Year Of The Rat…

According to the chinese zodiacal calendar (which is never wrong), last year, 2008, was the year of the rat and this year is the year of the ox and next year is the year of the tiger (not the eye of the tiger). I’ve never questioned the chinese calendar before and was always happy to see, while sipping my eggdrop soup, that I was born in the year of the dog and although there are some other more badass years like dragon, at least I wasn’t associated with the year of the rabbit, sheep, pig or RAT. As you can see by the zodiac, despite my infestation, this is the year of the ox and not the rat…

zodiac-12-cycle-chinese Anyway, last night after we put the bug to bed and settled down to watch an hour of tv in our recently rat-free home, I heard a rustling noise again… I hit mute on the remote, nothing… resumed sound and heard it again… hit mute again, nothing. Mom had been painting the windows in the dining room and had them cracked open a bit and we discussed that maybe this time it was the neighbors doing something on their back porch. Then another sonic hullabaloo from towards the kitchen and I said to Mom… I can’t believe there’s another one. I wasn’t sure but set the trap again. We went upstairs to bed after checking the bisque and as I was checking email and watching a video someone posted of some dolt blowing himself up with sulfur and magnesium and Mom called out… did you hear that noise downstairs. I said it was probably the explosion on the video I just watched and she said… no, pretty sure it was from downstairs. So down I go and lo and behold the twin of the rat from yesterday. I was shocked because I really didn’t think there could be two and up until yesterday there was no evidence to suggest even one. So in 2 days my mental characterization of our house has gone from cozy neighborhood home to urban rattrap shanty (pun intended). I didn’t take another picture, suffice to say they seemed identical in size and color. By the way, my blogging buddy, Eugene Hon in South Africa just finished a series of clay rats and has done an exhaustive research of the rat for those pieces here. Moving on but staying on the numerological theme a bit, I’ve decided not to celebrate my 200th post, which is the next one, and instead call attention to the fact that this is my 199th post today… hurray! This is a miniscule effort to break from our proclivity toward base 10 numbers with the acknowledgment of 199 being the largest prime number to date of my postings. And finally there’s the number 1749, the year that Goethe was born and the temperature of my kiln when I went into our rattrap basement this morning to check the bisque…


By the way, it’s been raining for days and last night the torrents woke me twice and I figured I’d have to wade to the kiln this morning but when I descended to the basement floor, nothing but a dribble. I like that it didn’t leak but don’t like that it doesn’t make sense. The upside is that the dribble indicated the origin.


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9 Responses to “Year Of The Rat…”

  1. Matt Says:

    Well, Jim… wherever there’s a Javier, there’s surely an Endora nearby. They had enough meat on them to suggest they were holdovers from the year of the rat. Beats having oxen rummaging through your pantry!

    • jim Says:

      mattie… thank you for elevating my rat discourse… i just hope that javier and endora haven’t been riding the hobby horse and making too many ratas pequenas to follow in their footsteps. i agree with your acute observation about the oxen as well and in addition to the problem of them rummaging through the pantry, i would have to contend with the possibility of the neighbors breaching one of the original commandments of the old testament, namely, “do not covet thy neighbor’s oxen” and although i’m not saying they would, the temptation is nevertheless unnecessary.

  2. gary Says:


  3. Ben Says:

    Hey! I was born in the year of the rat! Dragon def. would be much cooler though.

  4. dena Says:

    Be thankful it was only rats. We have Mohave green rattle snakes here. Its not fun when they decide to make a visit inside the house.

  5. Eugene Hon Says:

    Thanks for the link – Iv’e been rather hectic but always enjoy reading your entries -effortlessly conversing the potters life in and out and round the studio. Reflecting on the fun aspects (more the humorous side – though your eyes only) and the trials and tribulations such a life has to offer. You make it seem so desirable to be envied by many; your blog therefore a testimony to the type of character that can make such a career choice a success. Without a doubt you have the master craftspersons skills but your charm and the means by which you focus on the small, need I say trivial things, and create and make them a very special part of your work is priceless, each one of us can recall one of such moments that resonates with similar or occurring events in our own lives MEMORIES that will live on forever- yours a testimony to a potters life well lived, enjoyed and shared with many with great success and finesse. The man is the pot – I was born in the year of the dog so woef woef woef – this ones for sunglasses

  6. cindy shake Says:

    Yikes! I was afraid of that… A crazy old exterminator told us once, for every one you see there is another dozen nearby…

  7. ang Says:

    ha hah!! found it……and the leak, woohooo…

  8. peter Says:

    Hi Jim,
    I think that you should really be rejoicing at this moment in that the Universe has clearly been kind to you in sending you rats. Imagine how it would be if you had this year’s allocation of oxen arrive instead! Really damaging to house structures and the contents of the pantry! Imagine the size of the trap and the disposal problems that a dead ox would cause. Nope, I would settle for rats anytime!

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