Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Cats of Dalmatian

At one point in my life, I was mother to 5 cats at once, along with 2 dogs, 1 guinea pig, 2 children, one dad and one hubby. Having pets is a part of my life and a facet I have graced both my kids with. Its just a way of life.

Both girls own 2 cats and Michelle and Scott have also added a dog and two guinea pigs to their family over the past year.

One of Stephanie's biggest stresses about packing up and leaving for Korea was what to do with her beloved cats. I can understand her concern, and in a weak moment, I suppose, both Terry and I offered to take them for the year she was gone. After Mollie passed away so suddenly this summer, leaving just Pika here, I looked forward to the extra distraction of two more cats.
Pika didn't share my enthusiasm, however, and when Tonks and Paralax arrived on the scene, he was really not pleased. The weather was extremely hot over the past two weeks and he refused to come in spending day and night out in 31 degrees weather. But eventually, he would come in to eat, then leave. Then in for a few minutes to walk around, check out their belongings, and head back out. Last weekend, the rains of Hurricaneless Bill arrived and Pika decided it was time to come in. He now spends his "sleeping" time inside, and then heads back out. Baby steps I guess.
Tonks... is Stephanie's first cat. Named after Nymphadora Tonks, a Metamorphmagus from the Harry Potter series. She is 5 now, but when she was just a kitten she took a mysterious fall and broke her jaw along with one fang. Stephanie was a big hearted university student and the vet took pity on her and did surgery and wired her jaw for a very minimal cost. She healed well, but I think she is extra small because of her hard start in life and it may have something to do with her shyness too. She has a goofy face and a soft meow, and stays hidden all day long, but when she comes out in the evenings, early mornings and through the night, she is full of spunk and so happy to see us. She loves to be pet, but don't pick her up.. that scares her.

Parallax is a velvety soft grey could be beige short haired girl. She is a super friendly, super curious, 5 year old cat as well. She came to Stephanie and Sean 4 years ago, while living in one of her group apartments, and when the group split up to their own apartments, Parallax went with Stephanie because the last owner wasn't around to claim her. She is irresistibly loving and adjusts well to any location.

We love having them here and Pika will too.

The neutral zone.. all three cats with in 12 inches of each other.. in the kitchen of course.Shelf resting. Good vantage point I guess, but my cats rarely visited this living room ledge.

Not afraid of heights I guess. Michelle gave me two pots of catnip to keep for the cats, and once I hung on a hanger in the kitchen over the sink. The other is up high on top of the air conditioner and safe from the cats - I thought.!


Monday, August 24, 2009

April Antipodal

Stephanie has been an avid blogger for a number of years, but like all of us, went through a dry spell where blogging became a chore and with nothing good to blog about. She started a new blog a number of months ago, in anticipation of a new life in Japan or Korea. It was not open to many, as she blogged her frustrates and disappointment in the whole application
process. When good news was awarded her, she vamped up her blog and now that she is in Korea... she is opening her blog up to those who want to read about her take on life in Korea.

Her new blog is named "April Antipodal" which you will see the link to on my side bar. Her reasoning for the blog name... I have taken a quote from her first blog in March.....

"To get it out of the way, I’m April. Actually I’m not, but it’s more than close enough for the purposes of a blog – it’s actually my middle name, and could have been my actual name, had things gone another way. I’ve always rather liked it (except in elementary school, when April still meant a feisty reporter in a horrific yellow jumpsuit who hung out in sewers with turtles and a rat, but I don’t think anyone is spared the elementary school name game) and so that’s what I’ll be. Antipodal is the five-dollar word that means “at the other pole”, or, for my purposes, on the other side of the world. Which is my goal."

I have known since Stephanie was 14 that she would be living in Asia as an adult. Her first trip to Japan seem to seep into her soul and she loves the "strange" world aspect. Her travels have taken her to Japan twice as a teenager, a university trip to Belize to work in the jungles digging at a Mayan temple site, and also to Mexico on a month long anthropology study with textiles and the people being her focus. She has talked about returning to Japan to teach, and when that wasn't available, she is off to Korea instead.
Its been quite a summer this year, full of emotional highs and lows. Sending Stephanie exactly half way around the world on her own on Tuesday was way harder than I thought. I have always know it was coming but until she disappeared around the security wall at the airport did it really hit me that she is gone for a year... or more... wow. With all my sadness of her gone, I am also sooo happy for her to be there, right where she wants to be. Sean is joining her in a month when his work is finished, and lose ends tied up. I am so proud of both my kids for following their dreams and going where they want to be.... its pretty darn cool.

Please enjoy Stephanie's blog and don't forget to leave comments... its always nice to hear from those at home. If your picking this up from Facebook.. go to my actual blog and bookmark it. You will find other interesting blog links there including Stephanies.(Margertsville Shores - 2009 August)

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Well, its my last weekend before I am back to work. We decided to go camping, since the summer has breezed by without one camping weekend, although we don't usually go camping until later in the summer anyway, due to too much rain and too many bugs.

After a few google searches of the provincial parks around our end of the province, we decided to try out Porter's Lake Provincial park for several reasons. First, it was on a peninsula of a nice deep lake, so we can take the Kayaks along. Secondly, it's fairly close for Scott and Michelle to join us as they are not fully equipped for camping and we invited them to come along with us for there first camping weekend.

As much as I love to camp, I hate to get ready for camping. It takes a full day of prep work to plan and pack everything you need to eat, bath, walk, sit, sleep, socialize and swat (bugs) in the great outdoors and you need to be prepared for all elements as well... rain, hot sun, wind, mist, cloud etc.

Last fall we purchased a brand new tent when our old faithful tent of 26 years died on a fun but rainy camp weekend with Jill and Donna. The new tent is exactly like the Griff's and we were soooo impressed with it, that Jill bought one and so did another friend Heather. We ordered them from Overtons and they were shipped to us just after Thanksgiving. Everyone else has tried out their tents and we were anxious to get a weekend in it. We set it up twice, to check out things and figure out how to put it together.

By Friday afternoon, the trailer was packed, the kayaks were loaded, the food, suitcases and luxuries were also piled into the car. The cats were fed and babysitting arranged and we hit the road for our 2 hour drive (scooping up Scott and Michelle with their car full along the way).

Weather reports were predicting Hurricane Bill was coming up our way possibly and the warnings were not really warnings, just be prepared sort of talk... I knew we might be in trouble when I suddenly got a phone call on my cell, half way to Porter's Lake from my friend Jill who was on her way home from Halifax and spotted the idiots driving towards the hurricane landing site with kayaks on top and utility trailer dragging behind. When I answered, she said "ARE YOU NUTS"!!! We chuckled for a few minutes and when I hung up, I said to Terry, I wonder what the city is saying about "BILL", since the valley wasn't really hopped up about it. But we forged on. Michelle and Scott were ready and we headed to Porter's Lake and arrived there around 7:30.
The campground was sort of treeless for the most part, with high to medium bushes around most of the sites and it was soooo foggy when we arrived we couldn't see the lake. The picture is not our site, but a pic of one we saw the next day that had a terrific view of the lake. You can see the limited trees on the site.
Our site was fairly small but certainly big enough for our two tents and two cars with a small sitting area.
We began the task of putting together our two tents, being only the third time for our tent and the second time for theirs, it went a little slower than expected. At the same time, Michelle was making our supper, chopping the meat, and tending to the rice on the camp stove and I hauled camping supplies, and dug through them for dishes etc.
The Fog was bearing down hard on us and as the darkness crept in, the lamps got lit and you could see that not only was there fog but it was a heavy mist coating everything. By 9pm, the tents were up, all supplies stashed away, and supper was served. We had to eat in our tent around a small table because everything was so covered in heavy mist (actually it had turned to light rain) we felt better going under shelter to eat. And that was our evening. We sat inside, chatting and planning the rest of the weekend and then we all crashed fairly early.
We didn't really mention Hurricane Bill much.

The morning arrived with fog but no mist. After wiping all the wet off of everything, we spent a leisurely morning, coffee, big breakfast and a long walk around the campground. Lucy adjusted terrifically to this whole camping scene, and since we don't know what her past experiences were before Michelle and Scott, we wonder if she has gone camping in the past. She seemed very relaxed and enjoyed the wilderness channel, staring off into the bushes for long periods of time, prompting us to stare as well, wondering what she saw.We learned that Porter's Lake used to have a lot more sites and a lot more trees but Hurricane Juan took down so many trees they had to close the park and bulldoze down almost all the trees, and re do the whole park. It took over a year to complete. After our tour around the park, the kids got our their iPhones and checked the weather. It looked pretty grime, and even if "Bill" didn't strike, it was predicting nothing but rain and wind for the next few days... we were contemplating packing it all up when Mr. Park Ranger drove up in is Storm Trooper hat and told us we needed to pack up because they were evacuating the park. They didn't quite know if Bill was coming but after such a horrible experience with Hurricane Juan (and at the time, there was no warning, or we all just ignored it as a "tropical Storm" approached) the Provincial Park headquarters didn't want to take any risks.

So there it was... our decision was made for us. We started packing up... stopping long enough to have a quick lunch of BBQ'd hotdogs...We were camping on Porter's Lake for less than 18 hours... ugh. So much work.. so much hot and humid weather... When we drove 30 minutes into Dartmouth to Scott and Michelle's place, the weather was sunny, steamy and windy. Terry checked the computer weather, plus the weather network.. and still they were wishywashy about Bill.. but very definite about the winds that were coming... so we decided to head right home since wind is the enemy of a kayak plus trailer laden car.

And that was our trip to Porter's Lake. Love the camp ground. Totally will be going back.. the Lake looks awesome and the sites were so pretty. On our walk around, we chose several sites that we would request the next time. Even a beautiful walk in cluster of three sites, that look so wonderful for a group of friends to camp in....

Friday, August 21, 2009

No Problem Keeping Busy now... geesh

I have to laugh when I read the title of my last blog. Keji was peaceful and serene. Its a great benchmark in my mind when the word "Peaceful" comes into a conversation.

Since my last blog its has been a worldwind of driving, visiting, packing, driving, unpacking, packing driving and crying, driving and crying and dying of the heat! So whats been happenin' you ask. Geesh, its one of the situations where so much has happened its hard to even blog about it because you don't know where to start.

I spent 3 days with my sister and its the first time since the wedding that we have spent time together. for the whole year before the wedding, we chatted, traded websites, phone calls, skypes and finally spend weekends together sewing in preparation for the big day. Sadly, the weekend of the wedding we spend no more than 30 minutes
together including phone calls, panic sash pinning, and Sunday morning visit before they hit the road! We needed time to visit, talk about how everything went, and just get caught up on everything.
It is always so nice to connect with my only sister, and although we are very different in many ways we are TOTALLY alike is so many other ways. It was great to get up early, go for walks (even across the walking bridge over St. John River)and an early morning Yoga session, that left me thrilled, exhilarated for more, and sadly.. very sore the next day! hee hee. We talked crafts, kids, websites, food, exercise, our health, our wealth :(, and travel plans. We went to bed early, and got up early. Also in those three days I got to spend some tourist time with Stephanie too, as she showed me around downtown, which we do almost every time I am in Fredericton. We had coffee at Reids (a favorite of both of ours) and walked across the bridge to nowhere, as its tenderly called by the locals. That was horrifying to me, since I am not a fan of bridges, let along on foot. (and it was my second "bridge" walk of the day).
We made plans for the next week, on all the big events we were awaiting. Stephanie had to shrink an apartment full of belongs that she and Sean had accumulated over the past 7 years in Fredericton down to two suitcases, 2 totes and a few boxes of books. Stephanie and Sean are moving to Korea to teach and travel. Her apartment belongings were easy to dispense since she has roommates who are keeping the apartment and therefore happy to keep any furniture Stephanie didn't want. Her personal belongings were the hard work, paring down clothing, books, knickknacks, and mementos to a more manageable amount for us to store for her. She worked hard over the month of August and then when I arrived, it was crunch time. Because they don't have a car, bags of clothing, trips across the city for needles, vet visits were all made so much easier when I arrived and we spent an entire day accomplishing all her last minute things to be done.

Saturday was move out day for Stephanie, but Sean has another month (or less) before he has to go through the same exercise and travel to Korea. In the mix of all this packing, throwing out, giving away and cleaning are two sweet little cats that have been Stephanie and Seans for the past 5 years. On the morning of the move out, Tonks and Paralax were locked away in the bathroom while we packed up the trailer and the car. The girls were given a little happy pill first thing in the morning and by the time we were ready to get on the road, they were mellow and glassy eyed. We packed them up in the carrier and hit the road on one of the hottest days so far this summer. They are moving to my house to spend the year or so with Pika , Terry and I, in quiet comfort. The trip had a stressful start for both the cats and Stephanie but once we separated them into their own carriers, put Paralax on Stephanie's lap, and Stephanie had time to digest the morning of good byes and the events of the whole week... and how well it all went.. the rest of the trip was enjoyable and relaxing.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Keeping Busy

Its so hard when you lose a pet, especially if your a sicko family like ours and make your pet part of the make up of your family.
There were so many plus's to having Mollie, that eventually, the "end" will seem small compared to all the good stuff. But right now, all I seem to focus on is that she is gone.

Its strange how I still hear her every now and then... a thump that tells me she has just jumped off my bed, or a small deep bark to tell me she wants out for a pee.. or in from a pee... I step over her, when she isn't there... out of the corner of my eye, the laptop case is her, stretched out on her side, or the black cushion on the floor by my bed....

To survive this tough time, that I know will pass, we have kept busy and I have been avoiding most people. Yesterday we helped Michelle and Scott in Dartmouth with house stuff, and Terry helped his mom and sister with moving things, and putting things up on the walls (Joan has just moved into an apt in Halifax). We got home late last night but on our way home we planned a kayaking trip to Keji for today.
KEJI..........spectacular... as always... We paddled Jeremy's Bay which took two hours, and we lunched on the sandbar and rested our weary butts. Then off we went again, in the opposite direction to look for picnic sites.. .and found two.. with an outhouse, no less.! I had already pee'd in the woods but took advantage of the privacy and went again.. just in case!
We are always amazed when we go out, at how many dragonflies hop a ride on the front of the kayaks. We are thinking that maybe they are attracted to the yellow ... I had no less than 10 or so, and Terry had one guy hitch a ride for over 20 minutes and only go off the front, when we beached our boats for a break.

The sky was brilliant blue white with large white pillow clouds that gave us a break from the sun every few minutes.

This guy posed in several different positions, seemingly waiting for me to take the shot before he would change direction or flex his wings.... stupidly I took about 10 pics of him while he posed.

This is the sandbar off of the tip of Jeremy's peninsula.. and you can walk out quite far before there is a sudden drop. After we left here, we paddled for an hour, before returning and when we did, there were about 10 kids here, dropped off by a man in a zodiac type boat and they were having a blast with a football out on the sandbar.

Tomorrow... morning walk with Debbie, and then lunch with friends.....

Thank you to everyone for your kind words on both this blog and the facebook edition. I am so blessed to have such nice friends who understand the sadness of losing a pet.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The loss of a friend is always hard.....


Oct 1999-Aug 2009

Our beautiful Mollie Dog passed away yesterday after a very brief illness. After suffering a touch of something we thought was heatstroke on Sunday, we kept a watchful eye on her. She became lethargic and listless over this past week and after several vet visits, blood tests showed she was bleeding internally, probably from a ruptured tumor somewhere in her upper body. We decided to not prolong things with more tests or surgery, because it wasn't very likely the problem could have been fixed once found.

Her very kind friend (and Vet) Sarah, made her last few minutes warm and comforting by taking us outside, and we sat in the grass, enjoying the sun, chatting and petting her. She lay with head in my hands and fell asleep as peacefully as she does any other night in my bed in front of the TV.

She leaves a huge void in our house and our family. We will miss her smiling face, her shoe carrying, her door bell duties, her nut cracking snacks, her hugs, her conversation and so much more.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our Midnight Visitors

Our birdfeeder has been the biggest source of entertainment ever. We know that raccoons get into our feeder at night, because there are several mornings when the feeder it positively licked clean...not a speck left. There are not too many opportunities to catch them in the act since they usually come in the middle of the night.. or so I thought. But last night.. all the planets aligned I guess.. Lucy was perched on the bench and started a very weird growl around 10:45 and when I peeked out.. there was a very tiny raccoon peering in at Lucy. His brother was busy nibbling seed on the other side, while he froze in terror. My camera got a blurred image of two of them, but Scott had his fantastic camera his parents bought for him for his birthday (which is today, BTW)... and he got a few awesome shots. This first picture is what my camera took, and you can see two little eyes behind the first raccoon. The second is a great pic from Scott's camera. We missed several great shots, and we discovered there were three babies and they couldn't all fit on the feeder so they were sort of taking turns.. the way brothers would. Shoving the other off the perch and taking his spot. One was way braver than the others... and got the most food too.

Funny thing.. for a few years now, Terry has cursed those raccoons for taking all the seed in one night... so the birds are left with nothing, but last night, big hearted Terry was concerned that there wasn't enough there for the three little babies...