Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Everybody!

It is 11pm and I've finally finished wrapping all the gifts and have a moment to sit down to write a little note. I'll be posting soon now that things have settled down a bit.

Here is what has been happening with me:

-still working the part-time job.
-trying desperately to sell calendars in a horrific economic climate (and failing dismally).
-organizing a large gala fund-raising event as well as participating in it.
-getting my Occupational First Aid Level 1 certificate.
-making Christmas gifts as well as shopping.
-working some free-lance jobs to attempt to pay off my huge calendar printing bill.
-yelling at Dexter (all 9lbs of him!) to GET DOWN! and LEAVE YOSHI ALONE!
-volunteering as much as I can.
-driving down to the US for business.
-hanging out with my friends who are visiting from London, England.
-hanging out with my friend who is visiting from Montreal.
-actually being a little social and going out as well as inviting people over for snacks.
-decorating for Christmas.
-being stranded by huge amounts of snow.
-eating my weight in sugary treats.

Here's what will be happening in the near future:

-dog sitting Xiola and Lulu for a week.
-more hanging out with my friend from Montreal.
-saying a sad good-bye to my friends from London, England.
-taking down all the decorations.
-DESPERATELY!!!!!! trying to sell calendars.
-fighting a parking ticket in traffic court.
-many trips to the US for my business.
-resuming my new part-time job.
-more volunteering.
-purging junk and re-organising my stuff.
-trying to lose the weight from all those sugary treat.

Stay tuned!

Yoshi, Dexter and I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-A Tip For Obama

Dear President Obama

I know you have a big job ahead of you involving all sorts of mess and chaos. I sorta know what you are facing as I have a cat and a new kitten who simply cannot get along. The kitten is impulsive, out of control, lacking in subtlety and restraint, and defiant. Not at all dissimilar to many people you will have to interact with in the near future. I contrast the first born cat is grumpy, unforgiving, completely lacking in humor and inflexible. Also eerily alike various individuals you will shortly be spending time with.

My cats do not get along under any circumstances...except when one very special ingredient is added to the interaction. This addition is so exceptional and potent that it makes even the most curmudgeonly cat soften. So transforming and influential it makes even the very insanest kitten focus.

I thought that this magical element might help you with your very challenging ambitions.

What I want to share with you is the power of....TUNA!

No hissing. No claws. No blood. Just a common love of the fish.



Well...until the little shit gets too close to her side of the plate.


In case you haven't got the news through the newsletter or my recent Twitter the 2009 Iconic Women By Yoshi Calendar is now available for sale. Same price as last year-$18.95

Check it out!

www.urbanbeast.ca

Saturday, November 01, 2008

My Cat: She's a Little Famous

The excellent folks at www.moderncat.net featured The Yoshi on their site. Very cool! I love that blog and have bought more than a couple things from the people and products they feature.

Check it out!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Cornucopia of Feline Delight

A Cute Photo To Reduce Your Ire

Ok, I am sorry I haven't posted. Very very VERY sorry. But after I spill my brain onto this blog about what has happened over the last month you may regret your recent inquiries into my, Yoshi's and Dexter's well being.

We all all good.

Now that I got that out of the way I'll get into a little more detail.

I've been heinously busy. Partly because I am a terrible procrastinator, partly because I am a good citizen and partly because I need to pay the bills. Against all promises I made to myself, my graphic designer, my family and my friends I once again left the creation of the 2009 Iconic Women By Yoshi Calendar to the last minute. What can I say? I work better under pressure. Just not this much pressure. So it is almost done and will be sent to the printer by next week. I'll be opening up Urbanbeast.ca for pre-sales next week as well so you can order the very first copies right away for immediate delivery.

With the addition of Dexter into the mix photographing Yoshi has been a little more difficult. It involves taking Dexter over to my parent's house so Yoshi won't have a grand mal hissy. While more time consuming it has worked out even better as Yoshi loves the one-on-one time and is posing better than ever.

She is so totally and completely hilarious and adorable and I could nom nom nom her to death.

Now about Dexter. He is the cutest, most loving, friendly, happy-go-lucky kitten ON THE PLANET. Without out a doubt everybody who meets him is charmed and smitten instantly. Saying that he is also horribly bad, intentionally annoying, a less than enthusiastic listener, completely lacking in boundaries and manners, clearly not very bright, a terrible farter, and alarmingly destructive.

Yoshi totally hates him.

Her initial curiosity and interest in Dexter was replaced with loathing when he grew bigger and started jumping on her when she was sleeping, looking the other way, eating, trying to poop and minding her own business in general.*

*See above mention of lack of manners and boundaries.

So my day is filled with hissing, growling, spitting, and heartfelt smack-downs. Entirely and totally on Yoshi's part because Dexter just thinks it is all fun and more fun. Did I mention he really is not very bright?

I can say with certainty that I understand why my parents used to get so frustrated when my brother and I bickered because I now experience daily (333333333 TBGE3333333333334 -Dexter intruding on this post) the equivalent of a little boy persistently picking on his older sister. Yoshi has a look that clearly conveys, "MOoooooOOOM! He's looking at me again!"

I am exhausted. I've also taken to yelling, "Simmer DOWN! You guys!"

The futility.

Despite Yoshi's hatred she is actually really happy in general. She is resigned to Dexter's presence and, I think, not as bored as she was. Kind of like the curmudgeonly old lady yelling at the neighbourhood children to get of her lawn. Bitter but fully occupied. I expect that once Dexter grows up and loses his kitteny assholiness they will just sleep the day away in each other's company like boring old cats do.

Random Dexter von Cheddar Stats:
3 1/2 months old
5lbs 11 oz
Meows a lot
Slightly cross-eyed
Eats anything
Drools when purring

Nicknames:
  • The Ched
  • Ched Head
  • Sir Stink-a-lot
  • D von C
  • NoooooDEXTERNOOOOOO!
  • Duuuuude-don't wreck my shit.
  • Little One
  • Grandmaster Dork
As for me I've suddenly become a little more employed. I've started working a few nights per week as the Theatre Liaison of the 110 person capacity theatre that is located in my apartment building. It works out great since if I feel a little panicky or overwhelmed I can excuse myself for 5 minutes chill-out time in my own apartment with my own kitties. I just make sure that whoever is renting the facilities are treating them with respect and are out of there on time. Sweet little gig, actually.

I'm also now part of my building's Resident Council (sorta like a co-op but different) and have taken a very pro-active approach to dealing with various issues with residents and the building itself. This is totally a volunteer situation and waaaay more work that I anticipated. But good work because being pro-active and solving problems makes me a happier camper overall. I'm also on a committee that is organising and participating in a 3 day Christmas Gala fundraiser for our building (to help subsidize rents) involving an art market and cabaret-style entertainment. I am ALSO treasurer for that which is something I've never done before and am a little nervous about. I continue to be an on-call emergency person in my building one week out of every month as well as work a couple hours per week for my dad.

Yikes, right? Busy but that scattered kind of busy.

So until the calendar is finished and all the surrounding press and products (cards and magnets) are completed I am not going to be posting as much as I'd like. Because my Theatre Liaison position is nights and weekends I am trying to borrow an old laptop so on my down time (when the productions are actually going on) I can maybe write a post or two but, in general, expect me to be scarce until the New Year.

Thanks for checking in and being so patient.

And now here are more Dexter photos and video than you can watch in one sitting.


My Own Personal Sistine Chapel


The Snoozen Housen Usurper Laughs Maniacally At His Sneakiness


'Tocks


Faceplant au Cheddar


Savouring The Deeeeelicious Full Footed Bouquet



Taken Just Now







Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Odd Couple

Terribly sorry about the long delay in a kitteh update. As it normally does this time of year things have become very hectic. I am working on the upcoming 2009 Iconic Women By Yoshi Calendar as well as setting up a new business and doing lots of volunteering.


Dexter is still cute.
Very cute. He is also still exceptionally smelly. The vet says he is fine and often kittens do not have the best digestive systems at young ages so I’ve been experimenting with different foods and might have found some that are less rank gas producing than others. I might publish a research paper: Feline Colon Inexperience and Greenhouse Gasses-Nature's Balance Between Cute and Killer


I’ve never met a cat who is so frickin’ hungry every second of the day.
Dexter wails for food every couple hours and eats like a jackal. There is no nom nom nom but snarl snorf gasp choke hack lick lick sniff sniff root freak-out FEEEED MEEEEEEE AGAIN! He gained ¾ of a pound this week. When I eat he tries to climb all over me. One night he caught me unawares and literally jumped from the back of the couch right onto my full plate. Yoshi has always been a very delicate eater and nibbles on her food through the day. Dexter treats food like air and inhales it like he is suffocating. Dork.


Yoshi is doing much better. MUCH better.
She is eating just fine and seems to be adjusting pretty well. I can’t say she likes Dexter but she isn’t about to throw herself off the balcony. I’ve never had a pair of cats so I’m not really sure what to expect. Dexter clearly LOVES Yoshi. Yoshi clearly HATES Dexter. But not always. Or maybe I should say not always with the same intensity of loathing as other times. I’m thinking I might develop a scale of Yoshi hate levels, similar to the Richter Scale, to apply to various interactions. I shall call it the Hisser Scale.


So there tends to be two types of interaction between Dex and Yoshi:

  • Dexter acting cute and submissive and lurking around Yoshi which she tolerates and then only hisses and growls at him when he gets too close or tries to touch her.
  • Dexter acting like a complete ass and jumping at, stalking, harassing, chasing, sneaking up on and blindsiding Yoshi which she hates. This is when she hisses, spits and swats at him.
Honestly both are totally hilarious and make me laugh. Occasionally I take pity on Yoshi and squirt Dex with my ever handy spray bottle. And even less commonly squirt Yoshi if she is beating him up too much.


The thing that I am not sure about and gives me hope that one day they will really love and appreciate the other is that Dexter still tries to suck up and doesn’t seem to take the beatings seriously and Yoshi, while putting on a show of hating his ass, quite often seems to make an effort to be near him.
Especially when he is playing. She seems fascinated by him interacting with his toys. We’ve had a few evenings where Yoshi, while hissing and growling, has run around and played along side Dexter. Sorta play with him without actually playing WITH him.


Sometimes I start feeling bad that Poor Yoshi is so annoyed by the kitten all the time but then she’ll quite often plonk herself down on her back RIGHT NEXT TO HIM! As soon as he shows interest in her she’ll freak but not always move away from him.
The only way I can explain it is that it seems like she likes to hate him. So they run around beating the crap (Yoshi) out of or jumping (Dexter) on each other. It sounds scary but instead of running away or leaping out of reach they both stay very close and settle down and then hang out near each other.


What does this mean?
I know that things would be less hissy and spitty if only Dexter would chill the fuck out and learn to respect boundaries but being a kitten and all he loses his fool mind and takes unnecessary risks like attacking Yoshi’s tail or standing right outside her litter box staring at her when she is pooping. Thankfully Yoshi is a good multi-tasker and can freak out while making a deposit quite easily.


I have video I am working on but my new digital camera uses a file extension not compatible with my lame-o Windows Movie Maker program. Yet, I feel that a documentary format is best for this footage so you all will have to be patient with me.


So I consider, overall, that things are good. Yes, it could be better like cute snuggling and such but knowing Yoshi I think that will take some serious time. Also I think it will help when Dexter matures and isn’t so spastic around her. A vet friend of Twisted Uterus, Dr. Cheryl, suggested Feliway, a calming cat pheromone, which I got and hope will help. It takes time to kick in so my weekly “buddy” test is seeing if they will eat tuna next to each other. So far Yoshi won’t but I’ll try again next week.


Here is actual photographic proof that Yoshi is indeed alive and well and not kitten chow.



Stalking The Rock Star



Calm Tolerance



Sucking Up



About To Incite A Riot Through A Brief Touch



Yep! Adios Pain In The Ass!


Monday, September 01, 2008

How Smelly Is He?

There is something wrong with the kitten. Nothing obvious. To the casual observer he is a regular kitten doing regular kitten things like attacking his tail, being bad and looking cute. However, if you are unlucky enough to be around him for any length of time you will soon come to realize that something dark is brewing in the bowels of his being. Literally. This kitten stinks. He emits such revolting odoriferous clouds of funk playing with him becomes an exercise in gag reflex control. Cleaning his litter box of his rank deposits is not so much a kindness to him but a desire to breathe in my own home.

If his smell was a book it would be War and Peace-The Director's Cut. If his stink was a biblical reference it would be the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse pulling a manure cart. If his stench was a person it would be Hitler with hemorrhoids. If his inner essence was a sandwich it would be Ebola on Rye. His farts could be classified as weapons of mass destruction. The US will be bombing my living room next. And rightly so. I should be charged an environmental fine for illegal emissions. Brain cells die upon inhalation.

He is eating well and getting very high quality food. He's been wormed twice at appropriate intervals. Clearly, I need to get him to a vet for some antibiotics. Maybe he has food allergies.

Next logical step is an exorcism by a qualified priest.



Looks sweet. Smells like a bloated corpse.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-You Can Lead A Cat To A Kitten But You Can't Make Her Like Him. Who Am I Kidding, You Can't Lead A Cat Anywhere.AC

Here is the kitteh update you’ve all been asking for.


How is Yoshi doing? Well…not great but not terribly awful either. She stopped eating all together a couple days ago and still occasionally (meaning pretty much every day) yaks bile which, I’ve discovered, leaves a lovely green stain on my carpet. Who said having cats was not like having kids? My berber disagrees.


So I started getting desperate and bought all sorts of yummy things Yoshi might successfully ingest with no luck. I vacillated wildly between guilt and exasperation. It was not pretty around here.


I tried to push the limits a little by keeping the cats separated all of the time except in the evenings when I allowed them to be in the same room with each other-supervised for fair play and safety. And the thing is that Yoshi, while not happy, was fairly calm and resigned to Dexter flinging his noodley kitten body all over the living room. She didn’t even blink when he chased a toy under her chair or ran close to her head. One night, when I was playing with Dexter and some toys she jumped down from her perch and crouched about two feet away to watch us, her eyes never leaving the kitten or the feather wand.


I thought I was seeing a very faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Not so much because Dexter started really wanting to be with Yoshi and to approach her and play with her and if he so much as looked in her direction that is when the hissing, spitting, and growling frothed up in full vitriolic volume. Only on Yoshi’s part as Dexter is probably the most laid back kitten I’ve ever met. Nothing fazes him at all.


So as I watched Yoshi losing weight and some days getting worse instead of better I started thinking that maybe this whole kitten idea was just not meant to be and that Yoshi simply couldn’t handle a new addition. I resigned myself to returning the kitten after the long weekend and feeling very incredibly horrible about it.


Then I saw this.


And I got MAD! People introduce new cats and dogs into their house all the time with little or no problems. I saw all those cats living together in harmony and I decided I wasn’t going to let a 9lb cat with a bad attitude run my household.


But I wanted a medical assurance that pushing her further wasn’t going to jeopardize her health. So off to the vet we went today and this is what she said:


-I do not have to get rid of the kitten!

-Yoshi is an exceptionally high-strung cat.

-It is possible if a cat has not eaten for a very long time for their whole digestive system to shut-down permanently and they can die.

-Yoshi is not even close to this stage.

-Yoshi has lost almost a pound this week but she is not underweight by any stretch.

-When a cat is stressed and vomits a lot their digestive tract gets all irritated and they lose their appetite. This is probably what is going on with Yoshi.

-They took blood and urine to rule out any other issues that might be complicating things.

-Being a jerk is not an official feline medical condition.

-I have to give her an antacid pill every night.

-I have to give her a syringe of laxative twice a day.

-I have to pry her stubborn Siamese lips open and force feed her a foul smelling cat mush every couple hours. Literally poke it down her gullet. Although she makes terrible noises and spits most of it out doing this will get her tummy working again and her appetite shall return. However, she will hate my ass for some time to come.

-This unanticipated and expensive vet visit means I will not be getting a new pair of winter boots next week.


The main thing I came away from the vet with is that while Yoshi is very high strung she only is so when it suits her. She did something similar to this several years ago when I went on holiday. I returned and that night she started vomiting uncontrollably and then started barfing blood. A visit to the emergency vet and almost $2000 later it was decided that she was stressed about my absence. And we all know what happened when I brought Lulu home. Yet every time I’ve moved into a new apartment she’s adapted just fine to her new surroundings. No hiding under the bed or anything. She was fine when I was going through treatment and in the hospital a lot. She acts totally freaked when the dogs come to visit or friends and family are over but the minute they leave she is all perky and cute like she didn’t just hiss and try to bite them. So there is definitely a component of my energy that is affecting her as well so I’ve got to get rid of all the guilt and fear and concentrate on visualizing exactly what I want to see happen in my house.


MY house.


Fight the feline power!




First co-mingling of death ray kitties- lasers on standby. Yoshi rasps, "Dexter, I am not your mother" *gaspgasp*


Second meeting-Yoshi is more relaxed. Dexter is trying to eat the kitty crate/cat jail/feline transport unit.


Third meeting. Dexter bogarts the kitteh drinking fountain. Yoshi is not amused. Barfs on my bed later to prove that bad manners go both ways.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kitteh Update

Day 3 of Kitteh Intro Hell:

Yoshi is really, really, REALLY pissed. She has taken to barfing twice a day on a 12 hour-you-could-time-your-watch-to-it schedule. She also will froth at the mouth to make a point of her displeasure. She won't eat. Not even tuna. Today she has taken to her bed with the vapors. In Yoshi world that means she is in her Snoozen Housen and won't come out. Last night after a little hissing but mostly curious sniffings I brought the kitten out and I think that is when Yoshi realized that he was not even remotely phased by her growlings and might actually be hanging around. Things got nasty when the kitten went to jump up on the sofa where Yoshi was. She literally screamed, punched the kitten in the head and then levitated off the couch to behind the plant knocking over the phone as she went. The kitten was unhurt and totally couldn't care less. I tried to stay calm and laughed it off. The sad part is that the kitten is absolutely fascinated with Yoshi and clearly wants to be friends.

Yeah... *swallows a handful of anti-anxiety meds*

So I am staying firm on this. I'm not sure how long Yoshi can go without food but she has some weight to spare around the rear end. The kitten is in my bedroom for now. I am really hoping Yoshi will finally get so hungry she will give up. I am trying to stay positive and visualize the results I want out of this. Yet, there is a little tiny part of me that wonders if Yoshi could starve herself to death out of spite.

I thank you all for the most excellent name suggestions. I took the ones I liked and tried them out and ended up going with one I had written down many weeks ago when I started this whole adoption process. So with a nod of recognition and imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery acknowledgement to Torrie and her pooch I have decided to call the kitten Dexter. Dexter von Cheddar. It simply suited him the best.

Dexter purrs constantly. I am totally serious. He purrs when he plays, when he snuggles, when he is getting a huge vaccination in his neck, when you accidentally step on him... The vet couldn't hear his heart because he wouldn't stop purring. When I lay on the couch with him he will walk up my body and throw his furry self onto my face drooling with purrs and joy. Settling in under my chin for a snooze is his favourite thing. So cute. He is absolutely the sweetest, bravest, cutest kitten. He loves everybody and is not remotely shy or scared.

Thank God because Yoshi will try to break his spirit after she finishes with mine.




Making Biscuits on Yoshi's Bed.
She Won't Sleep On It Now.


Den of Despair

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summer Lovin' Happened So Fast

Well, let’s see what I’ve been up to lately. You know; typical summer stuff. My very good friend, Pablo came for a visit from Montreal and we went to the beach a couple times and even went Par 3 Golfing with my mom. I was caddy with the putters.

I put my panic disorder to the test and actually ate out in a restaurant twice. So YAY!

On the down side I mysteriously broke out in terrible hives for about three days. I had huge welts or hives on my knees, shins, one foot, upper arms, hands (including palms) and chest. A monstrous dose of antihistamines did the trick. No clue what I might have reacted to. My doc thinks it could be sun. I may have to rethink a Cuban vacation in the near future.

Also Pablo had to cut his Vancouver vacation very short due to work issues. Dammit!

So I’ve been planning the upcoming 2009 Iconic Women By Yoshi Calendar and hopefully will avoid the heinous time stresses I had last year. So far so good.

And, um, let’s see…what else is new with me?

Oh yeah…

I GOT A NEW KITTEN TODAY!!!!



9 Weeks Worth of Flame Point Terror Recently Neutered

Yoshi is separated from him for now and they have seen each other from behind bars. Yoshi is clearly not impressed with lots of hissing but when the kitten is out of sight she is VERY curious lurking outside the bedroom door. The attitude seems to be turned on and off as she sees fit. Everybody pray hard for us that Yoshi and The Kitteh can become friends. Or at least tolerate each other.

His name? No idea yet. I didn’t expect to get him so soon so I am kinda unprepared. He is absolutely the snuggliest and friendliest kitten I’ve ever met. Constant purring. Wants to be on you all the time. Very clingy. I REALLY want to keep him but the SPCA says I can bring him back if Yoshi freaks out. But that is not going to happen, right?

*pleasepleasepleaseYoshibeagoodgirlandlovehimtoo*

Any name ideas?

You Know, Just Thinkin' 'Bout Stuff.

I Has A Tired.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-Doppelganger

When I recently dog-sat Lulu and Xiola for 5 days I bought them some new toys to play with at my house. Their particular favourite was this hedgehog that made an alarming "ack ack ack" noise when shaken. The dogs LOVED it. They loved it so much I found myself tripping on it quite often when it was left in the middle of my floor. Except when that would happen I'd do that awkward 'sacrifice your spine alignment' avoidance skip/jump/lurch because I always thought this toy was actually Yoshi and I was about to step on her. If I didn't actually have any reflexes and had the luxury of time to think about it I'd never make that mistake as Yoshi, for the first 3 days never left my bedroom. Never.

I started calling the hedgehog Yoshi since it was under my feet far more than she was that weekend.

Then on the last day Yoshi got brave and started emerging from the bedroom merely to walk right up to the dogs and hiss in their faces only to turn around and walk right back into the bedroom again. The best part was when she would walk up to the hedgehog toy and hiss at it too for good measure. You know, just in case it was trying to make friends or thinking of eating her kibble.


See? TWINS!



Show it how you really feel, Yoshi.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Doing My Part

I'm off to get a DQ Blizzard as all proceeds go to the Children's Miracle Network.

It is a sacrifice I'm willing to make for the kids.

One Of Those 'Life' Posts Filled With Questions That Have No Answers And Lots Of ' Marks

Do you ever find yourself in the same difficult and perplexing situations over and over again? You start to wonder if the universe is trying to teach you something or it is some heinous personal defect since the only constant element in all these situations is you.

Or in this case, me.

My particular situation is that am finding it increasingly difficult to be in the company of people.

I have a couple things going against me. First of all I have terrible social anxiety complicated by some pretty weird phobias. Any social situation is pretty agonizing on most levels. Secondly I am very sensitive to the emotions of others and so called ‘vibes’. Just very aware of the undercurrents of most interactions. Some therapists think this is why I have such bad anxiety. It is like I am lacking some sort of protective life filter.

That is another consideration as well. I’ve had a lot of therapy. A LOT. Some really bad but mostly good. I’ve learned a great deal about myself and the various limits and problems I deal with daily and as a result I am also able to recognize various psychological ‘issues’ (pronounced ithews) in others.

Let me give you an example. I have some family members who bicker a lot at family gatherings. You know, insults with smiling faces. They would also talk poorly about other family members behind their backs. When I first started seeing these people socially I would become seriously depressed for a day or two afterwards. On a couple occasions I was even teary. It got to the point where I would decline invitations to be social with them. With a couple therapy sessions I came to realize that bickering is the way some families show affection. Certainly not how I am comfortable with showing affection but each to their own, right? And I also learned that I could very subtly and politely show that I was not accepting of the negative talk about other family members. It totally worked and I am now able to be social with these people again.

The fact is that I was not raised to be assertive at all. I was raised to be ‘good’ and we all know that being ‘good’ often means being a doormat. For years I have not stood up for myself when being treated poorly and have swallowed all the emotions that go along with that. No wonder I have depression and anxiety, right? It is only in the last few years that I have stood up for myself and become pretty open about how I am feeling and, especially, how I want to be treated. As when anybody learns a new skill it is not always performed perfectly but overall I am happy with these changes. I’ve learned that not only am I a pretty quirky outspoken person with people I know and trust but in fact a leader in many respects opposed to the follower I always thought I was.

But here is the thing; I still am not sure how to deal with people who hold back from me. I’ve had a few friends/family members/acquaintances who I could sense were annoyed, displeased, or outright angry with me and for whatever reason couldn’t tell me so. I trust my gut that I am right about this and can probably guess what I had said or done to make them feel this way. Usually it is that I have an opinion that differs from theirs or have done something that they disagree with. And fair enough. I am happy to say that I am ok with all this and am totally happy to be disagreed with. I can safely be sure that I’ve not done or said anything out of malice or anger. Or it might simply be a misunderstanding. But they won’t tell me. They just start treating me differently. Sometimes it is just a feeling and sometimes it is outright passive aggressive behavior. In any case I just don’t know how to talk to somebody who cannot tell me what is wrong. And I hate being afraid to be myself and have my opinions and own ideas when I think they clearly are uncomfortable with that.

A few years back I had a very good friend who I met at work. We totally hit it off and became very close very quickly. We had a blast hanging out and were very similar in many ways. I totally trusted her and really felt like she had my back. After a couple years she seemed to be having some problems at work. I tried very hard to be supportive but found it very hard to know how to do that. So I just tried to listen and agree with her feelings. A few months went by and her behavior towards me started to change. I’d ask her if everything was ok and she’d say it was just work. But I knew it wasn’t. Unfortunately she decided to bring up everything that had been bothering her about me while we were on vacation together. Stuff that had happened over a year or two in the past and unto itself not a big deal but over time it had festered within her until it became so overwhelming she damned near lost her freaking mind. Her behavior scared me and after she brought up personal stuff I’d trusted her with and thought she accepted me for (mostly about the limits of my anxiety disorder) and then threw it in my face I knew I couldn’t save the friendship and I’ve never spoken to her since.

I hate that it got so out of hand. I really missed her but ironically not as much as I thought I would as I didn’t realize until I was out of the friendship how much I had to tippy-toe around her ‘stuff’. It was somewhat a relief in many ways to have her out of my life.

So what do you do when you just wish your friends/family/aquaintances would come out and say what they are feeling? How do you deal when you feel like you can’t be straight with them or else they will disengage or ‘punish’ you in some way?

Is this a common situation with friends and acquaintances or am I just some crazy lady? Is being up-front, honest with how I am feeling, and willing to talk about how we can agree to disagree maybe not a good thing?

Being with people is hard.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Experience Yoshi's Magnetic Personality For Yourself

I've been working on them for ages and finally have some very cute Yoshi Magnets for sale on my UrbanBeast website. Come check them out. I have even put together two combos, Wiggy and Iconic, to save you money!

And as always a portion of profits will help animal rescue and advocacy groups. In fact I was thrilled to recently be able to send a nice cheque to the local SPCA for their fund to help animals in urgent medical situations.

Thanks.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Well On My Way To Crotchetyoldwomanville

I live in an apartment building that has retail spaces on the ground floor. Right below my balcony is a little cafe that has outdoor seating. Most sunny days this guy sits outside for a couple hours and chats with friends while enjoying a beverage. He is disabled and he parks his scooter-thingie on the grass and ties his dog up to it. His dog is this seriously cute Miniature Pinscher. Well, cute until he starts barking. And barking. AAAAANNND barking. Yip! Yip! Yip!

The damned dog barks pretty much constantly the whole time this guy is at the cafe. Honestly, I'm not sure what bugs me the most, the incessant yapping or the fact that the guy just sits there about 10 feet away and does nothing about it.

Here's the thing. I could go downstairs and ask the guy to deal with his dog. Or I could phone the cafe and complain. Better yet, why don't I just shut my windows, buck up, and get on with my life?

All very good options. Yet, I am not compelled to use any of them.

Instead, it is ALL I CAN DO not to drop a water balloon on that dog. I have a perfect vantage point and I know I would very easily soak the thing. Probably get the scooter splashed pretty good as well. Despite acknowledging that all the dog lovers in the area would burn me at the hydrant I cannot stop aching to feel that squishy orb of water and latex leave my hand knowing that it would stop the barking, give a clear message to the dog owner and not actually harm anybody.

Somebody stop me! Or better yet, anybody want to join me?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-Being Flexible About The Friday Part

So I took some video of when I dog-sat lat week. I wanted to do a little movie for you all but with a recent update of my Quicktime plugins I now cannot do anything unless I 'BUY NOW" the whole software package. Not to mention the fact that no other programs on my computer recognize the Quicktime movie format (MOV) all of a sudden. DAMMIT!

So here is a plain old unedited video for you. You'll need sound to get the full effects of Yoshi's discontent.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Long Post As Life Is Never Concise

Well, I’ve been leaving cryptic Twitter messages over the last few days as I’ve been going through a minor (and often not so minor) emotional rollercoaster. Here’s what has been going on.

In a nutshell I tried to adopt a kitten. And in another nutshell (I hope you’re not allergic) it got weird. The end result was that somebody else adopted this kitten and I am very sad about it.

I’ve wanted another kitten for years and for one reason or another I’ve not acted on that urge. Not for lack of obsessive internet searching on Petfinder and all the local animal rescue shelters, mind you. First of all, when Yoshi was young, I knew I was going to be moving and while it is easy enough to find accommodation that accepts a cat it can be a bit harder to find a landlord ok with two cats. When I did find cat friendly living space it was so small and entirely without doors so I just couldn’t see how I would successfully introduce a new cat into the situation. Well, I lived there for almost 8 years. Then I got cancer and dealt with the possibility that I might not be around to successfully see Yoshi to the end of her life like I expected to which was, seriously, my greatest worry throughout my treatment. Then I got better and, as many of you remember, I moved to my new apartment and attempted the Great Dog Adoption Experiment with very poor results. So I put the whole thing on hold. Yet, in the meantime I still obsessively lurked on adoption sites…

Fueled by stories of people successfully adding a new cat to their home, an enlightening dog sitting long weekend where Yoshi showed me that she could possibly handle a new addition to the family (anything would be better than 2 freakin’ dogs, right?) and the fact that I simply fell in love with this little tiny face I saw on the screen motivated me into applying to adopt a little boy kitty I saw on a cat fostering blog.

There are many MANY more pros and cons to adding a new ruler to this dynasty but that is a post (or twelve) for another day.

Now I am going to be kinda vague here as this particular blog with the cats is very popular and the content of my post is really only about my side of the situation. I can assure you all that the foster people are exceptionally great to their furry little wards and do a wonderful job. In fact that is partially why I really wanted to adopt one of their foster kitties as I knew they were loved and well taken care of in their first kitty days. These people are good people to the kitties.

So I saw this little kitten and fell in love with his eyes. He reminded me so much of Yoshi when she was tiny. All kittens are super cute but, honestly, for me, only a few tweak that aching in my tummy. I call it my ‘caternal’ instinct. I was smitten with this kitten.

The site said that if one lived in the area and was interested in adopting a kitten featured on the blog to email them. I did that knowing that I didn’t really live in the area (I lived about 3 hours drive away across the border) but hoping that my suitability and willingness to drive down for however many interviews, security checks and cavity searches were necessary to complete the deal might allow for flexibility on their end. Alas I got a reply saying that, indeed, they did not adopt out of the area. I accepted that and returned to my busy week walking dogs and doing fiddly tax reports for my business.

A couple days later things settled down, the pooches went home and I started thinking about this particular limitation and how when I was inquiring about adopting dogs as well as researching what was necessary to foster kittens myself that the typical rescue shelter mandate was finding good homes for pets and if the applicant met the criteria and was willing to deal with distance and travel issues it was not at all a problem to adopt across large distances and to neighbouring countries. Also I remembered reading on the Cat Fostering Blog that they have flown kittens to other states so…WTF?

Out of curiosity I checked out the website of the rescue organization these folks fostered from and couldn’t find such a rule. Now feeling a little odd about this discrepancy I called the shelter and asked if they adopted to folks in my situation/location and they said they did.

Now I got more than a little weirded out. I was very puzzled. Why would these people, on the basis of a couple sentences I emailed to them asking about a kitten, decide to go against shelter policy and deny me the opportunity to submit an application based on a non-existent rule?

You see the whole spirit of fostering is that you take care of an animal who might need extra care, medical attention, socializing etc. that a busy rescue shelter might be too busy/over capacity to provide in hopes that the animal could be eventually adopted opposed to euthanized. You do not own the animals you foster nor do you normally have much say or the final word on who adopts the animal you are fostering. That is the responsibility of the shelter that has its own adoption screening process. The adoption fee is paid to the shelter only. That is not to say that a foster caregiver doesn’t fall in love with their foster pets and want only the best for them and even encourage potential adopters to fill out applications but the final decision is from the shelter. So if they are not happy with the type of homes the shelter is finding for the animals then they shouldn’t foster from that shelter. Alternately if fostering doesn’t give them the control they desire over who with and where their foster pets end up then they should start their own small in-home animal rescue situation and then pick and choose where the pets go based on their own criteria.

So I emailed the foster blog folks again explaining that I had inquired to their shelter and was told there were no reasons why I couldn’t apply to adopt this particular cat. I asked why their policies differed from the place they fostered from. The reply I got made me furious. Suddenly the reason changed. Basically it was stated that for them it wasn’t the distance that was the issue after all but the border crossing that might cause delays/detention and since they cared deeply for their kittens they didn’t want to potentially subject one to that.

::Mrtl Style Tangent:: I’ve researched bringing a pet cat over the border and it is seriously no problem. Any cat over 3 months of age simply needs a current rabies vaccination (And proof thereof. IE: the receipt) and that is it! Younger kittens don’t need anything. Canada doesn’t quarantine pet animals at all. I wouldn’t even have to get out of my car crossing the border. Soooo not any kind of potential negative situation. If there was any risk that the cat would be taken away from me at the border for ANY reason I would never ever think of risking that. Jeeeez. ::End of Mrtl Style Tangent::

It was then said in their email that, differing policy aside, they thought they had possibly found a home for the cat anyway and they were sorry they couldn’t help me. Yes, a home for a cat I wanted to apply to adopt SEVERAL DAYS prior.

So in short I was told I couldn’t apply to adopt a kitten due to a rule that didn’t exist by people who normally have little to no final say over who gets to adopt said kitten or make rules in the first place and then was told upon further questioning that it wasn’t actually the first stated rule that was keeping me from applying to adopt the kitten but now a fear of ‘potential’ issues that are, in fact, total non-issues (easily discovered by anyone with internet access and Google) (and really only the concern of the shelter anyway) that imply a lack of care and concern by me for the kitten. This situation caused me to miss my legitimate and time sensitive opportunity to apply to adopt.

Um…OK! Not so short, huh?

I know I might not have been accepted to adopt this kitten by the humane society but I should have been offered the opportunity to apply.

I was terribly upset, angry and insulted. And sad, really sad. Hence the emotional rollercoaster mentioned above.

So I called the shelter again and explained everything that had gone on wondering if somehow I had missed something or if there was some sort of unique arrangement with these foster people that gave them special authority. The regular fostering co-ordinator was not in but the woman I talked to encouraged me to call the acting co-ordinator today and report what had happened.

I just got off the phone with her and she apologized which was very kind and much appreciated. While I won’t get into any details of our conversation I can say I feel much better about the situation and I felt very heard and understood by her.

And if you love happy endings then I’ll give you one. There apparently is a leeetle eeeensy teensy kitten that is similar to the one that got away. He/she is too young to be adopted yet but I get first dibs when that time comes. I’m just waiting to receive the call to drive down and take a look.

So YAY!

And whew! I need a nap.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Hmmmm....

In light of my last post is this merely a coincidence or The Universe providing? Only time will tell.

I entered.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Silence of the Hamstrings

I’ve never been one for video games nor do I salivate over the latest technology. I can’t say I’m afraid of it but have more of a certain distrust of The Hype and a desire to keep life pretty simple. I also don’t have a lot of disposable income. So the other day I noticed Dooce was giving away some Wii Fit sets and I immediately started to covet. Sadly being a Canadian resident I am not eligible for the contest. However, I suddenly decided that I desperately neeeeeed one of these things. Admittedly I’ve never tried one. I’ve never actually seen one in the shiny and plastic-y flesh. But for some reason I am absolutely convinced that this, THIS contraption is the key to my physical fitness reform.

I have a long and sordid affair with exercise that has left me wary as well as emotionally and physically beaten. It all started when I was born. I don’t have any other reason why I was never really adventurous physically or competitive on any level other than it has got to be missing from my DNA. Kids in the playground would run around screaming their fool heads off swinging on monkey bars and flinging their bodies in all sorts of dangerous ways and I was the one sitting off to the side with a book. As a child I was cautious and always afraid to get hurt. Perhaps it was that I was very small and not very strong. Or maybe it was that I was a city kid who wasn’t exposed to the great outdoors a lot. In any case I was, from an early age, an obvious target for ridicule and torment by ‘regular’ kids.

When I was 10 years old we moved from the city centre into a suburb and the new school had a very different type of Phys Ed curriculum. Specifically it was much more competitive, team based and not at all user friendly for geeky little wimps like me. Very soon I found myself caught up in a nightmare of bullying-verbal, physical and even, frankly, sexual from my classmates. It certainly didn’t help that my PE teacher laughed at my expense frequently and quickly nicknamed me ‘Useless’ in front of my peers. It got so bad that my younger brother soon was identified by this teacher as ‘Useless’s Brother’ and eventually transferred into a completely different school as following in the footsteps of my academic reputation was too unbearable to contemplate.

Some highlights of my PE classes were team captains arguing over who would NOT get to have me on their team. I also was kicked in the face causing my front tooth to crack and called a wuss when I asked to go to the school nurse. Good times. I could go on an on but I fear, should I do so, I may eventually find myself in the corner of my closet weeping and viciously stabbing my lone dusty pair of running shoes.

Later I was diagnosed with asthma which explained why my stamina wasn’t so hot but it didn’t take long before I was dreading PE to the point of other physical symptoms. Once at the doctor office I begged to be excused from PE class due to some small ailment. The doc sensed my desperation and asked me some pointed questions. I explained everything with tears rolling down my face and he wrote me a note excusing me from PE for the rest of my school life. And then the angels sang and the weight of the entire 6th grade co-ed second period PE class was lifted from my shoulders. Literally.

A year or so went by and I joined a friendly neighbourhood girls softball team with much encouragement from my friends (AKA: peer pressure) and assurances (from my deluded parents) that it was all about having fun and it is not whether you win or lose but…say it now, people…how you play the game. I hated it and I totally sucked at it but I tried to be a good sport and did my very best, which was, obviously, not very good at all. Then one day I overheard the coaches talking about how they thought our team was ahead enough to put me on the field. I was so crushed and embarrassed and learned that for most obsessively competitive folk sportsmanship was a load of bullshit and even pot-bellied middle-aged coaches of girls softball teams only cared about winning.

So now I am an adult and as much I know that all that happened in the past is over and the bullies were a bunch of ass-wipes who are now probably meth addicts or in jail I STILL dread any kind of sports or exercise. I dread it, dread it, DREEEEEEAAAD EEEEET! I become paralyzed and absolutely refuse to participate in any kind of organized sports and fall into a shame spiral at the thought of working out.

I’ve tried all sorts of fitness regiments and I either hate it, can’t afford it, or I hurt myself. Damaged rotator cuffs and shin splints. I think I even broke my axel once. Pinched nerves and pulled muscles. $25 individual yoga classes which make you sweat. Crowded and smelly gyms where it is more about getting picked-up than getting fit. Driving in traffic and costly parking fees for specialty fitness centres catering to us gals who are chunky and just really want to be left alone when we copiously sweat while doing puny exercises with eeensy teensy weights. All of it = FAIL!

I get discouraged easily and bored almost immediately. And being prone to panic attacks in crowded and noisy places doesn’t help. But I have to GET OFF MY ASS! Some way, somehow. I’m putting on weight, I have arthritis in my foot and my right upper body is so stiff and sore from all my breast re-construction surgery even getting started on anything is daunting. I can’t even say I am out of shape as that would imply I once was fit. It feels like a lose/lose situation and I am not talking about the saddlebags below my hips.

But what? WHAT? What is out there for me that isn’t too hard, too expensive or too humiliating in some way?

And that is where the Wii Fit comes in. Yes, it is more than I can afford but it is certainly cheaper than a year’s gym membership. Bowling, boxing, tennis and yoga…interactive style! All sorts of fun stuff that I couldn’t and wouldn’t normally do right at my fingertips along with goals to set and achieve. My own little white cubic fitness instructor! It sounds like it just might work. Is this Wii Fit thing the way to go for a fitness-phobe like me?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-Catz in the Hood

So I came upon Sweet Yoshi flaked out on the couch today. Her pose made me think she might be indulging in some Passive Cat Yoga.




As I moved to get a different angle of her chillaxed Yoga Pose I realised she was actually up to no good. Yoshi, clearly not so sweet after all, was Representin' Her Feline Posse. Instead of participating in an ancient mind and body exercise she was actually flashing a gang sign.



I was being dissed with one of the most grievous gang signs known to cats (only to be out-harshed by the infamous presentation of the 'Oh No You DIDN' Cat Yack Deposit') -the ever vehemently apathetic 'W' for WHATEVER!


Dude...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why I Love My Neighbours -Tuesday's Edition

Scene: Me and a well dressed older man in my apartment elevator. I've got my mail in my hand and he is holding a large platter of deli sandwiches.

Him: I'm the sandwich guy.
Me: Yes, I can see that.
Him: They are for a meeting. It's my turn to bring sandwiches.
Me: Well, they look very good. *being polite*
Him: Well, they are NOT for you. *being totally serious*

Another lady enters the elevator.

Her: Mmmmmm...whenever I see food I feel hungry. Those look delicious.
Him: *hostile look*

Thursday, June 05, 2008

FINALLY! *

So I’ve been a little sick the last few days. It started out like strep throat which, of course, hit me during our Canadian long weekend. By the time my doc’s office was open again the lurgy had morphed into a cold where antibiotics were useless. It was a weird and wonderful sniffle where I’d suddenly cough until I gagged and I’d sweat until drenched. My voice warbled, my tummy grumbled and I was very out of sorts. One of those kinds of viruses that make you feel like ass but don’t quite knock you on it. Being upright felt terrible but lying in bed was worse; really boring.

While I missed a much needed haircut and a consultation for laser hair removal (what a sexy theme) I did manage to go an ‘Emergency Preparedness’ seminar at my local community centre. I was asked to attend as I am on-call for a week every month or so for emergency situations in my apartment building. We don’t have an on-site manager after business hours so some tenants, including me, were hired to be available if the shit hits the fan. Figuratively. If any real shit hits any actual fan and causes a big mess then that is the tenant’s problem and isn’t considered a real emergency and, therefore, not my responsibility. However, if the fecal collision causes fire, flood or injury then I’m the one who calls the authorities and lets them into the building.

So what I thought was an informal chat about general emergency situations turned out to be an emotional plea from a uniformed fireman to get it into our thick heads that an earthquake, THE BIG ONE, was imminent and we should all GET PREPARED!

Now if you live on the West Coast you have heard your whole life that there is going to be a HUGE earthquake; sometime between the next minute and 600 years. This sort of time-frame doesn’t really light a Boy Scout fire under my butt to ‘Be Prepared’ with any kind of urgency.

Well sisters and brothers, after 4 hours in gory detail of what to expect when (not IF, dammit, but whennnnnnn…) The Big One hits I have been converted. I am now a card carrying fear monger. I’ve been spreading the anxiety to others and, to practice what I preach, spending the last few days compiling my emergency kit and making list of what I need to know to survive in the urban wilderness sans water, food and a toilet.

In the past, when thinking about what I would do in event of an actual earthquake I have to admit to assuming that, yeah, there will be a jiggle or two and I could just wander down to the local community centre, my nearest emergency resource location, and get water, food and medical assistance as I needed. Even seeing all the terrible news footage of the big California quake in the 90’s and what happened after Katrina I still managed to blame that on crappy building codes and stupid government policy. I rationalized that the Canadian government actually took care of its citizens and that we (the grand yet ambiguous we) had our shit together and would be taken care of.

Oh ho! Soooooo not the case. Denial was my bedmate but now I sleep alone. Afraid and alone. All sorts of acronyms were thrown at me but the one that sticks in my mind the most is YOYO. That, my friends, translates to You’re On Your Own. I learned that it will be at least 72 hours, if not several days, before anybody can expect any kind of assistance from authorities and aide workers. OMG! That means unless you provide the basics for yourself you are SOL. And if that is the case nobody will be there to hear your whining so STFU. Also BYOB. I packed water but vodka would work too.

So many interesting points were brought up, yet the one foremost in my mind was the suggestion to pack garbage bags into your emergency kit as it is likely your toilets will no longer work and you basically have to poop somewhere. Fabulous. The Bag of Shame.

* Um, actually this post is about a week old and I still have to catch you all up on even more recent news. Also my Bloglines isn't working right so I have to catch up on all your blogs as well. Bear with me. I'll be around, I promise.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-Snuggle Time With Mrtl

I was very thrilled to have been able to meet with Mrtl and Mr. Mrtl this week. On their way to their new digs in the Deep Dark South they drove through my wee town and we met up for breakfast. This was a landmark moment for me as it was the first time I've eaten in a restaurant in over 3 years. I went out for lunch with my folks within a few days of my cancer diagnosis and had such a raging panic attack I had to flee the premises. I hadn't eaten out since. So I decided that meeting The Mrtls was the perfect time to test my new brain chemistry. SUCCESS!

I had a giant pancake.

After breakfast Mr. Mrtl left us gals to go do his Man Stuff so I took Mrtl back to my place to meet Yoshi. The key to a successful Yoshi interaction is to show no fear, ignore her at first and then just start to pet her like you are not expecting to become intimate with her claws and teeth. Obviously Mrtl is well versed in Insane Feline Psychology as she not only pet Yoshi but held her tense little body without bloodshed.Seemingly Sweet Encounter (actual life threatening situation)

After a thorough fur removal from our clothing we hopped in my car and drove to Granville Island where we walked through all the stores and drooled over the food.

Exactly why sneeze guards were invented.

We tootled to Walmart for some necessities and then had a coffee in the mall.

Back at my place after further Yoshi harassment we both chatted with Susie on the phone for a bit. That was pretty damned cool. And surreal. There I was sitting in my apartment with Mrtl talking with Susie Fairchild. I almost expected Bucky to come dancing out of my bedroom wearing assless chaps.

The sun was shining and the temps were balmy so Mrtl and I took a walk through Stanley Park and visited the local Cupcake Consumption Facility on Denman Street. We figured we'd done enough walking to have spare calorie units to spend. I had to sample a new flavour so I am officially overdrawn. *button pops off jeans*

Heron Poop Zone-Largest Urban Heron Nesting Site in North America

We finished our walk and Mr. Mrtl picked Mrtl up for the next leg of their journey. We took a farewell photo where I attempted to look cute and petite next to Mrtl who is cute and petite. No such luck.


It was GREAT meeting you!

You can check out some more photos of our meeting at Mrtl's Place including Yoshi wearing some fabulous knitted hats compliments of the magic fingers of Mrtl.