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Yours *TrulyJuly*

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Really amazing that these two, who are so different in size and strength, play so well balanced together, that they can even pull off a tug of war. 🙂

 

Lola has a very gentle way of teaching the little puppy a new game.

Lola has a very gentle way of teaching the little puppy a new game.

 

Let’s just take a step back and remember how small this foster puppy is.

Let’s just take a step back and remember how small this foster puppy is.

 

Right in the action! Here we have some serious tug of war going on.

Right in the action! Here we have some serious tug of war going on.

 

It looks like Lola is not really putting in her weight.

It looks like Lola is not really putting in her weight.

 

Indeed: Lola is actually just taking it easy. Does the little one know?

Indeed: Lola is actually just taking it easy. Does the little one know?

 

Fostering this little rescued dog is so much fun! She’s like Lola’s personal Mini-Me whose mission is to cute herself into your heart! ♥

 

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This poor rescue pup has frog legs, a sign of rickets.

This poor rescue pup has frog legs, a sign of rickets.

 

Rickets is a nutritional deficiency that hinders the proper development of bones, leading to potential fractures and deformity. The predominant cause is a vitamin D deficiency, and lack of adequate calcium and phosphorus.

Symptoms include delayed growth, bow legs, weakness and pain in the spine, pelvis and legs.

Treatment consists of feeding the missing nutrition. If detected early enough, the pup can grow up healthy and strong. However, once the disease has progressed to a stage where the dog’s movements are hampered, the possibilities of a successful treatment are slight.

Many rescued dogs have had no adequate food which can lead to severe malnutrition to the point of starvation. For a chance to catch up on their development, feed them a highly nutritional diet, complete with all needed vitamins and minerals.

 

To prevent rickets disease, provide a diet sufficient in vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus.

 

Beware though that an overdose of vitamin D is just as harmful:
If there’s too much vitamin D in the diet, life-threatening levels of calcium (hypercalcemia) and phosphorus can occur. The result is hardening or calcification of body tissues.
Vitamin D Poisoning can occur when a dog takes more than 4,000 iu per kg of bodyweight.

Also note:  If you only use calcium without phosphorus / zinc and vitamin D, C and other minor minerals, the condition will get worse.

 

Dietary sources of vitamin D for your pup

– Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, tuna, halibut, canned sardines

– Fish liver oils: cod liver oil

Egg yolk

Liver: beef, lamb, chicken, pork

 

Dietary sources of calcium for your pup

– Fish: salmon, tuna, sardines

– Yoghurt

– Low fat cheese: cottage, mozzarella

– Egg shells, cuttlefish bone

– Vegetables: spinach, broccoli, sweet potato

 

Dietary sources of phosphorus for your pup

Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, chia, sesame

– Fish: salmon, carp, whitefish, cod, tuna, sardines, mackerel

– Meat: pork (lean sirloin), beef and veal (lean beef)

– Low fat dairy: yoghurt

– Legumes: lentils, chickpeas

 

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This little rescue came with bobbing head, frog legs and mild seizures. She is improving remarkably well.

This little rescue came with bobbing head, frog legs and mild seizures. She is improving remarkably well.

 

This little munchkin has seizures.

 

She is a true rescued dog, handed in from the streets to Observatory Animal Clinic.

 

So we don’t know much about her, only this: She was so full of worms that they might have affected her brain.

 

About once a day she could experience a seizure, which is manageable: It’s like a cramp gets hold of her entire body, sometimes overwhelming her that her eyes go blank and her mind goes into hiding. Giving her comfort helps and can even pull her out.

 

The question is: Will it get better?

 

When I picked her up for fostering, she looked so scroungy and tiny, like a Chihuahua puppy with frog legs. Within a couple of days she’s doubled in size, stretched her legs, we’ve cleaned her up and now she’s grooming herself, she is bouncy and jumpy and hops about like a wind-up toy. A remarkable improvement, giving hope that she can outgrow her seizures.

 

But even if she keeps on having seizures for the rest of her life, it’s not like it’s seriously affecting her: All we’ve got to do, is make sure she doesn’t drive or work heavy machinery. 😉

 

Seriously though: Minutes after a seizure she’s up again and playing in the most endearing way like nothing had happened.

 

Her zest for life is so strong, she certainly deserves a chance.

 

#AdoptDontShop

 

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In times where it seems it’s all about getting home to netflix, it might be odd not to have a TV.

But who would miss watching telly when you can have the most hilarious entertainment watching your pets.

Fostering an 8 week old rescue dog, means lots of fun during puppy play:

This little foster puppy got her priorities straight: The hoof is mouthwatering.

This little foster puppy got her priorities straight: The hoof is mouthwatering.

Challenging the big dog requires extraordinary means such as attacking with all fours up in the air.

Challenging the big dog requires extraordinary means such as attacking with all fours up in the air.

Seeing eye to eye, or well, eye to hoof.

Seeing eye to eye, or well, eye to hoof.

Such a different dynamic with a little one around! How can it be that they know exactly how to cute themselves into your heart. 😉

 

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Lola and her Mini-Me

Lola and her Mini-Me

 

A miniature Africanis!

That’s what this little munchkin looks like. 😉

Coming from the Woodstock streets, she could certainly qualify.

Furthermore, she has enough attitude to challenge our Africanis, even though Lola is like 10 times her size!

She growls and barks at Lola to get her to play and goes as far as nipping her in the hind legs!

Luckily Lola is a very generous and caring dog, so these two end up in the funniest puppy play. 🙂

 

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Puppy Bliss!

#Gratitude - one of the rewards that come with puppy fostering.

#Gratitude – one of the rewards that come with puppy fostering.

This little munchkin is looking for a forever home. She’s such a cutie!

Recovering well, this adorable puppy goes straight to playtime.

Recovering well, this adorable puppy goes straight to playtime.

As with all rescued dogs, she has a story of hardship, but couldn’t be a more cheerful pup! She really is a happy chappy! 🙂

#AdoptDontShop

 

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Rats typically own the place. You’ll find quick enough that pet rats have no qualm being in charge of your home if you let them free roam – just make sure you ratproof your place first.

 

And as they go about their daily duty to check up on their territory, they get to know your place inside and out. This includes – and I guess we all, including the ratties, agree on this – the best place to sleep: The bed!

 

When I see ratties running about on the bed, I want to be a rat!

Just imagine this giant duvet that when you jump about it just lets you sink in like a fluffy cloud.

 

However, there is a downside to it: Rats gnaw.

They can’t help themselves, they have ever growing teeth and need to grind them down regularly.

 

And if your sheet gets in the way it simply gets shredded:

That’s why when I’m #RatSitting I put on the rattie duvet – the sheets that have already been perforated by my pet rats. ;)

That’s why when I’m #RattieSitting I put on the rattie duvet – the sheets that have already been perforated by my pet rats. 😉

 

So make sure you put on some old sheets when you want your ratties to have access to your bed. You might also be lucky and your rats don’t shred.

 

Either way you’re going to be in for a treat: Ratties snuggling up to you under the duvet is just too adorable to miss!

 

 

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Do you need a plastic bag?

 

No thanks. I do need a clear bag though for the chicken.

 

Please help yourself.

 

Would you know if this chicken was frozen?

 

Frozen? I don’t think so.

 

It’s just, it’s really cold.

 

Maybe it got cold on its way here, it’s so cold out there!

 

Lol, like it got frozen when they were driving over the mountains, there is currently snow up there!

 

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Signing up to a social network without uploading a profile pic mostly leads to a default picture being displayed.

Often this is a stylised form of a portrait photo, one with long hair for female and one with short hair for male.

Why such stereotyped gender differentiation?

Here’s a neat solution to keep things simple:

Good idea: Simply convert the first letter of the name into a profile pic.

Good idea: Simply turn the first letter of a name into a profile pic.

Convert the first letter of the name into a profile pic.

This is personalised yet completely neutral way to let users sign up without even getting close to touchy topics such as gender.

 

 

In my Indiana Jones quest to clean out our garden so we can grow veggies, I came across this apartheid relic: Two coins from the 1950s.

 

South African coins from the apartheid era. Left: 3 Pence from 1951, and Right: Quarter Penny from 1953.

South African coins from the apartheid era. Left: 3 Pence from 1951, and Right: Quarter Penny from 1953.

 

Left: 3 Pence coin from 1951, Silver, King George VI third series (1951–52).

 

Right: Quarter Penny coin from 1953, Brass, Queen Elizabeth II series (1953–60).

 

Could this be a time reference? Was it maybe in the 1950s that The Broken Palace got destroyed? If you know more, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

 

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Guys, check out the photos from our office do!

 

Oh gosh, I look terrible! I really should lose some weight, I’m so fat!

 

No, you’re not!

 

Yes I am, look at this!

 

Well, would you ever say this to a friend?

 

What? Of course not!

 

Then why would you talk like that about yourself.

 

 

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Pet rat Rosie decides the quickest way is straight up the wall. ;-)

Pet rat Rosie decides the quickest way is straight up the wall. 😉

 

Pet rats are clever little munchkins and stubborn, too: There’s hardly a place they can’t get to, especially if they’ve set their mind to it.

A lot of my pet rats particularly like climbing up and sitting on top of the highest piece of furniture. The way to get there varies and can include all sorts of interesting stunts.

One option to get up is simply running up the wall, and as most furniture sits slightly away from the wall, the space in between makes this feat quite possible for rats.

 

One of the most enjoyable pastimes with pet rats is simply watching them:

Their acrobatic skills are impressive, their clever tricks to overcome hurdles inspirational, and their sheer will and determination are humbling.

Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

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Juice bottles: Cut the head off, drill some holes in the base - for some practical flower pots.

Juice bottles: Cut the head off, drill some holes in the base – for some practical flower pots.

 

The shape of these juice bottles is actually ideal for flower pots:

– The diameter of the bottle is about 10cm, a standard size for flower pots.

– The base is raised into a punt and gives the ideal points to drill drainage holes: As they are raised, it ensures there will always be a bit of water in the very bottom.

– The top bit can be used as a greenhouse roof to protect seedlings from weather and mice.

 

How to make flower pots from soft drink bottles:

With a pair of nail scissors, cut the top bit off.

You’ll have to cut round, that’s why it’s easier with nail scissors. Follow a line on the bottle, it’s hard not to cut skew.

Depending on the length of roots the plants will grow you can keep the bottom bit quite tall or cut it down to a standard size.
Because the plastic is see-through, you can leave a wide rim above the ground level which keeps in all the mess.

Drill drain holes in the base of the bottle.

Hold the drill steady, it’s easy to slip on the plastic. Drill about 5 holes around the centre point of the base.

Depending on the water consumption of the plant you can drill large holes so the earth will drain well or small holes to capture water.
If the plant likes wet feet, you can drill the holes higher up.

Drill ventilation holes in the top bit of the bottle.

Hold the drill even steadier, this is a slanted surface. Drill about 5 evenly spread holes in the shoulder of the bottle.

You can use the remaining  bottle tops as mini greenhouse roofs. They fit very tight into the flower pot and won’t easily come off.
Depending on the humidity preferences of the plant, you can drill large holes for good ventilation or small holes for capturing moisture and heat.

 

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Aside from aesthetics, for practical reasons alone paint is the best wood finish.

For its long life expectancy alone paint is the best wood finish.

 

With hopefully some rain coming to Cape Town during winter we need gutters!

 

But before we can install gutters, we need to decide on the look of the fascia, the trim board on which the gutter sits on.

 

Paint is generally the longest lasting finish for wood, but we’d like to keep the natural wood look.

 

Apparently there’s a well kept secret for wood treatment: water repellent preservatives (WRP).

 

The U.S. Forest Service did some research on ‘Wood Finishing: Water Repellents and Water-Repellent Preservatives’, pointing out:

“Homeowners can avoid many exterior wood-finishing problems by first treating with a WR or WRP solution to guard against damage to the wood and paint caused by water and by decay and stain fungi (mildew).
WR or WRP treatment of wood is recommended both before painting and also as a natural finish for wood.”

and concludes in their PDF ‘Water Repellents and Water-Repellent Preservatives for Wood’:

“Water-repellent preservatives can be used as natural finishes and can greatly improve the durability and appearance of wood exposed outdoors.
They can also be used as pretreatments prior to the initial painting of wood. The water repellent improves the dimensional stability of the wood, and the preservative improves the mildew resistance of the paint. These properties work in concert to extend the service life of the paint.”

 

So as long as we’re using water repellent preservatives that are paintable, we can start with the WRP wood treatment, and still apply paint later.

 

While this still doesn’t answer the question for us, it gets us a step closer! 😛

 

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#MoopSwoop Find: Ornamental bead wire cross

#MoopSwoop Find: Ornamental bead wire cross

 

Doing my weekly #MoopSwoop, I found this ornamental bead wire cross.

I’m not Christian, so I was wondering what the meaning of the cross actually is, and came across this:

 

The Latin Cross

also called the Roman, Protestant, Western or Plain Cross

Latin Cross

The Latin cross (crux ordinaria) is a stipe (upright post) with a patibulum (horizontal beam) inserted at right-angles. It is a symbol of Christianity even though it was used as a Pagan symbol for millennia before the foundation of the Christian Church.

As a Pagan symbol it has been found in China and African countries. It appears on Scandinavian Bronze Age stones depicting the destructive hammer of Thor, their god of thunder and war. It is regarded a magical symbol, bringing good luck and diverting evil. Rock carvings of the cross have been interpreted as a solar symbol, or a symbol of earth with its points representing north, south, east, and west. 

To alchemists, the cross was a symbol of the four ‘classical elements’: air, earth, fire, water. Elsewhere, the cross variously symbolised health, fertility, life, immortality, the union of heaven and earth, spirit and matter, the sun and the stars.

 

That sounds good enough for me to keep it as a good omen and hang it up somewhere in our garden. 🙂

 

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LinkedIn is a great platform to market your business.

LinkedIn is a great platform to market your business.

 

LinkedIn offers a very attractive target group, with a high income and twice the average buying power.

In addition, LinkedIn users are open for business: “A full 50 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions. With 76 percent preferring to use recommendations from their professional networks, the site is essentially ‘built for social selling’.” – Hootsuite

So make sure your company gets found on LinkedIn.

On top of it go the extra mile to proactively get your business out there:

 

Publish VAC = Value Added Content

Share your content expertise by creating relevant posts. Be careful about actually publishing on LinkedIn Pulse, always keep your content on your own platform and link to it.

 

Cross-Pollinate: Connect with other social media

LinkedIn is well integrated with other social media. Simply ensure all the boxes are ticked to cross-publish your content to / from other social networks.

 

Engage with Groups

You can only join 50 groups, so choose wisely. Participate actively in LinkedIn Groups by posting relevant content and commenting. Create a company branded group for exposure of your business.

 

Use your professional headline as a status update

LinkedIn calls the text under your name on your profile your professional headline. It is by default displayed with your LinkedIn Profile Card. In addition, every time you update your headline, your entire network gets notified. So utilise this space to announce company updates or offer special deals, give-aways and links to more info.

 

Cold Message

Use LinkedIn’s advanced search to find prospects. Keep in mind it’s about making meaningful connections so set a strict filter to get good results. Remember the search terms, so you can find these potential customers again in future. Draft the invitation message carefully: Be clear what the mutual benefit is of connecting.

 

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I love photography. I love rats.

 

So I do #PortRATure: www.flickr.com/photos/trulyjuly/collections/72157675420886104. 😉

 

I take portRATures of my own ratties, when I ratsit, when I get commissioned.

 

And every now and then I do a proper photo shoot with props and all:

Rattical Valentine's

Rattical Valentine’s

 

And every now and then I get a wow awesome shot:

Rattie Sisters

Rattie Sisters

 

But does anyone actually have an idea how hard it is to take photos of rats?

 

Because, my gosh, these guys are fast! And they are curious! And they are skittish!

 

The only way to get a good shot is to gain their trust and get them to relax, which in rattie world is still only a fraction of the time actually needed for a good photo.

 

For every one picture that is acceptable, there are multitudes of photo bombs, blurs, moving out of frame or completely disappearing, accidental pees or poos, dismantling of sets and props, and general chaos.

 

But of course, that’s why we love our pet rats: Because they have their own mind and do their own thing, and often end up in funny or surprising situations you couldn’t have made up: Rats make great pets! 🙂

 

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Cement Burns right at the tip of my fingers... Ouch!

Cement Burns right at the tip of my fingers… Ouch!

 

There are still some snags around the house that we’re bit by bit attending to.

The other day we made good progress again, when plastering the remaining exposed brick work.

But when, after having asked already to finish the job nicely, I saw that there were still some gaps that had not been plastered shut, I took it upon myself to deal with it:

 

Being overly proactive, I thought: Let me just quickly smooth out the plaster and fill the corners properly.

Being highly perfectionist, it didn’t go as quickly as I had hoped.

Being totally absorbed by the task at hand, I did not feel any pain at first.

 

While dry cement is calcium oxide and relatively harmless to the touch, it turns toxic when wet:

The cement becomes calcium hydroxide, a highly alkaline substance with a pH level of 12 or higher. Natural skin surface pH is on average below 5, so any direct contact can result in serious chemical burns.

As the cement is eating through your skin, you only feel the real pain when the outer layer has breached. Now the cement reacts with the water coming out from your wounds. At this point it gets difficult to simply wash off the plaster, as the chemical reaction progresses:

First brush off any dry cement, then rinse the affected areas with clean water for 20 minutes.

 

Dry cement is also dangerous when inhaled as dust in large quantities: Prolonged or repeated exposure can lead to a disabling and often fatal lung disease called silicosis.

 

Stay clear from any health hazards caused by cement.

Always wear the correct safety gear:

– overalls with long sleeves and full-length trousers

– alkali-resistant gloves

– waterproof boots

– safety glasses

– dust mask

 

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Hello Mr Mouse! What you doing in our house?

Hello Mr Mouse! What you doing in our house?

 

We have mice in our house. They are not scared of us and run around the kitchen every now and then.

 

Our puppy Lola is of course intrigued but as we have pet rats, she must not chase rodents or any small animal.

 

But the mice are running across right in front of her!

 

And every time we cry out: “Mouse!”

 

So the other day she caught one.

 

I heard the tumult downstairs in the kitchen and then: “She caught it!”

 

I readied myself for the bad news of this poor mouse’s life.

 

“And she held it down with her paw, so I could pick it up. It’s in my hands now.”

 

Wow! Lola the Humane Mouse Trap! 😮

 

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This little mouse and his friends are unwanted guests in our house. But they're so cute, and almost tame!

This little mouse and his friends are unwanted guests in our house. But they’re so cute, and almost tame!

 

We have some unwanted guests living right under our nose: Mice.

 

They’re super cute, and almost tame, at least in the sense that we don’t seem to bother them at all.

 

One of them got caught in a net bag when he was stealing chestnuts.

 

Lola found him and licked him all over, so that he was sogging wet.

 

I detangled him and put him in a fruit punnet with food and water to relax.

The fruit punnet makes a perfect mouse house.

The fruit punnet makes a perfect mouse house.

 

What a cutie! Somehow not really afraid of us.

 

But alas, he had to return to the wild, we set him free at a field. 🙂

 

All his friends however are still having a party at our house, every single night! 😮

 

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LinkedIn - Connect to Opportunity

LinkedIn – Connect to Opportunity

 

LinkedIn is the de facto tool for professional networking.

So basically think of LinkedIn as a networking do:

 

Make an Impression

Just like you’d dress to impress at a networking event, ensure your web presence looks neat: Optimise your branding for the LinkedIn image sizes. Adapt your corporate copy for the LinkedIn professional business tone.

 

Introduce Yourself

Complete Your Personal Profile.

This is your online resume, so make sure there are no gaps. The more you complete it, the better the chances for your profile to pop up in search results.

 

Present Your Business

Fill in Your Company Page.

Viewers of your LinkedIn profile can click on the companies you work/ed for. Filling out your company profile ensures they can find the information they’re looking for. They can also follow your company page to receive updates.

 

Pitch Your Products

Create a Showcase Page.

Feature a special product or service and put it in the spotlight. You can post updates and get followers just like on your company page. You can also monitor your showcase page’s analytics and learn which product or what content proves more successful.

 

Connect

Just like you would exchange business cards at a networking event, connect with potential prospects on LinkedIn. Send them an invitation which is relevant, so they accept. Start by connecting to people in your existing network such as your school alumni or work colleagues.

 

Follow Up

LinkedIn recently improved the messaging experience to have professional conversations without having to change to another page. Now it’s even easier to break the ice. Just make sure you write your message compelling enough, so it actually gets read.

 

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Beautiful but deadly: Beware the Lily!

Beautiful but deadly: Beware the Lily!

 

We got lovely lilies, they’re beautiful to look at. Just losing a lot of pollen.

 

So I go over and start cleaning up the orange dust, and as I’m doing so, something creeps slowly back into my mind:
Lilies… Wasn’t there something about lilies?

 

Yes: Lilies are poisonous and can kill your pet!

 

It is often only communicated that lilies are poisonous to cats, but they are also lethal to rats, and can even harm toddlers!

 

I’m realising what I’m doing with a shock, because on my shoulder sits my pet rat Mielie!

 

And her reaction is pretty immediate: She almost passes out.

 

I support her head with a tissue pack, put her in a sunny spot to stay warm.

 

Poor little munchkin Mielie mouse! She looks so peaceful, but she's battling with poison!

Poor little munchkin Mielie mouse! She looks so peaceful, but she’s battling with poison!

 

Her breathing is very shallow. But she does pull through.

 

I am shocked that lilies are so easily put into our homes if they pose a deadly risk to our pets, and also a real danger to children.

 

Lilies should only be used where they traditionally belong: At a funeral. Now we know why! 😮

 

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Google translates 'Eier abschrecken' in a funny way. ;)

Google translates ‘Eier abschrecken’ in a funny way. 😉

 

Lol, it’s funny when automated translation doesn’t get an idiom.

 

Eier abschrecken is the process of rapidly cooling down boiled eggs with cold water so they are easier to peel (which apparently is a myth anyway).

 

There is actually a close translation in English:
To shock the eggs, which means to plunge into ice water in order to halt the cooking.

 

So always remember to deter your eggs after you boiled them. 🙂

Deter? Don’t deter me! Not me, man. Deter, what does that even mean, deter? Why would you deter me? What has this world come to, when you get deterred at any given chance. And for what? Is it even worth it? All the deterring? That’s just, who’d want to deter all the time. Just, take a break. And, just not me. Yeah? Just don’t deter me.

Deter? Don’t deter me! :-S

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Carrying pet rats on your shoulder is child's play! :)

Carrying pet rats on your shoulder is child’s play! 🙂

 

Rats are made for shoulder rides, they curl up snuggly around your neck and love being part of the action.

 

But, as with every ride, there’s a risk of falling off.

 

Tips how to safely carry your rat on your shoulder

 

Only indoors

Taking your pet rats outdoors can pose dangers such as exposure to illnesses, your pet getting lost, or your rat being attacked by another animal.

Start by carrying your pet rats on your shoulder indoors only.

 

Wear a scarf

For your pet rats every step you take is a leap into a new adventure. If they trust you they will enjoy it. But ratties are easily spooked and feel more comfortable if tugged away securely. A scarf they can nestle in gives them hiding space and something to hold onto.

 

Scratchy nails

You can cut your pet rat’s nails.

Or you can develop a very thick skin.

But there’s little other option, as no matter how high-neck your pullover is, the ratties will make it inside and their tiny little nails can leave scratches like paper cuts.

 

Needing to go

When your pet rat becomes restless and just won’t sit still, it could be because they really need to go for a wee.

Pet rats like to keep their environment clean and can be toilet trained. When your pet rat wants to go down from your shoulder, give them the chance to go to the toilet by placing them into their litter tray.

 

Keep your posture

You will quickly realise that bending over or twisting to the side is not going to work without your pet rat sliding off your shoulder.

Rats are very good in holding on, but the responsibility lies with you to make the ride enjoyable.

Your posture will improve accordingly: A straight back, broad shoulders, bending only in the knees, the chin up, a strong core are just some of the benefits that come with carrying rats on your shoulder. 🙂

 

Don’t get too comfortable

Your rats will love being part of your activities by sitting on your shoulder.

If it’s brushing your teeth or doing gardening work, it’s all great entertainment for your ratties.

At the same time they learn to trust you and your bond grows even stronger.

Be careful though when they get too relaxed: It happens to me quite often that one of the rats falls asleep and almost off my shoulder! 😮

 

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Zenning our garden: The circular pattern is nice to look at

Zenning our garden: The circular pattern is nice to look at

 

Just because our garden seems to have an entire house buried in it, and the soil is full of building rubble and other curious rubbish, doesn’t mean it has to look like a construction site:

 

You can always create a Zen Garden

A Zen Garden is a doubly good idea:

1) Creating a Zen Garden is meditative

There’s something very soothing about raking patterns in the sand. Apparently a circular pattern is specially relaxing, as it takes more concentration.

2) Looking at a Zen Garden is meditative

In Zen Buddhism zen gardens were designed to stimulate meditation. As places of quiet contemplation and reflection, zen gardens offer a counterbalance to the modern life stressed out FOMO existence.

 

Even our puppy Lola added her contribution: 😉

 

The design of a zen garden is not meant to stay permanently. It gets easily disturbed and invites to create new patterns.

It is also a fun way to try out different landscaping ideas:

Zenning our garden: A pathway and some flower beds give it structure

Zenning our garden: A pathway and flower beds give it structure

 

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Trying and testing: An easy way to prepare homemade coconut milk.

Trying and testing: An easy way to prepare homemade coconut milk.

 

When I saw the list of ingredients on canned coconut milk I was shocked!

While coconut milk is hailed as superfood, this type of highly processed preservation is not healthy.

 

But coconut milk is a great alternative to lactose milk, so what to do?

 

It’s super easy to make coconut milk yourself

All you need is desiccated coconut, a blender, and a strainer.

1) Soak the desiccated coconut in lukewarm water at a ratio of 1 to 3 for at least 4 hours.

2) Blend the soaked desiccated coconut and water for at least 5 minutes at highest speed.

3) Pour into a strainer to filter out the remaining coconut flakes.

4) Keep in the fridge for freshness, and to separate the coconut cream from the coconut milk.

 

Bonus Tip:

It is generally recommended to strain the coconut milk with a cheesecloth.

Just as well works a coffee plunger: Simply pour the coconut blend into the cafetière and slowly push down the plunger to capture the coconut pulp at the bottom.

If you don’t mind the odd coconut flake, this makes the whole process much easier. 🙂

 

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Build your own website!

Build your own website!

 

You’ve decided that you need a website, but what kind of online solution is best for you?

A straight forward way to determine what web presence works best for you is your budget. Essentially you can get everything, from 0 budget to crazy budget.

As I’m a fan of Marketing on a 0 Budget, here an overview of free platforms.

 

Free websites

 

Free basic sites – no authentic but customised url:

Webs, good examples: http://creativecommunications.webs.com /  http://ranzanitext.webs.com

Wix, good examples: www.wix.leaps.co.zawww.kidz.no

Weebly, good examples: http://deliciouskitchen.weebly.com /  www.aniwell.org.za

 

Open source solution – own coding possible:

WordPress, good examples: https://trulyjuly.wordpress.com /  http://fortune.com

Joomla, good examples: https://gsas.harvard.eduwww.linux.com

Drupal, good examples: www.olympic.org/rio-2016www.louvre.fr

 

Social media platforms – easy but limited:

Some would argue that with all the various social media presences available, who needs a website?

The answer is simple: Whatever activity you do out there on the internet you want to lead your potential prospects ‘home’, to a consistent site where all the necessary information is in one place.

Remember that you don’t own your social media presence. If you are deemed to have breached rules, it can be deleted without any warning. A website however, you own and are in charge of.

Still, you might want to try easy no budget solutions first, such as these:

Google Sites, good examples: https://sites.google.com/site/thephotowebwww.petitsgateaux.gr

Tumblr, good examples: https://ratshaming.tumblr.com /  http://webcomicname.com

Blogger, good examples: https://youtube-creators.googleblog.com /  http://accrispin.blogspot.com

 

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Always check the label! Canned coconut milk has a lot of bad stuff in it, better not buy it.

Always check the label! Canned coconut milk has a lot of bad stuff in it, better not buy it.

 

Now that I’ve determined coconut milk to be my preferred alternative to lactose milk during my Low FODMAP diet, I’m facing the next obstacle: Where to buy it?

A check on the ingredients list has ruled out canned coconut milk completely: Simply shocking what is being added to the coconut milk, really such a shame to spoil a good product this way.

Healthy coconut milk, which contains just that, is very difficult to come by. But 100% coconut milk does exist, so it might be a matter of requesting your supermarket to stock better quality foods.

However, even if you find pure coconut milk in your store, if it’s in a can, chances are the tin is lined with BPA. And even if it’s BPA-free, it’s probably still not healthy.

So best is really to avoid canned coconut milk all together and either buy it in a carton box or make your own.

 

Homemade coconut milk is really easy! Watch this space for simple how to instructions coming up. 🙂

 

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“His debugging skills are exceptional.”

 

Ever published a post and only afterwards thought of a real cool intro snippet? Or posted a headline you thought was a fun pun on words until you realised you didn’t mean that kind of fun?

 

Luckily, in the digital world, all you got to do is update your site and nobody will even know you made that faux pas, right?

 

Wrong!

 

Your site was probably cached and even though you updated the original version the cached version remains the same.

 

It might eventually get updated, but if it’s urgent to erase the previous version, you need to debug:

 

 

How to debug your web page url

 

When you share a link on social media, it reads the meta tags and combines them into a nice post mainly consisting of title, description, image.

 

To force update this content you need to manually ask the social media site to fetch the new information and replace the old version.

 

Simply enter the link and hit the button:

Facebook Debugger: http://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug

Google Data Testing Tool: www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

Twitter Cards Validator: https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator

 

Social Debug gives you a nice overview of how your posts will fare across the main social media sites.

 

Iframely gives you more insight into the code of the meta tags.

 

 

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A magazine ad I wrote back in the day. You can tell, because I used my mom's name! ;-)

A magazine ad I wrote back in the day. You can tell, because I used my mom’s name! 😉

 

Are you an autodidact?

A copywriter needs to become an expert in any given field in a very short time.

Can you write about technical equipment? No? Well you better learn quickly, because the copy must sound like it was written by a professional in the industry.

You might get a brief, but this is only a summary. For the nitty-gritty authentic stuff, you have to do your research and catch up quickly.

 

Are you a wordsmith?

And with that I don’t mean are you creative, but do you understand the concept of language, and are you excelling at grammar and spelling.

I’ve worked in agencies where copywriters had to be proofread, because they didn’t even master their own language.

That is like wanting to design jewellery without understanding the materials and processes: It doesn’t work. And eventually, it’ll fail. This is the reason why there’s so much bad copy with even worse spelling errors out there.

 

Can you get to the point?

The attention span of consumers is shortening and so is the copy. Can you describe the purpose of that product in one sentence, or one word? This is essential to stay on topic.

The best copy is still a fail if it doesn’t achieve the goal it was written for.

 

Are you an empath?

If you’re an ego-driven narcissist, you might fit in well in the advertising world, but your calling should not be on the creative side.

The copy you write, no matter how commercially driven, needs to connect with the reader. And enough to grasp and hold their attention.

 

Can you be a translator?

The client talks in industry slang, the agency talks in industry slang, the techie guys speak in industry slang. But the consumer doesn’t understand any of that, and you need to translate. Depending on who the end-consumer is, you might need to translate into their specific choice of tone and words, too.

Translators even have a specific word for that: Localisation – when you adapt the copy for the market, not just the language.

 

Are you a creative?

Can you come up with a clever idea or a funny joke, at the snap of a finger?

There are ways to spur your creativity, and good agencies will inspire, train and incentivise you.

But when it comes down to it, it’s just you and the blank screen.

 

Can you perform under pressure?

In the agency world everything has to happen yesterday. There are real deadlines at stake, and they don’t just swoosh by, there are serious knock-on effects if you cause delay in the machinery of advertising production.

An easy way to tell if you excel under pressure: How did you do at your school exams? If you attended well-prepared or even if you just pitched up to somehow wing it, you probably have a great ‘I’m ready to tackle whatever comes my way’ attitude.

 

Can you distance yourself from your writing?

The client is always right. So if they make it sound like your grandma just got transported back into the medieval ages, then you have to let go.

Yes, that is the moment, when you’re no longer a writer, but are starting to turn into a media prostitute or short: media pro. 😉

Welcome to the media world. 😀

 

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Yum! I love drinking milk.

Yum! I love drinking milk.

 

I love my coffee and tea in the morning. Yes, often I have my coffee with my tea, like drinking double-handed. But one thing that can really spoil the delight of my hot beverage is: If there’s no milk.

 

Now that I’m trying the Low FODMAP diet to relieve my IBS, I’m not allowed lactose.

 

What is a good alternative to milk?

 

Lactose-free milk

Of course there’s lactose-free milk, which has all the benefits of regular milk, just that the lactose has been pre-digested into glucose and galactose by adding the enzyme lactase to milk. It might unfortunately be difficult to come by or more expensive than normal milk, and it is not vegan.

 

Soy milk

Unfortunately with all the GMO and unwanted additives, Soya milk is to be considered carefully and is not an alternative for me.

 

Hemp milk

Hemp seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, but don’t provide enough calcium. I have no clue where to buy this, please comment on this blog post if you have more info.

 

Rice milk

Rice milk is high in carbohydrates, and doesn’t contain lactose or cholesterol.  As I’m already eating a lot of rice, I’ve decided against also drinking it for breakfast.

 

Almond milk

Almond milk offers not as much calcium as cow’s milk, but with 30% of the recommended daily amount, as well as 25% of the recommended amount of vitamin D, and a low carbohydrate content it’s a healthy alternative. Avoid any almond milk that contains Carrageenan.

 

Coconut milk

Coconut milk has a high proportion of medium-chain triglycerides, a type of fatty acids that is metabolism boosting and thus increases the energy expenditure. This helps to fill up and curb overeating or snacking throughout the day. It provides enough iron to prevent anemia. Coconut milk nourishes the digestive lining with its electrolytes and healthy fats, improving gut health and reducing IBS.

Therefore, my preferred choice of milk alternative for the Low FODMAP diet.

 

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Single page printable FODMAP diet chart for an easy overview.

Download a single page printable FODMAP diet chart for an overview.

 

Fed up with the ever increasing pain IBS is causing me, I went for a consultation to the Groote Schuur Hospital – Gastroenterology Clinic.

For the first time my tummy troubles were taken seriously and not just waved off as one of those female problems similar to PMS.

Still, there’s no easy way out with IBS, some say it’s psychological, some say it’s emotional, some say it’s physiological.

While it might be debatable what cause IBS has, the effects are very real.

At least at Groote Schuur I got advice how to reduce the physiological impact of IBS:

 

The Low FODMAP Diet

Elimination Phase

The idea is to remove all possible irritants from your diet during the elimination phase and cleanse your digestive system. Hopefully this allows for your gut system to reset and be less intolerant. The low FODMAP diet is only a temporary measure, and should only be adhered to for 2 to 6 weeks.

Reintroduction Phase

So the gut can reset, it actually needs FODMAPs. But in order to determine which one of them is upsetting your stomach, you reintroduce them one by one, during the rechallenge phase. This requires washout periods and can take almost a week per reintroduced food.

Not a lifetime diet!

Because the low FODMAP diet is so restrictive, it’s important to find adequate alternatives for nutritional intake of what this diet is underproviding, mainly: fibre, calcium and B-vitamins.

To avoid undernourishment and making sure you follow the low FODMAP diet correctly, it is advised to consult a dietitian.

 

But there’s so much useful information available on the internet, that the doctor at Groote Schuur recommended I do substantial research myself.

That’s why I’m writing this blog: To share my learnings and invite you to do the same: Please comment with your experiences and resources and let me know your feedback: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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The female figure with her wonderful well-rounded curves was the inspiration for this painting of mine:

The female figure with her wonderful well-rounded curves was the inspiration for this painting: “Droplets – Woman” © Julia Ranzani

 

To me this sums up perfectly what is wrong with gender equality in the business world:

 

For supporting women to do business, networks for “women entrepreneurs” or “female entrepreneurs” are being formed.

 

“Entrepreneur” is a French word and means “businessman”.

So a female entrepreneur is a female businessman, or a female male enterpriser.

 

How about we don’t try to do it the male way, but stay true to our womanhood? What could we possibly improve if we oppress ourselves into the oppressor role just to get ahead in our career or enterprise? Female qualities are much more helpful in the workplace. Luckily it looks like the days of patriarchy and masculine business models are coming to an end.

 

So instead of forcing our femaleness into the male practice and become a female businessman, how about we turn the word into a female version?

 

The French language has by default a male and a female version and the female form of “entrepreneur” is: Entrepreneuse

 

So let’s carry it with the grandeur and pizzazz it suggests and do business in a more feminine way. And not because we are feminists, but because feminity is underrepresented in our current business landscape, and we need to strive for more balanced leadership.

 

Join the Entrepreneuse network on Facebook and Google Plus.

 

Illegal Dumping: Despite steep fines, people keep on dumping...

Illegal Dumping: Despite steep fines, people keep on dumping…

 

Cape Town is dirty. The amount of rubbish that lands on the streets and flies around everywhere; the plastic bags caught in fencing, antennas, gates and on top of roofs; pavements are littered with glass shards and stompies.

 

People in Cape Town dump their waste straight on the street, even though littering is illegal and there’s a high fine looming.

 

On top of it, the wind distributes everything that was not securely disposed off everywhere. And not evenly, because it all gets caught in our entrance corners.

 

Because the wind also transports dust, sand, seeds and other more or less biodegradable material, this rubbish compacts into layers of hard soil, raising the ground level bit by bit.

 

So what can be done about this?

 

Make your Bin Day your weekly MOOP Swoop Day

 

MOOP defines perfectly what should be swooped up: Matter Out Of Place.

 

Everything that wasn’t here before us humans spoilt it all must go Leaving No Trace. This burning principle can easily be applied to everyday life, and Bin Day is just the perfect occasion: We never fill up our bin, so before it gets collected we fill it with whatever rubbish is flying around.

 

It is slow going and it can get frustrating especially after the South Easter has buried us in a heap of rubbish, but it feels good to contribute to our community and make it nice for everyone.

 

This was a sh*t load of work, but the result is worth it.

This was a sh*t load of work, but the result is worth it.

 

And doing good is one step closer to receiving good. You never know what positive impact your actions can have.

 

Finally getting to the ground of all that rubbish reveals some interesting heritage: A stoep in front of our back door.

Clearing the ground from all that rubbish reveals some interesting heritage: A stoep in front of our back door and some old service lane path maybe?

 

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Hi, you’re back from the Eastern Cape?

 

Yes, my mom put all her money together to buy me a train ticket.

 

So you’re back to living rough on the abandoned plot?

 

Yes, but it’s not nice. It’s all new people now.

 

Hm, I don’t really understand why you came back in the first place?

 

Do you have 5 Rand?

 

Sorry, we don’t keep any cash, especially since the robbery.

 

Oh, I didn’t know. You got robbed?

 

Yes… It’s South Africa for all of us.

 

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