Friday, October 31, 2008

Quote o’ the day

Gordon the Donkey-whisperer

The "Quote o’ the Day"* comes from my husband. As we were discussing sushi earlier, he came out with the following:

"I am a miniature donkey of limited means."

Wha...??? What the HELL does that mean? What the HELL do donkeys have to do with sushi?

Natalie the Donkey-snack

*The "Quote o’ the day" is unlikely to be a regular feature and thus should be probably be called "Quote o’ the Month" or perhaps "Quote o’ the Season" or even "Quote o’ the Millennium."

PS: Yes, I have spent my entire day avoiding work. I am so lame. Lame. Lame. Lame ass. And yes, the "biting donkey" picture appears elsewhere on my blog, but I couldn't resist using it again. So topical!


H A P P Y H A L L O W E' E N !

Well, we don't get trick-or-treaters at the farm, which means we haven't carved a pumpkin in two years (wah) and we have no leftover chocolate or candy (double wah.) I think next year I'll get off my lazy behind and carve at least one of my lovely fat pumpkins. If they aren't covered in snow, that is.

So I have for your viewing pleasure some memories of Hallowe'ens past... and yes, I am obviously obsessed with vomit. What can I say?

The Alien Knitter, 2005

Ambulance-chasing Canadian lawyer with client, 2005
(thanks Gordon, for letting me cross-dress in your clothing!)

British Columbian pumpkin that drank way too much tequila, 2004
(Note that in BC, there is RAIN on Hallowe'en, not SNOW!)
(I drank way too much tequila in 1990. I learned my lesson.)

Nova Scotian pumpkin that drank fourteen Moosehead beer, with really embarrassed girlfriend-pumpkin, 2002
(Note to guys: if you want to impress a woman, don't puke on the first date!)

Way nasty punk pumpkin, with carrot nose that totally wrecks his vicious image, 2003
(A REAL punk pumpkin would have a nose ring. Or nipple piercing. Or no nose at all. Wait, do pumpkins have nipples?!)

Dude, it's no dream. You really did barf on your first date. And no, she's not going to call you.
(I do so love Photoshop.)

The Leaning Tower of Pumpkin, British Columbia 2005
(Raining again. Quelle surprise!)

Scariest of all... what our baby might have looked like if Gordon and I had had children.

Have a great evening, keep the little ones safe, and eat some chocolate for me. I'm having sushi!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

That's not a bird... my birdfeeder. I'll give you a hint. One of these was the star of "Ratatouille":

(I really need to get the screen out of my office window for winter, so I can take some decent bird photos!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Snow day!

Ah, it could have been worse! We ended up with a few inches of snow, one birch tree down, and a long power outage followed by the power flicking on and off all night, waking us up until we had the sense to unplug the beeping microwave!

The dogs were racing around like crazy things in the snow, so at least they are happy. And I'm happy Gordon gets a snow day. Actually, take my whining with a grain of salt. If weather is the worst thing I have to complain about, I'm doing very well in life! But it's fun to feel sorry for myself. :)

Last night...

This morning!

Last night...

This morning!

Poor tree...

This should all be melted by tomorrow or Friday. Time to get the snow tires on the car!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oh COME ON!!!!

Last year, the first snowfall of any consequence was on November 21, the day our dogs arrived. Here's a shot from the day after, with Gordon frolicking on his "snow day." (Btw, after November 21 we had snow on the ground until May.)


What is today's date? Yes, that's right. Today is OCTOBER 28. OCTOBER! But what is Environment Canada telling us? Environment Canada is telling us that starting tonight, we are going to be hammered by a winter storm. There is a winter storm warning on now, and we are supposed to get six frigging inches of snow, if not more, plus strong winds and a bunch of rain before the snow begins. It's already raining slop. Windy, cold, slop, crap crap crap.

The people at Environment Canada crack me up. This is how they started the latest warning:

"Although Halloween is still three days away... Some frightening weather is beginning to appear already."

Uh, yeah. I think I need to smack their heads together.

Now, for all you non-Canucks, you have to understand that complaining about the weather is our national sport (after hockey), one in which I indulge freely. We get tons of bad weather here. Tons. I have lived through many blizzards, thunderstorms, heat waves, -40C cold snaps, and one force 2 hurricane. I lived through six weeks of not seeing the sun in BC. Unlike you southerners, (and British Columbians) I don't do the chicken dance if I see half an inch of snow on the ground. ;)

And unlike you Americans, we don't have a Florida or a Hawaii to run off to when the snow is two feet deep. (Well, we do, we have YOUR Florida and Hawaii, but now that the Canadian dollar is back in the TOILET, journeys to the American south are not a cheap winter escape option for us.)

So I am officially COMPLAINING ABOUT THE WEATHER. I enjoy winter, I do! I cross-country ski, I snow-shoe, I make snow-angels, I get out there, then I come home and make a fire and drink hot chocolate. But for the love of all things HOLY, it is OCTOBER 28th! It's not even HALLOWE'EN. It is certainly not winter. The clocks haven't even gone back! How dare they tell me there's a "winter storm watch" on? I had to run out today and pick my last three cauliflowers, and some Swiss chard, cilantro, and the rest of the beets. (Screw the kale. The kale is on its own. Live free or die, Kale.)

I don't even know where my winter boots are!

So to all of you (this means you Eileen, bikini-clad in your summer weather in Lotusland, and you, Robin and Lizz, basking in the golden sunshine of the orange juice state, and you, Steph and Angela and the rest of you Georgia-types, snorfling down those PEACHES!), spare us poor sods in eastern Ontario a thought tonight as we get our first snow dump of the season. None of us are ready! Gordon and I certainly don't have snow tires on our cars yet (oooh, Gordon, what do you say about a snow day tomorrow?! I'll show you my marshmallows if you show me your hot chocolate.) Send a tiny, warming drop of sympathy our way, a little smudge of sunshine, a litre of home heating oil. Anything! It's just not right. Children are not meant to trick-or-treat in the snow. I had to do that more than once as a kid, and it was just plain wrong. Snowsuits cover up Hallowe'en costumes and totally ruin the effect. Tootsie rolls freeze in the goody bag before you can even make it home. It's hard to keep Hallowe'en pumpkin candles lit in gale-force winds. So GO AWAY snow.

Now excuse me. I have to go hunt for my boots. And the snow shovel.


Friday, October 24, 2008


First off, it was -8 Celsius (17.6 F, to be exact) this morning when we got up. Bleaaaghk! Do you remember all the snow we got last winter? I still haven't recovered. I am not ready for this.

And with the cold weather come MICE in search of a toasty-warm winter abode. Last year I saw one mouse in the kitchen, then no mice all fall and winter, except for a dead one in the basement, clearly a botched assassination by one of my cats. Alex and Julius, the feline hit squad, were obviously doing their job last season. I didn't even see mouse POOP all winter, never mind living, breathing mice. Country homes mean country mice, and if the cats hadn't been at it, believe me, we would have found mice here, there and everywhere.

I am starting to think things may be different this year. Wednesday night I was woken from a deep sleep at midnight by noises in the kitchen. I lay there thinking, "Hmm. The cats don't have a toy that squeaks like that. Hmmmm." I asked Gordon if he heard the noise, but he was too bleary-eyed and drooling even to put together a coherent sentence. He said what he always says when I wake him in the middle of the night to ask if he heard something: "No!" It's always wishful thinking on his part.

So I went downstairs to investigate, knowing full well what I was going to find.

I flicked on the kitchen light, and there was Alex the tripod-kitty, chasing some poor mouse back and forth along the floor at bottom of the kitchen cupboards. Not catching it, just harrassing it, as it squeaked in terror. Not doing his catly duty and dispatching it. Not tucking in to a fine mouse snack. Just PLAYING. Just FOOLING around. Just being a totally LAME CAT. This from the guy who is on a diet and should be ravenous for fresh meat.

So I walked over in my semi-conscious stupor and caught the mouse in my bare hands. I then took it outside and tossed it on the lawn, came back in, washed my hands, and went back to bed. (Doubtless the mouse was back in the house before my head hit the pillow again.) I can't kill anything, let along a mouse. When we trap them, we use a "tin cat" humane trap, then drive them a mile or two down the road for release. (You have to go that far or they just come back into the house.) Maybe that's not particularly humane either, driving them off to a farmer's field, but I ain't killing them and Gordon can't either. I just don't want them in the house. If the cats take care of it, fine, all the better!

I thought that midnight adventure was a one-off, but evidently not. At 3:00 o'clock this morning, I heard a familiar noise in the kitchen. This time I knew what was going on. I went downstairs and what do I see, but TWO cats, Julius and Alex, sitting on their butts about a foot apart, face to face, playing ping-pong with some poor frantic mouse between them. I scolded them both: "You wieners! A mouse is NOT a ping-pong ball!"

Now, Julius used to be a magnificent killing machine. I once witnessed him dispatching a mouse with one great slap of his mighty paw. Before he became an indoor cat, he would drop presents of voles at my feet. He was a stray who fed himself in the wilds of Nova Scotia himself for many months before we took him in. Those homicidal days appear to be gone. Dead and buried, even.

So once again, I caught the hapless mouse (just before it ran up my pajama leg; it was a close call as it clung to my ankle), and took it outside. Yes, I know mice carry hantavirus, and dengue fever and ebola and tuberculosis and syphilis and cooties (I'm kidding about all of that except the hantavirus and cooties), but at 3:00 am I'm not about to go searching for a net or whatever it is you need to catch a tiny rodent. I just grab the mice with my hands, and wash up right afterwards. They don't bite me. I don't do this often. And I'm not one of those women who get on a chair and scream at the sight of a rodent.

Given the amount of time the boys spend in the basement, staring at the woodpile, I believe that they are catching these mice, then bringing them upstairs to play with in the wee hours. Naomi is still spending her nights confined to the bathroom, but I am hoping that once she is a free-range kitten, the mice won't have much of a chance. She has been doing an awesome job of repeatedly murdering her toy squirrel.

If the boy-cats don't get their killer instinct back SOON, it's going to be a looooong winter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Get a room, you two!

These photos would have been better had I made our bed this morning. Alas...please ignore my pajamas.

Naomi and Alex are in love. Alex is always giving his girlfriend baths,and they love to play together. He's quite gentle with her, even when she goes looking for teats on his belly! (Ooops! But she did leave her mommy a little too early.)

She pushes her little head against Alex's chest and blisses out while he gives her a thorough washing. (Alex is missing a hind leg on his left side, btw.)

"Do you mind? Can we have some privacy here?!"

Friday, October 17, 2008

Less serene than it looks...

"Oh," you think to yourself, "look at the cute dogs sharing a bed. Isn't that sweet?"

Pictures lie! Tristan (right) was lying on his bed with his stuffed beaver when his mean sister Sophie came over, threw herself on the beaver so Tristan couldn't have it, then fell asleep, trapping his paws in the process. That's a "Mummy, help me!" look on his face.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

And to cheer myself up...

...I have some cute pictures for you.

Checking each other out! I let the dogs sniff Naomi while I hold her, but until she gets a bigger, I won't trust Tristan the Squirrelator.

Yesterday's rainbow.

The three amigos on the front porch.

"You're not coming over here... are you?"

"Oof! So RUDE, this young'uns!"

"Much better. Keep off my shelf, impudent kitten."

And this morning, I found this...

Naomi is GREAT for Alex. Not only is he on a diet, but he's back to running around the house like a crazy man, playing with Naomi. I've had a hard time getting him to play with his toys, so it makes me happy to see him getting up and moving around. We've sorted out the food fiasco (we switched cat foods and the cats gained weight before we realized we were feeding them too much!! Fortunately Julius isn't as bad as Alex.) and I think Alex has already dropped some weight. We'll keep working on it. But Naomi is like his own personal treadmill. They seem to love each other, I might add.

And I call this "Full Moon on Election Night."

I need some caffeine. Ciao!

You didn't make me proud

Last night Canada had what is probably the lowest voter turnout ever. I am totally disgusted and ashamed.

Don't bother asking me how I feel about the election results... let's just say I could do with a stiff drink this morning. I could probably live with the results a bit better if at least people had gotten out and voted more.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Get out and vote!!! Make Nellie proud.

To my fellow Canadians who are thinking of NOT voting in today's federal election: please rethink that inclination! I know the current selection of candidates for Prime Minister is not particularly spectacular (except to a select few of you who are devoted to particular leaders.) I know we are likely going to end up with another minority government, and you may be thinking "What's the point of voting?" I know some people are just ticked off that we've had too many elections in too few years. I feel that way too. I am completely sick of elections and politicians. I want to hurl every time I hear a certain sweater-vested individual on the radio.

But I beg you to consider how sacred your right to vote is. I have visited countries where people have DIED trying to place a vote in a ballot box. Imagine wanting to vote so badly that you would place your life on the line for it. Well, I can't imagine anyone born in this country being that determined to put a ballot in a box; we're too damn spoiled.

And don't forget, if you're female, that it was not that long ago that women (like me, like you) were not ALLOWED to vote, period. The first province to allow women to cast a ballot was Manitoba, in 1916. That was just 92 years ago, my friends, which is not all that long ago in the history of the world. (My paternal grandmother was a 14-year-old in Ireland at that time.) Can you imagine not being allowed to vote just because you have a ovaries and a uterus? Well, that used to be the case in Canada, and we women owe our current rights to brave, determined women like Nellie McClung, who fought for us before we were even born. Don't disgrace these brilliant ladies by being too apathetic to get your butt to the polling station.

Here are a few articles for you to read and think about if you're someone who believes her/his vote doesn't count, so why bother? (You Americans should be thinking about all of this too, since your election is next!!)

Dying to Vote

Even if you aren't registered, YOU CAN VOTE

Voter Turnout: Apathy in the Ascendant

So get out there today, and VOTE. And I particular appeal to the youth and students amongst you, who are evidently the most apathetic voters of all. Rick Mercer had a great rant last week about why students should vote. If you want politicians to pay attention to you and your issues, you are going to have to start putting ballots in boxes, my friends. All you need to vote is an official piece of I.D. with your name and address on it. Even HOMELESS people can vote! Elections Canada wants to help you in any way possible! So just get out there and do it.

And while you are putting your "X" next to your candidate (who, I admit, may be the best of a bad lot, or even a protest vote, or a strategic choice), thank your lucky stars that no one tried to murder you as you lined up at the polling station. And promise yourself that you will vote in every election from now on! That way I won't have to smack you upside the head.

PS: If you don't vote, you have no right to complain about whatever government we end up with. I mean it! I don't want to hear it!

PPS: Still not convinced? I suggest a visit to Zimbabwe. Then get back to me.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Who done it?

I keep a box of tissues in my (crappy Ikea) desk drawer. Last week, I noticed a shredded tissue hanging out. Who done it, I wonder? (Hint: look at the sticking out to the left of the drawers.)

Ta daaaaa! Did you guess?

Why am I not surprised? And isn't she getting LONG? She's growing like a weed. Naomi has been here two weeks now.

Lucky me!

I am one of those people who "never wins anything", although I have been close to the glory of others! When I was in university, my co-worker at a bookstore won $3 million. She never returned to work, not surprisingly. And a few years back, the mother of our "Little Brother" won a Jaguar (car, not animal.)

But I have been on a lucky streak lately. First I won this very cute doorhanger in a contest on Shelley's blog (actually, she has three and they are all worth checking out!!):

Then I won this great set of Harmony straight needles from Monika, who is not only a gifted knitter, but amazingly fast (hence her blog, Smoking Hot Needles; she has beautiful dogs, too):

Finally, these lovely flowers! I went to yoga class on Friday, and at the end there was a draw to celebrate the studio's fourth anniversary. One of my classmates picked my name out of a bag, and I came home with these:

So this being Canadian Thankgsiving, I am very thankful for all these goodies coming my way! I am also thankful that I have a lovely place to live, lots of food to eat, and a healthy happy husband, not to mention healthy pets (although Alex is on a diet.) I'm thankful I'm not starving or lacking clean water or adequate shelter, like much (if not most) of the world's population. Having travelled extensively in less fortunate and less peaceful countries than Canada (but not less beautiful!), I feel very lucky to have been born here.

Now if only my luck will last, and my chosen candidate will win our federal election tomorrow! :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Alex investigates the furry invader

Alex, our tripod-kitty, is actually doing very well with the kitten. They now play nicely together in the family room every evening, with supervision. He's quite gentle with her.

"Are you edible? Cuz my doggy brother eats red squirrels."

"That's not a cat. That's clearly a freak. And she stole my Wubba-on-a-string toy to boot!"

"Maybe if I ignore it, it will go away. Otoh, maybe I should recruit her into the 'Take Advantage of the Big Dorky Dogs' alliance."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

All kitten, all the time. Kitten! Kitten!! Kitten!!!

For those already tired of incredibly cute kitten photos, I suggest you go check out another site. Like this one. (See if you can spot my Clanger! And hey, it was a knitting project!)

I got out my "real" camera yesterday (Nikon digital SLR) and took some time to photograph my precious darling dumpling.

"What? I am just enjoying the sun as I sit on the hibiscus pot!"

"OF COURSE I am not eating this hibiscus leaf. I am merely savouring its fine aroma. Mmmmmm!"

"Look at me! I am positively angelic, with my eyes raised heavenward. I will never ever do anything bad. I will never scratch your nice couch, chew your shoelaces in half, pee in the toaster nor put dead mice in your slippers!"

"Trrrrrrust me!"

"Hey Mummy, look at that giant chocolate bar in the corner!"

"Mmmmmmm, hibiscus leaf, mmmmmmmmmm!"

"What? What?? Yes, yes, I know the dirt isn't for me to poop in!"

(Oops. Something moved, and it wasn't the camera!)

"I am a tiny perfect kitten. Now hand over the catnip and no one gets hurt!"