Friday, July 31, 2009

System Administrator Appreciation Day

Don't you just love it when somebody takes the time to thank you for what you do? Tell you that you're doing a good job, that you're appreciated and that you're not just another cog in the wheel? I got the sweetest email today from a coworker:

This is the day that all System Administrators across the globe, will be showered with large piles of cash in appreciation of their diligent work.

I'm afraid this is the best I can do in terms of cash. Thanks for all you do for all of us!!!

I didn't have the heart to tell him that I'm not a system administrator.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I like to shop. I like to buy things. I especially like to shop while travelling, and to buy mementos of my trip. However, if I'm not careful, I impulse shop and buy the wrong thing.

This would be a perfect example.

In case you can't tell, this shirt it made out scads and scads of crinkly, elasticised netting; three layers thick. Each lovely layer is edged with a row of shiny Christmas ribbon, to ensure the maximum level of tourist tackiness.

It's supposed to be a Mexican peasant blouse. I bought it in Old Mexico, San Diego, on my first day of my trip with my cousin Katie a few years ago. I was excited about finally going on a trip again. I got caught up in the atmosphere. I lost my mind.

Beyond that, I have no idea what I was thinking.


I need to go now. I need to email my cousin Katie and tell her that she failed me as my retail voice of reason. If she doesn't step it up and talk some sense into me if/when I ever try to make a purchase like this again, I'm not going to stop her from getting cornrows when we go to Jamaica.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


My sister is one of the lucky ones. She managed to take what she loved, and make a career out of it. She's a dog trainer. Specifically, she teaches agility and judges agility tournaments. So, it follows that she'd need dogs who are good at agility. The two dogs that she started off with are getting old, and while they are still a big part of her family, aren't actively competing. So, last year she got a new dog.

Meet Brazen.

In her 18 months, Brazen has become quite the accomplished dog. She's got a boatload of tricks that she can do, and she's happy to show some of them off.

Perching on the stool was one of the first tricks she learned. Granted, it was easier when she was smaller; but she's still game to play whenever asked. She'll perch up on that stool and stay as long as you want. She stands on that stool too, with her feet all together like a circus dog on a ball.

Once, my sister had a plumber in to do some work. He went down to the basement, and my sister left him alone to work. The dogs are typically pretty quiet, so she didn't think anything of it when they weren't in the room with her. After a while, she heard the plumber start to laugh, and went to check it out. It seems that Brazen had decided to watch him work. She'd tiptoed down the stairs and perched herself on top of his tool box (cross-wise, so she was sitting on it like a bird on a wire.) The plumber thought it was a great trick, except that she was blocking his access to his tools.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Our Weekend Adventure

This weekend, I had the very important job of taking my nephews to see the latest Harry Potter movie. We live about two hours apart, and I don't get to see the boys nearly enough... maybe once every couple of months. At least once a year or so, I try to go up to their house for an overnight visit so that we can really catch up. That's what I did yesterday.

We talked, they showed me all their latest and greatest toys. We stayed up until midnight, and hung out in our pj's in the back yard. This morning we went to their local farmer's market - which is THE best farmer's market I've ever been to - and then this afternoon we went to the movie before they humoured me and let me wander around a local flower/gift shop.

For what it's worth, they tell me that they enjoyed the movie, but I think it was probably a little too scary for them. There were sudden bathroom breaks which coincidental occurred right around the scarier scenes. Fortunately for me, I got to play the Auntie card... it was their mom who escorted them to the loo 3 times while I stayed behind to watch the movie. Even better, I still get the credit for taking them.

Excellent visit.... wish I could see them more. Wish I'd have brought a camera with a fully charged battery. I generally take my camera everywhere I go with the boys, and snap all kinds of pictures. The pictures turned out pretty dark last night, beause I didn't have enough juice for the flash.

Normally, I bring the dogs with me on these visits. Cotton stayed with my parents this time (the 2 hour drive would have driven him over the edge), but Tallulah came along. She thinks the boys are the bomb, and I'm pretty sure that the feeling is mutual. Plus, she got to try out a whole bunch of things that she'd never get to do with just stuffy old me...

For example, I don't have a trampoline filled with beach balls.

Nor do I have the imagination to put a donut on her head.

She wore that over her eyes for quite a while, and she didn't seem to mind. Tallulah's always had a rose coloured view of the world, so I guess I'm not surprised.

Eventually, the donut worked its way down to her neck, and it stayed there even longer. Considering how hot it's been for the last couple of days, I think maybe that she was hoping that there's be a pool in this excellent yard full of fun-loving boys, seven dogs (4 others were visiting unexpectedly), toys, trampolines and agility equipment.

Sadly for her, there is no pool.

What was there, was a new friend for life. Meet my sister's dog, Brazen.

More about her later...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This isn't very nice...

...But I'm going to say it anyway. I think that the stress that he's put me through over the last couple of weeks (months) has earned me a pass. I especially feel entitled to some cattiness since the lil' dude had himself another panic attack tonight. It lasted a good 45 minutes, and could only be soothed by me massaging his ears for what seemed like forever.

So, for what it's worth, here goes: Cotton has lost some weight lately, and that makes his eyes more prominent. Those eyes, those floppy ears... I think that he looks like a white Dobby the House Elf.

Even so, I'd appreciate it if you'd think positive thoughts for the lil' dude for me. He's got 8 more days before the new meds kick in fully. If they don't work soon, I'm going to need some happy pills for myself.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cosmic Lawn Care Gods, please help

Things have been pretty rough around here lately. Cotton's been having really bad panic attacks, and last night he had a scary reaction to one of the meds that the vet gave him. Today, on day 1 of the other medication (that isn't expected to take full effect for 10 days) he's more deeply worried than terrified. I'm cautiously optimistic that that's a good sign.

As if the stress of a sick dog isn't enough, I've had another loss. My lawn mower bit the dust on Saturday, part way through the weekly mowing. I had no choice but to call in the big guns (my dad) to finish the job. He's not really keen on becoming my permanent lawn boy, though, so I've been inquiring about getting it fixed. It turns out that it's cheaper to buy new.... or new to me.

I've never actually set out to shop for a lawn mower before. The Cosmic Gods of Lawn Care have always stepped in for me when needed; but as long as the lawn is still growing, I don't know if I can wait for them again.

My first lawn mower was a reel mower. My brother donated it to me. This was before Earth Friendly was cool, but I still kind of liked the idea of going retro. Unfortunately, the blades were dull. It'd take 3-4 passes to cut anything, and could get frustrating.

Lucky for me, a former coworker happened to drive past my house while I was out making my multiple passes on the lawn and took pity on me. Or, maybe I should say he found a sucker upon whom he could foist of his old unwanted lawn mower. Apparently he'd tried to sell and/or give it away many times at various garage sales or community swap meets, but there hadn't been any takers. I was happy to take this mower. Sure, it was orange, and rusty, and the wheels kept falling off; but the price was right, the motor ran and you could usually get around the yard a few times before having to screw the wheels back on.

I used this lawn mower for five years. It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done. Because I'm cheap, I never considered finding a replacement; even if the rust was getting getting so bad that I could stand over top of it and see the blade turning.

Then, right around the time that I was closing the sale of my first house, my dad was in town and decided to mow my lawn. At some point in the process, the rusty handle apparently snapped off on one side. You could only really push it from the one side after that, and anybody who wasn't freakishly strong on their left side would end up going in circles.

My dad, ever resourceful that he is, packed up the old lawnmower and brought it home with him. He strapped two old hockey sticks to either side of it, so that the blades faced each other and met in the middle, and declared the old lawn mower as good as new.

I'm all about reduce, recycle and reuse; but the hockey stick lawn mower was a bit much. My dad was so proud of his handy work - I couldn't bring myself to tell him how horrified I was at the thought of using this contraption. (And in a new neighbourhood, where nobody knew me yet, no less.) I didn't say anything, but I had no intention of using it. Thankfully, the Cosmic Gods of Lawn Care stepped in once again.

I was walking the dogs, and came upon a garage sale. I happened to spy a lawn mower amongst the junk, and stopped to inquire. I know nothing about lawn mowers, but this one started when it was plugged in. Even better, this mower mulched, which gave me an excuse to give my dad for the upgrade. I managed to talk the guy into lowering his $40 price tag down to $30. (I'd have paid a lot more not to have to use the hockey stick mower, so I snapped it up.)

Four years later, that $30 mower has more than paid for itself. I never had a problem with it, until the day it died. I don't begrudge it's decision to move onto the great fairway in the sky... I guess I just wish that it had waited until I could hit the end of season sales. I've got big responsibilities this weekend that I can't get out of (more on that later), but after that I guess I'm going to have to hit the garage sales. In the meantime, I'm going to have to figure out how best to pay homage to the Cosmic Gods of Lawn Care.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Things that shouldn't be

I got dressed for work twice today. Lately, this has happened quite often actually. I'll get up, let the dogs out and go about getting ready. I'll pick out what I'm wearing to work, get dressed and then move into the washroom so that I can do my hair. Lately - more often than not, it seems - I'll lift my arms while I blow dry my hair, and I'll see that the reflection in the mirror has a big splotch of white deodorant in the armpit of her shirt.

Why do they even make non-invisible deodorant anymore? Now that they've mastered the art of invisible deodorant, what is the purpose of the stuff that leaves white smudges all over everything with which it comes into contact? Who thinks hhmmmmn... I think I'd like to wear my best little back dress today, and I'd like to accent that with white circles under my pits?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New toy

I got a new toy today.

It's supposed to be an ergonomically correct wheel barrow, which is directly correlated with work in my mind. I wouldn't be very excited about it, but I got something else today too.

I'm thinking that I can use all the help that I can get.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The day after the workout of your life - when your sides hurt so badly that you needed to lean on your dog in order to get out of bed - you might be tempted to take shortcuts when getting dressed. It may seem as though a skirt would be easier to get into than a pair of pants. That's probably true. However, I'd recommend thinking long and hard about having to get into the control top pantyhose before you decide to go with the skirt.

... I'm just sayin'...

Monday, July 13, 2009


Winter is still of the opinion that he should be hand fed.

His feed-me station has been on top of the fridge since the poodle came home... it's about the only place in the house that she can't reach. Until recently, he'd hop up there and eat what he wanted before going on about his day of world supremacy.

Lately, he's been waiting on the top of the fridge for somebody to come along and feed him from their fingers.

It can be a long wait.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I hate mornings.
I hate exercise for the sake of exercise.
I hate being bossed around, and doing anything for no reason other than that's what I'm told.

Knowing all that, doesn't it make sense that I've signed up for boot camp fitness classes?

Classes start at 5:30am tomorrow.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


***Insert witty blog entry here.***

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We love foreigners

Now that Vancouver will host the 2010 Winter Olympics, these are some questions people from all over the world are asking.
Believe it or not these questions about Canada were posted
on an International Tourism Website.
Obviously the answers are a
joke; but the questions were really asked!

Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? ( England )
A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Q: Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? ( USA )
A: Depends on how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto - can I follow the Railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada ? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto ,Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (England)
A: What, did your last slave die?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe Ca-na-da is that big country to your North...oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Canada? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada ? (England)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Where can I sell it in Canada? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada ? (USA)
A: Only at Thanksgiving.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada , but I forget its name. It's a kind of big horse with horns. (USA)
A: It's called a Moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My smile for the day

I found this note paper at Homesense today.

Is that not the most cheerful note set that you've ever seen?

I know I'm not supposed to buy 'stuff' for the sake of having it, but I did it anyway. The thought of getting something in the mail like that made me smile, so I decided to buy them. That way, maybe I can make somebody else smile when I send it to them.

Plus, they were only $2.99 for a pack of 12. That makes me smile too.

PS - I'm thinking of starting a section of this blog that's reserved for purchases that make me happy. Does that make me materialistic? Maybe I should wait to do that, until I've finished my latest read: The Credit Diet.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Asparagus?!? Really???

Cotton has been a big worry for a while now. He's been in a constant state of terror for about a couple of weeks, and I can't figure out what he's afraid of. This isn't new for him, it's just the worst that it's been in a really long time. Living with him when he gets like this is like living with a colicky baby; except that I have no guarantee that he'll grow out of it some day.

He shakes constantly, and uncontrollably. So much so that the chair vibrates when he sits on my lap. He also pants a lot, and very loudly. There's no question that he's very upset. The problem is that I can't figure out the cause.

I truly have been questioning his quality of life, and wondering if allowing him to live like this is cruel. More than once, I've tried to start preparing myself to make the most difficult decision of all. Other times, I can't help but to become angry with him, thinking it's just dramatics on his part and wanting him to suck it up. Then reality hits, and I remember that there's no benefit to him to be acting like this.

DAP isn't working anymore, which is disappointing. I'd thought that we finally found something that would help him for life. I know I need to bring him to the vet, and start tying new meds to help him mellow out, but my regular vet isn't around. I think, in this case, it's worth it to wait until somebody who knows him - who knows (and supports) my aversion to putting them through unnecessary tests or adding unnecessary chemicals to their bodies - is around. I'm hoping to get him in sometime next week.

In the meantime, I'll try just about anything to get the dude to calm down. I spent most of the morning yesterday just walking around with him in my arms, trying to convince him that it's OK. Really - it is.

He didn't believe me.

By then, I'd tried just about anything. I stayed in bed a few hours longer than I wanted to, because that's the only place that he's calm - and he won't stay there unless I'm in bed with him. I tried taking him outside with me, running him through commands, playing games and I even tried ignoring his behaviour. At one point, I had to lock myself in a room without him because if I didn't, I was sure I was going to lose it.

When I came out of the room, I picked him up and preceded to reheat myself some lunch. Keep in mind that Cotton is not a dog that cares about food. He cares even less about food when he's stressed; and - believe me - he's been stressed lately. I've eaten many meals with Cotton on one side of my lap and my dinner plate on the other. So, you can imagine my surprise when the lil'dude looked over and let me know that he wanted some of my lunch.

It was asparagus filled ravioli that I'd tossed in olive oil and fresh lemon juice. I couldn't imagine that he'd like it, but I was willing to try anything by then. So, I gave him a taste; and he loved it! He loved it so much, he didn't wait for me to give him another piece; but tried to dive into my plate instead. I held him back, but ended up giving him small pieces of it until the remainder of my lunch was gone. (There were only a few raviolis left by then.)

Amazingly, after he'd had the ravioli, he was calm.... for a while. But when I got up and started to move around again, he started to stress out some more. So, I went digging into the fridge, looking for a treat that would help him.

Cheese? No.
Salami? Don't think so.
Bread? no
Fried egg? nope.

I didn't have any other cold pasta, but I did have some left over baked asparagus. I tried giving him a piece, and he loved it. So, I brought a small bowl of it with me to my office. When Cotton followed me in, all stressy and panting, I picked him up and gave him a piece of asparagus. He ate it, and then a few more. Then he settled in. When I moved to another room again (which I do often - I rarely stay in one place for long) I brought my asparagus with me. Each time that I moved, Cotton got all stressy again. Each time that I moved, I gave him some asparagus, and he'd eventually calm down. It got to the point that I'd get up and he'd follow me, looking for his treat. By the end of the day, he was looking for his asparagus before he started to stress out.

This isn't a permanent solution to the problem, but - for now - it's helping to break the vicious cycle of terror. For now, Cotton has a new treat that he loves more than he is afraid of *whatever* it is that he's afraid of. Maybe tomorrow the asparagus won't work anymore, and he'll be back into panic mode. Or, maybe - hopefully - tomorrow he'll still be following me around, hoping for another bite of asparagus.

Gotta go shopping for asparagus tonight. Lil'dude has him some expensive tastes.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Last summer, I discovered that a neighbourhood cat was using the dirt along the side of my house as a litter box. I decided to plant barrier plants in the area to keep the cats away. Somehow - the way these things always do - it grew into something much bigger. I've been digging for weeks, but the cat crap garden is officially done. (Sorry - all my gardens have names, and this one kinda stuck)

It's mostly ground cover, with lilacs at either end of the house, peonies planted every 3-4 feet, and a will-be-tall-someday juniper in the very center. There are sweet peas planted on either side of the juniper. I'm thinking that I'll plant clematis there down the road.

I tried to be fiscally responsible (*snicker*) so I planted small, young plants. It'll be a few years before they fill in.

The 12 feet along the side of the deck is the only garden in the yard that's reserved for annuals. Of all the plants around, sweet peas, cosmos and lavartera are still my favorites. Again... they're small. Our weather still has everything about a month behind.

Needless to say, I'm in denial and pretending that I've got a lush, healthy lawn. Otherwise, I'd be too embarrassed to show pictures of the area.

Oliver's garden has filled in quite nicely this year, despite a distinct lack of attention from me.
I planted it two years ago, in memory of Oliver the cat who died that year.

Please pretend that the lawn is lush and green in this picture too.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


He's going to be ten in August.

I kind of hope he never outgrows the kitten stage.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I've got this tendency, when I get about 80% finished a project, to stall and stop making any progress. The closets in the master bedroom are a perfect example of this.

I finished painting my bedroom back in April, and got the new curtains and light fixture up shortly after that. Since then, I've done absolutely nothing about the closets. I haven't stained the doors, hired anybody to install them, painted their insides (decided if I'm going to paint their insides) or even returned most of my clothes back from the spare room. I've been running to the other room to get dressed for so long that I hardly notice anymore.

However, something caught my eye tonight that's just a whole ball of wrong...

It seems that, without the closet doors in place, Himself has found yet another way to ensure that I am coated in a patina of long white cat hairs, everywhere I go.

Methinks it's time to get those doors back where they belong.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A sight you don't see every day.

I was walking the dogs last night, and I passed by an area in the park where there was a family reunion going on. As we approached the group, all conversation and activity came to a stop as they stared.

We were almost past the party when one of the boys says "Whoa. THAT'S not a sight that you see every day."

Earlier in the day, some guy called out and said "Hey - it's Tina Turner!" when we walked into the pet store.

Even if I'm just the frumpy dog walker, I'm still having so much fun with Tallulah's new hairdo.

I think she likes it too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Clarification

Dear Mr Robin, Sir

Thank you for eating only a portion of each of my strawberries.

I appreciate that you saved some for me; however, that wasn't quite what I meant when I asked you not to eat them all.