Friday, August 31, 2007

A lovely person with a heartwarming story to share

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

See this lovely person? Her name is Alana, and she is very cool.

She is also training to be a birth coach. Not a midwife, but a birth coach. For her it is a volunteer job, spending time with a woman in labour and her partner, providing support and assistance. Read about her experience during a training session last night:

Yes, I’m really honoured to be able to volunteer as a birth coach. It was a wonderful birth too - the couple previously had had a stillborn and two miscarriages, so when their son came out 7 pounds 10 ounces of perfection, I felt pure gladness in my heart for them! They were absolutely lovely people, that child has chosen well who to come into the world to.
I was so touched by this story that I asked her if I could blog about it. Her response: “Sure, go ahead! It’s a beautiful story, I agree, one that should be shared.”

I hope you agree with us. :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pre-weekend recap

Friends and Internet vagabonds, there are no words to describe how much I’m looking forward to the upcoming long weekend. Seriously, I am barely hanging on by my fingernails.

This week – KNOCK ON WOOD – has been the least stressed, least drama-filled that I can remember in months. I feel like one of those party balloons a few days after the event – not quite holding up. I’ve been tired, I’ve found it difficult to focus at work, and I’ve been fighting a bit of the sore throat thing that seems to be floating around Toronto these days. I’ve been using Starbucks’ espresso brownies and blueberries ‘n crème frappacinoes to stay awake. I haven’t been going to the gym lately, and my body – and my clothes - have been telling me about that too. So it’s time for a reboot, recharge, reconnect.

Don’t get me wrong; a lot of good stuff has happened in the last few months. I visited Melissa and her family in Baltimore, and got a tantalizing glimpse of New York City while reconnecting with a dear friend; I’ve had two amazing trips to Seattle to develop a bond with my new niece and nephew, and to spend some quality time with my brother and his wife, which has been so good; I attended a family reunion and spent some time with my mom at a Celtic music festival; I’ve done my best to be there for some friends who were going through some difficult times. I took a photography class and tons of photos, and eventually even photographed someone’s wedding. I’ve run events and done volunteer work, I’ve stayed up late reading or journaling, and I’ve blogged every single day. I can’t think of one thing I would give up if I had to do it all over again. This is life. Chock full. And I'm proud of it and cherish it. I can't remember what it was ever like to twiddle my thumbs over the weekend.

But boy, am I going to enjoy the next three days off …

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

... and in with the new

Today, new roommate: Jamie!

Just for a short time, most likely, but I'm very glad to have her here.

However, I have to say it IS weird on at least a few levels. For example, I didn't meet her until a few months ago, though I was a regular reader on her blog for many months if not more than a year beforehand. Eventually, though, I contacted her and she accepted my offer of dinner - and the rest is history! We've been through a lot together over the last few months, and yet there have been a lot of laughs. Jamie's had more than her fair share hard knocks lately, and yet she isn't all about herself, and often shows me more empathy than I would give myself.

Another way that this is weird is how quickly things have changed. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a different roommate, and her moving out wasn't even a consideration for either of us. Now she's back in Kenya, and someone else is living in her room.

Life is about change, I know. Such dramatic changes make me wonder what else the future holds ... :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Classic kitten play video

Boy, I love this stuff. I have spent unnumbered hours in my 37.5 years watching kittens play, and it still cracks me up every time.

The best part is the grimaces

Baby Eating Mango - The most amazing bloopers are here

Something weird happened on the way home tonight

At the end of a very long day (the last hour thereof spent in a used book store – big mistake), I was sitting on the subway going home. I noticed someone in the same car as me – a fair distance away – only because he was sitting down, but stood up, walked a few paces to the end of the car, and leaned against the back wall facing the rest of the car while he read his paper. It just struck me as just a little bit odd. What was even more weird, however, was that he had more than a passing resemblance to an old ex-boyfriend of mine. So much so that I almost got up and approached him, until I thought about how this conversation might go if he was not in fact my ex.

Her: Hi, um … Did we, like, used to sleep together?
Him: Get away from me, you freak.

Or something like that. Except I would have sounded even MORE like a dork. ;->

[Edited to add: OF COURSE I wouldn't really say that! It was a J-O-K-E.]

So for the next two subway stops I:
  • surreptitiously studied him to determine whether it was actually him (no way to tell, it had been too long since I’d seen him, and this other time doesn’t count at all - it was dark, and he's tall, dammit! LOL);
  • tried to look everywhere else;
  • justified to myself that if it really was him, it was incumbent upon him to approach me, as I am truly unmistakable with my blonde hair, being overloaded with bags, and having a Gore-Tex jacket slung over one arm;
  • worked to tamper down a silly grin because I found the whole thing rather amusing.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I guess I'm funny

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Introducting the bride and groom!

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Alana and Jean-Louis

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Is it just me, or does it look a little like Harlequin novel cover art? :)

Believe it or not

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

... but she wasn't actually posing when I took this shot.

Visual distraction

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

So after the wedding ceremony yesterday, I was talking with someone when I was utterly distracted by how the colour of Jason's eyes exactly matched the colour of the wine bottles on the shelf behind him. Inspiration! I struggled to politely conclude my conversation with the first person before I nabbed Jason and told him I needed - not wanted, but needed - a photo of him with this background. I quite like the result.

I am quite excited because I'm just starting to really relate my subjects to their backgrounds. Growth is good.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What a day

Today I was the official photographer at a wedding for the first time. I managed to get some good photos, in spite of/because of the rain that forced us indoors halfway through the ceremony. I am reassured that I got enough good ones, so I won't spend half the night processing the rest, but here's a sample:

Yes, this photo has a big fuzzy mark where a raindrop was on my lens, but that's just part of the story. I like this photo because it shows Steph and Dom rolling with the punches, along with some help from all-around great guy Jason.
Steph resting a bit (she's expecting twins, so it was especially understandable). I like this photo a lot because it was a unique moment - I can't really express why - and she really made me laugh.

They assembled themselves so perfectly that a monkey could have taken this photo.

The wedding ceremony was beautiful and intimate, the dinner phenomenal, and the company fun. I am super-relieved that many of the photos turned out okay!!!!!!!!!

I got home tonight and my roommate was in the living room with her mother and sister, with big suitcases obviously packed. My roommate told me she was moving back to Africa. Tomorrow. It has nothing to do with me and a lot to do with her family. I had an idea that this might happen, but I wasn't sure, and I certainly wasn't expecting it to happen so suddenly. Neither was she. I will have to trust that she will be okay through all this.

I think now I'm tired and a little overwrought. It's been an intense day with a bit of a shock at the end. Time for me to finish feeding the cats and head to bed.

Friday, August 24, 2007

In the vineyard

Taken today before the wedding rehearsal.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

T-shirt reaction

Today I saw a guy around my age who was rather homely with a big beer gut, wearing a T-shirt that said, "I'm going commando."

I found I was really working hard to control my expression, which otherwise would have conveyed, "Eeeeeeewwwwwwwwww!"

It was only after he'd passed by that I realized the bugger deserved any expression of disgust he got, for creating that mental picture. LOL

A birthday blog

It’s a certain brother’s birthday this week, so I was going to write him a mushy card and send it to him. And then things got crazy here (can I still call it “crazy” when I no longer remember what non-crazy is like?) so I’m going to blog about him instead. Sorry, Joe, I know it will make your skin crawl, but I’m going to talk about you to the world. :-D

If I had to pick one word to describe Joe, it would be “hero”. Not because he’s saved people from burning buildings or anything, but he’s the kind of person who would. Or ensure that someone else did. He is very protective of children, for example, and they don’t even have to be his own. The last time I was visiting Joe and Lisa in suburban Seattle, we were all out for a walk when a teenager who was skateboarding fell, making a distinct crunching noise, and then just laid on the cement rather than getting up. Aside from checking for traffic before he crossed the street, Joe wasted no time in running over to see that the kid was okay.

One of the clearest memories I have from my childhood was Joe, about 7 or 8 at the time, rushing into the house from the barn (where we sometimes had many, many cats), and bursting out, “Come quick! [Insert name of forgotten cat here] is having kittens!” Like I was a veterinarian? I guess, since I was almost a year and a half older, he figured I had to be good for something. And he really wanted to help.

I don’t really have a lot of heroic tales of Joe’s life before Lisa and the twins. I’m sure there are many other examples of this tendency, but for several years, I've considered Joe a hero-in-waiting. And then he met this beautiful creature in some hokey country line-dancing bar, and spent several months patiently working to win her heart and to help her gain the confidence to believe in love again.

But I think where Joe’s heroic nature has finally found fulfillment is without a doubt with his kids. I can’t imagine a father who is more involved, more committed, or more hands-on than my brother. A lot of men would put on a show about being a family guy but just disappear under the demands of twins. Not Joe. The first time I visited, he barely let me change a diaper because it was his job, his responsibility, and he didn’t begrudge it. Joe recently wrote on his blog an amazing story on his blog as he was writing advice for other parents expecting twins:

Talk to your babies before they are born. It's an amazing thing to do, and it does help. Greet them with the same phrase every time you do it. Mine was "Hi , it's Daddy". When my daughter, Lorelai was born, and she was crying and screaming in the hall while her brother was on his way out, I was able to go up to her bassinet, and say 'Hi Lorelai, it's Daddy', and she looked up at me, grabbed my finger with her little fingers and stopped crying. The nurses just went 'Wow.' It was a pretty amazing moment, and something I'll never forget.

Let there be no doubt, Joe is already a hero to those babies.

The love and delight and patience he’s shown with Lorelai and Reece makes him my hero too.

Now might I suggest that you go wish my brother a happy birthday? :->

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"You were right"

Are there any better words in the English language to hear?

I thought not!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Things that make you go "hmmm ..."

Marlene, put away your potato salad …

… because this morning, I found MOULD in my strawberry jam.

Fortunately, I realized what it was before it touched the toast.

But still …

This little jar of organic strawberry spread couldn’t have been open more than a month and a half, and kept in the refrigerator almost religiously when not in use (although I did accidentally leave it out one day when I rushed off to work).

But honestly, I have a jar of raspberry jam that’s been opened and sitting in my fridge for over two years and there isn’t a speck of mould in it. I know. I did a quick check this morning. I could probably have left it out on the counter for a week and there would still be no sign of mould.

Hmmm …

I’ve returned to thinking about this situation a few times throughout the day today.

And rather than feeling swindled by the maker my expensive mould-prone organic fruit spread, I’ve started to wonder: why won’t the raspberry jam grow mould??? I mean, it’s made of a natural food substance, right? Right??? It’s got tons of sugar that would make the nastiest spore of mould one happy fungus. So what the heck did they put in this concoction to keep it from going mouldy for OVER TWO YEARS???? Formaldehyde or something???

You know, since I was going to throw the suspiciously mould-free raspberry jam out after the mouldy organic strawberry spread, I think I'll experiment and leave the raspberry jam out on my counter and see how long it takes to grow mould. Any wagers on when that'll be??? :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Life as a soap opera sidekick

It seems wrong to blog about other people’s problems. Even if they kind of become YOUR problems by virtue of you being around them.

The last week has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride, witnessing hysteria, panic, self-absorption, anxiety, and the occasional glimpse of the rational, level-headed person I’ve known for the past two years. While she calls it a “spiritual crisis”, I’m divided as to whether it really is a spiritual crisis, a penchant for melodrama, an anxiety disorder, and/or a severe lack of sleep.

As for me, I’ve been stomping angry, surprisingly patient and helpful, ruthlessly matter-of-fact, sleep-deprived, etc. … rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. I hit my limit yesterday (when woken at 7:00 on a Sunday morning for advice, as she seemed to think her insomnia had reached the status of a medical emergency) and had to be rather hard in order to re-establish some boundaries that I felt she no longer respected.

Today, a relative contacted me at work because her family is frantic with worry for her. She, however, appears to have left the city on a retreat looking for someone she thinks can help her.

I’m fairly certain that things will turn out all right. But if you have any positive thoughts or prayers to offer, maybe send them her way. She could use them.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Taken yesterday at Everdale Organic Farm.

That insolent cat won't get out of my bed!

Okay, I promise I will soon stop posting these weird animal videos, but this one made me laugh.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

An Impromptu Portrait

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Taken at Everdale Organic Farm ( This mother graciously consented to allow me to photograph herself and her daughter. I love this result.

More on the actual farm tomorrow, I hope.

When you think you've seen everything ...

... watch this video.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another video via CuteOverload

Battle of the Guinea Pigs

Too cute ... thanks to co-worker James for sending me the link to


The changing of the seasons reminds us that life moves in circles. Birth, growth, maturity, death, rebirth … I know I don’t need to remind you of this.

If you’ve been a longtime reader, you know I’ve written extensively about my patrols with FLAP. I was surprised by how rewarding these experiences were, although my very last patrol of the season resulted in a bit of heartbreak as I became emotionally invested in a little least flycatcher that, in the end, had to be euthanized.

This week, I got the e-mail that some birds are starting to move south again (I imagine that many of these early starts are those that winter in South America). So I arranged to start my patrols early next week.

Today, however, I happened to decide on a different route to go to work, and as I was walking down the street, I saw a little bird sitting on the ground next to an office building, ignored by the many passers-by. As I approached it, I saw it wasn’t just some stupid sparrow but a true migratory songbird, and that it was in relatively good shape except for its laboured breathing. I had a surge of worry and adrenaline, as I didn’t have a net. I stuffed my book in my backpack to free both hands and slowly approached it from its blind spot. And gently caught it in my hands.

The bird felt a bit cold and it didn’t move much at first, but its feathers weren’t as ruffled as some of those I’d caught in the spring, which I took as a good sign. I didn’t have anything to put it in. I gave a mental shrug and wandered around downtown Toronto with a bird in my hands, toward the holding station at the Ernst and Young Tower.

It was only after I dropped the bird off that I realized that this bird was a flycatcher (my adrenaline-addled brain knew I’d seen one like it before, but I couldn’t remember what it was). Later, I found out that it was a slightly different species of flycatcher than the one I’d invested so much emotionally in the spring (this one was a yellow-bellied flycatcher), but this one had been in such good shape that, later today, it was released back into the wild away from Toronto.

Another of nature’s circles to welcome me back into this rewarding work. Almost as though it was specifically crafted by the Universe for me and to heal that bird-sized wound.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Family Resemblance?


Being there

First things first: Jo, an associate in a club in which we both volunteer, came “out of the closet" today and admitted that she is a regular reader of this blog. Yay Jo! Friends and Internet vagabonds, please welcome Jo to this humble site (she really is smart and very nice and especially kind to animals).


Moving on, Natalia left an interesting comment on yesterday’s post that I think I can blog about. Here’s what she wrote:

Good friends rule. And good friends are not as easy to come by as people who are friendly but that, in time of need, disappear. Or people who are jealous and envious of you even though they purport to be your friend. Yeah..complicated.

Natalia obviously writes from experience, which sucks. Of course, this is a lesson that almost all of us have to learn at one time or another. Life can’t be perfect all the time, and it’s interesting to see who’s around during the rocky patches.

When I was a teenager, I had the corollary of the same problem: people were friends with me when they were going through a hard time and needed someone to talk to, but when they wanted to have fun, a lot of them found other friends to hang out with. Granted, I was a very serious, unhappy kid at the time and I think I’ve always been a pretty good listener, but it still led to a few hangups. To this day, I still struggle to see myself as a fun person, or to accept that people would like to spend time with me just for me and not for how I can support them during a crisis.

All that said, being there for my friends – or people in general – is one of my core beliefs. I often feel energized by helping other people and feel a sense of calm and purpose when I can do something to help. I’m always grateful when the crisis has passed and the person doesn’t need me any more, but when the moment arrives, I absolutely want to be there.

This week has been a mixed bag in this area. I hope I helped “Janie”, but in the end I deeply regreat I wasn’t able to help more. With another person, I think I’ve been able to help someone a lot, but it’s early yet and she still has to choose her own path. I’ve had to set boundaries and priorities too. All the time, I’ve been hoping and praying for the wisdom to say and do the right things. I don’t know I’ll ever know for certain whether I did.

Anyone else ever have weeks like this one?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thank Goddess for good friends

I really hope all of you have a friend like Kevin, who will listen to you talk about something that's upsetting you (even as you try to be adult and mature), will totally empathize, and will express outrage and sympathy at the appropriate points.

It certainly makes behaving like an adult far less impossible, especially when "pre-Kevin", you would really rather have just thrown your toys and told someone else some unpleasant home truths. LOL

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I'm almost THAT tired

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

I took this photo of Reece konked out in the stroller two weekends ago when I was in Seattle. The poor kid had a bit of a bruise around his eye when he woke up.

It's been a busy day - though not as insane as yesterday - and I am just too tired to write any more.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Today was one of the most surreal days I’ve had in a while:

  • A friend of mine (I’ll call her Janie) called me around 4:00 AM because her roommate was screaming death threats at her and Janie was locked in her room and afraid to leave;
  • I actually wondered, “What does one wear to a scene of [potential] domestic violence?” (my answer: shorts, T-shirt, and a sweater);
  • I had to leave a note for my roommate around 5:00 AM asking her to try calling my cellphone around 7:00 AM, and to call the police with the address of Janie's house if I didn’t answer;
  • At Janie’s house, I actually called 9-1-1 for the first time ever;
  • Janie walked out of the house, unharmed, a minute later;
  • When the police arrived, I actually thought, “If I’d realized there’d be so many cute police officers, I’d have brushed my teeth before I came over!!!”
  • We packed a carload of Janie’s things under the protective presence of two police officers;
  • The roommate loudly sang "Life is good" over and over to taunt Janie as she packed to leave;
  • I found out that Janie likes Tom Cruise AND Michael Jackson (I just thought she was way too cool for either one of them!);
  • I found out that my own roommate is having a bit of a nervous breakdown;
  • I had the most disgusting black veggie omelet and hash browns from the nicest waitress/cook a greasy spoon could ever have;
  • I drove to Markham;
  • I made Janie laugh;
  • I got lost in the suburbs;
  • Back in Toronto, I showered and got ready to go to work for the afternoon. On the way to the subway, I saw a rat keel over dead behind the neighbourhood sushi restaurant.

How was your day? :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I'm ready to live right and stop sleeping around!

This morning, when I woke up, one of the first thoughts that ran through my head was, “Boy, I sure am ready to stop sleeping around!” This thought made me laugh to myself.

Let’s recap the highlights of the past month, shall we? I:

  • Met with my friend Melissa for a three-day whirlwind tour of New York, New Jersey, and Baltimore;
  • Had a photo shoot with Steph and Dom for their engagement photos;
  • Drove six hours round trip in a single day for a family reunion;
  • Traveled to Seattle for an extended long weekend to visit with my brother, his wife, and my adorable niece and nephew;
  • Traveled to my parents’ place this weekend to pick up my cats and to attend the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival;
  • Attended a birthday party;
  • Went to see “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” performed in High Park;
  • Finished up a photography course;
  • Worked at my job, aside from weekends and 5 vacation days;
  • Etc., etc.

As you can tell, I am really very lucky to have so many dear ones and such cool opportunities. I have had a fantastic time and there is nothing in the list above that I regret. But let me tell you, I am ready for this schedule to slow down. It will in fact slow down because I know I can’t keep up this pace any more.

There are no more trips scheduled for the foreseeable future. I can camp out in my own little bed with my books, my comforts, and my cats. That? Is bliss.

My photography course is finally over, thank goodness, so that’s one night a week I now have back. Just in time, too, because I need to get back into going to the gym; my muscles are weaker than they’ve been in a long time, and my upper back is quite seized up. And let’s not get into how my clothes feel tighter after all the sugar, fat, and other crap I’ve eaten because I was traveling, short on time, or simply too tired.

I don’t mean to whine; it’s just more an expression of how the pendulum must swing back from one extreme to another in order for me to find the balance somewhere in between. Friends and Internet vagabonds, I sure am looking forward to finding my equilibrium again. :)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another day as a culture vulture

Today, my mother and I spent a few hours at the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival. We both had a great time. Neither of us had been to a Celtic festival before. From what I can tell, the real focus of this particular festival was traditional music - Celtic or "Celtic-inspired".

I was surprised and impressed how many people my age were there performing, playing harps and violins and keyboards and accordions and who knows what else. I thought it was great that people my age are helping to keep these musical traditions alive, and building on them.

When I'm not quite so tired, I'll do some research about one of the performing acts (a young married couple from Montreal) that was outstanding. If I find a website for them, I'll update this post. In the meantime, I hear a pillow calling my name ... :)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Dream in High Park

Oh my goodness, if you live in Toronto or the surrounding area and have not yet made it to the Dream in High Park (an outdoor production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"), what on earth are you waiting for???????

It is hilarious, it is colourful, totally fun and entertaining, and you will feel like a supergenius for laughing at all the right spots during a Shakespearean play.

It's on until September 2nd, and I am sorely tempted to go back for a second time before then.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Q & A

In case you didn’t know this already, I have sleep apnea. It’s now been two years since I was diagnosed and started treatment. Today a friend sent me an e-mail asking about it as she suspects that she might have it as well. Since I’m all about public service (even to the point of publishing this photo of me wearing my CPAP mask), I thought I’d blog the answers and hopefully there are other people out there who might also seek help.

L. writes:

VERY cute babies!!!! And I'm not just saying that. They're totally sweet.

Heh. That’s not about the sleep apnea, but I liked it so you get to read it too.

I was back in your blog to re-read about the sleep apnea entries you have …

Anyway, my question is, here we are a year after the CPAP machine...

Actually, it’s been TWO, can you believe it???

do you really think it was really worth it or was there just a slight difference in your sleep quality and energy levels. I don't know if I'd be able to get use to that thing on my face or if the machine is noisy, how much that would be appreciated by my sometimes sleep partner... not that he'd ever give me a hard time about it. I guess I'm trying to figure out if it's really that significant of an impact to pursue it with my doctor

Was the cost of the testing covered by OHIP or work benefits? I imagine part of the cost of the machine would be covered by work benefits.

Excellent questions, all! So let’s get started, shall we?

YES, I definitely consider the treatment for my sleep apnea worthwhile. I have definitely noticed that I have more energy since using the CPAP device – although now that I have more energy, I am doing more with my life and therefore not sleeping as much as I ought, but along with my decisions to live a full and interesting life and to balance work and play, I am far more satisfied with my quality of life with the treatment than without. I lug the device around with me when I travel – that’s how essential I consider it to be. Note that I have only mild/moderate sleep apnea. Anyone who has more severe sleep apnea should, in my mostly uneducated opinion, expect even more dramatic results.

There definitely is an adjustment period of getting used to the mask. The straps holding the mask in place didn’t affect me as much as getting used to the pressurized air gusting from my mouth when I happened to open my lips. Eventually I learned to seal off the back of my throat by raising my tongue up against my palate (sorry if that’s too much information for anyone) and now it’s simply not an issue, even when I’m sleeping.

I should also note that there are other treatments for sleep apnea, such as surgery or mouthpieces that are used to keep the airway open. I met with an ear-nose-throat specialist and was told that there was no surgical option in my case except a tracheotomy, which obviously was not even a consideration. I chose not to investigate the mouthpiece option because I already have a sensitive jaw, and I didn’t want to irritate it further. However, I do know someone else who got a mouthpiece to address his apnea, and he was quite pleased with the results. I also recently heard of some kind of pillow that is supposed to position your head to eliminate sleep apnea, but I know even less about this option. Anyway, all this goes to say that no one should let the CPAP device and mask keep him/her from seeking treatment.

Is the CPAP machine noisy? Do you consider the fan you might buy at a department store to circulate air in a room noisy? They’re about the same, or the CPAP is quieter.

The next bit of information is pertinent only to Ontario residents (sorry). Yes, the sleep clinic is fully covered by OHIP, if you are referred by your G.P. Part of the CPAP device, should you acquire one, is also covered by OHIP (about $700 when I got mine, I think). These suckers are expensive, though. Fortunately, my work benefits covered the remaining $1500 or so for the machine and mask. I have no idea what mouthpieces would cost. If you receive a positive diagnosis for sleep apnea, you might want to call your insurance provider ahead of time to see what coverage you have for these kinds of solutions.

Finally, the bed partner business … my attitude is that I’m enjoying life so much more now that I could never go back, particularly not for someone shallow enough to protest my form of medical treatment. (Note that I am not saying L's partner is shallow or would protest, but it's a natural concern that anyone would have about how one's bedmate might perceive the new hardware, and this is the conclusion that I have personally reached.)

Any other questions??? :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Desperately sad

Gay marriage isn't nearly as frightening as a mother who would prefer her son to be dead rather than gay. (Via

Greetings from space camp

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Folks, I am *BEAT* tonight. Once I arrived home last night, it took about three hours for me to wind down (must've been all that sugar I ate while in transit; damn, it's hard to eat well while travelling!), but I still got up and went to work this morning. Even had a couple of successful meetings this afternoon. But as far as blogging goes - the creative juices are a little dry (just be glad you didn't receive the parody of "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" that I sent to Tracy, Monika, and Lisa tonight ... finally and utterly destroying any of their remaining illusions of my "coolness". Oh well, it was nice being their friend while it lasted. LOL)

BUT! I'm pleased to report that I finally got my card with the Toronto Public Library after work today! I already feel smarter! Not that I actually withdrew any books, as I have about 17 books at home that are open to one page or another, but now I can order a book from any branch, just in case I have an urgent need for a book but don't want to buy it. I know Melissa will be happy with me for this, both because I now have a library card, and because I just used our motto, "Just in Case". I have to nurture my remaining friendships assiduously after the "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" mishap. :)

By the way, in the last week, I've found out that both my friend Stephanie and my co-worker Stephen are expecting twins (with their respective partners). I'm not sure whether it's just that when you start looking for something, it suddenly appears everywhere (like how I suddenly saw orange tabby cats in one commercial after another after I got my cat Sabrina), but if you're procreational (yes, I just made that word up) and your name is some variant of Steph-, I'd be nervous if I were you!

Okay, leaving you with a photo of my perfect and adorable niece. Look at those scrumptious cheeks and those Reubenesque wrist rolls!!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Long Weekend Wrap-up: Baby Edition

So another long weekend in Seattle is over. For those Internet vagabonds just recently stumbling onto this site, my brother and sister-in-law (Joe and Lisa) had twin babies (Lorelai and Reece) roughly six months ago. This is my second visit to spend some time with them and for them to get to know one of their loving aunties.

Quite a few things have changed since I was here a couple of months ago. The babies can both roll over now, and lie on their stomachs and hold their heads up (though Lorelai tires more easily). Since they are both eating solid food now, I found I could be far more involved with them during this visit (and had much more fun) and did very little reading compared to the last time I was there.

Reece has become even more active, and is always up for bouncing. He dances with this crazy deep-knee bend bounce with a reckless side-to-side motion, trustingly dependent on either the adult holding him or a “bouncer” in which this kid simply flies, such that I nicknamed him “Mosh Baby”. This time, it felt as though Reece truly recognized me when he saw me and would usually flash a big smile my way when he did. There are no words to say how great that was.

One thing that did not change was the incredible sweetness and sparkle of Lorelai’s smile and personality. It is truly extraordinary, and I hope it never changes.

There was a lot of tickling and goofing this visit. As I told Natalia, I spent a lot of time kissing delicious baby cheeks or pretending to feast on baby belly just to hear delightful squeals and giggles. I don’t know about the twins, but I had a blast.

It’s also such a pleasure to see what amazing parents Joe and Lisa are. They are besotted with their babies yet level-headed, thoroughly attentive yet inclined to teach their children independence when they can. They are both utterly, totally committed to the babies and to each other. Like Lisa’s mom Marcia says, they are great partners. I couldn’t be more proud of Joe or grateful to Lisa.

I’m home now, after a relatively pleasant flight (though I have to find a way to take less stuff with me when I travel!), but I still have my own variation of Michael Buble’s song, “Everything” running through my head:

And I can't believe, uh that I'm your aunt,
And I get to kiss you baby just because I can.

I highly recommend nieces and nephews. Get yourself one or two if you don’t already have one.

Yes, I know Lorelai looks unhappy in this photo, but it wasn't my fault - honest! She was just a little tired and cranky and needed a nap, but I love her anyway! :)

Look at these feet

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Just a little demonstration of my nephew's HUGE baby feet when compared to his [twin] sister's ... This boy is obviously has the Dutch/Flemish genes to be tall (like most of my adult male relatives)!

Gotta pack - leaving this morning - will try to most more details about the visit once I'm home. But overall I can tell you - from my perspective anyway - that it's been a great long weekend with lots of bonding time with the babies and their parents. It's been wonderful.


Monday, August 06, 2007

You WILL post a picture of me ...

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

... and I WILL look beautiful!

Where's today's blog entry???

Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Visiting the twins has been wonderful, fun, and TIRING! LOL

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Lovely bunnies

Lovely bunnies
Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

A teeny-tiny helping of I-told-you-so

It’s already been a great morning with my niece and nephew. I woke up rested and refreshed this morning, ready to cuddle and tickle and otherwise amuse these gorgeous six-month-olds.

When Joe came home this morning from getting his car’s oil changed, Reece, Lorelai, and I were hanging out in the living room while Lisa had a shower. Joe, being such a hands-on and involved dad, immediately got in the action by lying on the floor and working out his arm muscles by moving Reece up and down. “Be careful,” I said, feeling a bit silly telling him what to do with his kid, “Lisa just fed him.” But Reece seemed to be really content and happy with his Amusement Park Dad. Joe really is such a great dad. I finally had my camera out and I was focused on getting some photos of Joe with the babies, like this one:

But suddenly, Joe swore. I looked up from my camera and Joe was quickly sitting up, a stream of curdled breast milk on his shirt, on his neck, in his beard, and ohmigod no, the stream abruptly ended at his bottom lip. Immediately I was convulsing with hysterical laughter, tears wrung from my eyes. “I’m sorry,” I gasped, desperately sucking oxygen into my lungs, “I shouldn’t laugh.” But I could not stop.

“They’re yours,” Joe nearly flung Reece into my hands, and launched himself upstairs for a change of clothes and, I suspect, a shower and a 5-minute gargle of disinfectant.

Friday, August 03, 2007

There are reasons to be a homebody

Okay, just to reassure anyone who might have been worried, I did in fact arrive safely at Joe and Lisa’s place last night a little before 10:00PM. And then was in bed by 10:30. Joe and Lisa were pretty tired, and yesterday was just a little frigging insane for me too.

In fact, let me tell you about yesterday. Yes, I know you might not care because you’re really interested in the babies and where the hell are the pictures of the babies??? But I haven’t even removed my camera from its case yet because I’m not a member of the paparazzi. So travel story it is.

The plan had been for my roommate to care for my two cats while I was away. (I always write “TWO cats” because I want to make it clear that I am not some crazy cat lady who has 16 or so cats.) However, Farzanah had been in Nairobi visiting her parents and missed her flight back due to some illness, so while I’m sure she’ll be back soon enough, I couldn’t be sure, and 5 days is far too long to leave these cats with just a pop-in visit two times a day from a kind neighbour. So my parents came to the rescue … they drove two hours to meet me yesterday somewhere between their place and Toronto to take the cats home, which I appreciate more than words can say.

The stressful part was actually anticipating catching them to get them in the pet carrier. I hate chasing them down when they don’t want to be caught (e.g., when I have to take them to the vet’s). Sometimes I’m good at tricking them, but other times their Spidey-sense kicks in and I’m chasing them around and around the couch and ohmygod what if I can’t actually catch them both and lock them up and drive them to the meeting place in time for me to make my flight???? S-T-R-E-S-S.

This time, however, it wasn’t too bad. Shortly before I was ready to cage them up, they both wanted to go out onto the balcony. Hahahaha suckers! Cornered! From there it was pretty easy, although they figured out what was going on as soon as I moved the pet carriers closer to the sliding doors, and were none too happy about the situation.

The drive to the meeting place, just outside Guelph, was uneventful, and I actually arrived on schedule! A quick exchange of cats, food, cat toys, and written instructions (“Cleo somehow keeps track of how much she’s been fed and will complain loudly if you don’t give her a full 1.5 large scoops [of dry food] in a day”) was made, and then I was on my way to the airport.

I would have been about 4 hours ahead of schedule, but for three things:

  1. Dixon and Dixie Roads. Both around the airport. This needs to be fixed for morons like me.
  2. Entering the wrong line-up at the airline counter twice. Lady, if you’re going to huff and puff that someone yet again has entered the wrong line-up, perhaps there’s a problem with your signage? Just a suggestion.
  3. HUGE lineups at the customs inspection. You may not know this, particularly if you’re an American reader, but hub Canadian airports like Toronto have American customs inspections. I guess there are fewer Canadian airports than American destinations … Anyway, the lineup was in this large warehouse-like room where you walked along a long, snake-like queue on one half of the room, and then you crossed the room for another long, snake-like queue.

Interestingly, yesterday was the first time EVER that I received a stamp in my passport from an American customs agent. She questioned me about the last trip I made to visit my brother (regarding when I had gone there and how long I’d stayed) and then boom boom boom! Stamps on all my documentation, including my passport. Not sure what that means – am I on some watchlist now that I’ve gone to the U.S. three times in as many months?

The flight was interesting too. I’ll try to keep this short:

  1. Chatty, childlike-aged middle guy in the next seat. I was tired and kind of cranky, and totally not in the mood for the non-stop chat this guy had in mind. I was resting with my eyes closed and he was trying to ask me questions about whether I’d ever been to Seattle before, etc. It was just friendly, but I was somewhat sleep-deprived and stressed, and all I wanted was a quiet flight with a nap and my book. I managed to discourage him without being too rude in the process.
  2. Older lady in the aisle seat across from and one row ahead of mine. A lovely senior citizen who read a newsletter from MSF (Doctors Without Borders), but still managed to annoy my grumpy self by talking way too loud and then picking her nose and flicking her boogers into the aisle when she thought no one was looking.
  3. Cute 18-month-old who was fussy throughout the flight. This alone is not a problem for me, as I can tolerate when kids cry – that’s what they do sometimes, right? Except kids around that age, for some mysterious reason, have this tendency to integrate incredibly high-pitched ear-splitting dentist-drill-like screams. Note to self: buy earplugs for the flight home, just in case.
  4. The guy in the seat behind mine was pretty short. Yet, based on the constant bumping and jostling that I felt through the seat, he had a hard time getting comfortable.
  5. We met up with some bad turbulence right as we were coming in for landing. I’m not a nervous flyer or anything, but I remember thinking, “Well at least if I die, my cats will be looked after.”

Anyway, so it’s been a good day here in the Seattle area with lots of quality time with Lisa, Lorelai, and Reece while Joe’s been at work. But I think I'm still pretty worn out from the last few days, so all those details will likely have to wait until tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

On the road - yet again

Friends and Internet vagabonds, you are a patient and tolerant lot. I've been seriously short-changing you in my blog offerings, leaving mere crumbs of weird photos and random comments, and yet you're still here!

Well I have to tell you that you're also apparently gluttons for punishment, as I must forego the well-considered, witty post that is definitely in my head just waiting for the opportune time to share with you for your enlightenment and edification, yessiree, but I really ought to be packing right now!

Tomorrow, once I cunningly trap and then pawn off my two cats on my saint of a mother, I am flying out to Seattle for another visit with my brother, sister-in-law, and twin niece and nephew. I. AM. SO. EXCITED!

AAAAAAAND! On Saturday (I think), Lisa and I are going to have lunch with the amazingly intelligent, deliciously witty, generously warm-hearted and unbelievably hip Monika and Tracy!!!! WOOOOOOOT!!!!!!

But gotta pack now! Catch ya later!!!!


Would you return a big bottle, recently opened, of no-name mouthwash to the local Shoppers Drug Mart if its smell and taste reminded you of vomit? Even if you only spent about $2 on the purchase? At this point, I'm thinking more of the principle than the money ... ugh.