Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monday AMuse


... still sick, still coughing, still alive

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


During my more or less lucid moments of the past few days, I was writing a blog post in my head to tell you all how sick and miserable I was feeling. No gory details (I will spare you that horror) but mostly to garner sympathy for my chills and fever. Someone to bring me chicken soup and put fresh linens on the bed might be nice, too.

But all that paled in importance when I heard that The Sagittarian's of More Canterbury Tales house was destroyed in the latest earthquake. They are all safe.

My heart goes out to all the people New Zealand.

Friday, February 18, 2011

a walk on the wild side

Yesterday was a day to be outside; warm, if a bit damp, with a high of 12 celcius!
So after my 'organize your photos' class at the Apple Store, I decided to head down to Port Credit for a bite to eat and a walk along the waterfront.

They have a lovely little marina there which I think I like better than ours

The Lasalle Marina is pretty, but quite isolated, whereas the Port Credit Marina is off the main road and right 'downtown'. And more importantly, has a restaurant overlooking the water. There are many other restaurants I could have eaten at, but I chose this one specifically because I wanted to watch the ducks. (who were racing to get food from someone off to the far right in this view)

There were several different species of ducks to watch than the usual mallards that inhabit our bay. We get the odd diving duck or two, but here there at least a dozen others, like these long tail ducks
Of course, the Credit River was free of ice where it met the lake, which would allow them to dive
whereas the bay at Lasalle Park (where I stopped to get comparison shots) is still frozen.
The Lasalle Marina does, however, have way more swans
and infinitely more mallards.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

eating habits

I have always been amazed at people who would take a big bite of some food (or gulp of drink) only to discover it was something way too hot/spicy/distasteful etc. Perhaps it is because I was a picky eater as a child, but I have never not taken a small sample of the food, or not surreptitiously sniffed at it before putting anything in my mouth. That's not to say I haven't been caught off guard by an aftertaste, or chunk of too hot potato, or a burning from a chili, but at least I have never staggered around helplessly feeling as if I was dying. My mother once, when sushi was still a very new experience, covered her piece of whatever it was with a generous slather of wasabi. She was warned by my brother, but it was too late ("oh, I like horseradish") ... we all watched in horror as her face turned seven shades of red and the tears streamed. It may have been the only time I ever saw her drink beer.

You have all seen that piece about how to give a cat a pill. Abby was due for the second of her 1/4 appetite stimulant pill on Sunday night. A teeny, tiny, itty, bitty pill was already quartered with the first quarter given to her by the vet before she was fully awake from the sedation. We all knew it would be tough, but with her absolute love of yoghourt, I thought this minuscule thing could be crushed and stirred into the yoghourt. I put the crushed pill quarter into the bottom half of the container and gave it a little stir. Nope. Not interested. She just walked away. I thought maybe there was too much fruit left, so last night we tried again. I even gave up the whole 125g snack sized French Vanilla Activia yoghourt for the cause. Nothing doing. She came running and looked at it and walked around the container. She sniffed it. She very hesitantly put her tongue close to it and took a tentative tiny lap. And spent several seconds trying to get it off her tongue. She pawed and moved the container around the floor and walked around it again... I took a spoonful and put it in a saucer, hoping she would think it was something new... not a chance. I even tried tasting it myself, wondering what kind of reaction I would have (but then, I am a little weightier than a cat, any cat. household cat, that is). Everything tasted as I would have expected it should. I tried spooning it into her. I tried spreading it on her face for her to lick off. She hadn't eaten anything all day, so I was getting a little worried. She knew it was yoghourt. She knew she liked it, but no way was she going to dive in and lap it up.
Today, I gave her a my finished yoghourt bowl, without any pill fragments... all gone in seconds.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

dear abby

We are all full of cuddles and purrs and head scratches now.
But yesterday was another story.
I came home and woke the cat up to shift her off the middle of the bed and instead of climbing off in a snit, she staggered around, could barely open her eyes and I was convinced she could not see. Poor thing was as limp as a dishrag.
A couple of hours later, I came back from an appointment and a fruitless search for a veterinary clinic that could see her immediately and she seemed to have gained at least enough strength to get to the litter box for a pee. Which wasn't as much of a good thing as I'd thought when the vet at the emergency hospital later couldn't get a 'sample'.
And, as I knew would be necessary, she had to be sedated before anything could be even thought of being done. Because, my sweet little cat turns into a howling, hissing, spitting monster whenever she gets to a vet's office. Or feels her personal space is being invaded. Or sometimes when she just doesn't like you any more.

But, really, she is the nicest, most friendly cat - she will be the first to greet you at the door and will do that floppy thing all over your feet that cats are wont to do. She will purr loudly and smile when you give her a scratch behind the ears or under the chin. She will later be the perfect hostess and come from wherever she has gone to nap to say goodbye and see you off when you are ready to leave. She may even go out into the hall and walk you to the elevator and hang about for a final head scratch. But, without any warning she can suddenly turn nasty. Of course, the vet's visit is enough warning, even if she did quite happily crawl into the wicker James Herriot style carrier for the journey.

She looked a little pathetic, really, once the sedation had kicked in. And I felt like such a bad mummy for not realizing until then just how skinny she had become. I knew she wasn't quite as hefty as she once was - she was never fat exactly, but she was sturdy; chunky I would say. There was no slender leg above her thick ankles and big paws. But, as the vet says, it is hard to notice these changes with a cat who sleeps 23 hours a day....

Anyway, a few hundred dollars later and a small vial of appetite stimulant and she is sprightlier than ever and certainly ready for lots (lots!) of lovin'. But, Abby, you have had nearly 16 years of vet avoidance and now you will have to get used to more visits (and more sedation) if you are diabetic and having kidney problems.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


There was a a discussion around the table the other night that got a bit heated. Everyone had an opinion and in the end no one seemed to be persuaded to the other side. At least no one was left with hurt feelings or a bad taste in their mouth.

Who knew there were so many wrong ways to eat peanut butter?
At the most basic level was the brand - around these parts, Kraft vs Skippy vs a store brand. Then there was the natural vs the processed. And let's not forget smooth vs crunchy. But, really, just because it says 'butter' in the name, does not make it a replacement for butter. Butter enhances the flavour of the peanut butter.

First, and perhaps foremost, without the creamy smoothness of the butter, there is a good chance the peanut butter will be sticking to the roof of your mouth for hours. If you are making a peanut butter sandwich, you need to put something on the other slice of bread. And if you are adding another condiment, then the butter acts as a barrier so that it doesn't soak into the bread and make a soggy sandwich.

An unscientific study says that honey is the peanut butter sandwich adornment of choice for Canadians over the American preference for jam or jelly. Personally, I like banana. Or, if I am feeling particularly decadent, Nutella. Peanut butter and bacon makes a nice sandwich, too. Interestingly, my brother and I came to this discovery independent of each other and were the only ones at the table discussion who had thought to try the combination.

So, where do you weigh in on this?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

missing you

I will miss you, she said.
I stifled a laugh. It seemed odd, to think of being missed. Not quite the same as thinking of events that you will miss being a part of, like seeing your grandchildren grow up, or being around for your daughter's wedding.

She can not cry, I was told. If she gets emotional, she cannot breathe. So, I did not want to say "I will miss you, too". Did not want to admit that this would be our last visit. Did not want to dwell on her imminent passing.

I have known Mrs Epp for almost all the 14 years I have lived here. She is my oldest patient and would be 96 at her next birthday. But she will not see her next birthday. For most of the past year we have had a standing appointment, every 3 weeks (or more frequently as needed) and I have seen her becoming frailer and smaller with each visit. Yet, until December, she always looked forward to the massage - such as I could give her.

When I got the response from her daughter saying it would be good to visit but that she may pass away that night, or tomorrow... or next week... I knew that, snowstorm or not, I would drive the 30 minutes into the city to see her.

Our appointments over the years have always included an extra hour or so of health talk and pleasantries and an examination of her latest knitting/crocheting/tatting project. She had a computer long before I did and was excited to show me what she had learned to do on it. Whenever she had a new health issue, she spent hours researching it on the internet. She was almost giddy at how easy it was to keep in touch with her far flung family. I followed her as she resolutely moved herself into an 'independent living' centre long before it was really necessary. I used her as an inspiration for my parents when they refused to even consider moving into a seniors home even when it was so plainly necessary. Three times she moved, each time a little bit closer to her daughter and farther away from her old friends. She was fortunate to have the finances to live in beautiful surroundings and to have round the clock care when she needed it. Still, she has lingered long enough.

I don't have the strength to give you a hug. So, I reached towards her and pressed my cheek against hers. A little later, after waking up more, some morphine, a new comfortable position, she brightened and found the strength for a hug. An embrace that I wished would end before my tears came. I must not cry. She must not cry.

Mrs Epp, I will miss you. Dearly.

Comments are not necessary. I needed to write this out for myself.
And I needed to share it with my far flung friends.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


There is a massive storm on the way here. So the weather channel and the news people keep warning us, every minute of the day for the last two days. This one is coming at us from Texas. Extremely dangerous weather. A very powerful low. The worst storm in years. The grocery stores were packed with people yesterday, stocking up. The morning traffic guy is in an early panic - "it's already started to snow".

I guess that will keep me indoors trying to understand this new computer. So far, I'm not enjoying it. I want my old familiar PC back. Am I the only one? It is so very disappointing. This is a much steeper learning curve than Apple leads you to believe. But, I took the $99 one-to-one option so that the friendly blue shirted employees could teach me, and spread their love of all things Apple. It is incredible how excited the staff are for me. They are all so happy, "oh, you are going to love using it". You should have seen the look on the blue shirted one's face when we were booking the next tutorial and I whipped out my Moleskine appointment book and pen (and I was asked - pointlessly, surely - once again, "do you have an iphone?" No.)

I do love the lack of cables and wires. And the thinness of everything. The wireless mouse and keyboard is rather cool, even if the idea of wireless still messes up my head. But the keyboard is so small that I keep hitting the cAPS lock key. And I will sorely miss the numbers keypad when I go to do my accounting. And I haven't figured out how to upload photos properly yet. And where is the 'save' option?? And what happened to the 'right click'?? And, aND... Okay, it will all come together soon. I will learn to love my Mac. I will.

And the good news? I don't have to shovel any driveways.