Look! We adopted a bunny! This is not just any old bunny either, this is the sweetest, mellowest, most inquisitive bunny EVER. He’s got the funniest little bunny bum and a twitchy little bunny nose and he’s incredibly soft and cuddly. I always wanted a bunny!
We don’t actually have him yet. We bought him and all the bunny paraphernalia like a water bottle, a bunny hut, hay and bunny food. But he’s going to stay at Critter Jungle (our favourite pet store) until Friday. That’s because I’m leaving for Saskatoon today (I’m going to a conference) and also because we need to get a good rabbit cage and get it all set up before we bring him home.
He’s a little boy bunny, four months old, and he’s a Lionhead. As you can see from this picture – which doesn’t do him justice – he matches Duncan and Rosie.
Kazoo is a 16-year-old Double Yellow Headed Amazon parrot. She talks. We don’t always know what she’s saying exactly, but we always know what she means because she’s remarkably expressive.
Take a look at this video and see if you can tell what she’s yelling at the 7-second, 27-second and 37-second marks. This is something she yells at least a few times a week. Maybe it’s French? (She spent her first 13 years in a Francophone household.)
Sometimes I worry that the neighbours will think it’s me yelling like that…
It gets crazy loud in here when I play this video, because all the birds get excited and then they start answering their own calls, and it’s like having 10 birds in the room instead of five!
The other morning as I was waking up, someone on CBC was talking about a project called ShareThanksgiving.ca. Basically, it’s an online matching service, in which host families in Canada are matched with newcomer families (refugees, new immigrants, foreign students, etc.) for Thanksgiving dinner. It started in Toronto last year, and spread across Canada this year.
Naturally I decided to check it out. You know, just to see. However, when I went to the site, part of it didn’t load. All I could see was this “Get Started” button, so I clicked it. It asked me a few questions, like my name and email address, so I provided those. Then it asked how many people I could host, and I said one. But I had no intention of actually registering, I was just trying to get deeper into the site so I could learn more about it. When it asked me the ages of my children, I closed the window. I figured I’d have to at least run it by GC before inviting total strangers to dinner.
GC and I talked about it that evening, and GC was concerned it might feel a little awkward, and did it mean we’d have to clean the house? We thought maybe it would turn out to be one of those things that sounded good at the time, but then on the day it was scheduled, you wished you hadn’t committed to it. That made sense so we decided not to do it.
The next day I got a message thanking me for registering and telling me I’d get my match the following day. I immediately wrote back and said no, it was all a big mistake, I hadn’t meant to register, terribly sorry about the misunderstanding, maybe next year, yada yada yada.
I didn’t get a response until the following day, when an email arrived saying they’d found me a match! His name was Thomas and he was a 19 year old physics student from France. The email was sent to both Thomas and me, and I was encouraged to email him to make arrangements.
So, um, this was awkward. I immediately wrote to Thomas and said how much GC and I were looking forward to meeting him on Sunday. I told him who else would be joining us, and I told him what time dinner would be, and I asked if he needed a lift. He wrote back and said how wonderful it all was and he hoped we would be patient with his English and he didn’t need a ride, he’d take the bus or his bike.
Sunday morning we popped the turkey in the oven and cleaned the house. Around 4:00 the guests started arriving – my son, Rob’s son, my friend Kathryn. But no Thomas. I kept checking my messages, and there was nothing from him. Was he lost? Had he gotten a better offer? Had he not intended to register in the first place?
Thomas never did show up, but we had a really good time without him. The ShareThanksgiving.ca site had urged us to take photographs of our Thanksgiving gathering, so here’s Thomas’s chair and plate.
After dinner we made an extra plate of food up for James’ father, who is still in the hospital with his broken neck, and we all traipsed over to the Civic to deliver it.
Thomas called the following afternoon. “Is it today?” he asked.
“No, it was yesterday,” I said.
We then had an awkward conversation in which neither of us really knew what to say. I briefly considered inviting him over for leftovers, but it seemed like the window of opportunity for Thomas and me had closed. After I got off the phone I noticed that he was calling from a Toronto area code, so maybe he doesn’t even live in Ottawa.
Friday morning I was walking to work along Somerset Street. It was a drizzly morning, so this sidewalk chalk message was probably still fresh yet destined to disappear almost immediately.
As I stopped to take a picture of it, my old friend Mike, who lives on Somerset Street, stepped out of his apartment building. We puzzled over the chalk message together, trying to figure it out. Mike thought he probably meant to write “I am a hobo…”
Whatever it meant, we agreed it was sad.
It wasn’t until that evening, when I was downloading the photo from my phone to my computer that I suddenly understood it. The message was written by Henry Cyr, the one-handed homeless slide guitarist, also known as The Only True Blues Man, according to one of my all-time favourite bloggers.
Henry Cyr is a bit of a legendary character on the streets of Ottawa. He used to be a carpenter until he lost his hand in an alcohol & work-related accident on October 6, 1989, and this apparently precipitated a downward spiral in circumstances which has lasted for 24 years now. According to people who know him, Henry Cyr is complicated, creative, industrious, energetic, entrepreneurial, opinionated, stubborn, tough and gritty. He writes songs and plays slide guitar on the streets, with a mug clamped on the end of his stump. He even has a bit of a blog, which he may or may not visit.
Henry can be charming, but he can also be pissy, depending on his mood. Once he snarled at me as I walked past him, something about how I could afford to shop at Eddie Bauer (I was carrying an Eddie Bauer bag) but couldn’t give a hobo a dime. Ottawa’s panhandlers are usually pretty polite, whether you give to them or not, and I know this because sometimes I do give and sometimes I don’t. I didn’t give him anything for quite a long time after that, but I’m not proud of it.
Posted by zoom! on September 30, 2013, at 9:21 am |
It has been Quite the Week. There was a more-or-less last-minute switch-about at work, which meant that I got to go to a conference in Montreal about HIV and housing, from Tuesday to Friday. Since I wasn’t going to be here for my son’s birthday, I switched his birthday dinner to Monday night.
We had just finished eating the birthday cake when the phone rang. It was my son’s father’s friend, telling me she was at the hospital with my son’s father (John). Something about a fall and a heart attack and it looked bad.
So GC and my son and I all raced over to the hospital, where we learned they didn’t actually know why he fell, but whatever precipitated the fall was the least pressing of his problems since he had broken his neck while falling down the stairs. (It’s funny how much more dramatic “he broke his neck” sounds than “he fractured two bones in his neck.”)
Anyway. We stayed with him and held his hand and lobbied for more and better painkillers until about 2:00 in the morning, after they had conducted all the imaging and neurological tests and were able to tell us more definitively what was happening.
The good news: he wasn’t paralyzed, and they didn’t seem to think he’d had a heart attack or a stroke.
However, the fractures were “unstable” which meant that if he moved the wrong way, he could end up paralyzed. So even though he was in a lot of pain and really wanted to change positions, he couldn’t. Secondly, there was bleeding in and around his brain. Not a huge amount, but enough that they wanted to keep a very close eye on him overnight. If nothing changed during the night, he wouldn’t need surgery. Instead, he’d be fitted with a big, heavy metal contraption called a halo, to keep his neck completely immobile for the next few months.
This is what the halo looks like, but John looks crankier than this guy.
So that’s what they did. Big metal halo. He’s still in the hospital and will be released once he can walk on his own. (I went to see him yesterday, and he said he had walked on his own the day before but nobody saw him so it didn’t count.) He’s still pretty uncomfortable and he seemed uncharacteristically cranky too.
I sometimes take other people’s crankiness personally, so I had to keep reminding myself that he’s in pain, he’s immobile, he’s stuck in the hospital, his head is stuck in a 7-pound metal trap, he’s got a wicked headache, and he can’t smoke or drink as much as he might like. (They’ve got him on a nicotine patch and they’re giving him a couple of cans of beer each day.) At any rate, he’s got plenty of good reasons to feel cranky. And even though I think he’s bloody lucky to be alive and not paralyzed, I guess he’s feeling pretty unlucky for breaking his neck in the first place, which is fair enough.
Anyway. In other news…
Montreal was great: the conference was interesting, the hotel bed was so comfortable I asked the concierge for the make and model (it’s a Serta), and I had a lovely dinner with my Dad and Merle on Thursday. On Wednesday night I went to see the Chihuly glass art exhibit, which I highly recommend. It’s there until October 20th. Here’s a couple of shots I took of it:
Posted by zoom! on September 24, 2013, at 10:21 am |
Now that we’re married, GC and I are thinking about moving in together. Like actually formally officially living together. Getting rid of the duplicate toaster and bed and microwave and house, and consolidating ourselves and our animals and our stuff into one house.
It’s complicated, though. First we had to decide which house to live in. I preferred my house and he preferred his house. We finally reached a decision: we’ll sell my house and live in his house for a couple of years and then we’ll buy a house that will be “ours.”
But before we move to his house, we both have to get rid of a whole bunch of stuff. It’s the wrong time of year for a garage sale, so we have to figure that out. Some of it can go on Kijiji, like my loom and guitar and extra furniture and his giant 61″ 500-pound free-to-a-good-home TV. Even so, I really do need to have a garage sale.
Also, we want to do a few fix-ups of his house while it’s relatively empty, like refinishing the floors and painting the interior and installing some lighting and maybe improving the kitchen a little.
Neither one of us has has any talent or experience with fixing things (we’re quilters, not carpenters; the only thing the two have in common is the motto “measure twice, cut once”). So we have to hire people to do that. Do you hire a general contractor, and he or she hires the other people? Do you hire a jack of all trades, or a specialist for each job? Do you refinish the floors first, or paint first? We keep hearing that all the good contractors will be too busy to take the job, and we shouldn’t hire anybody that isn’t too busy because they won’t be any good. But does that even make sense?
So anyway, assuming we get all that sorted out, then we have to actually move. I’m definitely hiring movers for that.
Once we’re there, we have to fix my place up in order to sell it. The floors should be sanded and the whole interior painted. In addition to that, I think the kitchen floor and the kitchen counter both need replacing, and probably the cabinets need to be refaced. Also, the moldings and trim that Kazoo ate need to be replaced. And then there’s various assorted little things, like the window screen that Duncan plucks when he wants to come in. It’s in shreds, and must be replaced.
Oh, and the crumbling cement front porch. It has been an eyesore for years. The city issued another work order this year, and I convinced the neighbour with whom I share the porch that we should replace the cement porch with a wood porch. Another neighbour agreed to do the job in his very limited spare time. (It’s been over a month, and we now have wooden steps…but they’re not all the same size. Some are 10 inches deep and others are 20 inches deep, and the last one is really really tall. He’s still tweaking it; it’s a work in progress.)
Anyway, after we’ve sold all our extra stuff, fixed up GC’s house, moved there, and fixed up my house, then we have to sell my house. And then we’re done!
Posted by zoom! on September 9, 2013, at 9:06 am |
So here’s a crazy thing. GC had to have a medical test a couple of weeks ago as a follow-up to an earlier test a few months ago. The doctor was 99.9% sure everything was okay, but he just wanted to guide a camera through GC’s urinary tract to make sure. (Don’t worry, the graphic images aren’t of that.)
GC was tempted to call the whole thing off a couple of days before the procedure, since everything seemed fine and nobody really wants a camera inserted into their penis. But he’s a much better patient than I am, and he rarely cancels or even reschedules anything, so he went through with it. He even said okay when the doctor asked if his resident could perform the procedure, since his resident needed the practice.
The procedure seemed to go okay, but there were complications. Something got nicked. GC was bleeding more than is normal after such a procedure, and by early evening he couldn’t pee anymore because there was a blockage. We headed over to Emergency.
You know how Emergency is. Everybody acts like your personal emergency is just another mundane, insignificant event in an endless series of mundane, insignificant events. Your penis is bleeding? Ho hum.
We did see a slight flicker of interest while GC was being triaged. A young couple came up to the triage window and the man said that it was his pregnant wife’s due date and she was acting strange and Telehealth thought she might be having a stroke. The triage nurse looked ever-so-slightly more interested in that than he did in GC’s penis.
Eventually GC was examined by a urology resident, who said a catheter and an hour of irrigation should clear things up. It didn’t, so they admitted him overnight and said he should be fine in the morning after being irrigated overnight. The next morning he still wasn’t okay. They kept him till 4:30 in the afternoon, at which point he was declared cured and discharged.
An hour earlier, at 3:30 in the afternoon, while sitting in his hospital bed, he suddenly got this weird thing with his foot. It was itchy and tight and it felt like something was tugging on it or like there was a magnet in it, pulling. I took a look. It was on the side of his foot. A red patch about two inches long, with a bunch of tiny blisters.
We called the nurse. She washed his feet in warm soapy water and called the doctor, who changed his antibiotic prescription just in case it was an allergy. They thought it might be contact dermatitis. They said he could go home, but if it got worse to come back.
We got home, ate, fed the animals and then took another look at the foot. All the little blisters had joined together and become one big fat blister. And there was a second area, near the heel, that had become inflamed. I sent a picture to Mudmama who said it looked like cellulitis, which can be dangerous.
We went back to Emergency, and waited for hours. This doctor didn’t know what kind of infection it was (she said it might possibly be cellulitis) and she broke the blister and sent us home, with instructions to come back if it got worse, and a prescription for another antibiotic.
He has since gone to his own doctor, who also doesn’t know what it is but who says it might take awhile to clear up. It has been 12 days, and this is what it looks like now.
Posted by zoom! on September 3, 2013, at 9:56 am |
GC and I marched in the Pride parade last weekend! First time for both of us. I was working there and GC volunteered to pitch in. It was a terrific event for people-watching. The people lining the streets to watch the parade were, I think, more entertaining than your average spectators. We were behind the Bruce House hootenanny float, so heehaw!
After the parade, we worked at an information booth for a few hours. We were giving away flashing red ribbons and key drives in exchange for people sharing their tips about health and happiness.
As you might expect, a lot of people talked about eating healthy and getting enough exercise. But there were some unique answers too, like eat mangoes, and spend time with rabbits, and drink booze.
At one point three women came by and I struck up a conversation with them. It turned out that two of the women were the mothers of the other woman. And the mother who had actually given birth to that daughter has four children and nine grandchildren. She didn’t look old enough to be a grandmother. (Really she didn’t; I wasn’t just saying that.) They laughed and told me that when they arrived at the Pride Info Fair earlier in the day, the three of them went to buy drink tickets, and the ticket-seller asked only one of them for ID – the grandmother of the nine children! Her daughter didn’t even get carded, just her.
I have to say I was pretty eager to see what she wrote on her healthy/happy living card, because this woman seemed to have discovered the proverbial fountain of youth. Turns out her age-defying secret is lots of sleep and plenty of water.
So what do you think? Which one is the daughter, and which one is the grandmother who has to carry ID if she’s hoping to drink?