Sunday, November 13, 2005

My Halifax adventure!

I spent this past weekend in Halifax Nova Scotia visiting my friend, who is studying at Dalhousie U. It was so great! I had never been to Halifax before, but more importantly, I cannot remember the last time I've had so much time to spend with Michelle! I may have never had this much time to spend with Michelle before this.
I arrived on friday night, and Michelle met me at the airport. After a long ride on the airport shuttle, we had a yummy dinner back at her place and talked for a long, long, long time... oh yeah, we drank some wine :) (we're good at that, aren't we?)
The next day, we were up early and went to the farmer's market - which was such a cool experience! It's held in an older portion of the Alexander Keith's brewery - and it winds around like a little maze, every corner turning up new musicians, delicious sights and smells, wicked coffee, and the best damn cinnamon roll I've every had! So we just wandered through the market, talking and taking it all in, and then we headed for the harbour in the bitter cold, but I had so much fun!
It's a beautiful city and of course, it was great to spend the time with Michelle.
Later in the day, she gave me a tour of the lab where she works at Dalhousie, and that was just fascinating! Brains, and slides and microscopes, oh my!
Saturday night was an appetizer gathering with friends at her place before dinner at the Fireside, it was really a great evening, and a very happy weekend overall.

Thank you Michelle for the hospitality, I had such a wonderful time!
Hope we can meet up over xmas (I will have a room ready for you and Samuel!)

curious cat/dog happenings

So, once Lucy was back to her normal self, we had a very odd evening of animal happenings. Just to introduce this evening's cast: Ender is a 3 year old lab, and Lucy and Eddie are my two cats.
SO, my brother and I were sitting on the couch petting Lucy when she began some very strange behaviour. The cats are not typically fond of their brutish brother, Ender, and they usually try to avoid even eye contact with him at all costs. This night however, Lucy began sitting and staring at Ender for long periods of time - just staring, no emotion involved, staring steadily as if she were practicing a jedi mind trick. This did something to Ender, because he sat their whimpering and fidgeting the whole time Lucy was staring at him. And she did this from several points in the room, she moved around, and from each new spot, just sat staring. For one of the staring sessions she was about a foot from his head, on the floor in front of the couch he was sitting on. She also jumped onto the arm of said couch, and finally up on the back of it as well. This was far too much for Ender, he thought she was really going to kill him this time, so he left the room.
But later that night, with all five of us in the bed, Eddie left the bed, and went downstairs and was MEOOOOOOWING and MEEEEOOOOOOOOOOWING quite a bit. The next sound we heard was a tennis ball DROPPING beside the bed. Ender had not brought one to bed with him, Eddie had brought the tennis ball up from downstairs and dropped it by the bed... an offering? An attempt to get the big brown canine off the bed? That is more likely.
Lying in bed, I thought, what can it all mean? I thought we had reached a turning point in their relationship, maybe cats were making peace with dog and the world would be a better place...
When I awoke the next morning, I realized that, in fact, hell had not frozen over, and life was back to "normal" once again, with cats hissing and stepping out of the way of the big brute... so I will never know what thoughts were passing through the collective kitty mind that night...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

EXTRA, EXTRA, Read all about it: "Boy" Saves Cat!

We arrived back from Jamaica on a saturday evening, about 5.30, and we had planned to check in on the animals, and then go to rent about 3 or 4 movies, and complete our vacation by vegging on the couch with our two cats and our dog.
When we walked in, my aunt was here - her car was not... at first, I was really happy to see her, gave her a happy greeting and a big hug - and then I started wondering... why is she here? She began by saying, "Lucy is okay, BUT..."
And from this point, the previous week was gone temporarily from my head.
She explained that the dog must have been chasing the cat (a regular occurance in our house) and Lucy must have tried to hide behind the plethora of crap we have in the basement, and between the two of them a big heavy cutting board (it's really more like a two inch thick BLOCK of wood) fell on Lucy. That's at least the commonly accepted lore of what happened, because there seems to be no other explanation. I'm so lucky that my brother was home when this happened, because he heard the big noise and went to see what happened, and when he found her, she was bleeding a LOT from the nose, eye, mouth area, and sort of stumbling around. He says she began going into shock almost immediately, and he rushed her to the emergency vet. They worked on her there overnight, and he moved her to her regular vet the next day. She was still pretty groggy when we got home, which was three days after her bonk on the head - and she hadn't been eating.
My poor Luce seemed to progress each day, my brother had already seen improvements since bringing her home, and from the point that I got home, we only saw improvement. It had happened on the wednesday night, and by the monday evening, she was playing a bit -swatting at my bookmark while I moved it in front of her... and on tuesday, when I came home to have lunch with her, she ate some havarti cheese and some chicken broth! I was on cloud nine! I was so happy she was eating!
So from there, she has gotten back to my good old Lucy - she sleeps with me every night, she comes to say hi when I call her...
I consider myself very lucky that my brother took such expert care of his little feline-neice, and that she is a strong kitty as well!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

On Jamaica time!

In October, we went to Jamaica to celebrate our friend's birthday - and it just so happened that we left the day after our anniversary - so we could say we were celebrating that too.
We stayed at the Riu Negril in Jamaica, and it was incredible! We only made it out diving one day, because of the recent hurricane action down there - and it happened to be the last possible day we could dive, and the first day the dive boat had gone out in over a week. I consider us lucky there.
On our first dive, I did something completely stupid. As we were descending, I let go of the anchor line, figuring I'd just sink as normal - not accounting for the current, and the extra neoprene and the weight I'd gained - long story short, I didn't have enough weights on to get down, and the current pushed me right away from the anchor line. At this point, I fought the current to get back to the boat and grab more weights, my buddy (my boyfriend, pretty ticked by this point) waiting for me the whole time. When we finally did descend, no more than 5 minutes since my first attempt at sinking - the divemaster had left! He and the group were nowhere to be seen! Visibility was not great, maybe only about 30 feet or less, so we could not see them anywhere once we made it to the anchor! He just took off without us, and at this point, I was wondering if he realized where he had lost two people from his group. Don and I just swam around the anchor line, seeing what we could see, but we were only 30feet down, so that wasn't much. He was really disappointed in me, and rightly so, like I said, it was stupid, but we were both really pissed with this divemaster, especially when he said (afterwards, back on the boat) "What happened to you? I saw you float away from the line?!" I thought, holy crap, buddy, isn't it your job to make sure everybody gets down and back up safely?
I've been diving for a while now, and I've never done anything this stupid before, but I've also seen divemaster after divemaster, counting heads, and keeping the group in line.
We went on a second dive with the same divemaster, and another guy had trouble descending this time. You should have seen how quickly this guy swam up to help him - he knew he had messed up with me on the first dive. But later on that dive, the divemaster just swam ahead of the group, expecting everyone to follow, and sure enough, two of the newbie divers decided to swim after something that caught their eye, and the divemaster didn't even notice! It was my boyfriend who called them back, and by this time, they were so far away that all I could see were goggles when they turned when being called back. This guy was just plain irresponsible.
In spite of all that, I did get to see a turtle, my first one on a dive! So, that was incredibly exciting in itself.
As for the resort, I didn't really care for it, it wasn't awful, but it didn't really set itself apart in any way - well, except for the food. I have to say that of all the resorts I've stayed at in Cuba, Dominican and Jamaica, the food here ranked the lowest. Not much selection, poor availability (most resorts at least have a grill going for the late night and in-between snacks...)
But I really loved Negril, it seemed more laid back, less congested than Montego Bay, and I would return to the area, I'd just stay at a different resort.

Happy Birthday Aaron!

The much rumoured, but rarely duplicated (thank goodness) Skeletor Cake!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Nobody likes a know-it-all

Yesterday, driving to work, I was listening to a bit on the CBC about intelligent design - some ridiculous piece of weaponry in the arsenal of the anti-evolutionists.
Intelligent Design (referred to ID) proposes that the theory of evolution is faulty because it cannot explain EVERYTHING. ID faults evolution for not explaining every last little detail, like highly complex and repetitive patterns in nature. The ID-ologists proclaim that because there are so many repetitive complex patterns occuring in animal, mineral and vegetable alike, they must have been "designed" with intent by some conscious being.
All I can think of in reply is, "COME ON!" Of course we don't know EVERYTHING! And it's not the fault of any theory anywhere - we're human beings! I'm fairly positive that at this particular place in our development (or evolution, of you will) we are not capable of knowing or discovering EVERYTHING, and that's okay...
True intelligence is being able to admit when you don't understand or know something. It's the drive to keep searching, keep experimenting and wondering. It is NOT the ability to say, "I don't know, therefore, it must be magic," which, is essentially what this ID guesstimate gives us.
If we can't comprehend all the mysteries and complexities that exist all around us and inside us, we do not have to come up with some imaginary friend or process responsible for it all.
And, if that's how you personally deal with the unknown, well, that's fine, we all have our own take on the world. But consider that this story of Intelligent design is being taught in some schools, along side other curriculum such as evolution, gravity and algebra. Outside of a mythology class or a comparative religion study, this sort of story telling does not have a place in any school.

As a species, we have learned so much over our lifetime; and we have much more to learn. It makes me cringe to think that someone could give up that easily - just point their finger at a mystical, unknown source, with no evidence other than the fact that our species hasn't uncovered a theory of EVERYTHING!
And, it makes me sad to think that there are so many people out there willing to take the wonder of out everyday life as well. Should we be in such a rush to know all that there is to know that we just start making it up as we go?

Monday, February 28, 2005

Laser Eye surgery, anyone?

Is there anyone out there who has had experience with corrective laser eye surgery? Or do you know anyone who has? I'm seriously considering having it done in Toronto - and I'd appreciate any feedback I can get, good or bad.


Saturday, February 26, 2005

What's in the box?

Today, my Lucy taught us a lesson. We had scheduled her a vet appointment, and getting her to the vet is always a traumatic event for all involved. Lucy is quite the ninja, so to get her into the cat carrier normally involves lots of chasing, pleading, a ruse or two, and a great deal of frustration on our part. For Lucy, it's full of fear, vomit (and other outputs) and fancy moves with her ginsu claws.
We decided that we'd prefer to avoid all of that if we could, and try to get her to the vet a different way this time. Don decided that we should just put a harness and leash on her and try to carry her to and from the car. A few puncture wounds later, he came to the conclusion that would not work as planned.
Last night, my brother had been playing with Lucy in a cardboard box - she adores cardboard boxes - and he mentioned how easy it had been to carry her around the house in the box, and maybe we should try the box to get her to the vet. We took his advice, and gave it a try - and my Lucy was so calm, her breathing didn't change, she just sat in her box, peeking out the top when she wanted. I was stunned. We'll be taking her to the vet in her cardboard box every time now.
She must feel more in control, because there is no door being locked on her, and when she wants out, she just sits, up, looks around and ducks back in.
I have to admit, this involved a lot of trust on my part. I was worried that she'd escape, rush into traffic, getting harmed, lost, or worse. But she showed us that if we just gave her a bit of freedom, that she was much more comfortable, and she wasn't interested in getting away.

So, next time you are trying to fold a feline into a crate, and the claws and the curses are flying - try a bit of trust and a simple cardboard box instead. It may work for you the way it worked for us! (I still recommend the harness and leash!)

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Underestimating happiness

How many people experience true happiness in their daily lives? Think about your life. When was the last time you were truly happy, full of joy, beaming a giant smile?
Next time you are busy rushing about your day, stop, and take a look around you and take notice of the expressions on the faces around you. Can you tell what they are feeling?
When I look around me, I see a range of expressions, mostly bored, hurried, frustrated.
In our constant hurry-up culture, people always seem to be thinking of the next thing, where they are headed, what they are late for, what to make for dinner. Very few of us actually reside in the current moment. I find myself in the same state, every day, and I'm working to change it.
Someone once told me that we can only find happiness in the present moment and I know this is true.
I had spent a large part of my younger life feeling that it was "cheesey" to be really happy, that it was dumb, or proved that I wasn't an intellectual. Boy, was I wrong and dumb at the same time! I was afraid to find happiness for the sake of happiness because I thought it would make me look shallow. Maybe there are others like me out there - I hope not. If I found out that only I had made that stupid, dumb mistake, then I'd be very happy!
I do wonder though if other people try to make a conscious effort to fit happiness into their day. I know what it's like to be swept away by waves of "should dos" and "have tos" and "can't be lates."
Maybe I was a late learner - but if there are other people out there who are being drowned by all
of these demands and expectations, I have one word of advice: breathe.
I have learned this through my yoga practice, and I've found it to be invaluable advice. Breathe, I mean it. Pay attention to your breath and nothing else. Don't change it, just let it flow as it normally does. You'd be amazed at how happiness will find you when you take yourself out of the rat race for a moment.
And if I'm cheesey and shallow for saying it, then so be it.


Thursday, February 10, 2005

busy buzzings, and Metric rocks!

Wow, I haven't entered anything new here in a LOOONG time. Last time was summer, which, in light of the cold weather today seems very VERY far away.
Since I last entered anything, we've got thru xmas, we went to Banff for a brief holiday (most of which I was sick) and I've learned to knit, which is currently occupying much of my thoughts - that and V-Day, being part of the floral industry.
I'm amazed at how much I'm enjoying knitting. I never would have expected it, but I am really enjoying it. At this point, all I know is the knit stitch, but I can bind off, and I can make stripes with different colours of yarn. I never thought that would excite me so much.
I've read that many people knit who you wouldn't expect to - Laurence Fishburne, for one - enough said.
AND I went to see Metric in concert with my sister - they are incredbile live - if you haven't seen them and you're looking for a great night of live music, check them out when they come to a town near you. I'd even suggest that it's worth travelling to a town not near you just to see them!
I've also had my interest in yoga renewed, thanks to a teacher at a local studio - I seem to have found my connection to it again, and it is wonderful to be involved with again. Although with work being so busy over the last couple weeks, I haven't been able to give it the time it needs, I am at the point of doing a practice almost every day, including about 10 minutes first thing in the morning. If I think of it like breakfast, something I can't skip, I usually won't miss it.
Well, as usual, my house is a mess, and my mat and needles are calling me. Time to go do too many things at once. I must try to do more regular entries on my blog.