Aid Network, and made an appointment for a lady to bring some kittens to our house for us to choose!! (I love the fact that we can get anything delivered here – even a couple of homeless animals!)

Now, I must say, I was gone when the choosing was done and the namings were named, so I take no responsibility whatsoever for the “interesting” names of our cats: Linsea and NuDorianna. The backstory I got was that Linsea – Alea’s choice – is a mix of three friends-from-Bombay’s names, and NiDorianna is Breck’s homage to a Pokemon character (a show to which I’ve never even seen him pay any sort of attention.

But they are here, they are pleased as punch to have all the attention they get from the kids (and parents), and they are cute as all get out. Judging from their usual level of activity (pictured here), however, I’m not sure how effective at keeping out the rats they’ll be!