Sunday, April 29, 2007

April showers bring...

On a beautiful spring Sunday, on a leisurely walk through the neighbourhood, I concede there is some point to the endless April showers rain torrential freakin constant downpour of the last few weeks.

Most of these photos are from my neighbours' gardens. Guess which one is from mine.

Today's dream travel destination: Not far. Van Dusen Gardens, Vancouver. My favourite place to take a walk with my sister. She flew back to Europe yesterday after a two week visit. I miss her already.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Make my day

Today is National Hairball Awareness Day. I’m not kidding, check it out. Now that is a wasted national day. The only people who need to be aware of hairballs are already way too familiar with the whole concept. We step on them in the middle of the night, clean them out of the carpet, and pretend oblivion when the cat whorks, cacks and gags up a whopper right behind a guest’s chair at dinner. If, like us, you have three cats, you could open up a hairball bowling alley.

Who gets to decide these “days”? What moron snagged May 8 as No Socks day? Or National Talk Like a Pirate day on September 19? Did some 15 year old geek hack into all the calendar companies so that May 1 is now designated National Teen day? I’m quite sure no parent proposed that one. The person who approved May 27 as National Grape Popsickle day needs a good shake and a real job.

This has gone too far. What stupid day will someone come up with next, National Beer Appreciation day?

“What? It falls on January 24?” Huh.

Actually, I could get behind that one.

Today's dream travel destination: Bavaria, the place to be next January 24.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Oooh, the things we do for love

I am a tree hugger. An environmentalist. Environmental protection is a large part of my job. I have always smugly believed that recreational activities should be of the self propelled kind, there is no need to burn fossil fuels to have fun. So how did I mark Earth Day?

I went shopping for an SUV. A behemoth, belching, gorilla of an SUV. To replace the slightly smaller, but still belching, guzzling pig already sitting in our driveway.

“Why?” you ask.

For love of course.

When B and I met over five years ago we had some different interests. B enthusiastically embraced a lot of mine, like hiking, kayaking, and snowshoeing. I took up hockey and we play on a beer league co-ed team together. But B’s big love is waterskiing. It has been since he was barely out of diapers. He is an awesome skier, gracefully cutting huge arcs of spray. He can even ski barefoot. And on his wakeboard he jumps around like a 20 year old dude.

As our first summer together approached, I was in conflict. B really wanted me to share his love of boating and skiing. But hauling the boat up to the lake with a gas guzzling SUV, and then spending the day burning more fuel with a powerful motor boat was against my principles.

So what did I do? See for yourself:

I took up wakeboarding. At age 45. I even have my own chick board, wet suit and gloves. Apparently my principles fly out the window when love walks through the door. Actually love only got me started, it was the discovery that playing on the lake with a powerful boat is huge fun that really made me sell out. So I am a slut for a good time.

How do I rationalize my environmentalism with my motorized fun? I don’t. I am gifted at rationalization, but even I can’t think of one for this.

Back to the Earth Day SUV shopping. Our old SUV does not have the cojones to safely pull the new boat we bought last year. We need a, gulp, um, bigger one.

Yes, I am headed to eco-hell for sure, where I will spend eternity cleaning out toxic ashes from the devil’s furnaces. But I’ll have a roaring good time getting there.

Today's dream travel destination: Pitt Lake, on a hot summer weekend, swimming, skiing, wakeboarding, and having a barbeque on a secluded beach with friends.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Late thirties. Really late.

B and I are reading the weekend paper in what we call the reading room. Which is simply our bedroom on a Sunday morning. There are three animals on the bed with us, a special Sunday morning treat. Normally they are not allowed. Not the dogs anyway, the cats know no rules. I have Snuffy the cat curled up in my lap, Henry warming my toes, a cup of strong tea at hand, and the local news section of the paper.

Suddenly my bliss is shattered.

"No freakin' way!" I say to B.

"What's wrong?"

"Centennial House Seniors' old timers softball league is looking for players."

"Old farts playing softball? What's wrong with that?" asks B.

"No, you don't understand," I wail. "I QUALIFY!"

There it is in black and white. The newspaper ad says that women who will be 50 years old any time in 2007 are eligible. (While men have to be 55. WTF? Women are old timers at 50, but men not so much?)

It hits me like a meteor. A real "holy shit" moment. I will be, gasp, 50 this year. Not for a few months yet, but it is approaching like a runaway train. Of course, I can count, and I have been aware of this coming birthday for, well, almost 50 years. But apparently I have been cruising down De Nile River. I can only blame myself for that. I never went through my forties. Because when I turned forty I told people I was in my late thirties. Then I would coyly say, "thirty-ten." (Actually, I didn't always add that last bit.) The next year I was thirty-eleven. It was funny. Even when I was saying I was thirty-fifteen it got an occasional chuckle. I should have dropped it then, because telling people "I am in my late thirties wink thirty-nineteen," is pathetic.

So, note to self: Chin up, attitude check, embrace reality. Embrace 50. Maybe even join the old timers softball league. But wait, I can't throw or catch a ball.

Thank god.

Today's dream travel destination: Rio de Janeiro. Where facelifts are cheap, and everybody does it. Because soon I will be thirty-twenty.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It's going to cost HOW much?

I just got home from the vet, with an assortment of pills and instructions, a sick dog, and a much lighter wallet. Henry has been vomiting and diarrheaing off and on since Friday night. Today he has bloody diarrhea (sorry, no way to convey that less graphically,) so I rushed home from work and got him right to the vet.

After giving him a complete physical work up, putting him on I.V. fluid, drawing blood, and testing urine, the vet announced it was a total mystery. And then presented me with a bill that will cover the next three payments on her Mercedes. I should have collected money from the folks driving past the vet clinic. I provided them with great entertainment as I knelt behind Henry on the little front lawn, in the pissing rain (catch that pun?) trying to snag some pee in a dipper thingy they gave me.

If he is not better tomorrow, she wants me to bring him in to the clinic in the morning where he will go back on an I.V., have x-rays and who knows what other pricey tests.

Seriously though, the money is not an issue, at least not yet. We just want him to get well. But I've wondered at times what our limit would be to pay for a sick or injured pet. Would there even be one? I suppose there has to be, although I have no idea what it would be, and I am thankful it is not a decision I have ever had to face. I have a friend who sold her car and borrowed thousands of dollars from family and friends to pay vet bills after her beloved dog got hit by a car. Would I go that far? The dog survived, only to die of cancer a year later.

Here is the furry woebegone patient, who is lying beside me on an old sheet.

I hope you feel better soon buddy. We have lots of adventures ahead. And I never want to have to choose between you and the mortgage payment.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Who knew?

"women wetting their panties over a flat tire"

Those are the exact words of a Google search that directed somebody to one of my blog posts yesterday. I'm sure the person was not expecting a blog about a rainy day in the Serengeti, Tanzania.

But that search was nothing compared to the word searches that brought people to my recent post about Squirt the cat. They were not looking for an amusing anecdote about a wandering house pet. If I knew when I wrote the post what the verb "squirt" means to some people, I would never have used it as a post title. I can't repeat any of the actual words in those searches here because my Mom and some of her retired friends read this blog. And I'm not sure about access to heart defibrillators in rural Nova Scotia. Some of the search phrases gave ME palpitations!

The hits on my blog more than doubled on the "Squirt" post day. Imagine if I had also used the words "pussy cat".

What is the most outrageous search term that led someone to your blog?

Today's dream travel destination: Snowshoeing in the mountains of Manning Park, in the spring sunshine, with whiskey jacks eating from our hands. Only three hours away, but we don't get there often enough. This was from last April.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Just call Mom

While I was in Ottawa on business last week I got a phone call from my son.

"Mom, I lost my car keys."

"And you expect me to do what, exactly?" I replied.

I have some parenting talents, but finding a set of keys from 4500 kilometres away is not one. I told him he had two choices: find the keys, or call, and pay for, a locksmith. Manchild was not happy with this answer.

Fortunately that call came when the formal part of my meeting was finished. But I was reminded of a similar phone call about four years ago. I was in meetings in Ottawa then too. I had left my son on his own overnight for the first time. He had instructions to call me at set times, but not during the meeting hours unless it was a dire emergency. I was nervous about this big leap into responsibility, so I kept my cell phone out on the table on "silent", just in case.

At a crucial point in our discussions, my phone began vibrating and dancing around the table. The display showed the call was from home, so I grabbed it and ran out on 25 people in the boardroom. "Ohmigod, what's wrong?" I thought. "Is the house on fire? Did he cut a finger off preparing lunch?"

"Hello, what's wrong, are you O.K.?"

"Hi Mom, have you seen my grey hoodie?"

Today's dream travel destination: Wookey Hole Caves, Somerset England. Beautiful, cool, magestic. And that deep underground, no cell phone service.