Cinnamon Update!

Cinnamon had her check up at the Vet Thursday night. Her metal sutures won't be removed until next week, they want the surgery site to heal up a little more. They did say everything looks good though! She's also still on her antibiotic until it's all gone. She has another Vet appointment next week on Thursday at 5:45pm. I'm glad they didn't charge me for the check up, we were in & out of there in about 15 minutes! When we got home I noticed it looked like they tightened a few of the wire sutures that were coming undone from her moving around and stuff. She's also starting to grow fur back on her belly! It will be so nice when she gets the sutures removed. She is still separated from her sisters right now, though they have supervised playtime together. The cage I have for my ratties is a Ferret Nation, it has a locking ramp which splits off the two levels if you need to separate them. Cinnamon's been given a bunch of new nicknames since her surgery; Stitch, Metal Belly, Robo-Rat, Franken-Rat. Hehe. I'm so glad she's doing better, she is back to her old self again & no more bleeding!

Relationship Struggles & Home Sickness.

F.B & I have been having relationship issues lately. The long distance thing becomes a struggle sometimes. And we go through these periods after we've been together in person, where it becomes harder to communicate. Lately we've haven't been meeting as often for our "dates" online on the weekends. Partly my fault. Sometimes I'm so exhausted after a full work week and I want to sleep in on the weekend. Or I'm feeling depressed and don't feel like I can communicate through instant messenger. It's been harder to communicate lately, through email & instant messenger. Sometimes I feel like I have nothing to say to him. It's hard when you can't be a part of each other's daily lives... can't experience all the little things together... it's hard when you have to relate your entire day through email... in order to maintain a relationship, instead of just cuddling up at the end of the day... together.

Our relationship feels a bit stagnant right now... and there's still 4 1/2 more months until my trip back to the Philippines, until we get to be together again. There's also issues we are dealing with; the fact F.B. is still struggling to find employment a year after he graduated college. Stress on me with saving up money for our future and just feeling like we are never going to be together for good... where are we going? I've just been having these feelings lately and that always seems to happen after we've been together and then have to go through the long distance "separation" phase again. It's just been tough the past 2 months and we are struggling somewhat to get back on track... because in long distance relationships it's all about staying in touch and having good communication... it's something you have to work at every day.

In other news, this will be the first time I'll be staying in the Philippines 2 months. My past trips, I've only stayed 3 weeks, which was the limit I could stay on my passport. I'm still worried about my passport... I have to contact the Philippine Consulate in August to make sure they are still mailing it out in September and haven't forgotten about it. (Visa Issues)

Whenever I'm in the Philippines for awhile I'll go through a moment of culture shock and homesickness. The first year this happened first when I got my period and discovered there were no tampons! I was also homesick on Christmas Day, when we went to the mall to have lunch. There were just hundreds of people & familes at the mall on Christmas Day & it was just a bit of a culture shock to me because at home the malls are closed on Christmas Day & everyone stays home with their families.

In January I had a homesickness moment too. It was the first time I was away from my new pet ratties and the previous year I had went to the Philippines my Ferret Nippy had been sick with cancer and when I returned home I had been too tired to see her. When I woke up the next morning I went to say hello to her and she had passed away in the night. So it was kind of hard being away from my new pets because I was afraid of the same thing happening...

I also had another culture shock when I hurt my knee and we were looking for an 'Ace' bandage, I had to explain to F.B. what it was; "Those tan stretchy bandages with the metal clips." before he knew what I meant. (I know Ace is a brand in the USA. But pretty much everyone calls those tan bandages an 'Ace' bandage in the USA.) We finally found one in Mercury Drug, but they are called 'Elastic' bandages in the Philippines, haha. I was feeling so homesick that night we went to eat at Friday's because it was somewhere familiar to me except the price of Friday's in the Philippines is just crazy! We experienced this the first time we went to Friday's in the Philippines, haha. Normally F.B. & I can go and eat at a sit down place for around $10 or less between us. But Friday's is so expensive! My salmon plate alone cost $17! We ended up splitting the bill.

So... I wonder what it will be like staying in a foreign country for 2 months. I'm sure I'll have some homesickness & culture shock moments. But at least they'll make interesting blogs!

Home from the Vet!

I dropped Cinnamon off at the vet this morning around 9am. Around 12pm they called and said her spay was over and the doctor didn't find anything abnormal inside- which means he didn't have to run blood tests on her. He thinks the bleeding was somehow related to her going into heat, but bleeding is not normally associated with rats going into heat so something was wrong and that's why she needed to be spayed.

Mom & I picked Cinnamon up around 5:30 from the vet. She looks so well! She's my hyper active baby again! I wasn't expecting that. They made a tiny incision for the spay and had to use metal sutures since rats can try to chew on them. They only shaved her belly a bit. And it doesn't look so bad.

She has an appointment at 6pm next Thursday so they can check the sutures and see if they need to be removed yet or not. They also didn't charge me for antibiotics because she has the full bottle of Cirpro at home still. I'm supposed to give that to her twice daily still. I also have to keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't chew her sutures. She looks so much happier today and not as lethargic. And no bleeding! It also didn't cost as much as they were estimating since they didn't need to run blood tests or give me more antibiotics. It was $239.00. I was so relieved about that! I know some people wouldn't pay that much for a "rat" but she's my pet and I love her and I didn't want her to suffer.

I held Sugar and Spice up to Cinnamon to say hello when she got home. Sugar just sniffed Cinnamon, but Spice nuzzled Cinnamon's face almost like a kiss. It was so sweet! They were happy to see their sister, they both seemed anxious today. Of course they will be separated for awhile, but I'll let them say hello like that at least once a day.

Here's some pictures taken a few minutes ago, now she's settled down for a nap. You can see her metal sutures... I've nicknamed her "Franken-Rat". heehee.

Here's some pictures from day 2 at home after her spay. No more bleeding! And she is much more active now and doesn't seem to be in any pain. She has an appointment on Thursday for a check up to see if the sutures can be removed yet.

Off to the Vet...

It's been a stressful past few days. My youngest rat Cinnamon was abnormally bleeding from her female area yesterday evening... it really concerned me because female rats do not get periods even when they go into heat. I called the vet yesterday evening and they told me to bring her over. The vet checked her out they were also concerned she was bleeding from that area. They said it could be a urinary tract infection so they put her on the oral anti-biotic: Ciprofloxacin. They said they would see her in 2 weeks, unless the bleeding got worse.

When I woke up in the morning, the bleeding was actually heavier. I really didn't want to leave her, but I had to go to work. I called the vet around 9am this morning. They called me back and told me she would need an emergency spay. She could either have Pyometra (disease of the uterus) or crystals or stones from a urinary tract infection. But if she's bleeding that's a bad sign. So I have to drop her off at the vet tomorrow to get spayed. All together it's going to cost around $300.00. That's quite alot of money. $200.00 for the spay and the rest is for anesthesia & antibiotics, etc. It's major surgery and they have to put her to sleep for it.

My manager at work thought I was crazy when I told her I had get my pet rat spayed. She said, "You really want to spend that much money? It's a rodent." But a pet is a pet to me. Rats are NOT disposable pets! A rat has as much a right to live as a cat or dog, etc. I know some people do not typically think of rats being a type of pet. But rats are incredibly social, lovable and clean animals. And they have a right to be healthy too! It would be cruel to put her to sleep or let her bleed to death! She's only 3 1/2 months old!

Female & Male rats can be spayed & neutered. Usually females are only spayed in worse case scenarios. I have heard females can tend to have issues with their reproductive system or tumors.

I'm really nervous for tomorrow. When I got home from work the blanket she had with her in the cage had large spots of blood on it. The bleeding has been on & off tonight. She's also been kind of lethargic and usually she is my hyperactive baby. She didn't even come when I called her name, usually she jumps up from wherever she is to run over to me as fast as she can. The vet said she did not need to fast before the surgery so I gave her some cooked spinach and scrambled eggs tonight (iron & protein) since she's lost so much blood.

I am waking up at 8am tomorrow and taking Cinnamon over to the vet around 9am. They said they will call when I have to pick her up sometime in the afternoon or evening. I am going to ask them to call me when the surgery is over also. I actually was able to take off work so I'll be available to pick her up at anytime. My manager wasn't mean about letting me take off, she just couldn't understand why I'd spend so much money on a "rodent". A few other people at work thought I was crazy too... but you get those kinds of reactions when you own rats as pets.

I wasn't expecting such a large expense... so I may have to dig a little into my savings to pay for the surgery. And thank god we've been having overtime at work on Saturdays. I'm also doing some eBay sales this week so the money from that will probably go towards the vet bill also. What can I say... pets are like children sometimes.... I need to get some sleep. I'm so glad I have off work for Memorial Day. I'll be off work Monday-Thursday next week. Everyone please keep me & Cinnamon in your prayers & thoughts for tomorrow. I also want to say thank you to my friends at the Rat Chatter Forums. They are the best!

I got it!

My Mom & I had our tattoo appointment on Tuesday at 5pm. My Mom got a heart tattoo, it was her Mother's Day gift. I got the pink stars on my right ankle retouched for free, because the color was a bit uneven the first time. And then I got my name on my left ankle! It looks so pretty, I love it! I sent F.B. pictures and he thought it was pretty too. It turned out really nice! No more tattoo's for me! Haha!

Taking my laptop to the Philippines...

I've decided I'm going to take my laptop to the Philippines with me this year, since I'll be over there 2 months. I've already taken other electronics with me, F.B. has adapter boxes in his house that plug into the outlets there and decrease the voltage for US electronics. So this way I don't blow out my ipod, cell phone, etc when I plug them in to charge. The voltage is higher over there. I think it is 220v. When F.B. was younger his US relatives were visiting and plugged his Super Nintendo directly into the wall- since it was the US version it blew it out, he's still upset about that!

So today I was able to get a cute little carry on suitcase with wheels. This way I can take my laptop on the plane with me and store it in the overhead. And I'm going to put a small bag inside my carry on bag to take out on the plane and store under my seat, with my books, snacks, sleep mask & sleeping pills, pillow, etc. You don't want to be on a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong without those things underneath the seat in front of you! Then I don't have to keep climbing over people (since I'll be a window seat!) to get access to my stuff. Haha.

I took my Mom out for an early Mother's Day today. We went out to lunch at 'Red Lobster' and then to 'Bath & Bodyworks'. My Mom was going to get her tattoo today and I was going to get my stars retouched since they are healed and get my name on my other ankle, but they were booked solid so we made an appointment for Tuesday at 5pm.

F.B. and I are meeting online for a date tomorrow. It's been a few stressful weeks for me at work and we haven't really been emailing or meeting for dates on weekends. This coming Saturday I have to work 10 hours of overtime, so we'll have to meet on Sunday as well. It's going to be a busy week for me...

Photography & Other News.

Happy May! I started a Flickr account just for my "best of the best" photo's. I really love taking nice shots of scenery and animals. Feel free to check out my Flickr account here! There are 3 albums to the right and all the photos are organized in those albums.

I got some really pretty flower pictures again today!

In other news, only 5 more months until I am off to the Philippines! F & I have been talking. Since our birthdays are only about a month apart (Me: September. Him: October.) we decided this year we'll celebrate our birthday's together by going to Saisaki Buffet with his family and exchanging gifts. Yay!

Our Pets!

F.B. & I both love animals. So I thought I would share some of our pets!

Popcorn: Popcorn is my cat. She will be 15 years old in July. We got her when I was 10 years old from the Philadelphia
PSPCA. She sleeps on the end of my bed every night. We named her Popcorn because when she was kitten, she would eat popcorn. hehe. I think she is a color point or calico cat.

Coco: F.B.'s family got Coco (Coconut) about a year ago. I got to meet him in January this year. He's very friendly and doesn't bark too much. He's a silly dog! He's still a bit of a puppy. When Ate Malou would put him in the garage in the evening, she would pick him up like a big baby. She said he was a spoiled puppy, hehe! I think he is a mix between purebred dog & a mutt. He is more F.B.'s sisters dog.

Pusa: (Cat in Tagalog.) Pusa is a stray cat. He is also a dirty cat. But he is very friendly and loveable. He always hangs around F.B.'s house. I got to meet Pusa in January. He loves to pet and scratched on his head. He also LOVES food. He would meow the silliest meow when we were eating lunch. We would feed him the leftover scraps. Pusa really loves F.B. The one night we were putting Coco in the back yard and Coco started barking, Pusa walked all the way out back, looked around the corner of the house at F.B., Coco & I and went "MEOW?" As if saying, "What is going on out here?!" One time he managed to get into F.B.'s house and his sister found Pusa curled up on her bed! Haha!

There are alot of stray animals in the Philippines, where ever we went we usually saw stray cats and dogs. I remember being in Manila and coming out of Starbucks with F.B. and seeing a cat curled up on the sidewalk. I would always point out all the cats and dogs we saw while driving or walking around. I can't help it, I like animals, hehe. There was another stray orange cat that would come around to visit at F.B.'s house also.

My Rats: I got my first two rats Sugar & Spice back in October 2007. I got my newest rat Cinnamon in February 2008. I've always loved rats and mice but never owned any until last year. I had a Ferret for 4 years and after she passed I didn't want to get another Ferret so I decided to get rats. While reading & researching I also discovered you can litter train rats! Rats are very intelligent creatures and some say they are as smart as a 2 year old. They are very curious and affectionate animals. They will make you laugh at their antics! Rats love affection just like any other animal. They are very social animals. They will let you pet them, kiss them, scratch their heads. My girls have even learned their names and will come when called!


Variety: Pink Eyed White (PEW)

Genetics: Most commonly two copies of the albino gene (cc), but can be caused by having multiple dilution genes, for example blue, mink, and pink eye dilute (ddmmpp), or pink/red eye dilute Siamese/Himalayan

Description: To be as white as possible, devoid of creamy tinge or staining. Eyes pink.

Sugar is my cautious girl. She gets scared easily sometimes. She likes to weave her head back & forth to see better. She has the loudest sniffer you ever heard, hehe! You can hear her sniffing from across the room! She's also my chunky girl, she's bigger than Spice & has the cutest little belly! She also doesn't mind kisses. When she eats she will sneak out of the bed look around, run and steal a piece of food from the bowl look around then run and go hide to eat. She'll repeat the same process for every bite of food! She likes to hoard treats in her bed. She also loves to spend a great deal of time fixing her blankets just right, pulling and pushing them with her teeth and paws. Sugar never sits still long enough for you to pet her.


Variety: Himalayan

Genetics: One copy of the Himalayan gene and one copy of the albino gene (cch), or two copies of the Himalayan gene selected for pale body colour (chch)

Description: Body color to be white, free from stains and even throughout, with points a rich dark sepia. Eyes red. Note - Colour areas: 1. face - not to extend upwards from eyes. 2. ears - not to extend downwards from the base. 3. forelegs - not to extend upwards beyond the elbows. 4. hind legs - not to extend upwards beyond the ankle. 5. tail - not to extend beyond the tail root. 6. feet - to be solid colour throughout, devoid of any white.

Spice is my troublemaker. She likes adventure. She's more active than Sugar. She's also smaller. She loves to pile everything & anything she can find in the cage in front of their bed. She'll also get exasperated with you when you straighten things up. She likes things a certain way. If you try to put a ball or a wood chew in the tissue box or bed with her she will throw it right back out at you! If you keep it up, she'll sit there- give you this "look" (Left eye open, Right eye squinted) & give a great big *huff*. If you try to kiss her, she'll use her paw to push you away. Spice also loves to chase Sugar around the cage and annoy her. She's an antagonist. Spice will let you pet her & scratch her head until she falls asleep on you. Then she will grind her teeth & make her happy noises. Spice also loves to explore she will tunnel through my blankets on my bed. And she's loves to jump and climb. She can jump several feet sometimes! She is very quick and you have to keep your eye on her or she will escape.


Variety: Berkshire

Genetics: Split on the H locus for the wild type gene and a more recessive h-locus allele (eg H/h)

Description: To be symmetrically marked, with as much white on the chest and belly as possible. The white shall not extend up the sides of the body, the edges shall be clear cut and devoid of brindling. Back feet to be white to the ankle, forelegs to be white to half the leg. Tail to be white to half its length. The body color shall conform to a recognized color variety. The white area shall be pure and devoid of any color or staining. A white spot on the forehead is desirable.

Cinnamon is my hyper active baby! She is constantly on the move, jumping, running, sniffing. She never sits still (until she's asleep! Or chewing on something!) She is the most affectionate of all my girls. She will climb up on my neck and sniff in my hair or cuddle on my arm. She's is my antagonist. Cinnamon is my youngest rat but she is now the alpha rat. It took her a little while to establish that role, because Spice used to be the alpha rat. Cinnamon loves to chase Sugar & Spice all around the cage. She just loves annoying them! She is very curious & also an adventurer like Spice! Sometimes When she's sniffing really hard it sounds like a duck! And she's turning into a little butterball! Cinnamon is not shy about eating or where she eats. She will walk right up to your bowl or plate and if she likes something she will steal it off your plate. She once tried to walk off with a whole piece of fried chicken! She's my troublemaker. So far she has chewed a hole in my laptop wire, camera wire, my new sony camera wire & a PS3 control. That's her bad habit. You really have to keep an eye on her!

Rat Varieties:

Please come and check out the Rat Chatter Forums if you own rats or are interested in getting some. This is a great community!

I feed my girls a mix diet that I make myself. It is healthier and cheaper than buying a pet store brand. This also works, because I eat alot of plain cereals so I can feed myself & my rats with 1 box of cereal.

My Mix Includes:

Shredded Wheat
Rice & Corn Chex
Total Cereal
Bran Flakes
Granola Mix
Almond Slices or Slivers
Sunflower Seeds (in shell or without).
Banana Chips
Tri-colored spiral pasta, (Spinach & Tomato flavor)

For extra nutrition I also feed my rats:

Nutro Natural Choice Lite

My girls go crazy over these treats:

Yogurt Drops

Ultra Bites- Veggie Puffs
Yogurt covered raisins
Yogurt covered peanuts

I also give my girls veggies and fruits as treats sometimes. Some of their favorite foods are: Apples (without seeds) Strawberries, Applesauce, Fruit Yogurt, Peas, Spinach, Tuna, Salmon. They also love the whipped cream on Starbucks Frappucinos & Rice Crispy Treats occasionally.

Another favorite treat of my girls is dried chicken leg bones. I let them dry overnight before giving them to the girls to chew on. It helps their teeth. They Love them! They go through them pretty fast!

More Gorgeous Spring Pictures.

Spring is finally in full bloom here now! I took some pictures today (before the rain starts and it gets chilly again.) Enjoy!

F.B. doesn't get to experience Spring, Fall or Winter. Since it's tropical in the Philippines, it's pretty much summer all the time and then there's also a rainy season.

I got some pictures of my girls in the tree out front. They were all pretty patient, except Spice who started to get a bit pissy after a few pictures!




You can view all of todays pictures here!

I use a Sony Cyber Shot DSC-W55 for my pictures.

Which One?

EDIT: I decided I liked # 2 best. That was also F.B.'s choice. So I think I will be getting that one on my left ankle some time soon!

Which font is prettier? I want to get my name tattooed on my left inner ankle some time soon to match my stars on my right ankle. Just something small and slightly discreet. Which font looks prettier? I think I like #1 and #3 best. But I can't decide between them. Let me hear your thoughts?


Yeah, sorry for the picture of my foot! Haha! But it's the only way I can show you what crazy thing I did last night... I got a tattoo! My first tattoo!

I went out with my cousins for Jessica's 20th birthday. She wanted to get a butterfly tattoo on her back near her left shoulder. It was her first tattoo. I've always wanted something small, like stars or hearts on my ankle. I'm not so fond of my ankles, haha. So now I have a reason to be fond of them. I got 3 stars trickling down from big to small, outlined in black & filled in with hot pink. Surprisingly it didn't hurt so much! Only the first star near my lower ankle hurt a bit but after that I didn't feel much. Now I've got to wash it lightly with Dial soap and put Cocoa Butter lotion on it for a few weeks until it heals. I want to put sparkle lotion on the stars when it's all healed up!

I sent a text message to my Fiance F.B. and told him about the tattoo. He is looking forward to seeing pictures later when we have our "date" online. We were finally able to talk to each other on the phone Friday night! We talked 45 minutes. It was really nice hearing his voice! (I haven't since our anniversary!) And it was so nice chatting and reminiscing over all the memories and silly stories we have of when we were together. I really miss him... 6 more months until we get to be together again!

Anyhow there is a picture below of my new tattoo. The crazy things I do when I am with my cousins... and it was a totally sober decision! Though I did have a peach sangria with dinner at the Olive Garden later that evening! Heehee!

My Tattoo: Pictures Here!

Here is the place that did my tattoo & my cousins:

EDIT: My mom has wanted a tattoo for a long time and we found out my aunt wants one too. (They are sisters.) So I am going to get my mom a tattoo for mothers day. She wants something small on her ankle or wrist, she hasn't decided yet. I also want to get one more tattoo some time this summer of my name 'Sarah' in black script or pretty cursive writing on my left inner ankle. F.B. thought the stars were sexy, hehe.

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