You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2008.

I say … and you think … ?

  1. Groceries ::  shopping
  2. Deodorant ::  antiperspirant
  3. Psychic ::  fraud
  4. Cherries ::  tree in Mom and Dad’s backyard
  5. Spooky ::  frightful
  6. Yogurt ::  yum
  7. Kitchen ::  huge gigantic mess
  8. Nothing personal ::  brush off
  9. Be nice ::  don’t fight with the other dog
  10. Delivery ::  boy

For the Unconcious Mutterings of others, please go here.

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Carl has an annual Autumn Reading Challenge!  I found out about this at FondofSnape, one of my favourite sites.  The challenge runs from September 1st to October 31st, and it’s all about having fun reading books that fall into the following categories:

Mystery;
Suspense;
Thriller;
Dark Fantasy;
Gothic;
Horror; and/or
Supernatural.

I’m really excited about this challenge, because it wasn’t that long ago that I discovered that I enjoyed books in these categories.  And let’s admit it, reading’s just a whole lot of fun!

I’ve chosen to be part of

,

which means that I am going to read four books of my choice.  I went to Chapters yesterday and explored all the fun options!  (I may be, perhaps, optomistic to choose Peril the First, rather than one of the others (which involve reading less books), but that’s just the way I am.

So now you’re wondering what books I’ve chosen to read.  I’m so excited!

My first choice was

Marked, by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast.

My second choice was

Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman.

Third is




Season of the Witch, by Natasha Mostert.

And finally,

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

And in browsing the choices that other people have made, I now have a reading list a mile long.  It’s awesome to hear about books that I might never come across otherwise.

I’m pretty psyched about it.  I don’t know what order I’ll read them in, and if I get really into a reading binge, I might read all four in four days.  Seriously, it could happen!

If you’re interested at all in this kind of challenge, go see Carl’s site.  You can choose to read fewer books, and the field of choice is wide open!

***********

Edited:  I can’t seem to get the book covers to do what I want.  I’m just taking a stab at learning all this, so it’s going to stay funky.  At least for now.

I am thinking of you all, hoping that you will all make it through, together with your loved ones.  And survivors of Katrina, I am thinking especially good thoughts for you, sending the best thoughts I possibly can.  I can only hope that you receive assistance MUCH earlier and better than in 2005.  Be well, everyone.

1. When I’m sick I’m cranky and just want to be left the hell alone.

2. When I take a walk, I think about how happy my dog is when he gets to leave the yard to go smelling new smells.

3. Money can’t buy happiness but it can allow me to open a retirement sanctuary for old dogs that no one wants to adopt.

4. Cotton makes me think of cool clothes and crisp sheets and leather makes me feel vaguely guilty.

5. The strangest person/character I’ve had lewd thoughts about was Angel as a puppet in the episode Smile Time.

6. My favorite color these days is sky blue because the summer has finally cooled off, and I love to sit outside in the breeze and look at the wispy clouds in the sky.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to reading one of the new books that I’m going to buy today, tomorrow my plans include taking Dannan to get his nails cut and to the dog park (or to see my parents) and Sunday, I want to revel in having the house to myself (and maybe have a big PARTY!  Just kidding, don’t all show up, ok?)!

Check out the Friday Fill-Ins page here, and take a spin!

I forgot to write about this in my last post…  I was doing a search on “emotional support dogs in BC”, and the first result of the search was my very own blog!  (Well, okay, a link to “blogs about psychiatrists”, and mine was the first listed.  Never mind.)

How flattering!  I am so stoked that my blog comes up in searches!  And that there are actually people out there that read it sometimes!  I totally didn’t expect to have any readers, so thank you all for dropping by!

(When I decided to start a blog, I had two purposes.  One, writing regularly.  It’s the first rule of writing, I think, that one should write everyday.  Having a forum where someone might read what I’ve written seemed like a good motivator.  And two, getting over my fear that someone will read what I’ve written.  I know, contradictory, natch?  But I am terrified of people reading my writing, and then <GASP> having an opinion about it!  Particularly if they don’t like it.  I know I have to get over this fear, and again, the blog seemed to be a good way to get there.)

Thanks again for reading!  🙂

Well, I finally accepted that no kitchen fairy was going to come and clean up our kitchen (I think that such fairies are called brownies, but I could be wrong), so I dragged my butt off the couch and got to it.  I really don’t mind washing dishes, once I start.  It’s the getting started that takes me forever.

One of the things I noticed was that I had quite the collection of empty prescription pill bottles on the counter.  (I would have taken a picture, but I didn’t think of it; and if I had, I would never have been able to take a picture that didn’t show what a disaster the kitchen was.  Seriously, way worse than you can imagine.)  It looked like we hosted a successful pharm party, and all the empties were stacked up waiting to be cashed in.  All those plastic bottles, made of that orange-tinted plastic and topped with those white child-proof lids.  I take a lot of pills.

I also listened to a new CD that Roomie got the other day.  Well, it’s not actually such a new (as in newly released) CD, as much as it is one that we just got.  It’s Acoustic Live in London! by the band Kane.  The lead singer is Christian Kane, who played Lindsey McDonald, the first evil adversary at Wolfram and Hart.  What’s that you say?  You don’t know what I’m talking about?  Get thee to Future Shop (or wherever you get DVDs where you are) and check out the series Angel.  You won’t be disappointed.  (Well, you might be, but don’t tell me about it.  I take my Angel seriously.)  Lindsey McDonald, aside from sharing the same first name with me, is about the yummiest villain ever.  Don’t get me wrong, my heart belongs to Angel, but damn!

Ahem, where was I?  Yes, the new CD.  Roomie told me that I really had to listen to it, it was great.  I told myself, no new CD until you clean the kitchen, missy.  (And yes, I do talk to myself.  Frequently.)  And for me, the best part of housework and chores is the music.  Loud, and preferably something I can sing along to.  (I try to do my housework when I’m alone in the house, because I don’t think it’s something people need to witness.)

Finally, my browser loaded the website for Kane, and I can link to it.  If you go there, don’t get discouraged if your browser says the site is busy.  Keep trying;  it’s worth it.  I’m not great at categorizing music, but they’re kind of bluesy, kind of country.  Kind of awesome!

Anyway, I think that what I was trying to say is that it is FANTASTIC.

Borrowed this idea from L-squared:  A recap of August Thursday Thirteen.

Thirteen things I did in August so far:

1.  Chaired a meeting for the Animal Welfare and Advocacy Group at our local SPCA.

2.  Chaired a meeting for the Pets in Rental Housing Group at our local SPCA.

3.  Chaired a meeting for the Humane Education Group at our local SPCA.

(Noticing a theme here?  Hmmmm?)

4.  Helped put together two display boards for the local SPCA, one about puppy mills and one about the local SPCA.

(Are you starting to wonder if I have a life??)

5.  Housesat for my parents.

6.  Wrote an article for the SPCA newsletter, about the various volunteer opportunities at the local SPCA.

(Oh, dear God, even I’m starting to wonder if I have a life!)

7.  Visited with my friend, Mgli, who I haven’t seen in years.

8.  Took my dog, Dannan, to the vet for his annual checkup and shots.

9.  Read a lot of blogs.

10.  Wrote an astonishing 22 posts to this blog, and 13 posts to my other blog, which is here and about my dog.

11.  Discovered the Google Poetry Robot and wrote (?) a few poems for fun.

12.  Got my new laptop!  (How could I forget?  Oh, it seems like so long ago, that’s why.)

And, dum-da-da-da!

13.  Researched how to get Dannan declared an Emotional Support Animal.

Wow, looking at this list, even I’m bored!  That 13, bit of a let down!  And good Lord, I put in a lot of time at the local SPCA, especially for the one month of the year that our Community Council is supposed to take “off”!

Other cool Thursday Thirteens can be found here!  Check ’em out… over 175 participants!

Hah, the Canadian government has shown once again that politicians just can’t bear to follow the rules they themselves set.  At least, not when it doesn’t suit them.

The Harper (Conservative) government is a minority government.  Which means that in order for them to do the business of the government, they need support from one of the other parties in the House of Commons.  There are 3 other parties represented:  the Liberals, the NDP (National Democratic Party), and the Bloc Quebecois (Quebec’s separatist party).  There are also a handful of Independents.

Anyway, the Harper government enacted a law after coming into “power” in 2006 (are you in power if you have to rely on another party to get things done?), which puts into place fixed election dates.  The next election is not slated to happen until October of 2009.  The rationale was supposed to be that this would take away the power of a ruling party to call an election arbitrarily (i.e. when it was good for them).

Natch, there is a loophole which allows our Prime Minister to dissolve Parliament (which means that an election must be held).

Mr. Harper, our Prime Minister, has asked the Governor General (the Queen’s representative in Canada) to stay in Ottawa over the Labour Day weekend.  Technically, since the Queen is our ultimate sovereign, the Prime Minister has to ask the GG to dissolve Parliament and call an election.  Since the GG was planning to be at the Paralympics over the weekend, and now has been asked to stick around, it’s pretty clear that Mr. Harper’s going to do it.

(That is your Canadian civics lesson for today.  If you are a former Poli Sci prof of mine who is reading this, never mind my loose interpretation.  Nobody wants the technical doodads in a blog.)

Mr. Harper made much of the fixed election law when it was passed.  And now, he states that it was not intended to apply to minority governments.  Fancy that, how convenient.  Our economy is slowing, and the Conservatives have (perhaps) a better chance of winning sooner rather than later.  Not to mention, there are a number of by-elections coming up to fill vacant seats in the House, and the other parties are expected to win a significant number of those by-elections.

It just kills me that politicians always find a way to make the rules (which *they* often create themselves!) not apply when it doesn’t work for them.  Once upon a time, I was a young and naive college student who was fascinated by Political Science.  I loved the classes, was captivated by the ins and outs.  Then I became an intern at the BC Legislature.  (I think I’ve mentioned before that my internship was but a pale, pale version of the US Congressional internships that seem to be so racy and exciting.  My internship, not so much.)

Have you heard that old saw about never watching sausage or the law being made?  Yeah, it’s all true.  Being at the Legislature, witnessing politics in action (and, might I say, in reality) is stomach-turning.  Maybe I’ll write about that sometime.  Needless to say, my disillusionment at the political system led me to run, very fast.  Sadly, I chose to run to law school (which was actually quite awesome:  lots of alcohol and card games, not so much the classes and the studying), which led to the real pit of hell, the practice of law at The Bastard’s firm.

Ok, hold my horses here.  This post is not supposed to be about all that.  Just about the hypocrisy of legislators.

On another note of government stupidity, it has come out in the media today that the Harper government had planned to allow the food industry to pretty much regulate itself.  Some of those plans had already been put into place, such as requiring one government inspector to be responsible for at least five plants (one of which is the plant where the listeria outbreak began) and making them paper-pushers in an office rather than on-the-plant-floor inspectors.  Good plan, governing party!  That has worked sooooo well so far.  My opinion – there are some things (like food safety, natch) that should be regulated by someone outside of the industry.

Howdy, all.  I’m doing a bit better today, for which I am thankful.

But I’m not writing about all that stuff today.  The important matter that I must address concerns luncheon meatCold cutsReady-to-eat-meat products, if you will.

So up here in Canada, we have had one news story for the last week or so.  Perhaps longer.  It seems longer.  But maybe that’s just because it is the LEADING story on the news, and has been for, I don’t know, the last hundred days.

One of our Canadian luncheon meat plants, Maple Leaf in Toronto, has had an outbreak of listeria.  Now, I’m not expecting that you’ll have ever heard of this evil little bacteria.  I myself have seen some documentary on it (you know, of those shows that talks about e. coli, or ebola, or multi-drug-resistant-tuberculosis…  I am fascinated by these shows, so I know all about the little deadlies that are out there.  But I know that my obsession is a little weird, so I don’t expect anybody else to share it.  Although if you do, let me know;  it would be cool to know that I’m not the only really weird one.)

As a public service, I will list some fast facts about listeria, courtesy of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

What is foodborne illness?

Foodborne illness occurs when a person consumes food contaminated with
pathogenic bacteria, viruses or parasites. This condition is often called
“food poisoning”. Many cases of foodborne illness go unreported
because their symptoms often resemble flu symptoms. The most common symptoms of
foodborne illness may include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and
fever.

What are Listeria
monocytogenes
and listeriosis?

  • Listeria monocytogenes is a
    bacterium. It is often found in the environment, particularly in soil,
    vegetation, animal feed, and in human and animal feces.
  • Eating food contaminated with Listeria may lead to the development of a disease
    called listeriosis.

What are the symptoms?

  • Symptoms include: flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea,
    headache, constipation and persistent fever. Symptoms usually appear within 2
    to 30 days and up to 70 days after consuming contaminated food.
  • The very young, elderly or those with poorly functioning immune systems are
    the most susceptible. Flu-like symptoms may be followed by a brain or blood
    infection, either of which can result in death.
  • A woman who develops listeriosis during the first three months of pregnancy
    may miscarry. If she develops listeriosis later in the pregnancy, her baby may
    be stillborn or acutely ill.

Wow, huh?  Listeriosis has been described by a microbiologist, tapped by the media as an expert, as the worst form of food poisoning ever.  Well, he didn’t put it precisely that way, but I’m certain that this is what he would have said if he was a subscriber to the Plain English school of language.

Anyway, this has been our national obsession.  Much more pressing and fascinating than the Olympics.  Which, if you were paying attention, is not hard to achieve for Canada.  We are not summer Olympic folks up here, but we’ll clean up at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.  Or else look mighty silly, after all the trash talk we’ve been dishing out.

(I just have to add this note:  there were at least three Olympians in Beijing who are from my hometown.  And each one of them finished fourth.  I think that says something, don’t you?  But I digress.)

So, listeriosis.  This manufacturing plant has, at some point, had something to do with nearly every ready-to-eat-meat product in the country.  At first, the company just recalled products sold under the Maple Leaf label.  But yesterday, the recall had expanded to some 34 brand names and restaurants who use those products.  So there are far more dangerous ready-to-eat-meat products out there than we had imagined.

My parents eat a lot of cold cuts.  And they are in their early seventies.  I talked to my mother last night, and discovered that they had a fridge-full of possibly tainted meat products – ahem, ready-to-eat-meat products – that they have been merrily eating all along.  Not Maple Leaf, see?  Burns brand.  Who’d have thought that perhaps the Maple Leaf plant might also process meat for other brand names?  Clearly, it was safe to keep eating them.

The elderly are one of the groups at risk.  I had to explain to my mother today that, at 72, she is considered to be elderly.  Not that I think of her as elderly;  heavens, nooooo.  But technically, the general public do (mistakenly, of course) consider 72 to be elderly.

And they are both sick, with flu-like symptoms.  And in complete denial that the ham and bologna they have been eating might have caused it.  And that they, just maybe, should call the doctor, or the public health unit.  Or somebody.

I emailed my oldest sister last night about it.  She is a nurse, and it’s generally much easier to email her about something like this, than to look it up myself.  Laziness, thy name is Linds.

Sister1 sent me the list of symptoms, which pretty much parallel what my parents are feeling.  And she asked me to make sure that they had chucked the rest of the meat.  She knows them well, let’s just say that.

My mother grew up really poor, and she does not throw *anything* away.  She just cannot bring herself to throw food in the garbage.  And this situation is no exception.  Mom fed the stuff to the crows, which inspired me to tell her that when listeria sweeps through the local animal food chain, she will know it is her fault.  Neither she nor my father had considered that, apparently.

Since I am the child who lives in the same city as the parents, I am the one who keeps an eye on them.  It is a heavy responsibility sometimes.  Mostly because they are so stubborn, and apparently invincible.  I will be watching them closely.

I’m pretty sure they’re fine, but the fact that they are always in complete denial about even the possibility that they might be, even the slightest bit, at risk is infinitely frustrating.  I’ll blog later about an incident with my mother that will help to illustrate this point.  But for now, take my word for it that this nonchalant, blase’ attitude is their M.O.

Anybody else have invincible parents that drive their children crazy?  Just wondering.  Again, am I the only one?

I say … and you think … ?

  1. Cry ::  Despair
  2. Stretch ::  mark
  3. Efficient ::  quick
  4. Brunch ::  eggs and bacon (which I don’t even eat!)
  5. Afro ::  poofy (is that even close to politically correct?  sorry!)
  6. Preheat ::  warm up
  7. Delicious ::  yummy
  8. Global warming ::  melting ice
  9. Actions ::  words (hah, that’s funny!)
  10. Ride ::  ticket to

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