Friday, March 31, 2006

Cats in a van

They were fine. Not a peep from one cat for almost 6 hours. We loaded up the "Kanyonaro", stuffed it full of L.'s temporary supplies for her 2 month rental. Three cat carriers in the back seat and one smaller one bungeed on top with a seat belt around them and away we went. They were all so good. I'm so proud of the cast of characters. L. was in the worst shape, but she recovered fine after a couple of hours and even forgot about needing to check on the kitties every 10 minutes.

Now I'm in Montreal and it's balmy spring weather. This is my favorite Montreal weather when everyone is out and buzzing around, shaking off the winter blues, cold and cabin fever. This place has such a different hum compared to whoville. It's neither better or worse...just different.

Tomorrow I'll try and get in a run. We still need to move some of L's stuff from our mom's apartment. Mom has a new addition on the back. I'm calling it the meditation room because I think it would be perfect for that. Tonight it is my bedroom and I love it.

Good night I'll see you anon.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

L.V. update and the rest of my life.

First a note about my blogging capabilities via an old computer. No, even older than that. It's a gamble whether my browser will let me into my blog to post or not. So...if you don't hear from me for a while it's because I'm having trouble with access.

Now where's that bloody work faerie? just kidding. Yes, I am exhausted and have little time for anything else in my life while the showroom becomes the focus of set up at L.V. Today will be the first time I work both jobs (L.V. and catering) so we'll see if I fall asleep in the kitchen at work tonight.

I'm trying to stay positive, really I am. However, I'm covered in dust from head to toe all day long. My legs don't want to run, but I keep training and hoping it will pay off on race day. My cats are like velcro whenever i'm home because they miss me so much (that's sweet thought isn't it). I think I saw D. and heard his voice, but there hasn't been much coversation. We do live in the same house though so at least we'll see each other. I know, I know once the dust settles (literally and figuratively) I'll ease into a routine. Won't I?

I miss writing and the past routine of my life although it was uneven working on call and not knowing when that will happen again, but there was a goal. L.V. is just a little conflict in the road that I will have to negotiate around in order to maintain all that other stuff too. It's just more juggling I suppose. The up side is that the people are super nice at the store and that makes all the difference.

Well, I'd better get going, I'm already running behind schedule.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Employment Faerie sprinkles her dust into whoville

(the Employment Faerie should have a hard hat or something, no?)

Training started at Lee Valley. I've been learning their inventory system which seems quite logical. I'm not sure I needed 2 hours to learn it, but I understand why it's taught that way. The showroom is the focal point for the grand opening. The place is extremely dusty. I had to keep wiping my clipboard every 20 minutes just to clear it of the dust. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) I was covered in dust at the end of the day and it actually gave me a headache. It can't be good to inhale. There are people there 12 hours a day living in that environment. Anywho...I'm back at it Monday for full days until they open and unless a catering shift pulls me away. Regardless it will be a full week until Friday when I help sis move herself and her kitties to Montreal. She'll be there for 2 months doing a play so she thought it'd be best to rent a place and take the cats with her. With my busy schedule there would be no way I'd find time for her cats. Two months is a long time for all. The kitties really need to be with her.

The employment fairy seems to have really answered my calls! I'm also starting to do some administrative work for a friend who has employed me for the last four years at her children's drama summer camp and fall program. It will be nice to work from home and set my own hours.

I have to admit that while I am okay with the Lee Valley employment, I do shudder at the retail aspect of it and the monotony that retail can be. What I've realized is that my excitement has mostly been from landing the job itself. After applying for so many jobs over the last six months, I've successfully completed an interview being myself. It feels like a jumping off point because it has boosted my confidence to land another job more related to the arts. Only time will tell. It has certainly motivated me to write.

It's been difficult not even sure what I'm qualified to do or even sure of what I want to do. The catering has really been a lifesaver (I've already booked two days in April), but I just can't rely on it as a sure thing. I love the people I work with and the person I work for, but there are some inequities. I've seen "new" people acquire more shifts than I have booked and I'm not entirely sure how that happens. It's not really something I want to raise with other employees or the employer because I know that many of the people he employs are friends and that's fine. It's really good money and when it's really busy I work a lot so...what's that saying about looking a gift horse in the mouth? What does that mean anyway?

Let me be more positive about my working life. I'll be helping my friend with her administrative tasks that she hates doing. I'm also in the process of helping a friend see a film project come to life. I am very excited about that because I think it's a great documentary idea and I get to help her with the story of it, which is what I love doing more than anything. When the time comes I'll have to draw on my film friend resources for help. You know who you are out there! LOL. It's not the first time I've asked for your help.

Also, I still muse about turning my knitting into something profitable, or finally signing up for a yoga teacher training course so that I can be a certified teacher, but those are avenues that I'm not sure are the best commitments to make right now.

So today I'm going to enjoy my last free weekend and make a fabulous meal from The Artful Vegan and just try to relax before next week's insane schedule starts.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Lee Valley bound

Well it looks like I am now an employee of Lee Valley Tools. Huh? I know I can't believe it. Wish I could say I was writing for the catalogue, but alas no. I will be order picking and helping people find the right gardening tool and cabinet hinge. New territory for me. Well, I've worked in retail before and gardening is familiar ground, but woodworking supplies? I need to make a bigger dent in the debt load. So along with my usual search for some sort of writing opportunity I've been looking for a more secure regular source of income. Catering is great financially, but it's sporadic post holiday season. I thought about companies that I wouldn't mind working for and along with MEC I thought of Lee Valley. There's a new store opening in downtown whoville so I applied. It's part-time and the money is good for retail. I can also keep the better paying catering gig and still squeeze in some writing, running etc etc. Time management is top priority now.

Next week I'll be helping get the store ready for their April opening and tomorrow I go in to fill out all the necessary paper work. I'll just take it as it comes for now.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Understanding conflict


Time to think about our veggie garden. We're late this year. We usually plant our seedlings much earlier. I'm not sure why the late start. Perhaps on some level we are too aware that we are going to have to move this year and are saddened by the prospect of having to leave our garden. Will we find another home where we can plant a few tomatoes? I constantly think about moving. I can't not think about moving because I hate moving. Who doesn't? I'm trying to be very positive about the whole thing, but inside I know I am conflicted about how I feel.

Well, for now we will focus on this years garden and hope we can enjoy it's full cycle.


While procrastinating today (it is Saturday after all, part of my weekend) I was thinking about some of the cast of characters outlined on an earlier post of whoville and thought about Rupert, who can be seen here. Poor Rupert indeed. He is now been prescribed an anti-anxiety drug to deal with his conflict. Rupert’s mum is trying out the anti-anxiety drug for two weeks to see how he does. The Rescue Remedy in the water just wasn’t enough. Once she described Rupert’s behaviour to our super-fantastic vet, the vet suggested the drug. After all we’ve been regularly calling Rupert the “Big Guy with the Big Issues” because of his obsessive behaviour with regards to Ruggles of Red Gap. Now Rupert even recognizes and responds to the rather long name that we've given him.

Anywho…sitting with Rupert after his first dose today, I noticed how he almost didn’t care that Ruggles was in the room and yet Rupert was still his same loving self. He seemed calm, happy. Oh the kitty prozac.


one of the books I am currently reading is
The Way of the Screenwriter. I picked up this book for various reasons. Some of the concepts are familiar to me and it’s a refreshing approach to screenwriting not encountered in other more traditional approaches to the craft. The central idea of the book is that “story is a living thing. And you don’t work on a living thing, you work with it.”
The formula for conflict in the book is something I’ve always connected to in my studies and have found it to be useful whenever working with any type of story. The formula looks like this:

Conflict = Objective + Obstacle

So let’s see if I understand using my cast of characters as an example. If Rupert is the protagonist of this story…(you can see where I’m going here), Rupert wants to be the baby of the family. However, he needs to accept his new role that makes him the middle boy cat of the family. The motivation behind Rupert’s objective is that he will remain the special guy in his world and thus the pecking order will be maintained. While Rupert is third in the pecking order after Chengo and Penny, Rupert likes it this way. He likes the triad.

Enter Ruggles. Conflict can be between: Rupert and another cat, Rupert and himself, Rupert and an external force (a part of Rupert’s world). Ruggles is a big obstacle for Rupert. Ruggles is the new “baby” cat of the family and gets special attention. This threatens Rupert’s position and upsets the comfortable triad combination that Rupert has been enjoying up until now. Internally, Rupert struggles with what is his new role? How does he fit into this new quadrupling? He is internally conflicted. Can he still be the baby cat? If he tries to maintain his baby cat role won’t Ruggles dominate? The third type of conflict Rupert faces is external. Rupert’s world has most recently been disrupted by his new meds. An anti-anxiety drug was a difficult choice for his mum to make, but she is trying it for a couple of weeks (on Rupert, not herself). Now when Ruggles enters the scene, Rupert is disinterested. While Rupert remains his same old self, his desire to attack Ruggles, while still a flicker in his eyes, has been subdued.

I hope I’ve understood conflict properly. Yes, I may be certifiable but I like my ridiculous diversions. Any comments, suggestions, and interpretations you would like to add?

Just wait until I get to the chapter on theme…


An early morning shift started my day. No matter how early I get to bed the night before, I toss and turn because I can't help but be concerned with the prospect of having to get up three or four hours earlier than I normally do. It is glorious to be up at that time though. The sun rose and the air was sharp, clear and cold. I felt like going for a run, but that's not possible for me yet since I'm still treating my achilles injury.
When I arrived at the Forest who-Hill home I found out that we would be catering a Bris. This was a new experience for me. I mentioned the Seinfeld Bris episode to a co-worker and of course there were many jokes circulating as we set up. Seventy-five people attending a Bris in someone's home. What do we do during the ceremony? Retreat to the kitchen? Have breakfast? I had to hover near the door just in case any latecomers arrived. Being adjacent to the ceremonial room, I chose to cover my ears, fearing the inevitable wail from the baby. From my viewpoint I could only see the "audience". With hands over my ears, I watched the crowd wince and turn away. One woman walked out of the room and retreated to the buffet table. The baby was suprisingly calm. He spent the rest of the catered breakfast sleeping in his mother's arms, only rousing once to wail as if briefly recalling and then he drifted off to sleep again unaware of the mass of people there just for him.

After my shift I strolled along St. Clair to Corso Italia (my favorite stretch of St. Clair) to window shop. I took my time getting home and the early morning affect finally kicked in when I sat down at home. Surfing through the t.v. channels I stopped on Seinfeld. It was indeed the Bris episode. I had to watch.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Foot Cosy

Poor red jane she's recovering from foot surgery and housebound. As one of her "nurses" she requested early on if I could whip up something quick on the knitting needles to cover her toes and keep them warm. She wanted something large enough to go over the bandages, but not a full sock.
I love a challenge. It wasn't too challenging though since I just worked the toe end of a sock. I had a skein of the Manos del Uruguay cotton that is warm and soft and added the blue cotton/acrylic ribbing for colour and a snugger fit so they wouldn't slip around on her feet.
Knitting socks is one of the better knitting pleasures for me so this project was pure fun and fulfilled red jane's request. Everyone wins. Red jane has put up photos on her blog if you'd like a visual of the Foot Cosy.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Every day stories occur to me. Conversations, moments on transit, images that strike me all conjur up story ideas. Some fragments I note could be inspiration for a story. Some fragments I spend more time with rolling them over, expanding on the idea asking, what kind of story is it? Is it a short, experimental, documentary, or feature length film? I always think in film. I've stopped thinking in terms of prose. Even if I shape an idea prosaically, I seek out the potential film that exists within it.
All of the stories I've let pass through my thoughts without ever jotting down the ideas are gone. I've no regrets about this. However, this week I do intend to carry my notebook and pen with me wherever I go, whether it is to the gym, the corner store or work.
The blog has been another way for me to think about story and how it develops for me. An earlier snippet from my "what comes next" in my archives spent some brief time with Jen. Since then I can't seem to turn this story away from a horror piece. Hmmm. Why do I feel the need to do so? I suppose I feel the need to come up with something more clever than genre convention, come up with a story that can be more terrifying than reality. Is this possible? I'll keep turning. I've come up with all sorts of complications for Jen and why she is in the place she is in. I suspect I will have to share some more on the blog as her story progresses.
Let's see what transpires.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

This week's thoughts...

It's been a busy week but not a crazy week. One thing is for certain not having a 9-5 job brings new experiences to my life each week. On the gray days, the bleak will-this-weather-ever-end days, I sometimes long for the 9-5 routine. I am a creature of habit. Aren't we all? It's been over ten years since I had a 9-5 routine (actually it was a 1-9 routine) and how I loathed it then. The grass is always greener as some people say. I do have routine. Even if I don't get up at exactly the same time every morning, I do follow my own schedule. The discipline that graduate school required taught me that I have to deal with tasks as soon as they come up. I learned the importance of scheduling. So even if I never work in my field of expertise (I don't believe that though, I at least will deal with issues head as they come up. Routine yes, but the week can always be jostled due to my on-call part-time, occasionally full-time catering job. This week I had one shift, but next week I will be needed twice so far. Who knows what next week will bring?

I've been dealing with some old conflicts that have never been completely resolved. Each year that continues without resolution just adds another layer of complication, another tangle to the web. Unexpectedly, I've discovered that helping a friend deal with her post-surgery recovery (she's housebound for a while) has given me some perspective. Caring for someone else is quite healing for both involved it seems. Even just sitting with her while she nods off and the t.v. quietly murmurs as I knit has given me some peace, some time away from my usual. As for the friend, she's been up and down as the pain seems to be constant with differing degrees of intensity. On top of it all being housebound for someone who is so incredibly active socially and physically must be maddening.

Other bits of concern for me this week has been news related. The death of a police horse was all over the news and I was extremely saddened. Again I could not help but think of the other recent news story that doesn't make the evening news, but comes through my animal news network about the horse meat trade and "useless" horses ending up in the slaughterhouse, facing the bolt gun. Imagine the strength and power of a horse struggling against the death it can smell, hear, sense, see etc. So this recent story of the police horse being widely mourned makes me question why can't people see the connection? How can one animal be a pet and one a product? As some of you may know, I did touch on this subject with relation to the fur industry and made a short film called
Pe(L)ts that was inspired by a comment my cousin made about my cat and "what a fantastic fur coat she would make." Obviously I was horrified. So the question continues for me and maybe I'm just naive on this front to ask why don't people see that animals are living creatures, and could all be called pets or companion animals? All animals have individual personalities, feel pain, and have the capacity to love.

The other news story is a continuing one that I've mentioned before on my blog found here in the archives on the spread of avian flu. My 2006 issue of Farm Sanctuary's news looks at bird flu calling it a "virus of our own hatching." As far as I can see I have yet to see a mainstream news story examining the industrial commercial "farming" of chickens in our world that has continued to grow and is a perfect, in fact ideal, environment for spreading the virus. The focus continues to be on migratory birds and the migration of the virus and how it is beginning (i.e. learning) to jump species. The newest edition of "Veg News" does also raise issue with how the story is being mediated. This is a story I'll continue to follow. Hopefully another virus won't arise in the mean time as the world tries to deal with "bird flu."

In positive animal news, Ruggles of Red Gap went to the defense of his mommy (my sis) when he dashed to her rescue when one of her other cats bit her during play time. Ruggles growled and rushed to her defense. Chengo (the offender) was startled by the fraidy cat Ruggles charge. He's reassessing the pecking order as I write.

Tomorrow more cat and nurse duty.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

International Women's Day

Today I want to recognize all the women in my past and current life who have been positive influences, continuing to inspire me:
my mom
my sister

I’m also taking the time to recognize all my women friends (some whom I’ve lost touch with) out there in the world who have also been positive influences and supportive of me in some way:

All of you have been hugely supportive of me at some time and some of you continue to. I wish all of you well and hopefully you’ll have moment today to think of those women who have influenced your lives.

If you’re looking for some way to take part in an International Women’s Day activity and haven’t found anything yet, there is the IWD website. However, I’m sure locally it would be easy to find something to participate in.

For me today, I’m working. I have no idea how long the shift will be, nor how big an event, but it’s a large theatre opening so I expect it will be very sizeable. This is why I’m taking the time now to blog my moment of participation on this day.

Onward and upward.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Mom's visit to whoville

My mom was in whoville for a few days so I've been busy doing all the things we usually do when she visits. Mostly she vanity shops because she never gets a chance to shop in Montreal. Without getting into a long story it's enough to say that several years back she was in a serious accident and her leg was so badly damaged that she spent months in hospital and now finds it difficult to get around. She walks without a cane, but her leg and foot get tired or achey easily. We live close to a mall and it's perfect for her. Every visit we make a trip to her favorite stores and she gets what she needs and is thrilled. After the shopping is out of the way, we usually just spend time around the house, cook, eat, watch a movie maybe. Now that I think about it she usually comes for an event, a birthday, a graduation, a play or whatever. This time however we decided to go to the gallery without knowing what exhibitions were on. We just got on the streetcar (another treat for her. She loves taking the streetcars because it reminds her of a time when Montreal had streetcars. She often tells the story of when Montreal first switched to buses how the diesel fumes made her feel sick because she wasn't use to them). Anywho...she's an artist (not professionally, but art has always been central in her life) and knew David Milne's work which is being presented at the gallery now. From the first painting on, I was completely taken with his work. I fell in love with certain watercolours.

His growth as an artist and the techniques he devised as he progressed was all so interesting for me. It has been a while since I'd been to the gallery and it was fabulous to go with someone who has a real understanding of painting.

We had planned to see the Gehry exhibit as well, but mom found the Milne was enough. She does tire pretty easily after standing for so long. We did manage to take a break and sit on one of those benches in the middle of the room and take in some of the paintings from a distance. The biopic offered was awful and offered nothing. It took away from the brilliance of his work and made it seem less somehow, although the filmmaker certainly did intend to do that. The film just had a elementary school "education film" feel to it. Unfortunately, the film did ruin some of the exhibit for me. It took a moment to reconnect with the paintings themselves. We were at the end of the show by then so we headed out back into the crisp air and sunshine, back on the streetcar, back home.

I wouldn't say that my relationship with my mother is the easiest. We are pretty close and I do respect her and appreciate all that she has done for me and continues to do for me as a supportive parent. She did most of the parenting for most of my childhood. She's always supported my choices in my life with my education, my career, my relationships, as long as it meant I was happy. Support was never an issue. We've been close, distant and close again. We've always been in touch and I've always had problems with my conflictual feelings for her. We both change and evolve as people and I think I find myself searching for ways to maintain the best of our relationship. The mother/daughter relationship is a continual negotiation, but I think this is how it is and how it should be. I would rather have negotiation than patterns of negative behaviour that continue on and never are addressed by one party or the other. I would rather negotiate my place in the relationship than not have one at all.

I sound so mature about it all don't I? Don't be fooled. This doesn't mean that I don't fear becoming more like my mother as I age. Who wants to turn into their parent? This also doesn't mean that we don't have our moments of horrible tension and conflict. This doesn't mean that we spend our time together as if it's a precious moment. Because the dynamic is not simple I like the idea of negotiation.

Friday, March 03, 2006

McDougall Vegan Breakfast

Mmmm! Maybe I need a breakfast blog? This cereal is so easy to make. It's from one of the McDougall cookbooks. And yes, you get a story with this bit of info...

When I first went vegan (I admit I lapsed back to vegetarianism for a few years, but I'm happily vegan again and will never look back), I found the McDougall program book which I had heard about through a friend. It was easy to use and had meals for each day sort of thing that was quite practical for a single gal as I was then. McDougall's book really changed my way to healthier eating and a healthier way of living. In other words, it was revolutionary for me. My cooking skills improved and I started experimenting with my own versions of things etc.

I loved this cereal then and I love it now.

1/2cup bulgar
3 tbls rolled oats
1 tbls of molasses
1/3 cup chopped dried fruit (I used mango, cranberry and cherry)
1 1/2 cups of water

place everything in a bowl, stir and refrigerate over night. In the morning heat and eat. Yum! I also put maple syrup on mine and a little rice milk. I thought couscous might be nice option instead of the bulgar, maybe with dried pear and raisins or something citrusy.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

keeping busy

I had trouble getting into my blog the last couple of days. It's not a blogger issue, but a browser issue. Our computer can only do so much for its age so until we remedy this, I'll have to manage with what we have. I'd always rather make do with what we have simply because I believe we should get the most out of our computers, electronics etc as opposed to always buying new as the trends change.

I'll be busier in the next week or so with my mom visiting us here in whoville. She's here until Sunday. Sis is going to Montreal again for the weekend so that's too bad that she'll miss most of mom's visit. I've got more catering work coming my way which is always great to chip away at the debt. A friend is having surgery next week so she'll need round the clock care for the first few days. We seem to have worked out a schedule so that she gets the care she needs. She has a kitty as well so he'll need tending to. Since my sis will be also caring for our friend I'll be back on cat duty upstairs, but it'll be easier with sis still in town. Training is also important to keep up so I'll fit that in my day as well. Writing? Hmm I suppose I should cram that in as well.

Even though I'm not running these days because of my achilles problem, I need to keep going to the gym. The bummer phase of not running seems to have passed. I did the typical fat foods comfort, wallowing as if i'd never run again.

Now that the self pity seems to be waning, I picked up the knitting needles again, well actually the crochet hook to work on some mittens. I know it's the end of the season, but I am quite determined to finish these mittens with odds and ends wool. That reminds me of how much D. loves the socks I made him. He's actually worn a pair through so I'm going to go through the stash and make stripey socks for him. He wears them around the house so I can have some fun with stripes, patterns etc. And I do love making socks.