When I picked Cynthia up from work on Monday she was carrying an empty 40oz plastic pretzel jar. I asked her what it was for and she proudly announced that she was going to make a terrarium out of it.

As we drove home we talked about the project and I suggested getting a lizard to put in the terrarium. She suggested a frog. We both quickly recognized that this was a recipe for disaster. I then suggested a fake plastic lizard or frog. Cynthia didn’t really like that idea so much and as the conversation unfolded she came up with the idea of staging a diorama of an alien spaceship abducting someone in the woods. I countered that maybe it should be a diorama of an alien spaceship abducting a cow.

Cynthia liked this idea. I said we could call it a “diorarium” (pronounced die-a-rare-ee-um) to which Cynthia immediately said “no” due to the unpleasantness of how the word sounded.

I told her I had a perfect UFO in the form of a die cast model of the Jupiter II from the original Lost In Space TV series. I also suggested we could probably find some plastic cows at the toy store.

As the plan unfolded we I came up with the idea that we could go to the model shop where I was sure we could find some N Scale cows used for scenery in model railroading. They ended up having the PERFECT cows.

Then it was just a matter of getting the plants, the soil, activated carbon and gravel to build the terrarium part of the diorarium (by day two Cynthia embraced this as the name of what we were creating).

With all the parts assembled we had to figure out how to suspend the spaceship and the cow being abducted. I went to the hardware store and purchased some monofilament fishing line which ended up being perfect.

If it works as it is supposed to we should not have to open it or water it again, or at least for a very long time.

Here is the completed project. As it turns out, photographing a fake UFO abducting a fake cow inside a plastic jar presents many of the same challenges as photographing the real thing. If the real thing actually exists. Which it probably does. (shhhh!)

Diorarium 5

Diorarium 4

Diorarium 2

Diorarium 3

Play It Again, Cynthia

Cynthia has been wanting to learn the piano for quite some time now. We finally decided to make the dream a reality and went shopping for a piano for the house. Initially we went in search of a real piano but as we were doing our shopping we found a Yamaha digital piano. Cynthia was dead set against a digital piano until she sat down with the Yamaha. She fell instantly in love. No tuning needed, it has a rich full sound and best of all, it has a volume control and you can even plug in headphones.

Cynthia can already read music and after just two lessons is playing pretty well.

The People Have Spoken – Duffy Is Spared

In my previous post about Duffy, the question was asked: “Life or death?” and the majority of you voted to spare the life of Duffy. It was also suggested that we use a humane live trap and capture him and relocate him.

Bowing to the will of the public, we acquired the trap and set it. For the first week we only succeeded in trapping a poor little sparrow which was quickly released. Cynthia was just a little discouraged by the fact that she felt herself being outsmarted by a rodent. She consulted one of the maintenance workers at her office who suggested using a different kind of bait. We had been using cookies, but he suggested nuts and seeds as rodents like to eat food they can hold in their paws.

With this in mind I purchased some more bird seed and baited the trap. At 7:30 Sunday morning Cynthia woke me up exclaiming that we had captured Duffy.

Personally, I could have received this news at a more “humane” hour of the day, say 9:00 or later. But I guess Cynthia’s excitement outweighed all other considerations.

Poor little guy was pretty terrified. Now it was just a matter of finding a place to relocate him. As I mentioned, it was pretty early on a Sunday morning so I figured we’d drive out toward Highway 6 and find a field and let him go. As we were headed down Briar Forest I spotted some commercial construction that backed up to a vacant lot and pulled in. I thought I would drive to the back and release Duffy there.

Imagine my surprise when we spotted a Houston Police cruiser parked back there. I quickly turned around and headed back out. The cop didn’t seem to see us which was a relief. I could imagine explaining to the officer exactly what we were doing.

We found another location next to another vacant lot and released Duffy and headed home.

Cynthia doesn’t think that we actually caught Duffy. She thinks this is another rat altogether. I think it’s Duffy, but the trap is reset and we’ll see if we catch anything else.


We need to stop setting the trap during daylight hours