Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Forty-two centimetre tongue

Today I learned that a giraffe can pick its nose with its tongue, and even clean out its ears. The tongue can be up to 42 cm, about the length from fingertip to elbow on a biggish man. A giraffe's tongue is blue to make it resistant to sunburn, as it is used so much in leaf collection.

I spent nearly three hours today at the zoo with my husband and two children. I have never seen it so busy - I am usually there on a non-holiday weekday - but the zoo seemed prepared for the crowds with extra parking on the grass cordoned off, lots of talks by the keepers, and a kiosk that I had never even noticed before open selling icecreams and pies. The animals were very obliging, nearly all visible and active which is not always the case.

There isn't nearly enough shade at Canberra zoo, but luckily the day wasn't too hot considering it is nearly the middle of summer.

My favourites today were the giraffes (with zookeeper talk and hand-feeding carrots which we didn't do because it cost $10 but was fun to watch) and the red pandas which were very cute. One made a slow way down from the top of a tree to his bamboo lunch, he was so hesitant and careful maybe he was scared of heights! A big drawback in a tree-dwelling creature. I always wondered what kind of creature 'Master Shifu' from Kung Fu Panda was, after today I think he was a red panda. That cute little face!

Monday, December 28, 2009

G string

I've been looking through my posts, and there are comments from three different people. My husband also reads this, so that means I have AT LEAST four readers already. I'm not being sarcastic, this is really exciting! I am not just blogging to myself. Keep reading, and making comments please.

What I learned today is how to play G and A on my guitar (third string). My husband gave me an acoustic guitar for Christmas, I sing and I want to learn how to play guitar so I can accompany myself. I always love it when other people strum on their guitars. Tim also gave me a beginner's lesson book. So, counting Christmas, I have had the guitar for four days and I can play eight notes: G A B C D E F G. With this, I can play bits of 'Song of Joy', 'Skip to my Lou', 'Aura Lee' (Elvis stole the tune for this for 'Love Me Tender') and 'Michael Row the Boat Ashore'. I am so proud of myself!

The only thing holding me back from practising a lot more is the pain in my fingers. I have a pick in my right hand but the left fingers push firmly on metal strings and that hurts more than you would think. I can only do a couple of very short sessions a day, I need to build up calluses.

When I have finished this book of 10 lessons, and know where all the notes are, I will move on to chords.

Oh, another problem I have is with my right breast. It gets in the way. I am very short and the big body of the guitar (acoustic is much bigger than electric) takes up nearly all the space between my leg and my armpit when I am sitting down, I need to hold it tucked close to my body but my bosom pushes it away. Not sure what to do about this, I refuse to do the whole Amazon thing and cut off my breast.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Just a Trifle

Due to some bad planning and lack of communication, three different people brought trifle to Christmas lunch. For those who have never heard of it, trifle is a dessert that is made of ... well ... they vary a bit but it has cake and jelly (jello) and custard and cream and sometimes brandy or some other alcohol and probably some other things I don't know about. You soak the cake pieces in one or some or all of the wet ingredients until it has sponged it all up, and layer the other things, and put cream on top.

So I got to try three trifles and guess what! Just as I thought. I don't like trifle. The only other dessert was plum pudding. I don't like that either. Luckily I brought gingerbread.

Merry Christmas!! I had a great couple of days with the family and hope everyone else did too.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mouse foreskin trials

Today I learned that scientists have been able to turn mouse foreskin cells into 'brown fat'. Unlike white fat, which makes you fat, brown fat actually helps you burn calories. Amazing. Some more mouse foreskin, anyone?

Who thought of using mouse foreskin cells for this trial, anyway? I suppose you could carefully circumise the mouse without killing it. All in the name of humane research. I don't recall ever seeing a mouse penis, but I imagine the bandages would be very very small. And what do the girl mice think when their partners are returned to them, sans foreskin. Maybe they prefer the look.

Luckily, you don't have to actually eat the mouse foreskin. In the trials, the converted cells were injected into a mouse (the same mouse? or a different mouse? I can see some butch mice out there denying another mouse's foreskin came anywhere near them) where they helped burn off sugar which would otherwise have been stored as fat. Lets push for human trials!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Washing and vomit

Hmm I seem to have missed quite a few days/weeks lately, what with the Christmas bustle and also the fact I am not learning anything ... well what I learned today is to not let the washing get so far behind. Somehow I didn't do any clothes washing all week so there were huge piles of dirty clothes, sheets and towels in the laundry, and the baskets were all full of clean clothes from the weekend before that I hadn't got around to putting away. Then this morning my three-year-old Aiden started throwing up. Suddenly clean sheets, towels and clothes seem much more important! So as well as looking after my sick little boy, I am trying to dig through the clean baskets for necessary items and run about seven loads of washing today.

I've been receiving emails from all year, she helps you organise all your housework by sending reminders to, for instance, run a load of washing in the morning and stack your dishwasher in the evening. I read the emails every day but don't actually do anything about them. Somehow this system isn't working. Maybe I have to actually do the work? I need a system where I just have to read the emails/book/magazine and magically all the cleaning/dieting/exercise happens without any further input from me. My house would be cleaner, and I would be a lot thinner and healthier. Anyone out there got a system like this?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Eggs and more eggs

Today I learned that truth is almost as strange as fiction.

Last night I went to see 'New Moon' which I enjoyed (for the movies I am in camp Jacob but for the books it is Edward all the way) and they had an ad before the show which involved someone eating 50 eggs in an hour. Urg. And impossible. Anyway, my brother was visiting this weekend and for breakfast he asked for soft-boiled eggs. Six of them. I thought he was joking, but no. So he ate his six boiled eggs with five pieces of toast, and then ate my 3-year-old son's mostly-untouched egg. I didn't even know it was possible to eat seven eggs first thing in the morning. But there you go.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pyjamas, pajamas, let's call the whole thing off.

Today I learned that - according to my spellchecker - Americans spell pyjamas as 'pajamas'. How odd. How silly. It just looks wrong.

I also learned that if you accidentally put a toddler to bed with no nappy on (wasn't me!), in the morning the bed, the pyjamas, and the toddler will be soaked in wee. Euw.