Monday, 31 December 2007

Introducing the Family...

I've been blogging for almost 3 months now and I just realized that I haven't introduced my family.

This is Cory. He has been the love of my life since 1993. We met in Wolfville, Nova Scotia when he started a job at one of my favorite hang-outs, Louis Pizza.

He had funky hair and the most wickedly blue eyes lined with double thick, amazingly long eyelashes. His hair isn't anywhere near as funky but his eyes are still amazing.
We got to know each other over a Ren and Stimpy marathon and haven't looked back. Ren and Stimpy are no longer on our "must watch" list but we do have to give them some credit for bringing us together.

He is my best friend and my favorite person in the whole world. He makes me feel safe and protected. He supports me in everything I do. I only hope that I can make him feel half as special as he makes me feel.
This is Ralphy. Ralphy came to live with us when he was just a little over a year old. Ralphy's pet human moved in with a dog who also had a pet human.

Many battles for dominance ensued and in a final attempt to tame the second human, Ralphy made a error with his tactics by leaving a steaming "present" on the pillow of the second human.

Now Ralphy lives with us. He agrees, in hindsight, that perhaps the human was not prepared for the present and has chosen not to use that tactic again.

This is Bobby. He was our chosen one. We decided that Ralphy needed a friend. We failed to ask Ralphy his opinion and found a friend with a litter of kittens. Ralphy was a little offended that we would allow a tiny little fur-ball into his house but within a few days they were eating out of the same bowl.

Within a week, Bobby had convinced Ralphy that he would make a great mother and began nursing on Ralphy. (as an FYI, Ralphy is not a misnamed girl kitty, just a sucker (I slay me) for a cute face).

Bobby is a mama's boy and spends his day attempting to get me to go to bed so he can snuggle OR play with a pipe-cleaner.
We lived happily with 2 kitties for 4 years. Then we moved.
This is Woogie and below is Diddy. Originally they were called Douglas and Charlie but with the passage of time things evolve.
We moved to a new flat in 1999. When we moved in we heard two kitties meowing in the apartment building across the lane. Having lived with vocal cats, we didn't think anything of it.
About a week later, a gruff looking fellow approached me in the driveway. He said that he noticed the sign on the side of my car (I was running my pet sitting business at the time) and was wondering if I could help. He told me that the kitties in the bottom of the apartment building were locked in and abandoned. He said that he had "gained access" to the apartment and fed them. He said that the fleas were jumping 5 feet into the air. He said that he could not continue to "gain access" to the apartment and was wondering if I could call the SPCA as he did not have a phone.

I agreed and proceeded to sit on hold with the animal shelter for 2 full business days without speaking to a human once.

After two days, the gruff looking fellow told me that he had let them out to fend for themselves as he was afraid of breaching something... no question asked.

I put out a bowl of food to keep them away from the traffic.

This was working out for a few days. We received a few presents of dead things... ew and caught sight of Woogie on a few occasions. Then the weather network said a hurricane was coming in... After a few failed attempts to build a suitable shelter for them, they came in...

Woogie was visibly tramatized and Diddy was aggressive. Woogie was immediately plopped into a flea bath. He sat in the tub like a trooper, with complete trust in his eyes and let us, total strangers, pour water over him. The flea dirt that came off this cat was mind boggling. Diddy was too busy attempting to beat up both Ralphy and Bobby to even consider bathing. He got relocated to our basement to wait out the storm and await a trip to the vet for a well needed neutering.

Woogie slept between us in bed that very first night, something has hasn't really done since. Diddy got a vet trip the next morning. The vet fast tracked his neutering after his shots for us. Sometime between the shots and the neutering, he managed to have a de-gloving injury to his lower lip exposing the bone. The vet fixed this during his neutering while under the same anesthetic (extra cost $29 for 6 minutes of additional gas). Diddy got to come live upstairs.

In his first week with us, he had his bottom altered, his lip reattached, was given strawberry flavored antibotics every 12 hours and pain meds every 6 hours and I can still rememer the day he fell in love with us.

So now we had 4 cats for 6 years... then we moved.

This is Tweak. While on vacation in the spring of 2006, we were heading somewhere in the early hours of the morning and when we walk out of the building, this little girl ran out of the darkness and jumped into my arms. It was like she said "I live with you now!"

She was surrounded by mean kitties who had evil intent for the little girl. She came in and photographs and flyers were put up for her. Noone called to say that she was their missing kitty. Within a week, Cory was completely smitten and couldn't give her up.

In hindsight, she has proven that she most definitely could have held her own against the mean kitties and the way that she physically forces attention on our guests is shameless. I doubt very much that she would have been outside for long if we hadn't found her first.

So then there was 5....

Less than a year ago, I was asleep snug as a bug in my bed and I woke up to Cory saying... "I need you know this is here." And here he was holding an itsy, bitsy little kitty. I shook off the sandman pretty quickly at that point. This little fluff ball who is now known as Munchkin Man came to live with us.
Cory had found him crying under our deck in -20 celcius weather at 2 in the morning. Within a few hours, it was decided that he required immediate vet attention due to stress and poor diet.
For a month while his system adapted to a holistic diet, he leaked some of the most vile gas but now he is a healthy kitty who according to his vet records turns one on New Years Day.
So now we have 6... we have since found homes for 2 more strays... Lily who lives a charmed life with Carla and Izzy who lives with Sean. Izzy had a belly full of babies when Sean adopted her and he has found good homes for her 4 babies.
Many people who visit our home are surprised that the house isn't overrun by the cats. They spend a large amount of time sleeping, as cats are known to do. They are clean, well cared for and well behaved. They eat a holistic diet, their litter box is cleaned frequently and the house gets vacuumed daily. They are all spayed/neutered.
So that is my family... I wouldn't trade any of them for anything... but I think I need a bigger bed.

Snow - Who'd have Thunk it?

I found this on and it tickled me... So here it is... everything you ever wanted to know about Canadian Snow...

A guide to the white stuff
Dec. 21, 2007
CBC News

It's just falling ice composed of crystals in complex hexagonal forms – a major part of Canadian life between November and early April. Unless, of course, you live in Victoria or Vancouver, where the mild Pacific is usually enough to ward off the white stuff.

So what is this substance that so consumes Canadians? Snow forms in clouds when water vapour turns directly to ice without going through the liquid stage.

We've developed quite the lexicon when it comes to the white stuff, but not quite the myth of the 400 words the Inuit allegedly have for snow. English or Inuktitut, there really are only a couple of dozen ways to describe snow – and the various ways it tests our patience.
Here's a quick guide to snow in Canada – and how to prepare for it:

While picking up your morning coffee at the local doughnut shop, you overhear the following conversation:
"I hear it's gonna snow today."
"Yup, we're getting some snow."

Here, the term snow is used without qualification. It means you can expect precipitation of significant duration and extent. Try to remember where you put your snow shovel.
Had the doughnut shop people said "we're expecting snow flurries or snow showers," you would have breathed a bit of a sigh of relief, because you knew that not much of the white stuff would accumulate. At least not enough to shovel.

You would have been even less concerned had they used the term snow grains – although very few of us do in normal conversation. Snow grains are very small snow crystals or the ice equivalent of drizzle. Not much to worry about – but you might have to scrape the windshield of your car a little.

One stage up is snow pellets, which are white, opaque particles that form as ice crystals fall through cloud droplets that are below freezing but still liquid. The cloud droplets freeze to the crystals forming a small lumpy mass – not the multi-pointed crystals of ice that make up snowflakes. Usually easy to shovel.

Among the nastiest stuff winter has to offer is sleet. This is formed when drops of rain or drizzle freeze into ice as they fall. Sometimes called ice pellets, these things sting when accompanied by a strong wind.

Even worse is freezing rain or drizzle. These water droplets maintain a temperature below 0 degrees C but do not turn to ice in the air. But they freeze as soon as they hit anything on the ground. Leads to much scraping of your car's windshield and slipping and sliding on sidewalks.
Ice crystals are tiny sprinkles that sparkle in the sunshine and hang in the air – usually when it's really, really cold out.

Snowstorms are a fact of life in Canada – and they can vary, depending on where you live.
Good old-fashioned blizzards, for instance, are rare in most of the country. The folks who watch the weather for a living define a blizzard as a severe storm that lasts three or more hours, and brings low temperatures, strong winds and poor visibility due to blowing snow. They're most common in the southern Prairies, Atlantic Canada and the Eastern Arctic, and are rare in the western Northwest Territories, British Columbia and the Yukon.

On Jan. 30, 1947, southern Saskatchewan was inundated with a series of blizzards that lasted 10 days. The storm blocked all highways in Regina and buried a train under a snowdrift that was one kilometre long and eight metres deep.

Thought that blowing snow and drifting snow were the same thing? There's an important distinction between the two. Blowing snow is lifted by the wind from the earth's surface to a height of two metres or more. Drifting snow is blown to a height of less than two metres. So if your head's poking out of a mound of snow and you're a little taller than two metres, it's drifting snow that got you.

Lake effect snow is most common near the Great Lakes. These squalls occur as cold air picks up substantial moisture as it moves over the lakes. The moisture gets dumped as snow inland from the downwind shore. Usually, they follow major storm systems that are cleared out of the area by blasts of Arctic air.

Often, the affected region will get a much bigger dump of snow from the squall than from the storm itself. In the more severe lake-effect snow squalls, accumulations of more than 75 cm per day are not uncommon, and fall rates as high as 28 cm per hour have been reported. Such severe snowfalls have been termed snowbursts.

These nasty little storms are often confined to small geographical areas. It could be snowing like crazy over your house – but bright and sunny (but really cold) a few kilometres away.
They may have some of the same characteristics, but there are some major differences between blizzards and snow squalls.

In a blizzard:
Winds must be sustained at 40 km/h.
Visibility is less than one km.
The wind chill value is greater than 1,600 watts per metre-squared, or the temperature is at least -25 C.
The above conditions must be met for a minimum of four hours.
You do not have to have snow falling.

In a snow squall:
Snow must be falling.
A strong wind of at least 22 knots or 39 kilometres per hour must blow for at least one minute.

Yet another type of storm is sometimes called an Alberta clipper. This is a fast-moving winter storm that forms just east of the Rockies and sweeps south and eastward across southern Canada and the upper Midwest states. They're usually weaker than most winter storms and don't usually drop much snow. But they often bring along their evil twin – a surge of frigid Arctic air that can produce near-zero visibility in blowing and drifting snow.

There are various levels of warnings you will receive from your local weather forecaster. Pay attention, because there are significant differences between them.

If you hear a blizzard warning, expect snow or blowing snow, with a severe wind chill and visibility reduced to less than one kilometre, for four hours or more. Stock up on heating fuel and food. Stay indoors and wait out the storm – could be a long one.

A snow squall warning, however, means you might get hit by blizzard-like conditions over the course of the day. Or maybe the next town down the road will be. But be prepared for terrible driving conditions if you're in the path of a squall.

When you hear a heavy snowfall warning, you can expect 10 centimetres or more of snow to fall (15 cm or more in Ontario) in 12 hours or less. Travel could become hazardous, unless the plows get a good jump on the situation.

In Ontario, a winter storm warning is issued when two or more winter conditions reach warning proportions, such as wind and snow or freezing rain followed by heavy snowfall. You might want to think about hanging around the house for the day.

Winter storms and excessive cold claim more than 100 lives every year in Canada, more than the combined toll from hurricanes, tornadoes, flood, extreme heat and lightning. Many of those who die are killed trying to get rid of the stuff – stricken by heart attacks while shovelling snow off their driveways.

Some people may find freshly fallen snow very enjoyable to look at, but it can be pretty dangerous stuff. If you load a shovel with five kg of snow once every five seconds, you would move 60 kg of snow in one minute. Keep it up for 17 minutes and you will have shovelled one ton of snow.

Shovelling produces a rapid rise in heart rate and blood pressure – a combination that's tough on the heart. But cold can also act as a trigger for heart attacks, which is why some people suffer heart attacks while using snow blowers. Add to the mix that most people tend to ease off on the physical activity in the winter months, and you're looking for trouble if you try to crank it up after a big snow dump.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada offers these tips to avoid becoming a snow shovelling casualty:
Do take the time to do warm-up exercises to get your body accustomed to the vigorous exercise in the cold.
Do take frequent breaks so your body doesn't get too strained. The effort of picking up heavy show pushes up blood pressure more than aerobic exercise such as walking.
Do the shovelling as part of a group activity. Get the entire family out there to pitch in.
Do listen to your body. Stop shovelling if you experience any suspicious symptoms, such as sudden shortness of breath, discomfort in the chest, lightheadedness, nausea, dizziness or severe headache.
Do wear the appropriate clothing. You should layer clothing so you can remove the top layer if you get overheated.
Plan ahead. On days when heavy snowfalls are forecast, avoid rushing and allow adequate time for clearing the snow.
Don't continue shovelling just to get the driveway cleared in a hurry. If you're tired, quit.
Don't shovel or do any other vigorous activity directly after eating a meal. Your body is working hard enough just to digest the meal; adding vigorous activity on top of that could put too much strain on your heart.
Don't stoop to pick up the snow; bend at the knees to avoid back problems.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007


Today, while watching Much Musics top 50 videos of the 1980's, I pondered whatever happened to Gowan. For those who are thinking who is Gowan... tsk tsk tsk.

Gowan was a wicked awesome singer from the 80's... he sang songs like "Criminal Mind" and "Strange Animal".

So I googled him... Here's what he has been up to in his own words...

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF LAWRENCE GOWAN (the unauthorized auto-biography)

They needed to use forceps to pull my rather large head from my poor mother’s womb. (This however had little effect as my head has continued to grow daily none the less.)...

Soon thereafter we left Scotland for the tropic of Canada.. At age 7, I wanted to join the Beatles but they weren't hiring so I had to do it without their help.

At 19, I earned an ARCT in classical piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto.

The band Rhinegold occupied my next 5 years. After the inevitable ugly break-up, I went solo using but one name,"Gowan". I recorded some multi-platinum and gold records for CBS, and cultivated one of the first mullets on Muchmusic.(Canada’s MTV) Big tours, Juno awards and rampant egos were sure to follow...and they did.

In the 90's new touring opportunities emerged. Playing solo, recording a French disc, compiling a Greatest Hits collection, a UN tour that allowed me to perform through Israel, Egypt, as well as war-torn Bosnia and touring England with The Stranglers made life very unpredictable and enjoyable. Also playing an original piece with the BBC Orchestra at Althrop for the opening of Princess Diana's memorial highlighted that period. ...and then came STYX.

In 1999 I joined this legendary bunch of fine Americans and have toured Europe, Japan and North America extensively for the past four and a half years. We've played the Superbowl twice and we met Regis...once.

This has been the year of the Carrot (all praise and honour be upon the holy root vegetable)... And the Cyclorama of a life in music progresses and unfolds as it should. We are among the highest grossing acts in the USA...(he added boastfully) and we play A Criminal Mind which I consider a signature piece.(he whispered in a tone laced with false modesty)

Cheers to all who have endured this riveting tale , which I dearly hope is


L Gowan

Merry Christmas, The Final Chapter.

Well after weeks of panic and planning, the big day is finally done and I have a confession to make... This was truly one of the nicest Christmas's I've ever had.

We had a fantastic night with my family on Christmas Eve. We had a great meal but most importantly we had good conversation. I truly felt at peace surrounded by those I love most in the world.

Christmas day was a slow start after a wee bit of sleep-in. We headed down to Gwen's (Cory's mother's mother) and spent a few hours with Kathie (Cory's Mom) and Dave (Cory's Step-Father). They are always a fun time, full of laughter and silliness. They make Christmas into a sport with the amount of gifts they give.

At 3, we headed into Pat's (Cory's Father's mother) and spent a few hours with her and Steve (Cory's Uncle). I really enjoyed this visit. In the past few years, Cory and I have transitioned from children to adults in her eyes and now the conversation is absolutely amazing. Due to Christmas dinner plans at Gwen's, we could only stay for a few hours and then off again... I wish we could have stayed longed and will definitely be back for a visit soon.

Back at Gwen's, we ate way too much turkey and then napped with our eyes open in front of the television before heading back into the city.

Now I sit here with a kitty spending every ounce of his soul trying to convince me to go to bed... I guess I can grant his Christmas wish... I got mine!

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas - Part One

Merry Christmas everyone.

Part One of our holiday festivities is the evening with my family. My mother, Sarah and Iain came to our place for some eatin' and rippin'. Christmas Eve is also Cory's birthday so he makes out like a bandit.

We had a fantastic night. We ate Roast Prime Rib, yorkshire pudding, fresh veggies and mashed sweet potatoes.... then we had apple pecan pie with vanilla ice cream. I am so full even hours after the meal.

We exchanged gifts... I got a laptop (using it now), a digital camcorder and a veterinarian text book on feline medicine to name a few. I have been playing with the laptop for hours, Cory has mastered the camcorder and I know the blood volume of a cat is 20-25 ml/kg less than a dog.

Tomorrow is dedicated to Cory's family. Morning with one grandmother, Cory's mom and step father, Dave. Then to Cor's other grandmothers for a few hours before supper. Part two will be tomorrow....

Friday, 21 December 2007

Christmas Shopping...

Well the whole idea of Christmas shopping is buying stuff for other people, but occasionally I get distracted by shiny things that I would DIE for... well not really die but would really really really really love to have.

As we dragged ourselves through Home Outfitters, complaining about sore feet and aching lower backs, from across the aisle this shiny beacon glowed....

It's counter-top hydroponic garden. How freakin cool is that?!?! Home Outfitters had the base model at $175.99 but I found it online for $149.99. It's about the size of a small mircowave. It promises a harvest in 28 days. This is on my must have list for moving North!!
P.S. I can post this cause unfortunately noone will be recieving this item on my christmas list even though it was the COOLEST thing in the stores.

Monday, 17 December 2007

So Today I turned 35...

Wow... 35 is a scary number...

Being 35 has already proven to be wiser. During my birthday dinner (which even though was before my actual birthday, I am giving credit to the wisdom of age), I dined with the members of my family who after years of experience, I know that I cannot tolerate the same level of spice as they can.

We ordered a selection of curries and had a free for all. Cory popped a piece of meat into his mouth and immediately began to hiccup from the spice... (Best quote of the night - that Curry can make you see through time). My mother, who has a spice tolerance unsurpassed by any living human, I'm sure, popped the meat into her mouth and immediately said... the top of my head is sweating... My brother who inherited my mothers tastes buds, popped a piece of meat in and immediately began hiccuping. His hiccups continued for quite some time... and Sarah who is the all time mistress of spice remarked... wow that is quite spicy. Then they looked at me to try it....

Not happening! I am 35 now... I now know that if all these spice contenders are remarking on the heat of a particular item, this is officially out of my range. I am no longer require to try it anyways to see how hot it really is... I am confident that I am unable to handle what they are peddling. I stood strong to the peer pressure. I made my wise decision and I still have both the lining of my mouth and stomach to show for it. I am so proud of myself.... this growing up thing has already started to pay off.

On the downside, I learned this morning that my absolute favorite pair of panties, the most comfy in all panty land, are, by Cory's standards... Grannies.

You win some, you lose some.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Olfactory Memories

Ahhhh... I smelled my grandmother the other day... Channel No. 5.

It always catches me off-guard when I have a scent memory. Nothing brings the past into the present like a smell.

Recently they have changed the cleaner that they use in the washrooms at work, it is the same stuff I used during my very short career in Housekeeping in Jasper National Park. Soon as I walked into the bathroom, it was as if I was standing in the forests of Jasper, looking out at the glacier lake.

The hallway of my apartment building smelled like the Chipman's mens dorm at Acadia University the other day... it's a combo of metabolized alcohol, stale cigarette smoke and something else... all in all a horrible smell but representational of an enjoyable time of my life when I was surrounded by friends.

A leather jacket and polo cologne puts me right back into high school.

Stedson cologne reminds me of my first "serious" boyfriend.

There are so many....

What about you?

Quick Charlie Update...

Well, the antibotics are done and the anal gland has drained. Unfortunately, the gland drained through the new hole that it created. EW!! Poor Charlie.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

The Cheap Showiness of Nature.

Kearney Lake, Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Cat Registry

So it has been an hot debate item in the local area, the new cat licencing law for Halifax Regional Municipality. Effective April 1, all cats need to be licenced for a cost between $10-$30 per animal. With 6 cats, this means that my annual kitty bill has been increased by a minimum of $60 to a maximum of $180. I really wouldn't mind if there was a good cause coming out of it.

I took the time to read the purposed by-law while it was still being discussed. From what I gathered from the by-law, that the money goes towards building a death row for abandoned/lost/homeless animals. There is no money allocated for the enforcement of the registry and no money allocated for a spay/neuter program.

The board is presenting the by-law as "Responsible Pet Ownership" yet isn't doing anything to resolve the root cause of the problem, the uncontrolled breeding rate of feral and domestic cats.

I would happily pay for a spay/neuter program especially if it also had a trap/neuter/release program in tandem. This would resolve the uncontrolled breeding rate of animals as versus killing off the results. The SPCA charges (last I heard) $30 euthanasia fee when you drop off an animal. My last neutering cost $175 for the surgery and the pain meds which was completed by a "For-Profit" Vet Clinic. The average female cat can produce 3 litters of kittens in a year. Averaging a litter at 4-6, the euthanasia costs (by SPCA charges) would be between $360 and $540 per year. The average feral female produces kittens for 7 years... $2520 to $3780 costs that could be avoided by simply implementing a trap/spay/release program.

I am all for responsible pet ownership but this by-law will not resolve the problem. Responsible pet owners spay/neuter their animals. Animals aren't spayed/neutered due to the excessive cost of the procedure...

My prediction... responsible pet owners will register their cats. The rest of the cats will eventually be discarded onto the streets to produce more unwanted cats.

Monday, 10 December 2007

It's all a matter of perspective...

Nova Scotia is having an unseasonably cold winter (and it's not even winter yet). In the land of the green Christmas, sometimes you need a little perspective.
In 1911, Niagara Falls froze solid. Now that has to be COLD!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Vet Visit

For the past few days, Charlie, one of the cats has not been feeling well. He's been curled up in his "I don't feel good" position. Never actually sleeping but in a constant state of rest. On Thursday he curled up with me on the couch and went to sleep. His ears got warmer and warmer and when I did my paranoid mother attempt to wake him up, he growled at me.

He really didn't like us touching his hind end. I did a pinch test and came to the conclusion that he was a little dehydrated. So a few phone calls later, he was jammed into a carrier and off to the vet we went. Being a farm girl, I was pretty sure he needed antibiotics but not 100% sure what was the source of the infection. As we prepare to move to some place remote, each vet visit is my chance to bone up on my veterinary science. I am pretty confident that I am prepared for most animal related issues. I compare notes with the vet each time I go too.

In my list of kitty killers, I have bladder blockage due to crystals, poisoning, bowel blockage, injuries, infections, dehydration and then a series of systemic shut down as they get older. My goal is to be able to treat 90% of the ailments and stabilize for transport for the rest.

On my preventative side, to prevent another crystals event or FLUTD (, maintaining consistent food is a huge step. When you change your cats’ food, this changes the PH balance in their bladder. If the PH balance in the bladder becomes basey, crystals can form which can cause a blockage of their urethra. This is more common in male cats than female cats just due to the narrowness and size of the urethra. The "special vet food" for FLUTD is quite expensive and I didn't feel it was as good of quality of food as our normal cat food. The special vet food is high in acid, thus keeping the PH balance in the bladder acidic. We add a little bit of vitamin C to their food to keep the urine on the acidic side. No need for expensive vet food.

I am confident if I am able to catheter my kitty to drain the bladder, we can survive a crystal recurrence. I just need a supply of kitty catheters on hand, some topical anesthetic like lydocaine, KY and a really brave soul.

But back to Charlie and his vet visit. (I rambled)

Soon as we get there, they grab a weight on him. 11.8 lbs… pretty much the same as usual. That’s a great sign. Kitties can drop weight really quick when they are sick. Then his temperature… The average kitty temperature is between 38 and 39 degree Celsius (about a degree more than us). Charlie was running around 40.5. This is the root of his “I don’t feel good” position. This explains his crankiness, being tired, not interested in life. Now for the source of the fever…. Poke poke poke poke poke… oooooooh, what’s this next to his bum. His left anal gland is the size of a marble; his right one is barely noticeable.

Anal glands are what doggies and kitties are looking for when they meet someone new. These foul smelling ewies carries their own stinky calling card. They rest at 10 and 2 o’clock around the anus. Generally they drain into the anus under pressure from a movement but if these ducts get blocked, it is a prime spot for an infection. So now we know what is the root cause of the problem.


Antibotics. (What do I win?) The anal gland will drain on its own. It will either unblock the duct or make its own new path. The path of least resistance is out, so the fear of it draining into him and poisoning him with his own calling card is negligible. If Charlie was a better patient, she would have considered attempting to drain it herself with a finger (YUCK) but Charlie would have taken her life. She recommended Charlie permitting, hot compresses on his bum to draw the infection out as well.

This was the first time we have encountered this problem. I now have another diagnosis and treatment in my memory vault (I love vets who will share). I shall update with his progression.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Cool Trivia #1

In the northern hemisphere, if you are lost and are wearing a watch with the hands, you can point your hour hand towards the sun and exactly half way between the sun and the 12 on your watch is south.

Haven't tested the theory but pretty freakin cool...

Saturday, 1 December 2007

It's Snowing

It's snowing out...

I am a strange breed of nova scotian. I love when it snows. I love the way the sound dampens when it snows and the world looks fresh and clean. I miss the blizzards of my youth when the world stops and the only noise is the sound of a snow plow on the streets. After the snow is done coming down, the world becomes a magical place. The sky is clear and the world seems at rest. My favorite time to go out and play, take pictures and just generally enjoy the pause.

In 1994 when we were in Alberta, one of the most magical moments was wandering through the snow covered streets in Lake Louise with the snow packed under our feet in the middle of the night. The snow was so high on either side of the walk way that you couldn't see over it, it was like walking through a tunnel of sparkly crystal. The sky was so clear that you could see millions of stars above. The world was quiet and seemed completely at peace, like nothing evil could exist in such a place. It was like we were the only people in the world.

It has been so long since the world has stopped to take a breath like that.... todays flurries have made me yearn for the days of yesteryear *sigh* Tuesday is calling for rain so all evidence will be whisked away again.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The Perfect Vacation Spot

Five Island Retreat is located in Nova Scotia on the Bay of Fundy. I found their website while surfing around one day and I've been dreaming about it ever since.

The Island is rented in it's entirety. The quote I received is that is $400 a night or $2500 a week. Initially this struck me as steep until you realize that this would be the cost for 6 couples (or 12 people that do not mind sharing a bed). It works out to $30 a night per person for the week rental. To have full run of the island, the main house and the three sleeping cabins... it's a damn fine deal.

The island is only accessible by boat during high tide (there is emergency services available by helicopter if needed). There are no cooks or housekeeping services. You have to bring your own groceries. There is on-site caretaker who is rarely seen, unless you need him.

Five Islands is an hour and half drive from the Halifax airport, which is an hour's flight from Boston or an hour and quarter from New York.

The main house is a newly built two story home with fully equipped kitchen (gas stove, electric oven, refrigerator/freezer, microwave), large open living/dining area, three bedrooms, two baths (one with bathtub, one with shower only) and sitting/reading areas on decks up and downstairs and on a mezzanine which includes a glass floored walkway over the living room.

The lovers’ cabin is one room with bed looking down 200 feet to the sea, a wood burning stove for heat, an efficient and pleasant compost toilet, sitting chairs and front porch looking over sea and nearby islands.

The lighthouse cabin is a small scale lighthouse with a living room downstairs, a bedroom up a ladder onto the second floor and up another ladder is the outside widow’s walk which wraps around the lighthouse. A compost toilet is in a separate structure.

The boat cabin is built as a boat with a bedroom inside and the open front deck looking over the sea. A compost toilet is next to it. The control house can be used for reading or viewing.
The caretakers’ cabin is near the main house but not visible from it. It comfortably houses a couple with a kitchen, sleeping and living areas and toilet.

Here is the website...

Now the only snag is to find 5 suitable couples to spend a week with.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Does it really work?

I came across the Magikball at Zellers (Big Department Store) a few weeks back. I've been wondering about it ever since.

This plastic ball, about the size of a softball, is filled with little beads. It promises to clean your clothing without detergent for a year. It retails for $59.99 as a general rule. All you need to do is once a month it needs to sit on your window sill and recharge the beads.

My inital concern was "Does it take the stinky out?" Without testing myself, the internet tells me that it does. The testimonials, both on the Magik Ball website and off the site, says that it leaves clothing with a non-scent. If you wish to add scent, you can add an essential oil to the rinse water or you could add a fabric softener (this option seemed counter-productive to the goals of reducing our environmental footprint).

It works just as well in cold water. Doesn't pollute the water tables. Reduces allergies. Reduced wasted packaging.

I can't wait to get mine!

Monday, 19 November 2007

This now concludes the vacation season for 2007...

Vacation is officially done for 2007. I have 2.5 hours before I have to be at work. 2 weeks of vacation in 2 months was a nice treat although it really sucked not to have much time off during the summer months.

Tomorrow is my 7th anniversary with Convergys and this treats me to another week of vacation for 2008 for a total of 4 weeks. I was pretty effective making 4 weeks out of my 3 weeks for the past few years, I can just imagine what I can do with a whole extra week! I've never taken more than 1 week at a time before... perhaps this could go into the planning.

As I am still looking for employment up north, I should only allow myself to take vacation every 13 weeks when I have earned it so I am not in a position to pay it back later. That being said, there are 7 weeks left to the year, 13 weeks into the year is the last week of March, first week of April... that's a really really really long way off. Thankfully, I should have some time off around Christmas or the New Year.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

My Alarm Clock...

In an effort to re-align my sleep schedule from my vacation schedule to my work schedule, I had to do a long sleep, long awake and a really long sleep. The end goal is to be sleepy during the evening hours of Sunday so I can get enough sleep to be quasi-useful Monday at work. My plan was working beautifully until...

At 2 AM my alarm clock, Bobby, decided that he had had enough.

Bobby is my cat. In our herd of 6 kitties, he has single claim on me. Cory will do as an option for him if I am unavailable but his heart is reserved for me. Bobby's single goal in life is to convince me to go to bed so he can snuggle my belly. He spends hours a day trying to figure out a way to get me to go to bed. You would think that my sleep re-alignment would have been right up his alley.

At 12 years old, Bobby has some pretty effective methods for manipulating me into doing his biding. His efforts to get me to bed include a spectacular display of meowing and leading me to the bedroom. If I fail to follow or follow-up, the process is repeated until he declares defeat and he re-tries in approximately 30 minutes.

Once in bed, I am treated with a belly snuggle that lasts until either I am forced up due to some nasty obligation such as work or he decides that it is time to get up. The latter occurred this morning. He begins the process by expressing his love through purring. This stirs me a little but I've built a resistance to this initial technique. He then moves to the pawing of my hair. With his paws, he prods the back of my neck as if he is looking for entrance to the world under the blankets. When I surface long enough to lift the blankets to offer entrance, he sticks his head under the blanket and pauses to contemplate world events while I hang in limbo with the blankets held high. This process lasts about 30 seconds but it is his first taste of success. He then moves into his final step... excessively loud purring. For excessively loud purring, he puts forth an effort that causes his head to bob (thus the name Bobby). His purr is so loud and explosive that it activated the final catalyst... he wakes Cory. I alone could ignore the purring, plus how can you be mad at a cat that is this happy? Cory is a lighter sleeper than me and he finally says "Bobby, Please Stop!" This completes the cycle. I know that it will only stop if I get up...

So this is how I ended up updating my blog at 3 in the morning. Once I made my coffee, Bobby yelled at me some more until I let him up on my lap at the computer where he immediately fell back asleep. I guess he was just looking for a change of venue.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Where does it all go...

PAY DAY!! Yay, I can finally pick up the things I'm running out of (this paycheque to paycheque life sucks) ... before I get too excited, I have to just pay a few bills...

Let's see what have to pay.... 13.75% of my paycheque is saved for insurance. Insurance is good... my auto insurance is still a little high from a car accident 6 years ago, but that is scheduled to come off my history on the next renewal. My apartment insurance allows me to sleep knowing that if one of my neighbours decides to play with matches and catches the place on fire, I can have replacement underwear. It's all about covering your butt. And life insurance... it's something I don't want to use but when the moment happens I'll have some peace of mind.


Internet and Cable... my two largest entertainment sources. This one saves me from spending money elsewhere to entertain myself and Cory... 10.2% of my paycheque....

So far about 24% of my paycheque is TOASTED....

Next one is cell phones, this was a whim purchase to save money... cancelled the home phone which we NEVER answered and replaced with 2 cells phones. Seemed like a great deal... $35 for 2 phones with shared minutes... what do you mean, no voicemail or caller ID? That was $10 more per line just to add those... add a few more fees, plus a downloaded game, long distance, and that is.... 9% of my paycheque. Didn't save any money and locked myself into a 3 year contract...

33% gone...

Power... Another 10% of my paycheque... I even bought those nasty fluorescent light bulbs to try to save here. They don't work in dimmer switches and the lighting washes out all the color in the world. Plus they create shadows. I don't like them but I use them in about half of our lamps. Thankfully the fish finally expired, that fish tank was costing about a dollar a day in power...

43% gone.. and I haven't bought groceries yet...

Credit cards... well, these have gotten me out of trouble in the past and now I'm paying for it... deal with the devil blah blah blah... another 10%.

53% gone....

Munchkin needs to be neutered... can't wait on this issue any longer... 17% of my paycheque.

70% gone...

I try to put away a little savings each pay... and when I say "a little", I mean 2.5% of my paycheque... clearly, once again I can't afford this...

So that leaves me with 30% of my paycheque to buy groceries, cat supplies, prescriptions, laundry change and pocket change...

I really hope we don't have an emergency. At least I didn't have to pay any rent on this one...

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Michael Moore's SiCKO

Last night we watched SiCKO, a documentary by Michael Moore. Michael Moore is known for his documentaries such as Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 911. I am a huge fan of Michael Moore. I have to keep in mind when I watch his documentaries that they are designed to disturb but at least the message is clear.

The United States Health care system is an embarrassment to the civilized world. I live in Canada and I couldn't imagine being told I could not have the medical treatment I required. The people featured in SiCKO made my eyes burn and my heart ache. I can't encourage everyone enough to take the time and watch this movie.

My favorite quote from the movie is... "If you can afford to kill people, you can afford to heal people"

Friday, 9 November 2007

The North West Company

Well today I spoke to the Northwest company about my application. For those that are not aware of the Northwest company, they run most of the grocery stores (among other things) in Northern Canada.

This company is an excellent way to get out of debt and on your feet quickly. The provide fully furnished housing, utilities and a grocery allowance. Basically everything you make is yours! They do ask for a 2 year commitment and you have to be willing to move to some of the more remote places in the world.

They are planning an information session in December in Dartmouth where they will conduct interviews. It is by invitation and to apply most of their jobs are posted on

Check it out... you may be able to lift some weight off your shoulders

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Things are looking up...

I'm finally receiving contact as a result of my applications. I have to say I was starting to get discouraged but apparently patience is a virtue. I guess I'm just more used to the fast pace lifestyle here. I look forward to being in a place where everything isn't rush rush rush all the time. It's just a bit frustrating waiting when you are excited about an adventure.

I really do need the time to organize. I wandered into our storage room, which is really the master bedroom in our apartment. I immediately become completely and totally overwhelmed by the volume of crap we have collected over the years. We have been in our current apartment for over 6 years and I KNOW we have boxes that haven't been unpacked since the last move. It's actually one of the reasons we haven't moved out of this place... too overwhelming.

I'm on vacation next week, I guess it's time to tackle the storage!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Good Bye Noel

Well the storm came and went... in my world (which consists of my apartment and very limited view off the deck), Noel was a disappointment. He had so much promise to be a big blast of a storm... we had some rain, it was pretty windy but we kept the balcony door open for the entire storm. We had a little power flicker that made the computer reboot but did not cause the clocks to blink.

Cory watched a styrofoam container sit in the middle of the parking lot... it just sat there, didn't even move in the wind.

Meanwhile in Eastern Passage where my mother lives (10 minutes away), boulders are being moved out of the ocean and plopped into the middle of the road. Power poles are "torn out of the ground".

All and all, Noel was a fine example of perspective.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Welcome Noel

I'm just sitting here waiting for post-tropical storm Noel to hit... It's been raining and blowing all afternoon but the dude on the weather network says that the show really doesn't start until 7 PM this evening (5:50 PM right now).

They are calling for power failures so we had to do one more supply run this afternoon to grab a few more can goods and more candles. The wind was so strong that the rain felt like like stones hitting me in the face.

Here's the most recent weather warning...

Halifax Metro and Halifax County West
3:49 PM ADT Saturday 3 November 2007
Rainfall and Wind warning for
Halifax Metro and Halifax County West continued

Rainfall amounts of 50 to 70 millimetres tonight.

Dangerous post-tropical storm Noel will approach Nova Scotia and track across the Bay of Fundy tonight reaching the Gulf of St Lawrence Sunday morning. The main threat with this storm will be potentially damaging winds.

Heavy rain and pounding ocean waves.Gusty easterly winds up to 100 km/h are expected tonight over the mainland. Les Suetes winds gusting to 160 km/h are also forecast. Winds will become southwest with gusts from 100 to 120 km/h with 140 km/h possible over some coastal areas behind the low. These winds could lead to downed trees and power lines leading to power interuptions and cause damage to roofing and cladding material on some homes.

Rainfall amounts of 50 to 70 millimetres are expected over the western half of the province..While 30 to 40 millimetres are expected over eastern portions. Showers will end Sunday morning. Rainfall may cause localized flooding in prone areas..Especially where leaf litter clogs storm drains.

11-metre waves are expected along the Atlantic coast tonight and Sunday morning leading to very heavy pounding surf. Erosion of some beaches is likely and some coastal infrastructure damage is possible.

Well... the next update later or when the power comes back on...

Thursday, 1 November 2007

The Job Search

So before we can even start our adventure, we need to find a job...

I've found some useful resource sites for looking for work in the area. <- Lists both government of Canada jobs and jobbank <- Very useful site as it searches all other job sites and compiles an up-to-date list. <- Government of Nunavut job site <- Major Employer for Northern Canada

My job search has been a series of hurry-up and waits...

Thursday, 25 October 2007

So we want to move to Nunavut...

Well it is absolutely amazing the reaction we get when we tell people that we want to move to Nunavut. There are two distinct reactions, the first one is absolute support, this generally comes from those who are educated about living in the north or those who appreciate the adventure it would be. The second, unfortunately, is almost outrage that I would even consider this an option and immediately attempt to convince me that it would be a mistake to make the move... my favorite is "It's cold there, you know?"

I have to say that before I began my research into Nunavut... well, I'm embarrassed to say I couldn't even have told you how to spell it. As I researched, I began to see my own personal ignorance on the largest territory in Canada. It is no surprise that many of my friends are tainted by assumptions and lack of knowledge of the area, I was. The Internet, although usually a great source of information, was scattered on specifics about this. I could find lots of demographic information but nothing initially about what it is really like to live there. Until I found Clare Kines on Facebook.

Clare Kines opened a facebook group dedicated to his hometown Arctic Bay, Nunavut. I took a stab in the dark and sent him a message. Clare was extremely helpful answering my "ignorant southerner" questions even though I'm sure I must have been really wearing my ignorance on my sleeve. Looking back at my preconceived notions about Nunavut at that time, I can only imagine what he thought of me. I'm not even sure what my preconceived notions really were but I know that my mental image of Nunavut has changed drastically. From Clare, I discovered a whole network of northern bloggers who have really filled in the gaps.

When Nunavut became an option, my first "deal-breaker" was Internet. I could not move anywhere that did not have Internet. Not only do they have Internet, its not scratchy ol'dialup, its satellite-based broadband service. Many parts of Nova Scotia still does not have high speed Internet... strike down one prejudice.

My next "deal breaker" is the ability to take my cats. Then I came across Jen of Nunavut's blog. The first person I had found that had posted a picture of her cat, Norman. Now that I was getting comfortable reaching out to strangers, I immediately sent her an email. Other than the challenge of getting cat supplies, Jen completely set my mind to rest on matter... strike down two prejudices.

Housing was my next concern... when they say "fully furnished" my mind takes me to an old tweed couch circa 1975.... let's just call that a bad previous experience. More blogs, more pictures... FINALLY found one of the inside of someones apartment. Sure looked like the Fantastic apartment I lived in when I lived in Wolfville.... strike down three prejudices..

The more I researched, the more I disprove my own assumptions. I know that there will be challenges. I know I have to learn to plan ahead. I know that the winter is longer than the summer. I know that I will be a minority. I know that I will not speak the main language. I know that supplies and groceries are expensive. I know that the temperature will be lower than I am used it. I know that the sun will go down one day and not come back up for a month. I know that the sun will come up one day and not go down again for a month (if not more). I know that I will be isolated. I can not only live with that... I embrace it!
I embrace the opportunity to interact within a culture that is so tied to the land. I want to be a part of community. I look forward to learning life skills like learning to really plan ahead. The more I read, the more I want to go.... for now, it's the waiting that is driving me crazy... waiting to leave for Nunavut.... but I guess waiting a good starter lesson for times to come.