On the campaign trail


One tough cookie. The biscotti this country needs.

C: My campaign slogan: One tough cookie. This cookie don’t crumble. Claudia: The Biscotti This Country Needs.

J: Are you running for election? One tough cookie is my campaign slogan. You steal my thunder.

C: It’s MY slogan. I’M the tough cookie!

J: Beware those who would mess with the Stini! I will dunk you in milk!

C: I will soak you in coffee!

J: Says the candidate beholden to “big coffee.” I want strong, healthy bones for my town. My opponent wants you all jittery. I think the choice is clear. Support American milk and not foreign governments’ coffee beans. It’s time to put America first!

C: Folks, my opponent doesn’t support American-grown Kona from Hawaii, nor does he understand the economic impact coffee has on the breakfast and dessert industries. He also doesn’t grasp the decline in productivity and efficiency that would happen in offices around this country. The best part of waking up is freedom to choose! Not to have the government tell you what you can and cannot drink!

J: If my opponent wants to drink coffee and support terrorism, that’s her choice. The stain on our flag and on our teeth is, evidently, a small price to pay for my opponent’s political ambition.
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We Need A Boat


Rough idea of the kind of boat we might want.

J: We need a boat.

C: We need a motherfucking boat. And some flippy flops. And sunny shades.

J: We’re not going to sell pizza on a boat, but we are going to play Johnny Appleseed.

C: Sandwiches!

J: Maybe. I might be ok with that. I just think it’s dangerous making wages off food with my tummy nearby.

C: Good point. Could be a financial loss scenario.

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On what makes something a zombie

J: I have the perfect movie for you and your boyfriend to watch next: Zombeavers.


What is a zombie when everything is a zombie?

C: Zombeavers? I’m concerned.

J: Zombeavers is real! Zombie beavers!

C: Zombie ladybugs are real!

J: There’s a zombie ladybug movie?

C: No. There are REAL zombie ladybugs.

J: BS. I think I would have noticed a zombie ladybug apocalypse.

C: It’s true. They act as hatcheries for wasps and fight off predators until the wasp hatches out and kills the ladybug.

J: Sounds more like hosts and parasites than “zombies”.

C: It’s like those ants!
zombie ants

J: Ants have that bacteria thing, more of a body snatcher situation. Wasps do the same thing to spiders. Not sure if I’d call them zombie spiders. More like soon-to-be-eaten spiders. I mean, you can’t just put the word zombie in front of something and MAKE it a zombie.

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Tesla test drives & gerbils

Hotel Jerome


I sat on the turn-of-the-century couch, placed the carrying case with my gerbil in it down the ottoman, picked up a local news magazine, and began reading. Next to me, my older brother, David, eagerly read his phone, periodically quoting from the articles he was browsing. “Of note,’” he began, “‘during validation of Model S roof crush protection at an independent commercial facility, the testing machine failed at just above 4 g’s.’ That means…” and he skimmed to get to the good part, “is, quote ‘that at least four additional fully loaded Model S vehicles could be placed on top of an owner’s car without the roof caving in.’ Dude, the Tesla broke the testing machine!”

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On Friends and Rodents

As an adult, I do grown-up things like go to work daily, keep up with current events, drink wine with friends, keep up with my family, worry about my credit rating and 401K. All sorts of normal, responsible, adult things.

I also have a gerbil. In fact, this is the sixth gerbil I’ve had in my adult life. I’ve also had four hamsters, three mice,  fostered a rat for about two weeks, and provided a place to sleep for a wild mouse one night (it was VERY cold outside).

In short, I like rodents. I care for them, give them a large home, toys, good food, and medicine when they need it. I have them long enough to get attached, and then they die.
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Nahbre froody voiberously.

C: I’m done with this argument. I’m sorry you’re frustrated with this. I was just trying to provide insight on what we talked about last night regarding industrial engineering. But I’m at work right now.

J: This is what it’s like:

‘j: I have to decide between red and blue. Would you care to provide any input?

c: Green!

j: I can’t choose green; that’s not an option. Would you care to provide different input?

c: I’m done arguing with you.’

C: Purple.

J: LOL/*cry*/LOL/*sob* (that was a hysterical fit between laughing and crying, fyi)

C: Now you know how I feel sometimes.

J: I do NOT know how you feel. I can’t even make sense of how you THINK sometimes  😦  Which, to be fair, may be hysterical.

C: Squirrel 42, gobblygook, fortuitous nibbly kitkat jargon. Hasn’t circle maybe question deMarque? Vernal zagquater lobbily! Meow.

J: Green! Gerbil! Purple! Gerbil gerbil cat! Don’t tell me what to do! Kitty! Jesus, some of your words weren’t even words. What would be the equivalent of ‘We’re gonna need a bigger boat’ for your brain?

C: Humdiggity doidlebug? Nahbre froody voiberously.

Rodentia Travel Dreams

Is the gerbil life tiring you out? Need a rest from the rat race of being a gerbil? If you’re in need of a good long vacation from the daily grind of eating, running, twitching, eating, running, twitching, jumping, running, shredding, chewing, twitching and eating, we have a great deal for you. Rodentia Travel Dreams is offering week-long vacations at The Gerbil Tree House. With all the modern amenities today’s busy gerbil needs in a naturalistic setting that’s a throwback to the days gerbils lived free, this tree house is a favorite for busy gerbils everywhere.

Set inside a bushy, leafy tree*, the Gerbil Tree House is cozy and comfortable, decorated with a simple leafy-neon-psychedelic rug on the cardboard floor. This tree house comes equipped with two entrances: a main entrance and a side entrance. You can run in through the main one, and out the side one. For some excitement, try going in through the side entrance and leaving through the main door. Not a jumper? Each entrance has its own ladder with safety steps for gerbils who are a little unsteady on their paws.

Concerned about tooth growth while on vacation? No need to worry. The Gerbil Tree House is 100% cardboard and fully chewable. Made from stuff tougher than the standard toilet paper roll, but not as hard or thick as a regular corrugated cardboard box, this Tree House has the feel of a classic shoe box with without all the gloss coating. Adding to the natural feel of the Tree House are six rocks**, and a tire, all chewable cardboard.

If you need some evening excitement, the Gerbilarium is located within sprinting distance. Find a mate for the night, or for life! Many gerbils have left the Gerbilarium with 6-10 extra baby gerbils in tow. Known for it’s mazes of tubes and massive wheels that never go anywhere, the Gerbilarium doesn’t stop moving around.

For some culture, head in the other direction into Kilgore Trout. The Museum of Trout’s popular permanent exhibits feature famous gerbils in history, including Aristerbil, Alexander the Gerbil, Clerbilpatra, and Gerblis Khan. This month’s featured temporary exhibits include the world-renowned Truth and Tails: Life during the Gerb Dynasty. The exhibit takes visitors back through time to the Imperial Dynasty of China. On tour from China, this exhibit is a must-see. The Museum of Trout is also featuring a fascinating look at Viking culture, with authentic relics once belonging to William the Gerbiller, Erik the Reddish, Ingvar the Fat-Tailed, and Brodir the Fierce and Furry.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “I’m a gerbil. How am I going to get to this fantastic tree house, conveniently located between the Gerbilarium and Kilgore Trout? The same Tree House all my friends are raving about?” Not to worry. Rodentia Travel Dreams has it’s own travel carrier. Get to the Gerbil Tree House in the safety of a gerbil carrying case, with the style only Rodentia Travel Dreams can offer. Our carrying case comes in a hip striped pattern of green, pink and cream.

Inside, relax on the pink polka dot padded floor. And fear not—if you have an “accident,” the floor cleans up easily with a damp cloth.

The heart-shaped windows allow you to enjoy the views from your carrying case as you travel to the most relaxing place on earth, exclusively for gerbils: The Gerbil Tree House.

*not actually a tree
**rocks are not three dimensional.

$6.55 per gram

Saturday, I noticed that Fidget’s foot was red and swollen. Although this had happened before, this time the swelling was really bad. So…off to the vet. Since we can’t go to her primary care vet on weekends, I took her to a new emergency clinic vet. The vet felt her foot and said that Fidget had a fracture. How she got it, I don’t know. She’s always jumping off things, falling, leaping, skidding into things.

The vet said the fracture would heal on its own, I just needed to keep her from jumping too much. The foot was red because she’d been chewing on it, pulling out the fur; the vet prescribed antibiotics that taste like cherry (they told me it was flavored; I didn’t try it) to administer doses to Fidget for the next ten days, twice a day, by mouth. Then we’d have to check in with our primary care vet in two weeks.

It might be kind of crazy that I even have a primary care doctor for my gerbil. I don’t even have one for myself. And it’s not like it’s the primary care vet for all my animals because the cat goes to someone else.

Fidget is my accident-prone pet. If there were a gerbil-sized helmet she could wear, I’d make her wear it. That fact that I’ve even BEEN to the vet three times with her, and that she’s also had a fracture before, as well as a scrape or two here and there, means she’s that active kid on the playground who’s always pushing the limits of safety, falling down and getting hurt. Sometimes the kid just scrapes his knees really bad; sometimes the kid breaks his arm. And as soon as his arm is healed, he’s back up on the monkey bars trying out for some imaginary olympics, doing the same stunt that broke his arm. That’s my Fidget.

So, to break it down–
Vet bill for leg: $132.00
Costs for the tail surgery: $185
The visit to the vet two weeks ago when she was dehydrated: $63
Total vet costs: $380.

Fidget weighs about 58 grams. Taking into consideration her vet bills, she’s now valued at $6.55 per gram. Are there any drugs out there that cost that much? If so, maybe I need those drugs.

Above: Fidget, in her better days.

Damn gerbils. At this point, I can only laugh at myself.


This is a gerbil blanket. Since I just learned to purl, I’m very excited about the ribbing. It’s not perfect, but the gerbils haven’t said anything about it, so I don’t think they really mind.

They just pull the blankies apart anyway, making little nests out of them.


Sometimes, my mom will call and ask what I’m doing. Lately, I find that I’ll tell her I’m gerbilling. In my mind, this means that I’m either watching the gerbils, holding the gerbils, playing with the gerbils, or doing something else gerbil-related. When I say play with the gerbils, though, what I really mean is that I’m hanging out with them while they’re outside of their cage, usually in our gerbil playpen. (Hey, people put their kids in playpens…why not gerbils?)

I’ve been watching the gerbils a lot, and they kind of have their own version of “house.” Fidget organizes and cleans the cage all day long while Oodalaley naps or does other things (pays the bills? I don’t know.). I guess it’s a stretch to say that Fidget organizes or cleans, because what she really does is make piles of bedding, then climbs into the pile, burrows her head in, then comes out of it with a bunch of bedding on her head. The pile is flatter, so she starts piling up bedding again. She did this four times yesterday that I saw (and yes, I did sit and watch the whole time). But I have to say, the fact that they’ll cuddle each other and sleep together is just so cute.Cuddles!