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Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category

Psycho Fish

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Apr-23-2010

Psycho Fish died today. I went to feed it and boom, we are dead. We cannot decide if this goldfish was 7 or 8 years old. The only one who had a few crocodile tears was The Girl, for Psycho Fish was once hers, not that she liked it, not that she cared for it, it was just the thought.

I once had a serious conversation at a a very nice pet store about this goldfish. This fish killed anything in it’s tank. They told me that this was one disturbed fish.

I took very good care of this nasty fish.I cleaned the tank, changed the water, the filter, made sure that things were bubbling away. I put it in a bigger tank. I renamed it, so that maybe someone would like it.

None of this worked. We don’t care. It was a miserable fish and we are not going to feed it to Destin. Nope, not happening.

Baby ( Psycho Fish ended up in her bedroom) now wants a turtle or a lizard. I am stalling : first I have to clean out the tank, the filter, the dead fish. She knows how much I love lizards and frogs. But they should not live in glass boxes. And I don’t want to do the how to feed a lizard road. I am thinking bugs.

And a turtle. Really. What can you do with a turtle ? I am just going to stall.

Tonight is brownie night. Baby is going to cook.

I have realized that my favorite kitchen tool is my little whisk. Whenever I say this, I feel like that guy in ‘Allo ‘Allo with his little tank.

Muttering II

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Apr-21-2010

I am used to being alone. I am usually in the kitchen … we have a really big kitchen, we are talking 70 square meters. I kid you not. I am there with the dogs, the bird and the fish. I talk, out loud, all of the time. Maybe I am talking to the dogs, who knows. But it is driving the men in this family crazy. It is one of those things that once you notice it, it grates on your nerves. Like people who chew pudding.

I canĀ“t stop this. I am inundated by words. I have trouble falling asleep, because words are flying through my head. I found a little trick that is working for me, I do math. I think about numbers. How old will Alice be in 2070. This is not dissimilar to counting sheep. But that is really boring, you are just going 1, 2, 3, 4. And they all look alike. If a car goes x kms an hour, how long will it take to get there.

This will put you to sleep.

There is Puccini playing in my kitchen. A little bit of Puccini goes long way. I want to listen to the BBC. I will not smother him, I promise. I am going to do the laundry and start washing dishes. We are almost out of clean dishes.

Murder Bird

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Apr-12-2010

The Children and I have almost become Mitfordesque with our tendency to give our pets nicknames. Note that only The Father and The Girl actually have a family nickname, this is not a widespread occurrence. And my lips are sealed, must have those *family secrets*.

We have Elvis, The Newf, also known as *The Doormat*. The only time that this dog moves is when he is invited to go to the Front room and he really hustles along. The men in this family are convinced that Elvis is their good luck charm when Ajax is playing football. Hey, it works for them. One never knows, Elvis could be helping Ajax. Our doormat.

We have Destin, the Pyr, also known as Jaws, never met a piece of paper or plastic that he did not like. On the weekends, I stay in bed until someone else is up first, for I simply do not want to see the latest havoc that he has wrought.

We have Psycho Fish. Maybe 5 years ago, the Dutch Grandparents gave The Boy and The Girl each two Goldfish, in little round bowls. This had something to do with good report cards. Did you know that a goldfish can live to be 25 years old ? Do not ever give someone else’s child a goldfish as a present.

I became very weary of cleaning out these fishbowls, and so we bought a tank for the goldfish. Within a few days, Psycho Fish had killed the other three fish. I have actually spoken to people in the know about Psycho Fish. Yes, this is your basic Ted Bundy of the goldfish world. I put Psycho Fish in a bigger tank, put it in The Baby’s room and re-baptized that fool fish Rapunzel. I am trying here. But in the end, we have Psycho Fish, who could live for 20 more years.

Last Summer, The Girl came to me, squealing with delight : look ! The Boyfriend had given her a baby sparrow ! ( His dog found this beast). She was thrilled. This bird was in a tiny little cage and she took it up to her room. The next morning, she planted the bird and cage on my desk and said, you deal with this, this bird never shuts up.

I dealt with the bird. We had a voliere in the shed, from our days with Max, and we set that up in the kitchen. I hand fed that sparrow. It had some cutsie name, but along the lines of once having a cat named Kitty, we ended up calling the bird *Birdie*. Birdie and I got along pretty well. I was told that Birdie is a male sparrow. Birdie had no stamina, I let that bird fly around the kitchen a few times, and knew that we were talking a cat snack here.

And Birdie never shuts up. At times, it is interesting. If The Father is playing Puccini, one can hear that the bird is trying to sing along. It is that way with all of the music played in this house, that bird tries to join in. But it can grate upon one’s nerves after a while. Especially at 6.30 in the morning.

I used to think that I knew why the caged bird sings. It is Spring, and Birdie wants a Dirty Woman. He has become so vicious. I want to take him to some bird sanctuary, so he can cross that river and be free, but everyone is against this. I give him a few peanuts every night, in his little bun, and he nearly pecks my hand into bleeding. This bird hates me, and he is the biggest pig in the house. He is Rambo, he is Murder Bird.

I doubt that I shall ever have another beast in this house.


Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-16-2010

I really want to make New England Clam Chowder. I used to make it when I was a teenager and lived in New England. Back then, you just went to the store and wah- lah ! There was everything that one needed to make a nifty chowder.

In the past few years, fresh clams have suddenly been spotted in this neck of the woods and I buy them up and make a pasta with vongele ( fancy way to say clams). While I still find it rather creepy to cook mussels and clams ( we once had a pet mussel, of all things…), it doesn’t come near as creepy to those days back in New England when we would have lobster that Mummy cooked. I never ate a bite and stayed in my room during the hole process of execution. I did not want to hear the death struggles, those vain attempts to leave that boiling water. And I certainly did not want to wear a bib and eat the results of my Bio 202 dissection class ( Oh ! But that green stuff- the brains- are the best part !).

No, I prefer to be very distanced from the beasts that I eat.

Brian Kane was kind enough to help with translating that whole salt pork business. Considering that The Dutch have about 5000 ( at least here in Brabant) types of fatty pork, a chat with our butcher should do the trick. I’m thinking speklapje.

But that clam juice is killing me. I can use fish stock, I am told. Ok, I just bought some frozen brown Indian shrimp- I prefer it to the Black ones, for it seems to cook up better. I’m going to make a pasta, using the same stuff for the vongele pasta ( olive oil, white wine, lemon, lots of garlic, basil, salt, fresh pepper, for the the adults cayenne.. and probably something else that I’ll remember at the last moment and have to run to the store for), probably on Thursday. Thought that I would save those shells for a stock , of sorts.

But I really clean those shrimp out. I don’t want to eat shrimp shit. And I have read up on how to make a fish stock : I don’t want to eat something made out of boiled fish eyeballs.

Four of my Plecos just died, should I have saved them for a stock ?

I shall never be a good cook, for in the end, my stomach is too weak for it.

Or my imagination to strong for it.


Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jan-8-2010

It is cold here, in The Netherlands.

And I am receiving a lot of comments about my inability to deal with this cold snap : why, you grew up in Massachusetts ( don’t I just love spelling that without SpellCheck ? ), you lived through one of those famous blizzards in the 70′s, when the snow was so deep you could not open the front door of your house, your family had a snow blower and you knew how to use it ( as we took turns every hour snow blowing the driveway), you know what a cord of wood is and your brother knows how to split a log.

After so many years, the only remnant of my shivery past is a well stocked larder : our family of five, two dogs who each weigh more than I do, that fool Sparrow and all of our fish could survive a nuclear war just fine for about two, maybe even three months Perhaps not a very healthy diet, but I do suppose it is better than gnawing upon one’s leather shoes.

But we are so ill prepared for this cold weather, as a family and as a country. None of us has a down vest, no one has insulated boots, the few and chosen actually still have gloves that fit and hats, scarves.

I am not a member of the chosen few.

As a country, we ( they ?) are running out of salt to put on the roads and are actually taking to using bath salts in some areas. You know, pink and green stuff which, rumor has it, smells lovely. Here in Town, I have yet to see a speck of sand or salt on the roads, most likely because it might damage the granite cobblestones from Sweden, who knows. Doing the daily shopping is a teeter- totter affair, and many of the elderly are not leaving their homes at this point.

Snow tires have never been a part of winter in The Netherlands. As well as salt, there is a run on snow tires. At times, we use the company truck, as The Father’s Business Man car cannot handle the ice and snow. Although I must admit that a few weeks ago saw me, 5’2, 48 Kilos, pushing the truck and giving a very Rocky like hands over my head as a salute when the truck finally was released from it’s icy prison.

Our children never had a sled, for until last year, there really never was enough snow to sled upon. Imagine that, The Girl is almost 17. This year was the first winter that the children could make a *life size* snowman ( oh well, boys will be boys…). Last year, it was cold enough that The Baby learned how to ice skate. The other two were too old to care about it, didn’t feel like falling on their….posteriors …in public.

Teenagers, dontcha know.

The Baby’s favorite movie is * Ice Princess* ( recently chomped to pieces by our Pyr). Last year, she skated exactly 3 times. I walked with her to a very safe place, run by some skating club, about a mile away. They measure the thickness of the ice, have big lights, a few trailers where one can buy warm things to eat or drink, and blast out music- the dutch version of a Bruins game.

After a while, though, I was frozen, and so I dragged her off of the ice and we made the long march home.

This year, The Father and his Business Mobile will take us to the ice. I am hoping that we can take turns sitting in the car, having our butts warmed by that fool seat heating.

And this morning The Baby asked me if her skates needed sharpening. Uh….

And where were those plastic protectors for the blades..


And should we have oiled the blades ?

Good Times, Bad Times

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Oct-11-2006

Waking up yesterday morning to find everything hacked- yet again- was not really my idea of a fine morning.

Things are rather patched together once more and seem to work.

But in the evening, they brought my couch ( we don’t use the phrase Chaise Lounge here, that is French, dontcha know, and quite frankly, even The Father does not know how to pronounce the phrase).

It is lovely, but about 15cm longer than I was told and so I rather oh-me, oh-my about whether or not it will fit into the chosen spot.

Now, the arrival of the couch means that the formal dining room table ( re : where we drop mail, keys and assorted junk)moves up to The Boy’s room. The Father has known of this plan for weeks. Really.

And yet last night- in his best D.P. voice- he said, that means I won’t have a place to work, doesn’t it ?

Little room of my own means just that.

Plus- I pointed out to him- we planned on buying one of those gate leg tables that he could pull out on weekends.

And today ?

I spent 7 hours trying to set up an Eheim filter for the tank downstairs. There is air trapped in it some where. Many hours, buckets and towels later, I gave up, saying, well, of course, tomorrow is another day.


Posted by Mummy Dearest on May-20-2006

So, I have two big tanks now. With much grumbling ( on The Father’s part) and fumbling ( on The Boy’s part) the cabinet for the 125 liter tank has been put together. With much grumbling ( on The Father’s part) we have found the place for it.

I had promised The Baby long, long ago that if I ever got a big tank, she could indeed have a castle in it, and so this evening, she and I looked on line, for the perfect castle.


The other tank shall contain Roman Ruins, chosen by Mike.

At dinner we all discuss what to put in the big tank in the kitchen. We have decided to get some nasty fish, for they are the most beautiful of fish. Perhaps a crab. Han fancies piranhas. Meg suggests ducklings.

But then again, she also suggested a rabbit…

We shall have a good time setting up our tanks, cleaning out and redecorating our old tanks.

I have always found staring at a tank infinitely more interesting than watching TV.


Posted by Mummy Dearest on May-18-2006

A few weeks ago, I ordered a 125 liter fish tank on- line. I was sick of waiting for Mr.Jo to build me a tank ( he has more excuses than I do on a good day), and so, filled in the form. The website informed me that they would contact me within five days.

When they had not done so, I told The Father last Saturday that I wanted a B-I-G fish tank for Mother’s Day. He bought me a 120 liter tank.

Guess what came in the mail today ? Yup, I now have two great big old tanks and I’m going to have a fine time setting them up.

Having the extra big tank means that I can buy some nasty, mean fish. Nasty, mean fish are usually the beautiful of fish. Or we can get something bizarre, like a shark or a lobster, or small poisonous toads.

And- as I pointed out to The Father- it wasn’t as though I had just bought two large canary diamonds, or a pricey diesel BMW now, was it ?

This will be fun.

Gloria And Germaine

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Apr-15-2006

Continuing the story which included the search for the body of one’s youth- perhaps- when The Baby and I left the garden , entered the kitchen, she started screaming : there was a fish in the niche for the doormat ( no doormats here for the moment, for it is old Jimbo’s favorite place to piss). I looked, and sure enough, it was one of the girl guppies, lying there on the floor, looking dead as a doornail.

I scooped her up and placed her into the women’s dorm. A quick count told me that- somehow- another female guppie was missing. How far, one wonders, can a fish flop ? I found the second missing female nestled in the grove of the kitty litter pooper scooper. I tossed her into the women’s dorm as well.

I have no idea how long they had been out of the water, but as of today, they are still fine.

Although I put them back into the tank.

I had pulled them out of the tank for a bleeding heart reason : with guppies, one should have two females for every male. Well, we had about four males for every female, and all that male guppies want to do is f***, f***, f****. My little girls had no rest, darting hither and yon, finally figuring out that if they sat their bellies upon the floor of the tank, the brutes simply could not reach them.

Mr.Jo was supposed to build me a new tank, my Christmas present, dontcha know.

I’m going to order something this week. I really cannot bear looking into my tank anymore, these poor, homely girls almost unable to eat as all of these flashy, rather pimpy looking short guys harass them.

Winter Companions

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Mar-4-2006

We do The Big Shopping on Fridays. Here is what The Big Shopping is usually like : The Father drops me at one store, he goes to another, we stand behind our shopping carts and it is on your mark, get set, go.

We did The Big Shopping yesterday as well, but is was an atypical sort of The Big Shopping , for we went together, we actually ambled down the aisles, The Father laughing when after eight weeks of checking a certain row, they did indeed have my 1.13 euro red ware bowls once more, pleased as punch I brought them to our cart, saying in reply to his laughter, well, suppose I’m just easy to please and I am just pleased as punch with my little bowls.

As we drive from store to store, he fills me in on his project, the dying plant in Tirupur. A while ago, he mentioned that his partner was thinking of putting a windmill up on the company site, for the green energy. I guess that I have been around The Girl too much, for I just might have asked, well, why a windmill ? Why not go for solar energy in southern India, seems to me that, well, duh, the one thing that one can count on in southern India is the sun.

He asked his Indian partner about it, and apparently, solar energy is not a well known technology, not at least in that part of India, in our sector of business.

Perhaps windmills are cheaper, who knows, but we certainly shall soon.

I am flattered that he asks me my opinion upon all of these things, and is very insistent that I have and give an opinion. Today I didn’t, it would all depend upon the costs involved.

But it is something to watch, a man following a dream. Especially when his only motivation is to simply see if he can make an idea become a reality.

Me ? I just liked roaming up and down the aisles of the store with him.

There is no one I would rather be with.

And he even took me to the pet store today, to buy special oh- so- tasty flakes for my sucker fish.

A prince among men.