This is a long set up (and the image will make sense later).
1. So we have table topics at our Toastmasters meetings, in which anyone could contribute on a given topic. Last time around, the question was “how has the economy affected your holiday spirit?”
I answered that I can see some bright side effects of the economy. Namely:
- On a totally selfish level, I’m young enough to have not lost an insurmountable sum in the market. This is a great time to invest at a discount (or sell short for the next year?).
- On a national level, the market has brought home that hubris and the “everyone can have everything” spirit have damaging effects. I’m hoping that the faltering economy will give American a wake-up call to be wiser about what we can really afford and how to best make long term plans.
- On a holiday level, well… the holidays are about bringing people together. And for too long, that’s meant gift giving. Now that people are cutting back, we’ll see more gifts from the heart (if not at a bargain). Besides, isn’t there a saying that tough times bring people together?
2. My parents didn’t know what to get my for Christmas this year… as it happens every year. (I’m one of those lucky bastards who has everything she needs and many of the things she wants. :-) ) So I told them they could buy me book shelves. Most of my books have been stacked on the floor, and they were a huge mess.
So I bought some IKEA book shelves, laid them on their side and made half of my living room into a reading/crafts area. I have to say, it turned out nicely. (Also, dragging two 50lb boxes from the shelves to the register to into the car and up a flight of stairs all by myself ended being good exercise.)
Here’s the pay off: Christmas this year wasn’t about the material gifts. My real Christmas present this year was going home to Texas and seeing my dad’s fish have babies.
I grew up in a household without any pets. My mom isn’t a fan of animals, and while my dad loves them (yes, all of them),he agrees that they generally make a mess, cost to maintain and need sitters when we’re on vacation. Well, since I’ve moved to the Bay Area, and they’re empty nesters, they decided to invest in some fish. Very low maintenance and hours of entertainment for my cat, when she visits.
Growing up without pets, having even fish in the house is a huge change. Better still is when I go home for Christmas and one of the guppies decides to give birth. What’s amazing about guppies (and Wikipedia and the iPhone at 3am) is that they give live births, a.k.a. little fish pop out instead of fish eggs.
Here’s my chronicle of their development.
The guppy started giving birth of a few of fish as a time. My mom spotted them first. Sadly, one (or more because we don’t know) was eaten by the other fish. It was so small that one of the red fish gobbled it up with a quick bite. My dad zipped to Petsmart and bought a breeding tank (basically a plastic holder with holes that floats in the tank and separates the babies from the other fish). My mom helped scoop them into a plastic cup, while dad was gone. Then, we transfered them into the breeding tank. In total, there are 11 babies. That doubles the total number of fish in the tank.
They’ve already doubled in size. You can’t really make it out in this picture, but their eyes have a silver outline and aren’t completely black anymore. There’s some red starting to show on their stomachs. We can’t really tell if it’s just blood circulating or pigmentation.
They’ve gotten a lot bigger. You can see them floating around, while before, you had to squint. They’re definitely developing a red pigment to their skin… err scales. Their stomachs are getting rounder and the skeletal system is becoming more visible. Two of them seem to be smaller, more agile and lighter colored than the other. I’m starting to think back on genetics lessons from high school.
Just FYI, here’s a scale of reference. Below is a reflection of my finger pressed up against the glass as I’m trying to take a photo.
P.S. HUGE props to Canon. This isn’t taken with an SLR. It’s just a quick and dirty point and shoot PowerShot by Canon. The baby fish were probably 2-3 millimeters long at birth, and I got some great shots… even as an amateur photographer. (Okay, the marketing side of me is shutting up now.)
Sadly, I had to leave for the Bay Area after Day 3. I’m not sure if my parents will religiously take photos of them on a daily basis, like I did. But there will be more updates, when I go home in the future.
It’s just that I’ve never been around babies, animal or human. Plants maybe, but not animals. So watching these little fish grow bigger on a daily basis is absolutely fascinating to me. I thought I’d share. :-)
Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. All around happiness.