Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Garrett and I are grateful for each other, our health, our friends and family, the health of our friends and family, and (on good days) our sanity. We are also thankful for the 3.2 people who read this blog -- we appreciate it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Something old, something nutria

This weekend we went for a walk in Hermann Park, a huge public park near our house. It's a great place: walking paths, bike paths, ponds, a Zen garden, an open-air theater, a tiny train on a tiny track. The Houston Zoo and the Museum of Natural Science are there, too. It's really the Central Park of Houston. On Sunday it was teeming with families and with wildlife. We spotted babies and birds, dogs and ducks, tots and turtles. Then we came across this:

It's a nutria! I had never seen one before -- I'd only heard of them and even then doubted that they actually existed. It reminds me of a guinea pig. And an otter. Kind of a beaver with a long rat tail. There were at least five of them, just hanging out next to the path, by the water. "Wait," I thought. "We're not IN the zoo, are we? We're just next to it, right?"

Here's what some quick Internet research reveals about the nutria:
  • It is a herbivorous rodent.

  • It is originally from South America but can be seen worldwide now. It is considered an invasive species by many.

  • It has webbed hind feet.
  • It was introduced in Louisiana in the 1930s for its fur, but its destructive habits (eating aquatic vegetation; eroding river banks by burrowing; and munching on tires, houses, etc.) led to a massive eradication program a few years ago.

  • It can host a parasite that can infect human skin, causing "Nutria Itch."
  • It is nocturnal. (Our friends were having a late-night snack?)

  • It is not a muskrat. (Didn't Nixon say that?)

Nuits a Paris... avec nutria-lined coat on right... early 1950s:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November Rain

A wet squirrel took refuge on our windowsill for some time this afternoon. It has been raining all day. I think taking the photo through the screen gives the squirrel an Impressionistic look. It also reminds me of paintings by the German Romantic artist, Caspar David Friedrich, in which a lone figure contemplates the landscape and life.

Perhaps if I am spending my time photographing squirrels like a tourist in Harvard Yard, I should look out a window and do some contemplating of my own.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Another reason, besides the election, that we can relax

Look, we have furniture now!

We purchased this lovely loveseat at a lovely price from a local furniture store that is going out of business. We spent most of Saturday renting a U-Haul van and moving the couch into our second-floor apartment. After 3 months in Houston, we can finally sit together while watching TV -- and not have to take turns sitting in the Ikea Poang chair.

We've come sofa! ;)

It's a lazy Sunday, and I plan to spend some of the day on the couch and some of the day baking cookies. It's part of my plan to become a top-notch FBI agent.