Dispatches from The Swamp – the ‘Bella’ edition

Bella with her Lion Cut - which she loved!
  • We lost Bella this past week. She had a hyper-thyroid and cancer. She had been doing really well – eating, using her litter box, being very affectionate until last Monday when she just stopped everything. We took her to the vet right away. I thought perhaps her thyroid meds were suppressing her thyroid too much but I was wrong. Her abdominal mass was huge and she was done having fun. We let her go right there and then. She was a great cat. It took a great cat to live with up to 11 dogs at a time. She ruled the roost from wherever she chose to hang out. She used to love to whack the dogs as they went by. She was 16 and had been with us for 11 years. We will miss you Bells. You were definitely a one of a kind cat.
  • It is no secret that I am not a fan of the robocall. I once tweeted that I would not vote for any of the leadership candidates who robocalled me and got into with a Thomas Mulcair supporter. Ironically, I think that is the one campaign I have not had a robocall from. Now, it would seem, that it is actually the Conservatives who have figured out the best use for robocalls by using them to divert voters who didn’t support them in the last election to phony polling stations. All I can say is that there best be a serious investigation into this scandal. Maybe we should call it ‘robogate’ or ‘callgate’. Here is Rick Mercer’s take on it:
  • Now that I have some genetic information from finding my biological parents my doctor has put me on medication for high blood pressure. I had been avoiding this but not anymore.
  • This week I am having the last of my dental work done. I will no longer have any amalgam fillings! Plus my teeth have never looked or felt better. I have no pain anywhere. I love my new dentist along with the sedation option for major work. I could not have had my bottom teeth fixed without it. What a difference it makes to your self-esteem when your teeth look good!
  • Deb and I are going out with Kasandra for dinner next week. I finally called after waiting about 3 weeks. When she answered the phone she said she had planned to call me that evening. I am still unsure where this will end up. I hope we end up having a great relationship – one that I thought would be there by virtue of the fact that she is my biological mother. I was wrong, apparently. I have not seen Gary since our first meeting and his wife, Martha, keeps putting me off via email. Oh well. I don’t think I have a lot in common with them anyway. I really want to meet the brothers at some point but I am happy to wait.
  • I have been feeling pretty good the last couple of weeks. Although I do have an issue when I have to work 5 days in a row. I also seem to really suffer if I don’t have 3 days in a row at home. This week will be short and I am happy for that.
  • We started watching Downton Abbey yesterday. It is great! I recommend watching it with the Wikipedia article open so that you can figure out who’s who in the zoo! I have to say that Maggie Smith is one of the best actors I have ever seen. She can convey so much with just a look on her face. Amazing.

Dispatches from the Swamp – The ‘is it Easter yet?’ Edition

I hate this time of the year. There are no holidays to look forward to until Easter. I wonder how many people checked Google for the 2012 date.[1] I bet many office workers spent most of today trying to figure out how the hell they were going to get through the next 3 months without burning a lot of vacation time. Me? I chose to take it easy. I did some tasks I needed to get done and then I began to prepare for the year ahead. I archived files and generally cleaned up my electronic system. Tomorrow I will try to get rid of the stack of paper I still have on my desk from when things were crazy busy. I have a major report to finish in the next couple of weeks. Then I have another huge report and grant application due by April 1. All before Easter you will note.

I had 2 ‘great’ conversations with my mother tonight. Here it is:

Conversation #1

Mom: You and Deb really hurt our little feelings when you were here.[2]

Me: Oh, what did we do.

Mom: You didn’t say how nice the house looked. Your sister worked really hard on it.

Me: Mother, why are you inventing things to have hurt feelings over? I distinctly remember saying how nice the house looked.

Conversation #2

My mother was discussing my sister’s temper tantrum yesterday when she put away the Christmas decorations. The way my mother tells it, my sister was stomping around the house and throwing the decorations away. My mother was very upset and I could hear my sister yelling and screaming when I called yesterday.[3]

Mom: Your sister says that she put things away neatly.

Me: That is good.

Mom: I don’t believe it though. I heard her throwing stuff around. Some of it is really old and sentimental. She is lucky I didn’t have the strength to go down their and cuff her upside the head and tell her to be more careful.

Me: That was probably a good thing because she probably would have cuffed you back.

Mom: No she wouldn’t have. Well maybe she would…Anyways, I would have hit her back.

All of the dogs are good. The cat is continuing to improve. She has found her litter box and is using it! She has re-discovered the other side of the house. Deb has finally foiled in her attempt to get through the gate and take out the other cat upstairs. She is not acting as desperate as she was so we think her thyroid is more under control now. She still has cancer but things are much better!


[1] For the record, April 6 is Good Friday.

[2] She was using her little ‘child-like’ voice.

[3] Why the hell she spent time with mother after just losing her dog.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘revelations’ edition

  • I have been quite absent from my blog as of late. It all started because I decided to crochet some presents for holiday season. I have made an intricate crochet piece and 13 very long scarves! I have also tried my hand at 2 afghans neither of which worked out yet. What I have discovered is that I find crocheting very relaxing. I have been crocheting while watching TV and I find it is almost meditative for me. I am feeling so much less stressed. The other thing I really like is that I can be productive while relaxing. I am now spending about 2-3 hours less per day on the computer.
  • We have been entertaining Maya the Maltese for the last month. She is going to my mother at Christmas. She decided she really wanted another dog. We have found her the perfect dog – she is a young adult, female who likes to play. She came already house broken. We had her spayed, microchipped and vaccinated. She will be great for my mother. She is also a great watchdog! She is making all of us mental though. She barks indiscrimantely, particularly in the middle of the night. She is hyper and omnipresent. She seems to try to walk on the backs of my calves. She does have her cute moments though!
  • We have been having some struggles with Bella. She has a hyper thyroid which, in spite being on a high dose of tapezol. We did blood work, which showed that she has cancer as well. She is 16 years old so we decided not to do any further investigation. The biggest problem was that she was not using her litterbox. With a little thought, we moved it into the living room. I took the lid off and I put her in there. She then used it and there was much rejoicing. She has continued to use it now for almost 2 weeks. At this point we are focusing on her quality of life. She is doing quite well right now.
  • Everyone else is doing well. There was some concern about Sienna as she developed a lump. We were all pretty sure it was a fatty lipoma and after 2 fine-needle aspirations it was confirmed that it was a fatty lump.
  • In political observations, I have to say that I hate the sound of Christy Clark’s voice as much as I hated Gordo’s. The face may have changed but the message is still the same and it is all lies if you ask me. Clark is every bit as mean-spirited as Gordon. Her call for cameras to be in the courtrooms when alleged rioters are prosecuted is cruel. It is not only going to humiliate the alleged suspects but also witnesses who may not want their names and faces broadcasted to the larger community. Her comments about CLBC are lame and there is no way she is going to fix anything. I really had dared to hope for more.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘make it stop’ edition

  • I know that this summer has mostly been a bust for the sun worshippers out there. I also know that we heat haters have had it pretty easy but it needs to stop. It is 30 freaking degrees out and it really does nothing for me. I am ready to be done with least favourite season and be on to my beloved autumn.
  • I swear the cat is trying to kill me. She is launching on to me from odd places. She has taken to licking my hand should I dare to fall asleep. She is sitting on my computer and mostly she is making me crazy. The killing part came today when I went to sit on my office chair after she just jumped up there. Do you know how hard it is to stop the momentum of a ‘sit?’ And then there is the incessant meowing. We have the light talking to the full on cat equivalent of the bark scream. I do not know what has gotten into her.
  • Lately I have been biting my tongue. Literally biting my tongue. I have no idea why but I wish it would stop. Before I have done very little damage to my tongue. Yesterday, however, was another story. I bit it so hard it bled for twenty minutes and I can still feel it today. It is swollen and thankfully it is not hurting anymore. I am not sure why my teeth appear to have it in for my tongue but it needs to stop!!!
  • Sawyer is starting to get very pushy. He decides when he wants to go to bed and goes to the bottom of the stairs and barks. This is very annoying, as we generally do not want to go to bed then. He is definitely sure of himself!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘cat has lost her mind’ edition

Bella with her new Lion Cut
  • We have had Bella for a very long time. We bought her from a cattery that bred Maine Coon Cats. Bella never quite lived up to her potential at the cattery. She had only managed to have one litter of kittens and that only happened because she let the stud cat out of his cage. Bella is very smart. She and I have always had the most involved relationship because her stuff has always been in my office. Over the years we have had to devise many ways to keep the cat stuff from becoming foodstuff for the dogs. They love her kibble and they especially love her litter box. For the most part, Bella stayed in my office out of choice. Occasionally she would wander to other places in the house like the living room or dining room but it usually didn’t last for long. All that has changed now! Since getting her first ‘lion cut’ back in June she has been a force to be reckoned with. She is all over the place. She spent much of June in July in the kitchen meowing for attention and getting it. She was rubbing herself and preening and overall a very happy kitty. Now she has moved to the living room where she has taken up rubbing her face on my computer and threatening to jump into my dinner from the other table. I am not sure what has caused the change. Right now we are positing that she has been hot under all that hair for years and she feels much cooler and freer. Any cat experts out there want to take a guess?
  • I finally prevailed in programming the Logitech Harmony One remote. The hardest command to get it to do is the skip forward 30 seconds. I couldn’t remember how I did it the first time so I had to figure it out again. All is well; we now have everything connected to the one remote again. One minor problem, the Shaw technician took my Apple TV power cord rather than the one for the old PVR box. Still waiting to get it back.
  • I just took the first pictures off of my new camera and I am very happy with them! The camera is just a little purple Sony point and shoot. It is small enough to fit in my purse and really easy to use. Here are a couple of pictures!
  • Deb on our way to Vancouver Island - staying in the truck with the dogs
    Sawyer - the sun worshipper

    Piper panting away in the truck
  • Me - going in to get steak from Hopcott's on our way home

A picture post…

In celebration of my purchase of Aperture 3 – I give you photos I have altered. Deb is the photographer.

Zoe is really not that serious!


Pit bull in deep thought!


Sawyer enjoying the sun.


Piper looking quite serious.


Sadly Molly is not really photogenic but she is cute in real life!


Kiefer laying in the doorway to the kitchen. Road Block!


Bella looking intense!





Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘I can’t believe it’ edition

  • My mother regularly gives my sister and me money. She has done so again. Yet my sister continues to treat her like shit. Apparently today she told my mother that she was selfish and never did anything for anyone else! WTF? My sister has a serious problem assessing the situation. Why would you yell at your mother when she gives you enough money that you don’t have to work? My sister is also mad because my mother and I had a good time on the cruise. My mother also told me that Kathy is upset because we are coming for her 75th birthday. Seriously, she thought we wouldn’t come for my mom’s birthday? I really wish she would get over herself and turn into a human being.
  • I am very glad that our soldiers have ended their combat role in Afghanistan. We need to learn that we cannot force our values on other countries. It just does not work. If there is ever to be real and meaningful change in Afghanistan it needs to come from the people. Whatever solution does work is likely nothing we have thought of yet. Afghans must come together and decide what kind of country they want to live in. Imposing our values on them is never going to work. In fact, no outside force has ever been able to take Afghanistan. It is high time that we learned this lesson and let them figure it out for themselves. To do anything else is insulting to Afghans.
  • We still cannot figure out what is up with the cat. She is so much happier since she was shaved about a month ago. She is purring and affectionate like never before. I am guessing that we are going to have to keep her shaved from now on – she clearly likes it. I wonder if she was just too hot under all that hair.

Gratutitious Pet Shots

I can’t string too many words together today. I am still sick. Instead I shall regale you with pictures of the crew. Enjoy!

Zoe - her smaller, blind eye
Pipes looking very serious
Great shot of the boy!
Molly looking good!
Kiefer licking his lips
Clio getting a treat


Isn't Bella adorable!!!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘I need the plague to go away’ edition

  • We decided to get Bella groomed this summer. Mostly the decision was made because I was going away for a week and she mats as soon as I am away. She got a lion cut. She looks absolutely adorable. We could certainly see all the weight she lost as a result of her hyper-thyroid. She lost about 8 pounds. It was very hard to see how much she had lost under all that hair. Her demeanor has completely changed since she was shaved. She is much more interactive and demanding for attention. She preens around as if to say: “look at me, aren’t I cute?” It is too funny!
Isn't Bella adorable!!!
  • I have named this virus the ‘motherfuckervirus.’ It is one of the worst illnesses I have had in a long time. I have had a sore throat, congestion, fevers, hot sweats, cold sweats, and fatigue plus it has settled in my lungs and I am coughing. It also never seems to get better. It is slowly going away but after being laid out flat for 3 days I have to go to work now. I am tired of sweating and feeling like I am going to pass out every time I move. It looks like everyone here is coming down with it too. I am very sorry.

Gratuitous Piper Pug picture.!

Piper is so cute!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘I have a wish edition’

    • Seriously, I have a wish. I wish that I could immediately send people to driver rehabilitation by just pointing my finger. Today was a banner day on our roads people. I watched 2 trucks occupy both lanes on the #1. There was maybe a difference of 2 or 3 km per hour, which meant it was interminably, slow to get past the slowest truck. By the time another truck got by, he was so impatient that he almost took out a car making a lane change. I think they both forgot the incontrovertible law that 2 masses cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Then there was the asshole who cut me off, just before 1st avenue where they have to yield and only 1 in 100 actually do it.
    • I can’t believe how late the cherry blossoms are this year. Usually this is what our driveway looks like in April. We get to walk on a lovely carpet of cherry blossoms!
Cherry Blossoms
A shot of the trees
  • Jack Layton said something quite funny today on CBC’s ‘As it Happens.’ He seems to be charging the women, who were elected for the NDP, to make the House of Commons more civil. I really cannot stand that kind of stereotyping. I am not sure if he thinks it will be more civil because the elected men folk won’t use such bad language and swing insults or he thinks women are not capable of insulting others. Either way, it’s an insult to women. Just like men, women can be insulting and use bad language. It is really up to individuals to behave more civilly rather than putting the onus on one gender.
  • Jack Layton said something I liked. He was asked about how he managed the campaign with so much energy given that he is recovering from cancer and a broken hip. He said that he drew inspiration from all the Canadians who are working with chronic diseases. I really liked that acknowledgement because it is not easy to get up and do it every day when you need a nap after your shower. There are days when it takes everything I have to go to work. My ulcerative colitis and Deb’s MS really knock us out.
  • Why does the cat get mats when we go away? It never fails. She gets to stay home with someone she knows so I really don’t get it. She hates when I remove her mats. It is a serious negotiation. She tried to bite me tonight too.