I was going to blog about Italy today, but I didn’t get around to it. Here’s the thing: an Italy post needs pictures. I have a new camera (a real one, not a phone) and I’ve started learning Adobe Lightroom but I’m still figuring it out. So far I’ve imported our 1,987 Italy pictures, sorted them, keyworded most of them and fixed the color balance on some of them. But I haven’t yet finished editing or exporting any photographs. So I’m not quite ready to blog about all the wonderful things GC, Ernesto and I did and saw in Italy.
GC and I are off to Italy tomorrow, for two weeks of exploring, eating and drinking wine! We’re starting in Venice, then going to Florence, followed by a few days in the Tuscan countryside, and finishing up in Rome.
We’re going to the San Michelle’s cemetery in Venice, the Ufizzi Gallery in Florence, the Tuscan hill towns, the Catacombs, the Vatican! We’re going to geocache! We’re going to see the Sistine Chapel! We’re taking a 4-hour eating tour of Rome! We’re staying on an agriturismo farm in Pescina, Seggiano! We’re going to bathe in the hot springs of Saturnia! I’m (Read more…)
Remember back in the winter I started a migraine prevention medication which is also a popular anti-seizure medication, and which is known to cause significant cognitive impairment? Apparently more than half of the people who take this drug don’t last more than a couple of months on it because of its side effects. Well, I’m a trooper. I stuck with it for 10 months, in spite of the fact it turned my brain to jello. It did reduce my migraines from about 22 a month to 10, so that was good. But after many months of slow consideration, I came (Read more…)
Last weekend we drove out to Smith Falls to visit the Parrot Partner bird sanctuary in their groovy new digs. Since our last visit, they’ve become a registered charity and they’ve moved out of Judy’s house, which had been taken over by all the parrots she had rescued. You know how it goes. One parrot turns into two, then five, then seventeen, as people keep bringing you parrots because “you’re so good with them” and you can’t say no. The parrots eventually take over your house, and then they eat it, starting with the moldings and trim, and you end (Read more…)
GC and I were walking to the bus stop the other morning and he asked if I wanted to do the 100-Day Happiness Challenge with him.
“Absolutely,” I said. “What is it?”
So here’s what it is. You can start anytime. You register. Every day you take a picture of something that makes you happy that day. It doesn’t have to make you happy all day. It doesn’t have to make anybody else happy. It’s not a competition. Just one thing that made you happy for a moment of your day. You post that picture to whichever social media (Read more…)
Yesterday I was at Loblaws (Baseline and Woodroffe) buying ingredients for veggie quesadillas. Pesto was on sale for $4.50. I bought one. As I walked away from the store, I scanned my bill and saw that I’d been charged $6.99 for the pesto. I went back to the pesto shelf and re-read the sign.
Aha! The sale price only applied if you bought two or more packages of pesto. But look! The regular price is $5.99. If you only buy one, the “special” price is $6.99. Is it just me, or is this doubly misleading?? It’s (Read more…)
Parrots are smart. They need plenty of stimulation or their mental health will suffer. Parrots are difficult enough to live with when they’re mentally healthy; you definitely don’t want to push them over the edge. So parrot toys are a necessity. And, since many good parrot toys will quickly be reduced to piles of rubble in the bottom of the cage, you have to replenish your stock regularly.
I spent my income tax refund on bird toys this year. When the box finally arrived, I lugged it into the bird room, tore it open, and started unpacking all the new (Read more…)
Where have I been the last few months? I’ve been depressed. I still am, but I’m doing better now than I was. It was bad. It started in December and peaked in February I think. Between crazy workload issues and packing and moving and selling the house and renovations and migraines and awful migraine prevention meds and Duncan dying and other stuff I just got overwhelmed and anxious and then I couldn’t sleep and I would wake up in the middle of the night and worry for hours. And you know how that goes, it’s always catastrophizing, imagining the worst (Read more…)
Here are some of the things we got and did at the Great Glebe Garage Sale yesterday:
An authentic persian rug, 4×6, for $25 A pretty leash for Rosie for $1 2 gorgeous light switch plates, painted with birds, 50 cents each 5 books for $5 2 sweatshirts and a t-shirt for $10 (yes I overpaid, but I loved the colours) An antique photo album of cabinet photos, most of which were ordinary but one of which had an antique bicycle, for $15 A laptop case for $5 A scarf for a nickel A stretching lesson for a handful of (Read more…)
So I kind of got busy there for awhile and didn’t write much about what was going on. Among other things, we fixed up my house and put it on the market. By fixed up, I mean painted the inside from head to toe, re-faced the kitchen cabinets, replaced the kitchen floor, refinished the hardwood floors, replaced the toilet and vanity in the bathroom, and fixed damage that the pets had done. And when I say we did all that, I mean we paid other people to do it, which is still a lot of work.
We then (Read more…)
I got an advance copy of Gender Failure, by Ivan E. Coyote and Rae Spoon. It’s not quite available in the stores yet, but it’s coming soon and I urge you to get yourself a copy. It’s an extraordinary book.
I loved the show Gender Failure so I knew before reading it that I’d love the book. The book is just like the show except it’s got a bunch of extra goodies.
Ivan and Rae take turns telling stories about their experiences of being trans throughout their lives. Some of the stories were illuminating, like “How to Be Gay When (Read more…)
First picture of Duncan (OHS 2008)
I have such sad news to share with you.
Duncan Donut, the Glorious Dogcat, the big old Puddin’head, the best cat ever…Duncan died on Thursday afternoon. I know some of you were very fond of Duncan, and I’m so sorry.
He was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease a couple of years ago, but he weathered it pretty well. It was a gradual descent, and he was a trooper. He really only declined sharply in the few days before his death. On Thursday we took him to Dr. Hughes, and she said we could either (Read more…)
So we moved! It was stressful, as moving always is, and we’re still digging out from under all the boxes, but at least the move is behind us.
The movers were great. We’d never heard of them but they worked hard and fast, they were friendly and nice, they treated our stuff and our home with respect, and they charged less than half of what we were quoted by the other moving companies we talked to.
Here’s my favourite line of the day:
The mover was taking the legs off a table to make it fit better into the moving (Read more…)
You know what? I don’t care how scattered or stressed I am, how many hours of sleep I have lost to insomnia, how many IQ points I have lost to meds, or how bloody awful I look and feel. The moving truck is pulling up to my front door in an hour and 19 minutes. In about 8 hours the move will be over. I will be able to stop dismantling my life and start putting it all back together again. Life will start to get better again. Right?
My neurologist switched me to daily Topamax for migraine prevention a couple of months ago. Topamax is an anti-seizure medication. At first it didn’t work. I had a non-stop headache for weeks. But then the headache went away. I haven’t had a migraine for a few weeks now, which is nice. But I still have the Topamax side effects.
The big one is cognitive impairment. One of Topamax’s nicknames is Dopamax, because it makes you dopey.
I have very little working memory. I can’t keep anything in mind long enough to make good use of it. I also have trouble (Read more…)
I’ve been crazy busy lately, at work and at home. The move is scheduled for February 1st, so I’ve been packing and decluttering and running stuff over to Value Village and throwing stuff out. (Remember that hair dye sample folder that I grabbed out of a hair stylist’s garbage five years ago and thought I’d make art out of it someday? Tomorrow is garbage day, and it’s on the curb.)
We’ve been meeting with real estate agents and contractors and movers and electricians and blind people (the sighted kind). GC has been learning how to install toilets and light (Read more…)
Let me just say this right upfront: I used to think bird people were a little odd. Bird people don’t hold a candle to bunny folk. I’m not naming names because I don’t know if bunny folk even know how odd they are. But ever since my charming little bunny, Ivan, came into my life, I’ve found myself crossing virtual paths with some awfully eccentric bunny folk. Maybe weird people are attracted to bunnies, or maybe spending time with bunnies turns people weird, but there’s clearly some sort of association, so I’m going to be keeping a very close eye (Read more…)
GC and I have kind of lived together for years. But our living arrangement has always involved maintaining two houses, with his stuff in his house and my stuff and us and the animals in my house. We want to consolidate so we’ll have one mortgage payment instead of two, and one of each bill instead of two. So we’re fixing up his house (painting and replacing some flooring and changing some light fixtures and toilets and window coverings) and then we’re going to move in there. Then we’ll fix up my place and sell it.
Even though we’re not (Read more…)
Death is such a sudden and jarring thing. It doesn’t matter if the person was living on borrowed time, or if death came swooping in out of the blue, years ahead of schedule, it seems we are always caught off guard. Never more so, I think, than when somebody’s child dies. Even if that child is an adult, if they have a parent, they’re somebody’s child.
Alessandra was the beloved daughter of a dear friend of mine. I knew her when she was a little girl but hadn’t seen her in years. Much had changed for her in that time. (Read more…)
I’ve been riveted by the Rob Ford debacle, but I am conflicted about it. On the one hand, Rob Ford is – and always has been – a repugnant, pugnacious, pig-headed, hypocritical, right-wing bully, so there’s something kind of appealing about watching him self-destruct in such a spectacular way. I just want to grab some popcorn and sit down to watch the news…even the re-runs are good. On the other hand, I sometimes see hints of humility and glimpses of misery and I’m reminded that beneath that ugly veneer there’s a human being in extraordinary pain. He’s losing everything that (Read more…)
Thanks to everybody who voted on the bunny’s name. We ended up going with Ivan. I know, it wasn’t even on the list…but I decided to name him after Ivan Coyote, who is one of my heroes.
GC and I built the bunny’s house ourselves. It’s a four-story condo, and it took us three evenings to make it. We’re very proud of it. And Ivan likes it.
They say you can teach a bunny to use a litter box. Bunnies will generally go to the bathroom in one particular corner of their house. That’s where you should put the litter (Read more…)
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 (Read more…)
One of these bedside tables is mine, and the other one is GC’s. But which is which?
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 (Read more…)