Blue Oyster Cult Mushrooms

Hello there!  Why, yes – this IS my first post of 2015!  Actually, that’s not true.  It’s my first post of 2015 for Fuzzy Undertones, but I have been quite busy with my other website, which also has a blog.  You can check it out HERE (hint hint…yes, please go check it out!!!).  In the meantime, here are some pictures of that time way back in January when I accidentally received a blue oyster mushroom kit and ended up watching them grow over the course of about a week.

Even though I can’t stand eating mushrooms (bleck!), I am mesmerized by their life cycle.  And this isn’t the first time I documented mushroom growth…remember that time when one of my houseplants decided to grow yellow parasol mushrooms?  So very mesmerizing!  I swear, you could see them grow by the hour.  And the colors were amazing!  Have you ever grown mushrooms, intentionally or not?

And for those of you who were expecting to see a little more cowbell in this post, here you go:

A few of my favorite things (zombie cats included)

Oh dear. I’ve neglected you, faithful Fuzzy Undertones readers, and I am so sorry.  But I’m getting into the holiday spirit, and I’m going to write a post that shares with you some of my very favorite things.  Perhaps you will do the same!

  • To-Do lists, specifically marking things completed (“post for Fuzzy Undertones – check!”)
  • Completing my certification for Feline Behavior and Training through the Animal Behavior Institute.  Three classes since March, over 100 hours of field work, and I only have one final left!
  • Launching my website for Feline Behavior Solutions and becoming a first-time business owner (the website will be launched very soon – just a couple of minor glitches to fix).
  • Fixing minor website glitches.
  • Getting away for Thanksgiving.  It’s never been one of my favorite holidays, but Chris and I headed up to Seattle to have lunch with his family, then we spent three nights at the Tulalip casino/resort.  It was a much needed mini-vacation, and I am grateful for having such an awesome husby!
  • Cats to come home to.
  • Furry Friends.  My work with them has been so rewarding and I feel like I’ve actually been doing good, useful and productive things with them.  They are so generous and kind, and a constant reminder to me that there are good people in this world.
  • The relief that comes with finding that the people for whom you’d like to purchase Christmas gifts have up-to-date Amazon Wish Lists (HINT HINT – GET ON IT, PEOPLE!!!).
  • Zombie Cats from Mars!  Have I told you that I’m going to be the cat handler for the feature film, Zombie Cats from Mars?  It’s true.  I’m not making this up.  It’s for real.  And the zombie cats are coming.  You can help the invasion spread by visiting their kickstarter campaign (there’s a short film about the movie there).  And if you want, you can watch this “behind the scenes video” that the producers made about the cats and, well, me.  Full disclosure:  a) I do not know what was wrong with my hair that day so ignore that, and b) I didn’t know that I would be doing any sort of interview, much less be photographed, so please ignore my general slovenly appearance and most of the words that come out of my mouth.  I’ll let you decide which ones.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great holiday season.  I’m pretty busy these days, with trying to get my business launched and avoid having my brain eaten by marauding zombie cats and all.  But as you can see, I’m checking things off my to-do list, getting things done, TCB.  I’ll get there eventually!  And I’ll keep you posted 🙂

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Good Things on the Horizon

Cat at sunset by Serkan Sarikef

Cat at sunset by Serkan Sarikef

I know I haven’t been blogging as much lately.  But that’s actually a good sign, because it means that I’m busy with some really great things right now.  I can’t reveal all at this time, but suffice it to say, I’m thinking about my blogging community (you!) and am missing all the reading and writing that comes with being a part of it.

There’s a new chapter I’m working on right now, and it is taking time to form and shape.  But it is moving forward.  I’m nearly done with my classes and field hours.  I’m scheming and making things more and more solid.  With the help from a few folks I’m actually getting things done and checking things off my list.

January 1st, folks…I hope to be in business January 1, 2015.  It has been a long time coming.  Thanks for your support, and forgiveness for being so vague.  Muah!  ❤

I’m Child-Free: The Questions Change, But My Reaction is Always The Same

no_kids_2I’m taking a break from my regularly-scheduled-something-about-cats post and thought I’d share with you some musings that I’ve been thinking about for, oh, let’s say 35 years now.  Since I’ve been reading a lot about this topic in the media lately, I thought I’d add in my two cents.  And I’ll say right up front: even though this post is about me choosing to not have kids (and including some lightheartedly fun and informative links and memes along the way), I honor your decision to have children (or not).  It’s not a choice I’ve made for myself, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good choice for you…so if you have kids and you love them, hooray for you and your kids!  Truly, I am happy for you.

But let’s get back to talking about me, because this is my blog.  I’m forty years old, and I’ve noticed something – my entire life, people have asked me about whether or not I’m going to have kids.  But as I’ve aged, those questions have changed, morphing to reflect my (I can only assume) biological child-bearing status.  Because I’m getting up there, right?  And that biological clock is a-ticking!

Well, hold on there a second, pard’ner, because that biological clock?  I’ve never heard it tick, not once.  It’s probably one of those fancy digital types, or maybe that’s too presumptuous.  I might not be that evolved, so maybe it’s like a sun-dial, or whatever it was that the Mayans used to track time.  The fact is, I’ve never wanted children, even when I was a child myself.

When Ino_kids_3 was about five, I remember going on a walk with my mom when I was visiting her in L.A.  There was a woman who lived down the street from us who didn’t have kids, and I was always kind of nervous around her because of that.  I asked my mom, “Mommy, is it against the law to not have kids?” and my mom actually chuckled a little bit and said something like “Of course not! You don’t have to have kids, or you can have as many as you want!”  The reason why I remember this so clearly is because of the immense sense of relief I felt; it was as if a burden had been lifted from my five-year-old shoulders.  Up until that point, I believed that I had to have children; I had already received the message that because I was a girl, I would grow up to be a mommy.

Not unlike other girls, I had a doll named Mandy whom I used to take everywhere with me.  But really, she was much more of a friend or a sister that I took care of, and people talked with me like I was her mother and she was my baby, and that actually pissed me off.  I really hated that people assumed that I was Mandy’s mommy!  I resented it.  It irritated me that people made assumptions about me because of my gender, and I was keenly aware of that, even when I was five years old.

no_kids_4Then, in my teens and twenties, the lecturing started.  The inevitable question would be asked: “do you want kids?”  My response was always the same – no.  And it’s funny, because I think that when people ask that question, they don’t expect you to be honest – they expect you to say yes.  The responses to me were always so dismissive or (again) presumptuous: “oh, you’ll change your mind when you get older”, “when you meet the right man, you’ll want to have his children”, “but women are supposed to have children”, and all the rest.  Ugh!  I just saw this as so disrespectful of me being an individual, with my own identity, hopes and desires for my future.  And, it reinforced in me that there is a huge expectation of women to become moms…otherwise, there’s probably something wrong with you.  Because I didn’t feel the desire to have children, obviously I had a problem!

In my early 30’s, I got a reprieve.  Most people had stopped asking me if or when I was going to have kids.  The reason for this, I suspect, is due to two things:  first, most people knew me well enough to assume that a question about my reproductive intentions would elicit a reaction from me that would earn the questioner a swift punch in the throat.  Secondly (and I’m ok with acknowledging this), most people were probably scared that “the question” might actually encourage me to really think about having kids, and WHO KNOWS what kind of terror would be unleashed upon the world by humans that carry my genetic legacy.

Since I’ve moved and have a new suite of friends and coworkers, the questions have resumed.  But, like I mentioned earlier, the questions have changed now that I’m forty.  Now, it’s not so much “are you going to have kids?” but “do you have kids?” and I still get mildly irritated by even that question!  However, at this point, I can laugh at myself.  My responses are more about my own identity and individuality than it ever was: “HEY!  Do I look and act mature enough to have kids???” and “puhleeeeze…why would I have kids?  Being taken care of when I’m old…that’s what spoiling nieces and nephews is for!” and even more frequently, “Hell no…cats cause enough stress in my life, and you want me to add to the mix small humans who can’t do anything for themselves except create messes and noxious bodily emissions?  Disaster!!!”  At this point, the fact that others can’t look at me and immediately determine that I don’t have kids is not my fault, and frankly, I’m a little judgmental about their inability to judge me.  So hey – if you want to ask me if I have kids (or even when I’ll have kids), that’s on you.  You might be my friend, my colleague, or even a relative, but your perceptiveness score has just gone down a notch in my book.

no_kids_1Honestly, for me, it’s not about being stubborn, radical, hating children (which is not the case, but even if it were, that’s still perfectly valid), having a sucky childhood, being depressed, or any number of assumptions that people make about child-free people.  I’ve watched my parents divorce and remarry (several times), and have seen great suffering on the part of children who have parents who aren’t up to the task of having kids (I know that sounds judgy, but seriously – there are so many unhappy kids out there whose problems start at home).  I saw a great article in Salon on reasons why the article’s author felt that not having kids was the best decision she ever made.  I related so much to her words, and this especially struck home:

Those of us who opt out of having children often do so not because we take parenthood lightly, but because we take it so seriously.” — Liz Langley

Kids were just never in the cards for me.  I never imagined myself as an adult with kids – I imagined myself as an adult who worked, traveled, had a quiet and calm home, and who had plenty of time for myself and my husband (and my cats).  And here I am, just as I imagined.  This was what I envisioned, and how I choose to live a fulfilled life.  And that’s plenty of living for me.

Summer Travels Part 2: Whale of a Tale Edition

The end of summer is nigh…and there is so much to catch up on from just a few days of traveling!  And since a picture is worth a thousand words, probably the best way to tell you what Chris and I have been up to is to show you what we’ve been up to.  How’s that?  This post will be mostly about the trip we took at the end of July, which we split between Seattle and San Juan Island.  Ready for the recap?  Swell!

First up, Chris and I stayed at Tulalip for three nights so that we could [both get pedicures and] attend his high school class 20th year reunion in Seattle.  It was weird – even though I didn’t know anyone there, I could still see all the cliques and kind of tell who was who.  Everyone was trying to impress everyone else.  I can’t say that I’m terribly disappointed that I missed mine last year; between Chris and me, one 20 year reunion was enough!  But Chris was happy that he went because catching up with a couple of old close friends was worth it.

DSC00756The next day was Chris’ 38th birthday.  Now he’s only two years younger than me and can’t make fun of me for being super older than him.  I took him out to a really nice dinner, because I’m sweet like that ❤

We spent Sunday traveling over to the San Juan Islands.  We caught the ferry at Anacortes and took it to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island proper.  The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful!  We stayed at a nice little bed and breakfast right downtown, where we had our own little apartment complete with private hottub and magically-appearing fresh-baked cookies.  And the breakfasts were Ah. Maze. Ing.  Nom nom nom!

One of the highlights of our trip was taking a five hour sea-kayaking tour.  There were only six of us on the tour, plus our guide, Owen.  We left out of Roche Harbor and kayaked completely around Henry Island, which was about 11 miles in all.  The weather was completely fantastic – sunny, a slight breeze, and warm.  We saw a pair of bald eagles, and a little red fox joined us on our lunch break.  We also saw plenty of harbor seals, but whenever I got my camera out, they dunked underwater.  Why do they have to be such camera haters?  The most amazing part of the trip happened about halfway through our day when we saw approaching orcas – K-pod, to be exact.  I don’t know how many we saw, but they did come fairly close; one female swam under our kayaks to get to a younger orca that was headed toward us along the shoreline.  It was really cool being so low on the water, watching them surface and blow, and even breach.  It was Chris’ first time kayaking (my second) and I’d say it was a success!

But wait!  There’s more, yes, still more!  The final full day of our vacation was spent driving around the Island, stopping wherever we thought would be interesting.  We saw both English Camp (hip hip hooray!) and English Camp (sad) AND I got my NPS passport stamps at both places, we stopped for an unexpected visit to some tidepools, said hi to a few shy alpacas, were astounded (and slightly dismayed) by the gastrointestinal parasites of pinnipeds at The Whale Museum, and bought a few treats at a lavender farm (the lavender ice cream was nom-tastic).  Here’s a quick tour!

Thanks for joining me on my little vacation retrospective.  We had a great time, plus I got to meet this guy and his dog!

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Summer Travels Part 1: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Edition

Holy schnikies!  It’s August already, and here I am, having fallen behind on posting.  I have no idea where this summer has gone, although I know where I’ve gone, and those places have been many, far and wide.  It has been a great summer, aside from that whole having to work thing that I’ve got going on right now.  I love going on vacations, and traveling with my Fuzzy Huzby is always an adventure!  And since I’m a little behind, I think I’m going to do mostly a pictorial post today about some of our summer travels.

First up was the family reunion that we went to in Durango, Colorado.  Every couple of years or so, my dad’s side of the family (the Koski’s) get together for schmoozin’ and boozin’.  This summer, my Uncle Paul and Aunt Renee, who live in Nucla, Colorado, picked Durango for our clan’s gathering.  It was a short weekend, but Chris and I packed in a lot of action and adventure!

Everyone who made it to Koski-palooza 2013.

Everyone who made it to Koski-palooza 2013.

Saturday: Mesa Verde National Park

Chris and I grabbed our cousin Heidi and spent Saturday climbing all over the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, just outside of Durango.  First we took the Balcony House tour, where we had to climb up ladders and go through tight tunnels.  Then we toured Cliff Palace.  Both sites were amazing, but for me, a highlight was letting my big nerd self buy the “Explorer” edition of the National Park Passport and getting a couple of Mesa Verde stamp cancellations!!!  Woo hoooooo!!!  (Also, I might have purchased ALL yearly stamp collections from 1986 to the present.  Also, I might have the Passport App on my iPhone.  Also, I might have a problem with being too obsessive about this whole thing.)

Sunday: Narrow-Gauge Train to Silverton

The next day, the whole family took the historic narrow-gauge train from Durango to Silverton, which largely followed the Animas River between the two towns.  It’s about a 2.5 hour ride each way, so I occupied my time taking selfies with various people, drinking smuggled Fireball Whiskey with my cousins on the DL, and enjoying the fresh air (which was nicely flavored with freshly burned coal from the steam engine, cough cough cough).  Want to see some pictures?  Great!  I have some!

It was a really enjoyable trip, but I must say, it was way too short.  I feel like I didn’t really get a chance to talk with many people, other than the usual pleasantries and quick updates.  I did spend some time hanging out with my Aunt Tje, which was great because I think we’re both somewhat introverted and share some things in common.  And, it was really awesome hanging out with my cousin Heidi for the day – I love that she’s grown into such a smart, fun and laid-back young woman!  Colorado, and especially Durango, is a beautiful place and I realized that I do miss that landscape.  Another successful family reunion…check!

I Needed an Attitude Adjustment so I got a NEW BIKE!!!

I’ve gotten in a little bit of a rut around exercise (see my recent posts on roller derby, any of them) so I decided to start biking to work again (which may just help me with endurance and my 27-in-5 goals).  I pulled my mountain bike out of the shed, dusted it off and tested the brakes when – SNAPPO! – one of the brake cables gave out.  One of the brake lines went slack and I couldn’t see how to fix it, so I said “eff this…I’m getting a new bike”!  Actually, I’d been wanting a new bike for a while because my mountain bike wasn’t great for biking to work – it’s pretty heavy, and just slow and cumbersome.  So after some advice and browsing, I came home from The Bike Gallery with this beauty, a brand new Trek Allant!

NewBike

It’s a super sweet ride just perfect for the trendy bike commuter – fenders, large squishy seat for my bum, and angled grips to keep my hands from falling asleep.  I sit all upright, like Mary Poppins, or more accurately, the Wicked Witch of the West.  I breezed to work this morning and barely broke a sweat!  Of course, the best part about a new bike is pimping it out with awesome accessories, like my new bike bell:

NewBikeBell

And just to share all the bicycling fun, here’s an ear-worm for you.  Maybe you’ll be inspired to get your bike out, too!  (Okay, so this is the official music video and there *might* be (or, more accurately, is) some nudity in it, but seriously, it isn’t any worse/better than the World Naked Bike Ride, held in Portland every year.  Enjoy!)

Related Post:  Bikin’ It!