Sunday, September 30, 2007

Swainson's Thrush by David Lindsey


Swainson's Thrush by David Lindsey
Originally uploaded by D.L. Lindsey.

Have you ever seen a Swainson’s thrush before? As you can see from this photo (found on Flickr), it is a beautiful bird. Everything about it is smooth – its rounded head, its soft browns, its doe-like eyes. I find everything about it gentle and soothing. The thought yesterday that someone would want to harm one was absolutely heart-wrenching yesterday.

I’d received a call from a co-worker who knew about my work as a volunteer with FLAP. James had come across some kids who were kicking a Swainson’s thrush on the sidewalk. It was still alive, but he didn’t know what to do with it. I agreed to meet him at a place we both knew, where I could then take the bird to the Toronto Wildlife Centre.

When James drove up, he had the Swainson’s thrush cupped cozily in his left hand as he steered with his right. James is a volunteer with Big Brothers, and his little brother was in the passenger seat next to him, as earnestly concerned as James ways. I noticed right away the distinctive marks on the bird’s throat and breast. Its eyes opened, then closed. James explained to me that whenever he’d tried to move the bird from his hand, it became agitated, so he’d just left it as is. He did, however, have a paper bag that I’d given him previously for bird rescues. I took the bird from James’ hand, using the grip I’d been shown by FLAP volunteers, and put it in the paper bag for transit.

I said good-bye to James and drove up to the Toronto Wildlife Centre. The bird was handed over for veterinary care immediately while I worked with the intake coordinator to supply all the information for the necessary documentation. While I waited, I heard another coordinator on the phone talking about how someone had fed a bunch of pigeons some bread crumbs and then driven over them, killing at least 7 of them. I was dumbstruck.

The vet came out briefly, and I mentioned my concerns about how badly damaged the thrush’s tail feathers were. She said that there was “head damage”, which was by far a greater concern.

I left the Wildlife Centre knowing that I might never know what happened to this thrush; their resources are so strapped that they are not able to provide updates on animals that are brought to them for care. But I was grateful that they were there at all, and that this bird would receive the best possible care.

But as I drove home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the cruelty I’d heard about that afternoon. I couldn’t understand how anyone would want to hurt a wild animal. I knew that these things happen all too frequently, but it’s another thing entirely to be confronted with this reality. I imagined James, driving by some street in The Beaches, seeing a couple of kids kicking a flapping bird down the sidewalk, and I was so angry and confused that anyone could do that to another living thing. I couldn’t imagine the kind of ignorance that would allow anyone to torture an animal. I could not relate to that kind of person, and I wondered what other horrendous things these kids would do in their lifetimes. And even as I drove, heartsick, a thought occurred to me that in that moment I could possibly be just as ignorant as those kids. Was *I* proverbially kicking these kids down the sidewalk?

Later that evening, I spoke with James again by phone. I really needed to know more about the circumstances in which he had discovered the Swainson’s thrush. It turns out that the kids were very young, and James didn’t think that they were just prodding it (rather than hauling off and kicking it) to see if it was still alive. He thought that they could have been more gentle, but that they hadn’t been malicious or abusive.

So, lesson learned on my part. I’m grateful for that inner voice that refused to accept the worst about children, about humanity. I know there’s still the incident with the pigeons and other terrible things done to animals, but in this instance, I am relieved to know that it was relatively innocent.

And in the end, regardless of guilt or innocence, I am grateful that there is a place like the Toronto Wildlife Centre to care for beautiful creatures like the Swainson’s thrush.

Please sign petition to support demonstators in Myanmar

From Avaaz.com:

Dear friends,

The brutal attacks on Burma's peaceful monks and protesters are worsening -- but in response, a massive global outcry is gathering pace. The roar of global public opinion is being heard in hundreds of protests outside Chinese and Burmese embassies, people round the world wearing the monks' color red, and on the internet-- where over two hundred thousand people signed our petition in just 72 hours!

We're pulling out all the stops to make sure our call is heard - launching a major global and Asian ad campaign on Tuesday targeting Burma's powerful ally China, delivering the petition to senior officials, and using radio to broadcast our petition and encouragement directly to the people of Burma in their homes. In every case, we need to deliver a petition that has a massive number of signers behind it to be effective – can we make it 1 MILLION signatures this week? If each of us sign the petition at the link below and forward this email to at least 20 friends, we'll reach our target:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_burma/s.php

People power can tip the balance.Already, there are signs of splits in the Burmese Army, as some soldiers refuse to attack their own people. The brutal top General, Than Shwe, has reportedly moved his family out of the country – he must fear his rule may crumble.

The Burmese people are showing incredible courage in the face of horror. The fate of many brave and good people is in our hands. We must help them – and we have hours, not days, to do it. Please sign the petition (if you haven't already) and forward this email to at least 20 friends right now.

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Paul, Pascal, Graziela, Galit, Ben, Milena and the Avaaz Team

PS – if you would like to join in the massive wave of demonstrations happening around the world at Burmese and Chinese embassies, scroll down our petition page for details of times and events.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

A race against cynicism

We all know the Scott Peterson-type stories. Of a spouse or a parent who reports their loved one dead or missing, and then the truth is slowly revealed that suggests, "Holy s--t, he's cheating/manic/in desperate need of some insurance money," and it's pretty sure that there was foul play. Such cases are sensational and macabre and as such get a lot of play in the media. And maybe the criminology stats are there to back up our cynicism, I don't know.

But I do know that when someone you love is barely hanging onto life, and you have to submit to house searches and polygraph tests just so the police will actually look for him/her, there are some serious problems:

SEATTLE – A woman who spent eight days trapped in a wrecked vehicle has severe injuries, but her brain function is normal and she can move her arms and legs, her physician said today.

Tanya Rider, 33, was found alive but dehydrated at the bottom of a steep ravine in suburban Maple Valley on Thursday, more than a week after she failed to return home from work ...

Rider's kidneys failed because of toxins from a muscle injury in the crash and dehydration. She was sedated, on a ventilator and being treated with intravenous fluids.

Rider broke her collar bone and dislocated her shoulder in the accident and has pressure sores from the days of being held by the seat belt, probably upside down, the doctor said. Her caregivers were not yet sure of the extent of a leg injury but McIntyre said they were hopeful it would not have to be amputated.

She said Rider was probably alive because she was young and healthy and was wearing a seat belt.

"She's a fighter, obviously," said Rider's husband, Tom. "She fought to stay alive in the car and she's fighting now."

Tom Rider said he was frustrated by the red tape he had to fight to get authorities to launch a search for his wife more than a week after she disappeared ...

Tanya Rider left work at a Fred Meyer grocery store in Bellevue on Sept. 19 but never made it home. Tom Rider said that when he couldn't reach her, he called Bellevue police to report her missing ...

"I basically hounded them until they started a case and then, of course, I was the first focal point, so I tried to get myself out of the way as quickly as possible. I let them search the house. I told them they didn't have to have a warrant for anything, just ask," he said.

Thursday morning, detectives asked him to come in to sign for a search of phone records. They also asked him to take a polygraph test.

"By the time he was done explaining the polygraph test to me, the detective burst into the room with a cellphone map that had a circle on it," he said ...

"I know there were delays (in finding her) because of red tape," Tom Rider said ...

Authorities said they followed procedure in the case.

"It's not that we didn't take him seriously," Deputy Rodney Chinnick said. "We don't take every missing person report on adults. ... If we did, we'd be doing nothing but going after missing person reports."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A fascinating perspective

Dr. Ursula Franklin on CBC's Tapestry program (the podcast is available through iTunes), regarding the inherent conflict in competition and competitive models (paraphrased, as I am too busy to get the exact quote):

Every mother who's cut up a pie for her family knows not everyone can get the largest piece.
What an interesting metaphor!!!

About last night ...

Okay, I know you're thinking I have a lot of nerve rolling in here at 7:30 AM after being incommunicado all night. I'm sure you were sitting up all night in your darkened living room, fussing with the belt of your bathrobe, worried and angry and upset because after all, this is the first day in months and months that I posted NOTHING on my blog ... All I can say is that I'm very sorry and I'll try very hard not to let it happen again.

Enough tongue-in-cheek? :)

Yeah, so last night I had a marathon meeting here in my apartment for an organization to which I belong. There were only four of us, so we had chana masala (though I forgot to add the spinach at the end ... GAH!) and village salad (forgot the olives! Arrrgggh!). I take this as final proof that I am my mother's daughter, as she always seems to forget to put something like the stuffing out on the table during dinner parties (though, to be fair, Christmas/Thanksgiving/Easter family dinners are certainly much more complicated than what I was trying to do).

I did remember my lack of blog posting last night, but it was right after I'd collapsed into bed around 1:00AM. In for a penny .... zzzzz is a good synopsis of my thoughts at the time.

Thank goodness I took today as a vacation day - to catch up on blogging, sleep, and all those action items from last night's meeting! :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Two types of beauty


DSC_0004
Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” - Rumi

For more on Rumi, the amazing 13th century Persian poet and mystic, you can listen to this CBC Tapestry podcast:

http://www.cbc.ca/tapestry/archives/2007/090907.html

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Another object lesson from Nature


DSC_0015
Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Yes, this tree is hollow, yet still alive. I find the resilience of this tree to be awe-inspiring.

Today it is the fall equinox, a time to consider the circle of life. Yesterday someone was talking to me about the "Law of Attraction" and suggesting that people who have terrible things happen to them bring it upon themselves through their thoughts and fears. While I have no doubt that this is true at least in part (e.g., negativity, self-fulfilling prophecies, etc.), I need only to look at Nature to see that death and loss are as much a part of life as birth and regeneration. I believe it is all sacred because it is part of our earthly experience, and one is redeemed by the other.

To me, the critical element is attitude. I think this tree has great attitude. It has defied the odds. This tree stands proudly, offering itself as encouragement to hundreds of people who walk and bike past it every year. It tells me, "You can do anything" and "Trust, believe." I think - I hope - it must also comfort those in pain, because I think they can relate to it and be inspired by its nobility. This tree has become extraordinary and beautiful as a result of its experience and its tenacious response to it.

And I am grateful that today I had another chance to walk by it.

Canada slashes spending on wildlife protection

To express your concern/outrage, please contact:

Postage free to:

John Baird
Minister of the Environment
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Telephone: (613) 996-0984
Fax: (613) 996-9880
E-Mail: Baird.J@parl.gc.ca

Thanks,
Susan
******************************************

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070919.NATS19FIN/TPStory/
Environment

IN BRIEF

Wildlife programs facing budget threats
The Canadian Press

September 19, 2007

Toronto -- - Serious budget problems at Environment Canada are threatening wildlife programs and services within the federal department, CBC's The National reported last night.

Money for some programs has been frozen and budgets for others have been slashed to nothing, the network reported.

The Canadian Wildlife Service has had its service budget frozen for the rest of the fiscal year, meaning all its scientific field and survey work has been halted. Sources tell the CBC the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Network, which observes changes in ecosystems, has lost 80 per cent of its budget.

The Migratory Bird Program, which monitors the health of bird populations, has seen its budget cut by 50 per cent. The budget for the National Wildlife Areas, a program that protects habitats for wildlife and birds, has been slashed from $1.9 million to zero.

*********************************************************************
Canada slashes spending on wildlife protection: CBC
Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:39 AM EDT

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada has slashed spending on wildlife protection and monitoring of ecosystems because of budget problems at the federal environment ministry, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported on Wednesday.

The cuts mean the Canadian Wildlife Service -- responsible for studying and protecting wildlife in Canada -- has been forced to halt all its scientific field and survey work.

In addition, a program monitoring the health of bird populations lost half its budget, while the budget for an operation that protects significant habitats for wildlife and birds was reduced to zero.

The network observing changes in ecosystems lost 80 per cent of its budget. CBC said the cuts would be in place until the current fiscal year ended in early 2008.

Sandy Baumgartner of the nonprofit Canadian Wildlife Federation -- which cooperates with the environment ministry on some programs -- said the spending reductions could have long-term consequences.

"A lot of it (the cuts) is actually research-based, which is alarming because if nobody is out there studying the health of the environment, how do we know where there are problems?" she told Reuters.

The press spokesman for Environment Minister John Baird did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Critics regularly accuse Canada's minority Conservative government of ignoring the environment, particularly over the question of climate change.

Although Ottawa ratified the Kyoto climate change protocol, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada has no chance of meeting its targets under the agreement.

CBC said that despite the spending cuts, the environment ministry would spend C$60,000 ($59,000) on a consultant to study why employee morale was so bad.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Old Faithful

I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen The Thomas Crown Affair with Pierce Brosnan and Renee Russo. And yet each time, it stands up and faithfully delivers the drama, romance, and humour that enables me to watch it time after time. I love the clever balancing of the two lead characters; they are true equals. And I love Renee Russo's character - she is clever, independent, and vibrantly alive. I want to be her.


So talk to me - what's your favourite/standby movie, and why?

Evening recap

Okay, so I know this is a bit late, but I haven’t actually gone to bed yet, so this technically still counts as the post for Friday, right? I have a good excuse – I was out with friends watching a movie, then we met up with more friends and had a drink or two. It was fun! :)

What movie, you ask? Well, it was the new David Cronenberg film, Eastern Promises. It stars Viggo Mortensen and it won the viewers’ choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival this month.

You may have heard or read something about this movie. So I can tell you that yes, it is violent; yes, it has a very stately pacing, and yes, there is a naked fight scene (Viggo Mortensen NAKED!!!!). But *I* did not see Viggo naked. This was because my eyes were squeezed tightly shut so I wouldn’t see all the violence. I also had to mentally sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” to distract me from the scary violent sounds. I am a wuss, but I like it that way. It’s better than having my imagination fester with violent images/soundtrack.

Overall, it was a really interesting movie and very well done. The themes that Cronenberg explored were intriguing and thought-provoking. Some of it was disturbing. For example (and I believe I can do this without presenting any spoilers here), I think about a certain balloon scene that I found curious, which made me think that there was a lot more to it than just prepping for a party. The more I think about it, the balloon and its placement (watch the film and you might see what I mean) represents sex, and the discussion between the character named Kerill and his young female relative underscores the comparative youth of another young woman in the film who had been raped at age 14. And all this goes to underline just how evil the rapist was. It was a movie designed to make you squirm ever so slightly, but it was very good, and I’m glad I went to see it.

As I mentioned, after “Eastern Promises,” we went out for a drink. There I met Pierre, younger brother to my friend Perkin. Remembering that Perkin had mentioned that he was one of seven sons, and noting that both Pierre and Perkin’s names started with “p”, on a lark I asked if the other brothers also had names that started with “P”. Surprisingly, the answer was yes! (Philip, Patrick, Patterson, Paul, Perkin, Pierre, and Princeton! Now don’t say anything mean or snarky about this because Perkin stops by this blog from time to time! LOL) Anyway, I had to laugh because when I was, oh, 15 or so, I had these silly ideas of having lots of kids and giving them names that all started with the same letter, but obviously I changed my mind along the way. Quite funny to find someone who actually grew up in my simple young-girl fantasy! LOL

All right, that’s all for tonight, folks!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Muddy Hole


Muddy Hole
Originally uploaded by HoodieR.

It's been a long day
and yes, I'm okay
but I just have to say
YAY!
Tomorrow is Friday!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Race Point- Provincetown, Cape Cod


Race Point- Provincetown, Cape Cod
Originally uploaded by Chris Seufert.

Now this photo is better than anything I could write. :)

Good night!

Passing on an urgent e-mail from Avaaz

Dear fellow Canadian Avaaz members,

The Canadian government is breaking its own environmental laws, and could get away with it if we don't act within 24 hours. Last June, Parliament passed a law confirming our legal obligation to comply with the Kyoto Protocol, and gave a heel-dragging Harper government 60 days to show how they would do it. Harper's plan is out, and meets Kyoto's targets 13 years too late – it clearly breaks the law.

Canadians are irate over this, but somehow everyone failed to notice the official public consultation period on the law, which ends TOMORROW. The comments that Environment Canada receives in this period will be admissible in court, when the Harper government is brought before a judge on this. If there are no comments, the government will claim in court that the public supports its bogus plan. This argument has worked before, and we must not let it happen again. Please click below to send a quick message to Environment Minister Baird, and tell everyone you know to act right away:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/canadian_climate_crime/c.php/

Sincerely,

Ricken Patel and the rest of the Avaaz team

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I thought it was funny, anyway

I met a few new people tonight at a function, and one of them still has me laughing. Somehow, city politics came up, and he mentioned that he disapproved so strongly of what city leadership was doing that he started a group on Facebook called "Toronto City Council - Are They Complete Morons?" but then qualified his statement, self-consciously, that he was trying really hard to remain neutral.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Yesterday, in words

Yesterday, three of us went to Hawk Cliff, near Port Stanley, Ontario to check out one of the major hawk-sighting locations of North America.

Luckily for me, the Toronto Star was kind enough to send a reporter on Saturday, who provided this report, which covers a lot of territory. I invite you to check it out - it is quite informative.

Unfortunately, the weather conditions on Sunday weren't as ideal as those on Saturday, so we didn't see as many low-flying raptors as they did the day before, but it was still spectacular and awe-inspiring. The highlights were the osprey, which flew just over the treetops minutes after our arrival, and, with the benefit of Rob's scope, seeing a couple of "kettles" in which dozens of hawks circle together, riding a thermal higher and higher so they can reach great altitudes and glide southward for miles and miles while conserving their energy. A kettle can best be described as "a tornado of hawks" and it is exhilarating to see, even if you need binoculars to do so.

They also had demonstrations where they brought raptors which had been captured for banding. We saw sharp-shinned hawks, American kestrels, a Northern harrier, and a red-tailed hawk. I got to briefly touch the red-tailed hawk, and I can tell you it feels as soft as a cat, though of course the texture is different.

As the afternoon warmed, the raptors were flying so high as to be invisible to the naked eye, so the three of us left Hawk Cliff and moseyed over to the Long Point Bird Observatory. We saw a few raptors here and there along the way (including - according to Rob, an experienced birder - a bald eagle). Long Point was very cool, and offered different kinds of birdwatching; we saw a number of warblers in the trees and we saw sandlings along the beach. Tim and I, novice birdwatchers, struggled just to get birds within the sights of our "bins" (as we were told at Hawk Cliff was the insider's jargon for "binoculars"), never mind actually identifying its species or even its distinguishing markings, but it was all good, and we enjoyed our time out in nature.

The whole day was quite relaxing and enjoyable, with very good company and conversation.

Man dead after online gaming binge?

I saw this article in the Toronto Star today, which claims that a man in China died after three straight days of compulsive gambling:

A man in southern China appears to have died of exhaustion after a three-day Internet gaming binge, state media said Monday.

The 30-year-old man fainted at a cybercafe in the city of Guangzhou on Saturday afternoon after he ha been playing games online for three days, the Beijing News reported.

Paramedics tried to revive him but failed and he was declared dead at the cafe, it said. The paper said that he may have died from exhaustion brought on by too many hours on the Internet.

I am pretty gullible, but not even I will buy this story. Three days of gambling and then death? Um ... I don't think so.

This is either a case of government propaganda aimed at deterring Internet usage and gambling among the Chinese, or the man died of causes (e.g., drugs) to which the government would rather not admit.

Okay, I know the latter option sounds a little conspiracy theory-ish, but when I first moved to South Korea, I was replacing a Canadian teacher named Geoff. According to his former co-workers (my co-workers at the time), Geoff used drugs quite regularly. Just a couple of weeks after Geoff had moved to Seoul for new opportunities, his body was found. The westerners who knew him figured he had died of a drug overdose. But apparently - and I admit I have no way of proving this - the cause of death was attributed to the fan in his room, which supposedly pushed out all the oxygen and caused his suffocation. If you lived there at the time, you would understand just how much was (is?) sometimes kept "hush-hush".

"Death by fan" sounds just as plausible as a man neglecting his own survival needs for three straight days in order to gamble, doesn't it?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Because I just don't blog about my cats enough

... oh, and I've been up since 5 AM and I have another early day tomorrow! Ciao!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dear Loblaws

Dear Loblaws,

If a peach actually crunches like an apple when one bites into it, it quite frankly doesn't deserve to be labeled as "tree-ripened".

Air kisses,

Eclecta

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Help from unexpected sources

Upon returning from the gym this morning around 6:45, I found I couldn’t get back into my apartment building.

My building is accessed by magnetic pass card rather than by a key. I waved my pass card in front of the sensor, to no avail. I tried the front door, the back door, even the doors to the garage, but the entire building was locked up tighter than Fort Knox.

I had had a great workout, and my bladder was pretty full from all the water I’d drunk throughout. I waited a painful 15 minutes for someone – anyone – to emerge from the elevators en route to an early work shift or dog walk. (I could have buzzed Jamie back in my apartment, but my alarm had already woken her once that morning, and a second time would just have been ridiculous.)

Finally, I saw the LED screen above one of the elevators change, indicating someone was coming down to the lobby! A man ran out of the elevator, opened the door for me, and immediately doubled back to the elevator.

“You came down here just to let me in?” I asked in disbelief.

“Yeah, well, the same thing happened to me when I went for a run this morning, so after I got out of the shower, I turned on the TV to see if there was anyone else who was stuck.”

So … I was saved this morning by my very own angel, and Lobby TV.

Another amazing story about animals

Check this one out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Update


DSC_0130
Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Remember that raspberry jam I've been leaving out on the counter - since August 21st? Well, it seems to have finally self-destructed (by becoming a runny, super-sweet-smelling mess) rather than actually growing mould.

I'm done with this experiment. And with non-organic jams.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Moonscape


Moonscape
Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

I've spent some time writing a different blog post, but it's just not ready for anyone yet (i.e., it needs some ruthless editing), and now it's past time for me to go to bed. This photo, taken a year and a half ago, is all you get.

And yet it is not dissimilar from the post that will not yet be posted.

CC Silliness

At the gym this morning, I glanced up to one of the TVs that was showing Breakfast Television. Closed captioning was turned on, and at that moment it read:

The Jays lay the Yankees tonight
Do you think that was just a typo? ;-D

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lobby TV

I feel a bit better about myself and my life, now that I know Jamie’s secret pastime: Lobby TV.

No, folks, that is not some reality show you can watch on your own television. Unless you live in an apartment building or condo with closed-circuit video of the building entrance. Yes, Jamie can apparently sit for hours just watching people come and go, or waiting for people to just to show up. You think I lie, but I swear it’s the truth.

“Somebody just got take-out!” she said yesterday in a sing-song voice as someone with an unmistakable take-out bag buzzed himself into the building (I think I was actually reviewing the Spring Rolls takeout menu at the time, too). “Awww …” she said a few minutes later, “they just kissed!” (I turned and saw a smiling couple walk out of camera view.) Lobby TV spurred an entire conversation about how so many people – clearly not disabled or burdened with packages or whatever excuse you could think of - use the button to power open the door rather than pull or push it open themselves (I ask you: Is there anything lazier than not wanting to open a door for yourself???).

When I was teasing her last night about watching “Lobby TV,” she actually said, “Well, don’t YOU watch it???” Like the only possible answer was the admission that yes, in fact I did. “Of course not!” I sputtered. “Because I have a LIFE!!!” This made her laugh, as intended.

Jamie will always be cool. So what is the real reason why something as mundane as watching security video such a fascination? I think that, like any good writer, she is an observer, a voyeur, and behind those extravagantly long lashes, she is making up stories about them all.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Denial, fear, and vulnerability

Picture this. It’s a warm day on the asphalt surrounding my school. I’m in Grade 1, and have taken a break from my crush on Joey P. to instead pine for Mike P. Mike had sparkling brown eyes, curly dark brown hair, and a heart-melting smile with teeth that were just crooked enough to be charming. We even had the same birthday.

Trusting, na├»ve soul that I was, I told my neighbour and then-best-friend, Carolyn (whose birthday, incidentally, was just a day before mine) that I liked Mike. Without a moment’s hesitation, she turned from the big green power transformer against which we had been leaning, located Mike a few feet away, and told him that I liked him.

My denial was swift and fierce. Like him? No WAY!!! The poor kid had actually started to smile at me, but it was too late. At six years of age, I was already convinced that he would never like me back, and I was intent on sparing myself the embarrassment of him thinking - knowing - that I had a crush on him.

This morning, when I was talking on the telephone with my mother, she was giggling and twittering about a post I’d written a couple of days ago about my first crush, the youngest son of her best friend, Jean. She thought it was really cute and asked my permission to show it to Jean. Despite the emotional distance I feel from my childhood crushes, and knowing intellectually that I have nothing to be ashamed of, the teasing note in her voice elicited the same feeling of embarrassment I felt as that long-ago day out on the playground tarmac.

I guess it’s progress, however, that I can see my pride and my sense of embarrassment for the vulnerability underneath. Next stop, hopefully: addressing why that vulnerability is there in the first place. Not that there's any imminent reason to; it obviously just needs to be done. :)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Weird article in "The Onion"

Sparrow Aviation Administration Blames Collision On Failure To Detect Pane Of Glass

The Onion

Sparrow Aviation Administration Blames Collision On Failure To Detect Pane Of Glass

PIERRE, SD—The 2-year-old bird is the latest of billions who have succumbed to the mysterious phenomenon.



I didn't find it nearly as funny as I'm sure the authors intended, but in a way they're educating people about bird deaths through window strikes ...

Sliding Doberman

This video is one minute of utter delight. If only all of us had the same sense of play!

Friday, September 07, 2007

My First Crush



When I was little, there were two Joeys in my life. The first, of course, was my brother (on the right in this photo). The second was the boy-almost-next-door, the youngest son of my mother's best friend (centre in this photo). [Hey, what can I say? Two Catholic families where devotion obviously outweighed creativity and originality ... LOL] Anyway, I had a crush on Joe P. off and on until I went to high school and met the another charming blue-eyed blond, Jim, who sat in front of me in geography class.

I remember, in Grade 7 or 8, finally mustering up the courage to ask him to dance with me at one of those tightly-chaperoned school dances. "Oh but I wanted to dance with Mereille ..." he started to say, before he mastered his disappointment and politely danced with me. However, I am sure that, for the entire duration of "Crimson and Clover", he was intently peering over my shoulder at the object of his affection. LOL

Today Joe P. is married with two boys. He recently started up his own pet supplies store, which reportedly is incredibly busy. I'm very happy for him; there could not be a nicer guy in the world, and he truly deserves every success. As for the unrequited crush I once felt for him, from this perspective I'm positive it was all for the best. And I'm grateful that my first crush was a decent kid who never, ever hurt me when he really could have been cruel.

I like this old photo. I don't know if I was old enough at the time to really have a crush yet, but it's clear that I enjoyed having him around. And today I really like knowing that he's doing well.

As an interesting side note, I generally have not been attracted to blond men since high school. (Daniel Craig is an exception, but can you blame me???)

So ... what's your story with your first crush?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

An abbreviated list of things for which I’m grateful today

  • A dental hygienist I can trust. Because man, when all that scraping and cleaning is going on, you need to know that your enamel will be okay and your gums won’t be ripped to shreds.
  • The clean feeling after a dental checkup.
  • Benefits to pay for this twice-yearly cleaning.
  • A trustworthy car in good condition.
  • A trustworthy mechanic.
  • Being able to return someone’s security badge that had fallen off between bus and subway station.
  • Perspective. And trust.
  • Hearing someone I know (a lawyer) be interviewed on the CBC while I driving across the city tonight. Weird/cool coincidence.
  • Tex-Mex food.
  • Water, with a slice of lemon.
  • Not having kidney stones (a co-worker does … ouch!!!!)
  • Patios. With a beer and a great salad.
  • Good people to hang out with.
  • My friend Saif, with his friendly, open manner and interesting conversations, who was one of the reasons I stayed in a club I joined over a year ago. He’s moving to Maryland, but he helped me more than he’ll ever know.

Now ... yours??? :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

15 hours of sleep later ...

So I stayed home today and *mostly* didn't work. In the last 24 hours, in fact, I have slept approximately 15 hours. Not bad. My throat isn't as sore, and I don't feel nearly as lethargic as I did last night.

However, it's clear that I obviously need to spend more time outside, preferably in a biologically diverse space.

Honestly, should anyone need to be told the results of this study?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

In place of writing, I offer this ...


In the morning I feel the light of day ...
Originally uploaded by The Renaissance.

... it's not mine, though I'd be mighty proud if it were.

I'm fighting a bit of a sore throat tonight and I was ready for bed at 7:00 tonight, so this is my blog entry for today. :)

Monday, September 03, 2007

I love this T-shirt


It takes me back to my university days ... :)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Definitely worth a listen, if you can get it to work

This afternoon Mel and I were driving to a conservation area for a walk when I "just happened" to flip the radio to the CBC. In progress was an interview with an amazing man named Bo Lozoff.

You can listen to it yourself if you can get that darned RealPlayer to work (which, obviously, I could not ... but I hope you have better luck).


UPDATE the next morning:

Okay, I still can’t get that darned link to work, so let me give you a couple of the highlights of the interview, as I remember them, just to explain why this guy is amazing.

Interviewer Mary Hynes asked him a question about carpe diem (seizing the day), and Lozoff said something like, “Oh, I believe in seizing the day, but which day? Is it going to be the shallow consumption-driven consumerist day, or is it going to be a day of depth and caring and compassion? I’m not interested at all in the former, but I’m deeply attracted to the latter.”

Hynes and Lozoff were also talking about being fully present for the other person in any of our human interactions, including store clerks and other strangers whom we encounter in through our day-to-day errands. He told a story of a time when he simply asked such a stranger how she was that day – while consciously seeking to be fully present to her – and she said, “Oh, I’m fine. My husband died two years ago, but I haven’t cried. I just went back to work right away and kept on going. I’ve never cried. But I’m fine.” Zoloff said he felt the embarrassment of being in a dialogue that had obviously moved away from the socially-accepted script, but instead, chose to say with deep compassion, “You know, it would be okay if you did cry.” He said it was as though that woman had been waiting two years for someone to say that to her, because she immediately broke down and wept. It was an amazing story.

Gosh, I really hope I can get that darned link to work so I can listen to that interview again.

Shot of the day


DSC_0179
Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

... with the setting sun reflected in the bubble(s).

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Making time to be childlike


DSC_0035
Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

Did I tell you about the time – oh, about two months ago – when Melanie and I were waiting for something and so decided to use the swings of a nearby playground? It was something I hadn’t done in years, and yet was delightful in its innocence and in-the-momentness.

So yesterday I invested in another such activity: bubble-making.

The timing was perfect this afternoon and Jamie and I broke out the funky wands and squealed like children at our creations. Some of the bubbles were HUGE!!!! They would emerge from the wand in weird lopsided shapes and then (provided they didn’t burst) quickly become perfectly spherical.

I tried to resist getting out my camera, but they were too beautiful or comical to not share. I hope you enjoy these pictures, but moreover I’d love it if you took time out of your busy adult life to do something with the innocence of a child, allowing yourself to live totally in the present moment, and then write me to tell me about it. It will do your heart good, and mine as well.

No extra points for originality – it’s just about being in the NOW. :)

Jamie really blows


DSC_0127
Originally uploaded by Noisypond.

LOL