little red thingy?

I'm just wondering if anyone know where to buy these little red axle cap thingies, since the one on Serejane's new bike @%$#@^%$# well broke.

to all the pets we've loved before

I remember all of our pets, their personalities and quirks, and how much they were loved. My husband grew up without pets, and as much as growing up with animals is an integral part of my life, it's utterly lacking in his. He doesn't understand it, but he respects it, and has been amazing to the boys who are truly devastated by the passing of Cat, no less devastated than when their Grampa died last year.

So, this is my tribute to all the pets we've loved before, and to those we will love in the future, for being the sunshine of our days and a reason to come home, for teaching us about responsibility and unconditional love, and for often being a warm body that expects nothing but a little exchange of TLC.

In (sort of) chronological order:

There was grey kitten, whose ear I caught in the teeter totter swing thingy that bled and bled and bled. There was the boxful of kittens that accidentally got burned with the garbage. There was Heidi, the dog my Daddy had to shoot when we moved from the acreage to the city. He never got another pet after that, and would well up with tears right to his dying day over her.

There were countless goldfish, salamanders, budgies, canaries, finches, cockatiels, gerbils, and parrots. My tiger belly salamander Freddie the Strongman lived for 12 years; he was dried and lacquered and hung from my rear view mirror for years before finally disintegrating. Mr. Slizzard the Fence Lizard lived only 2 years, and his petrefied remains are in a bowl of potpourri upstairs, always a nice surprise for those going to take a whiff.

There was Patches, the kitty who went to live with a family friend, Snowball the deaf white cat we had to get rid of because she was a danger to herself. There was Merlin the tame cockatiel who my sister and I put in doll's dresses and took for walks in the baby carriage, and Molly the evil cockatiel who never learned to say anything but, "Molly's a bitch," because, well, she was one... There was Gimpy the Cat, a pathetic feline an ex-boyfriend had rescued after it had that had been run over by a bike - he peed everywhere and eventually had to be put down.

Tigger was our orange tabby cat, who once while in the throes of ecstasy getting brushed, managed to fall off the back of the toilet tank and knock the tip off one of his canine incisors. He lived to 18, and my Mom was devastated when he died. We always (lamely) joked that he said, "Meowph."

I bought Toby with babysitting money. Toby slept in my room, under the covers with me, every night for years and years, would wake me up every morning to go to school and would wait by the door for me each day; he ate cantaloupe, and tomatoes from your pizza, but not in front of you, always politely away from you, and when he died of leukemia at the age of 4 I thought I would die, too.

There were Buzz & Louis, a pair of kittens my Mom and I bought on a whim one day while picking up something else at Westmount Shopping Centre. We snuck them home on the bus in our jackets. Buzz and Louis lived with me after I left home, and lived to be 17 and 16 years respectively.

Riley was a crazy orange tabby cat who had a serious case of weird: he liked to leap up on your back and drape himself around your neck or perch on your shoulder, and if you asked him if he wanted to go for a spin, he'd immediately flop over on his side, purring, and wait for you to whiz him around in circles on the hardwood. When he was 2, he was enjoying the first of warm spring nights chasing a moth across the street. He didn't beat the cars when the light turned green. To this day that grim scene replays itself in my mind from time to time, taking my breath away, and making me so angry at the driver who couldn't even be bothered to stop and offer me a ride to the emergency with him.

Riley was part of a litter of unwanted kittens; somehow my mother, who by that time had taken in my sisters turtles and a garage cat named Labyrinth (who ran away and was never found), ended up taking in two of Riley's siblings, Tenderheart and Zachary. Tenderheart took ill at about 7; Zachary is a grumpy thing who still haunts my mother's existence, along with my sister's cat Amy.

Lily was a cat my Mom took in when a neghbour could no longer take care of her. Lily was lovely, and could give kisses. My sister Danna had Amy, and Tom, a huge creampuff of a black and white cat with a seriously disgusting drooling problem. Tom developed diabetes, and after many months and thousands of dollars in vet bills to finally get him levelled off, she took him to one of her field research sites and he was eaten by a badger.

My best friend Tannis had two kittens - 'the girls' - who saw her through her years in university, the breakdown of her marriage, a move across the country... when Phaedra took ill with diabetes and died, Sasha became her everything.

When I left my ex-husband, teh boys wanted a dog, and so did I, so we got Little Dog Tate. When Bill & I got together, there was suspicion of allergies, and so Tate went to live with my friend Scott. By the time allergy testing was done and found to be inconclusive, I couldn't bear to take Tate away from Scott. We still have visiting rights, but it still breaks my heart every time I see him.

My Mom thought Tate was so cute, she bought his sister Sarah, nicknamed Porkchop by Scott becuase she's a bit pudgy. My Mom decided Sarah was lonely, so she went and rescued a big border collie cross from the SPCA, and a year later fell in love with a Shih Tzu Poodle cross (the "shit-poo" to her grandsons) named Oliver.

My sister got on the doggy bandwagon right around the time my Mom and I got Tate and Sarah, and so we've had to deal with her noisy little minpin Marti Bear Bait, who also got a rescued-from-the-pound playmate named Luke.

Serejane got Mouse last year for her birthday, and the boys fell in love with him instantly and begged for one of their own. That would be Cat, the piggy we put down tonight. And in the next few weeks, we'll surely fall in love with our new guinea pig, as yet not met, not named, not known to us, though we've got two names under consideration: Rat, and Owl.


The trip to the vet tonight was one way, as expected. Cat had a large growth in his abdomen, which the vet said was either an intestinal blockage, or more likely since he was still pooping some, a tumour. Either condition would have been 'operable' but with a very poor prognosis either way. If it was cancer, chances are it would have spread to other areas; if it was an intestinal blockage, the chance of secondary infection was high. Not to mention that the very act of putting piggies under anaesthetic is often fatal in and of itself.

Last night, amid many tears, the boys and I talked about euthanasia, what it meant as a pet owner to make those decisions, and what the decision might be based on. It was a complex discussion that evolved from being a responsible pet owner to all manner of things - the monetary burden of owning a pet, quality of life, assisted suicide, extraordinary measures.

I'm consistently impressed with how mature and thoughtful my sons are, and I was proud of their desire and ability to voice their opinions and feelings on these things with such clarity and compassion. We agreed that if he was not going to get any better that euthanasia was the route we'd go. Then the boys asked me to take some special pictures with them, the results of which you're seeing here. The boys set up the shots, and I snapped away.

Wil held out optimism right to the end. When the vet found the mass in Cat's abdomen and explained the probable outcomes, the boys understood what needed to be done, and bravely said their goodbyes.

We've brought Cat home with us - the boys want him cremated and put in an urn along with the rest of our beloved pets. I may have to flay another tampon... *sigh*

sad day for the poor bus

On my ride to work this morning, there was a dead, abandoned ETS bus on 109th street. It looked so pathetic and sad sitting there, with the little trap door on its bum hanging open and exposing its little bus parts, and a puddle underneath that looked like it had peed its pants. Poor bus.


Remember these from when you were a kid?

They are still just as gross as they were 25 years ago, in case anyone's wondering.

I'll take a Pixy Stick over these any day...

Peter Pan

The self-proclaimed real life Peter Pan.

Make sure you don't miss the fashion pages.

sick piggy

These are our Guinea pigs: on the left is "Mouse" and on the right is "Cat." Serejane got Mouse (hence the name - though we were sure it would be 'puppy') for her 2nd birthday, a rescued unscheduled baby piggy from the SPCA; the boys loved him so much that they wanted a second guinea pig so there was more cavy to go around, and so we got Cat.

We rescued Cat from the SPCA last August, where he had been owner surrendered with some pretty ugly problems as a result of neglect, including nails that had grown into the pads of his feet so badly they required surgery, and a condition called 'bumblefoot' where tags of hardened tissues not unlike the stuff antlers are made of grow from the pads of his feet. His feet always required special care, but otherwise he has been a perfectly healthy and happy piggy.

From the time we brought him home he was the 'preferred' guinea pig, as he has always been much more docile and wanting of love and affection than Mouse. Unfortunately, our beloved Cat has taken quite ill.

We first noticed a change about 3 weeks back with him just being not quite 'himself' by sleeping more than usual, though he was still eating and drinking. By last weekend it was apparent he was in need of some help. I started hand-feeding him, taking him in the shower wiht me (he LOVES this) and since it's been warm enough outside, letting him have lots of outside time in the spring sunshine. After he seemed to perk up and regain his appetite, I admit that after learning early last week that a trip to the vet was going to cost a minimum of $62, we decided we'd give it a few more days and see how he was doing.

Right up until Thursday, he was great, but on Thursday night I noticed his right eye was weeping again, and this weekend I've resorted to feeding him liquified pellets, vitamins, and apple sauce with a syringe, and praying that he makes it until our vet appointment tomorrow.

Wil's been taking it extremely hard, and has been on the brink of emotional ruin all week. This is him sitting in the backyard watching Cat snuffling through the grass. Let it be publicly known that I am a schmuck for not taking him in sooner, and that should he a) require euthanising or b) not live to see the appointment, he has been greatly loved, and will be sorely missed.

love this picture

I just had to share this picture of Jane on her bike, because I love it too much not t0 share...

she's off to see the wizard

We found the ruby slippers at Goodwill.

They begged for accessories.

Mama's got a sewing machine, and the rest is history...

to market, to market

This morning we went to the farmers' market to meet up with some friends.

The kids all got their faces painted.

Aren't they adorable?

tampons are mostly flame retardant

Last night we went to burn some sticks at a friend's place.

I had a tampon that the wrapper had come off of in my purse, and so, needing kindling to light the wet-ish wood, we figured at the very least, it looked like it had a fuse...

Rest assured, tampons are really quite flame retardant, unless you take them out of the tube, splay them open, and fan vigorously.

sip of golden sun

This afternoon the prairie crosuses were wide open, gulping up the sun.

furry flowers

The first splash of colour to grace my flower bed each spring is always my wonderfully fuzzy wild crocus.

And yes, they are every bit as soft as they look.

entymology meets robotics

WAY way cool... chick this out!!!

Mommas & Poppas Relay for Life Cut-a-Thon

Join us at the Safeway parking lot on Sunday, May 6th between 11:00 a.m and 5:00 p.m. in the Cooperators tent for the 2nd annual Relay for Life Mommas and Poppas Cut-a-Thon. Licensed stylists Stacie Woytowich and Sherri Ratsoy are donating their talents and providing $10 haircuts to walk-ins with 100% of the proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Please come with clean hair; due to time constraints there will be no time for styling.

While you wait, you can browse for that perfect card or some fresh homebaked goods at the craft and bake sale table.

Smiley Eyes Photography will be there as well and for 20 dollars you can get 2 - 3 shots , against a backdrop. Or you can join us at the Mother's Day Photobooth on May 13th at the Rotary Park in Stony Plain in the morning or at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton for a whirlwind 20 minute session with ticdesign, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society!!!

Cancer Can Be Beaten!!!

Say 'hello' to...

Sorry to disappoint, but despite the polling, I've called veto into power and sweet dolly is now officially...


Serejane gets a new bike

It was Serejane's birthday yesterday, but we had her party on Sunday. I forgot to order a cake for Serejane. She wanted a chocolate fish cake. I had to wing it.

We did a gardening theme, and several of the kids who were supposed to come ended up cancelling at the 11th hour, and so the grown-ups had to pitch in and make a decorated plant pot, too.

I think they all deserve a gold star. Well done, Grown Ups.

Serejane was utterly convinced that Santa Claus brings her birthday presents, and heaven forbid you try and tell her different... She helped Ollie put her new red tricycle together before tearing out in the yard to take it for a spin.

At the dinner table, as she's slumped over in her chair with her eyes glazed and half-closed, she mumbles, "Mama, I'm so tired. I want to sleep outside. On my bike. And ring my bell."

She did manage to make it to bed though, but the second we got home yesterday she was back on the bike, ringing her bell for all it was worth.

Happy birthday, Serejane!

Mother of the year

OK, so you know how I'm always talkin' 'bout how Brayden is such a NICE baby?

It's because he's under duress.

hehehehe hahahah hohohohoho hahahahahahAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Mother's Day Photobooth May 13, 2007

Drumroll please!!!

As announced earlier, I'm doing a Photobooth event in support of our Relay for Life team.

The official times and locations are at the Rotary Park in Stony Plain between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., then at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. This event will run rain or shine, using the gazebos if it's raining and the available landscape if it's sunny. The grounds at both venues are wheelchair accessible; the gazebos are not.

Everyone will receive a CD containing the full resolution images, as well as selected images in this commemorative graphic layout suitable for printing in 8x10, 5x7, or 4x6. The images in this sample are just to give an idea of the groupings, and won't be nearly as formal!

Contact to book your appointment now!

Don't delay - support the Relay - pledge us today!


Yes, yes - I know - some of you are going through withdrawal... You wanted me to write someything, anything. For future reference, always be careful what you ask for because sometimes you just might get it.

I've had a stomach ache for about 5 days now, and this morning while disgracefully hunched over the porcelain goddess I discovered why, in case of a stomach bug, you want your gall bladder storing the bile.

my sisters

My friend Christine pointed out to me today that I rarely mention my siblings. So, for those who don't know, I have 2 sisters.

My baby sister is Anne. She has microcephalism, a congenital birth defect that effectively squishes the brain during pregnancy causing varying degrees of mental and physical disability. She's a stubborn little wench, so we know she's one of ours.

My older sister Danna is a biologist. She specialized in herpetology and ecology, holds stake as the biggest geek in the family, and is currenlty working as the Amphibian Curator at the Detroit Zoo. She has to carry a pager for work, which disturbs her for some reason. She's a stubbon wench, too.

So. That's my humble introduction of my sisters.

Zoo April 15 2007

A group of us hit the zoo with the kiddles today! On the way there, we stopped in to tell my Mom we wouldn't be joining her and my baby sister, so they decided to join us instead. I had to sit in the back of the van, so took the opportunity to shoot some folks on our way up Whyte Ave.

I especially liked the dude in the motorized wheelchair with no socks or shoes on, a sure thing spring is in the air. I was so jealous - the pavement's a bit cold for me to go that barefoot yet...

When we got to the zoo, we all bunged up the entrance for 20 minutes making family groupings up as we went along. There was a heck of a traffic jam by the time we all got through ~smirk~ The kids all hit the boat when we first got there - them there was lots of kids!

I finally got to meet M-poop, daughter to Miss Niki Longsocks, and Serejane was near ready to pee her pants excited about seeing her little buddy Mika. (The two of them then proceeded to virtually ignore each other the entire time...) Christine brought along Nathan & Nicholas, and Tasha brought her friend Juanita and all their children - Hallie, Kai, Emmy, Cole, and I didn't catch the other boy's name - sorry! It's still so weird to see Emerson walking! And poor Kai did his best to keep his serious face while my son Wil pushed him maniac-style in Tasha's sexy Chariot.

There was much frollicking on the sun-drenched hills back by the llamas and horses. Hallie & Madisyn held hands like little girls will, while Nicholas, Nathan, and Kaelan ran amok, always 50 paces ahead of the crowd. Maddie ate an alien headed ice cream, which she swore looked like an owl; one of Juanita's boys had his first marshmallow - he picked it up off the picnic table and shoved the whole thing in his mouth. He kind of looked like a rabid dog... a very cute rabid dog, of course... though the prize for crazy and possessed went to the insane braying and charging zebra. Hands down.

The weather was gorgeous, the children were giddy, the Moms were lookin' HAWT, my husband looked even HAWTer, then I scaled a plexiglass wall to photograph a porcupine.

The end.

Thanks everyone for a great day!