Friday, August 29, 2008

Settling In

So, I've been back at work for three full weeks, now, and I must say, I am SO glad that it's the long weekend! Usually it's the working-with-kids part that is the busiest part of my job, but orientation was this last week, and I gotta tell ya, I'm absolutely exhausted!

I think--in addition to getting used to being busy again--part of the exhaustion comes from still trying to do extracurricular things on a summer schedule. And it's cooled off quite a bit with a few rainy days that just make anyone feel blah after such a wonderfully hot August. And then there's my new visitor...

C&L moved back home to Nova Scotia a few weeks ago, and my mom agreed to take their cat--Diesel--because he could not go east. However, my mom is also moving--from Calgary to a small town close to here--and it's a bit chaotic at her place as she packs and ties up loose ends. There would be no way he'd get the attention he needs while she's focusing on moving. And to ship him down to Calgary only to have him come back up again? It made more sense to just keep him at my place until she was settled in her new house, and then I would take him down.

So I picked him up on Monday. And having a 3rd cat hasn't made my house crazy or anything like that, but it's a change in routine, and definitely a change in the normal activity level of this little household.

As you can see from the pics, he spent most of the first couple days hiding out in my bedroom. A lot of hissing ensued those two days if any one of my cats made eye contact with another. They hissed at him, he hissed at them, my two hissed at each other (which I still can't figure out)... all of them just had a wee bit of sass and attitude. Diesel even had the nerve to "do the leg thing" for attention, and then as I walked away, he attacked my feet!

But now that it's Friday, the hissing has gone down, and he seems to be settling in quite nicely. He enjoys sleeping with me, I think, as he is often on my bed when I wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and he's still there when I wake up in the morning. He sits on the end of the bed and guards it (or me), I think. The girls--Akira especially--are very put out by this. They have not cuddled on my bed all week. Akira came up last night while I was reading, but then Diesel hopped up, and that was it. She hissed and left. ...They'll get over it.

See? He made it out of the bedroom!

One thing that's been interesting to see (and I wonder how long it will last), is that Diesel's eating habits have changed. With my girls, I can fill their bowls, and it will last a couple days as they eat through it. Diesel has always been the kind of cat that eats everything all at once, no matter how much or how often you feed him. So he was on a food schedule. And I was prepared to deal with that and force my girls to get onto a schedule, too. However, since he spent the first two days hiding in my room, he only ate in little bits whenever he could sneak into the kitchen unnoticed. So I wonder if he's realized that he won't starve if he leaves some food behind in the bowl, because after four full days, he still eats the way my girls do. Hopefully it will last!

In the mean time, I think he's enjoying it here, and I'm enjoying him!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Day at the Beach

I spent this last weekend at Sylvan Lake--pretty much Alberta's only beach town in this land-locked province. It's quite a popular spot year-round, but especially in the summer, and especially on a weekend like this last one where it was 30C (85F) the whole time!

Two friends and I enjoyed spending a chunk of Saturday and a chunk of Sunday on the beach and in the water. You will be pleased (intrigued? surprised?) to know that each of the four times we ventured into the water, I submerged myself of my own volition (the water was slightly colder than a cool swimming pool). And two of the four times, I actually swam. As in, propelled myself several metres at a time (mostly back stroke and flutter kick), occasionally in areas where my feet were not able to touch the ground. That's not to say it's going to be my newest hobby, but suffice it to say I was actually productive in the water.

I think the most interesting part of the weekend was people-watching while we were soaking up sun on the beach itself. I feel there's more diversity among people at a beach than in general public areas, and it's neat to see. Bodies are more exposed in bathing suits, so everyone's uniqueness is on display (whether it should be or not). Wow, that guy's hairy; oh, she has a cool tattoo; so that's 'pear-shaped'; she must tan at a spa somewhere, she has no tan lines; wish I could put my hair up like that; ooh, that looks red... And at the same time as I'm marveling at the diversity of people, I'm in materialistic awe at the diversity of bathing suits! Plain, checked, jewelled, striped. One-piece, two-piece, one-and-a-half-piece... Two girls had similar bathing suits (one a bikini, one a tankini)--they were black with little gold 'G's all over them. That would definitely work for me, I thought. Too bad the only thing I really liked about it was the 'G's.

Sunglasses are pretty wide and varied, too. A lot of people had what I call the "bug" sunglasses--those big huge-lensed ones. Very Hollywood-celebrity, but slightly on the insect side of things. One girl had glasses with lenses shaped slightly like guitar picks (pointy side down); those were awful.

I wish I had been more able to take in the conversational culture (that's a polite way of saying I wish I'd eavesdropped more). Most of the audible conversations around us were punctuated with profanity, and I quickly tuned out. I do have to admit, though, it was hard to hide a smile as I overheard (and discreetly observed) the guy next to us receive a ticket from the RCMP for alcohol possession. She found it in the guy's cooler. "But it's sealed!" the guy declared. Um, doesn't matter. I think watching this little scene was just as funny as when his friends returned and tried to make him feel better. "You can't get busted for public drinking if it's sealed." "No, she ticketed me for 'transporting liquor'." (...inaudible conversation...) "Well, I didn't know this was a Provincial area... I thought this was just a town..." Yeah, cuz THAT makes a difference when it's prohibited nation-wide... It was actually very tempting not to get involved.

...Anyway, it was a highly enjoyable weekend--warm beach-weather, fun water activity, gorgeous evening sunsets, and a great time away with good friends!

Tree-Lined Sunset

Friday, August 8, 2008


So after a wonky-weathered July (alternating daily between windy, rainy and sunny/hot), we have had a full-week stretch of sunny, near-30C weather (80-85F). I am loving it (notice large smile in the photo on the left), but boy is it hot in my south-facing, large-windowed condo. Early in the week, with the help of a fan, my room still cooled off enough at night that I needed a blanket. Last night, with the fan going, I couldn't handle anything heavier than the sheet, and just on my legs. I should have fried some eggs on my patio for breakfast this morning. I am currently typing with my feet in a bin of cool water (it feels SO nice). My cats only come out from under the bed or dresser to eat or use the litter box (although Princess still feels the need to cuddle her furry body onto my lap, as well as lick my salty arms).

And yet, I refuse to buy an air conditioner. In part because I don't have the space. I'm not going to block out an entire window panel to stick a box in there, and the portable ones are huge! Portable for who? The hulk? For the two weeks of the summer where it actually roasts outside, it's just not worth it. Especially when it does get down to 15-20C outside (60-68F) at night. As long as I'm not out of town, I can usually keep it bearable in my tiny space with fans and open screens.

I figure it's a trade off. I might melt for a week or two in the summer, but my place is always cozy warm in the depths of winter; ya just can't beat that.