Hello to the Year of the Rat!


Also say hi to Wallace and Noodles.

To my absolute horror, my friends went on holiday and “we” agreed to look after their pet rats.

I’m not scared of rats. Or mice.

I just don’t have much LOVE for living in the same house with creatures once known to be the carriers of The Great Plague.

I’m also not a fan of their rat noises: they scratch and shuffle around a lot at night. And they wheeze and sneeze a lot too. Who would’ve known?

It took me a few weeks to get over the GROSS factor.

But then as weeks went by, I watched my son throw empty cardboard boxes, sheets of paper, toilet roll tubes, scrunched up newspaper, planks of wood into their multi-level rat cage.

Day after day, we’d return to see a cool little nest, with a veranda, air vents and a quick path to the food bowl on level 3.

It became a bit of a game for us: how to challenge the rats.

We’d hide the food in a box, in a box, in a box. They’d spend hours industriously working away at whatever problem we’d throw them. They were pretty damn smart. And rather entertaining.

And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I got a lot of satisfaction watching them solve our food puzzles. I think I even spotted a smug smile on their furry faces when they’d crack a challenge and stuffed their faces with carrot sticks. Rats love carrots!

Anyway, so as the tradition goes, if you’re born in the year of the rat, you’re most likely to be industrious, diligent, optimistic, resourceful and thrifty. Rats are quick-witted and smart, with rich imaginations and sharp observations.

And when you put it like that, rats don’t seem so bad after all.

Wishing everyone a Happy Lunar New Year!

Finished Reading List for 2019

In 2019 I read

Here’s my list, starting with the book I read in Jan 2019:

1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

2. Circe by Madeline Miller

3. The Odyssey by Homer

4. Shoe Dog A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight

5. Becoming by Michelle Obama

6. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

7. The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius

8. Change by Design by Tim Brown

9. The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic by Mike Duncan

10. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp

11. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

12. Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg

13. Selected Political Speeches by Marcus Tullius Cicero

14. The Annals of Imperial Rome by Tacitus

15. The History of Rome, Books 1-5: The Early History of Rome by Livy