Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

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.


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.


And whew! I need a nap.

Monday, July 07, 2008


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?