Monthly Archives: September 2009

A Pekoe story

My cat is causing me some stress.

Yesterday, when I got home at 10:00pm from class, one of my roommates told me that Pekoe has been throwing up when I’m not there. Of course, I feel terrible, because it means he and my other roommate have to deal with bodily fluids of a cat they don’t even like. (They’re allergic. But, Pekoe was here first, and I haven’t noticed either of them sniffling, sneezing or breaking out in hives.)

This probably wouldn’t bother me. Cats are known to throw up every so often. Except that he hasn’t done that in a long time, and usually when he does, it’s because his food bowl was empty for too long and he ate too fast after I filled it up. (Cheap cat foods have a lot of corn or wheat as filler. It expands in cats’ stomachs, so if they eat too much, too fast, they’ll throw up.) But, his food bowl wasn’t empty, and, my roommate said, it was mostly bile, so not related to over eating. On top of that, twice, I’ve noticed that he has peed in front of his litter box instead of in his litter box.

Combined, it’s not good news. I had trouble getting to sleep last night, because I looked up the symptoms and discovered that it could be a urinary tract infection. What really got me was this: “Cats are very tolerant to pain and will eat, purr, and snuggle to attraction your attention even while in pain.” Can you understand why this may have caused me to lose some sleep? Suddenly, everything seems like an indicator of pain. He cries a lot, which I thought was him begging to be let outside. Maybe it’s pain. He doesn’t like to snuggle up to me much. Maybe it’s pain! (Ok, ever since his kitten stage was over, he’s preferred to sleep by my feet instead of on my lap. Probably not pain.) He bites my hand when I rub his belly. Pain?

Anyway, I called the vet and asked for the next possible appointment. He’ll be visiting the dreaded place tomorrow at 5:00. Today, I played with him, let him outside. His energy is high and he’s still eating and drinking plenty. He seems like a healthy cat. So, if it’s nothing, at least the vet will be able to give him a clean bill of health.

The other option is that it’s behavioural. I haven’t been around much, I’ll admit. I do make sure his food and water bowls are full and his litter box is passably clean. And when I’m gone for more than a weekend (Friday night to Monday morning), I make sure I have a friend come in and check on him. But, with classes all day Monday and Wednesday and a fiance distracting me on the weekends… perhaps he’s feeling a lack of love and attention and is acting out because of it.

Hopefully the appointment on Wednesday will shed some light on all this. I don’t like thinking about my Peek-a-boo sick.

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U2

It was great, but I’m not sure how worth it it actually was.

  1. I’m not a huge U2 fan. Their music is good. But I didn’t really grow up listening to it and I don’t love it. I’m not going to run out and buy any of their albums. I think I can recognize a song by them when it comes on the radio now. Before the show, I definitely couldn’t.
  2. I’m not a huge concert fan. I find them kind of inconvenient, especially when they’re in TO. I find them uncomfortable, especially if there’s no chairs and it’s a standing concert.

But, a good friend of mine asked me to go with her and I hadn’t seen her in a while and wanted to hang out with her and catch up. So, I said yes and just for the time I got to spend hanging out with her, I’m glad I did.

We spend 5 hours in the General Admission line.

We were numbers 748 and 749 in line.

We were numbers 748 and 749 in line.

Because we waited in line for 5 hours, when they let us in at 5:00, we got in ridiculously close to the stage.

Is it blasphemous to say I actually liked the opening act better than the headliners? I loved Snow Patrol before seeing the show though, so I think its fair.

Is it blasphemous to say I actually liked the opening act better than the headliners? I loved Snow Patrol before seeing the show though, so I think it's fair.

We had to wait another two hours for the opening act to come on though. And, once Snow Patrol,  was done, we had to wait another hour in between for U2 to come on.

The stage had bridges and a runway type thing around the whole outside of it that was so close to use I could have spit on the band members. This guitarist came around to our side quite often.

The stage had bridges and a runway type thing around the whole outside of it that was so close to us I could have spit on the band members. This guitarist came around to our side quite often.

Bono came around to our side very rarely, unfortunately. And the few times he did, I mostly botched the photos. I like this one though. It was close to the end of the concert.

Bono came around to our side very rarely, unfortunately. And the few times he did, I mostly botched the photos. I like this one though. It was close to the end of the concert.

I don’t think I’ll be running off to go to another concert any time soon, though I am kind of disappointed that I missed Regina Spektor, considering I have a ginormous girl-crush on her… but, it was a good time, and I’m glad I went. It was a good experience. Also, it was great to see B again!

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One run a week…

…is all I’ve been managing to do with this new routineless routine of school. Fortunately, I have a fiance who encourages physical fitness and reminds me that I like to run, so I haven’t fallen off the track completely. I’m still contemplating the half marathon here in my city, which is run next April or May. How crazy would it be to be training and running a marathon in the same month as my wedding?

According to this show I’ve been watching, Rich Bride Poor Bride, it would be absolutely crazy. Apparently, planning my wedding is supposed to make both me and M horrible people, especially to each other. Watching the show, I’ve learned what NOT to do.

Anyway, back on topic. My run!

4.39 km

30:18 minutes

Average pace: 6.8min/km

Not such a great pace. But, it felt good, so I’m not dwelling on it. I’m going to M’s parents’ place this weekend. I’m going to bring my running clothes in case there’s time to go for a run. Sometimes just being in a different place, taking a route I’ve never taken before is all the motivation I need.

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Classes

Classes are the reason I’ve been MIA for the past few weeks. When I’m off doing new things, and trying not to fall behind in the first week, blogging tends to fall a little to the wayside. Likely, this will continue for the next eight months.

Anyway, here are my classes!

Music theory: This will maybe be my hardest course. I haven’t done music theory since high school. After the first class, I talked to the prof about whether or not I could actually be successful and she said yes, but it would be hard. I’m OK with hard. So far, there hasn’t been anything that’s totally new for me. That will probably change pretty quickly.

Seventeenth Century Lit: The prof for this class is the cutest little woman who kind of giggles when she talks. It makes for a rather pleasant hour and a half. Other than that, it’s just a standard English course with plenty of Donne to read.

American Lit, 1945-present: We’re starting in the Thatcher years. I love it when a prof demonstrates all the societal forces that created a piece of literature, even a whole genre. We covered history all last week, and to see it in play in the literature that we’re reading from that period is fascinating. I know, I’m a geek. Whatever.

Religion in Popular Film: The prof for this course is arrogant enough to think that, since I missed the first class, I probably going to have a tough time catching up. I told someone this and they wondered if he was knew and still thought everything he said was incredibly important, that his spirit hadn’t been crushed yet by the Man and the multiple students that go through his classes. Anyway, he’s arrogant enough that it’s cringe-worthy. But his TA is great and the class is mostly just watching movies and writing analyses of them. I think I’ll be OK.

Christian Hymnody: In the first class we sang. OK, so we sing in theory class too. But that’s just ‘do’ ‘re’ ‘mi’ etc. This was hymns! In harmony! Oh, it was delightful. This whole class is going to be delightful. There’s no other word for it.

I’m trying to keep this term and next term as easy as possible. Is that a cop out? My boyfriend is in another city and when he comes here or I go there, I want to actually be able to visit him. I don’t want to be doing school work all the time. Some of the time is OK, of course. I won’t be able to avoid that.

Coming soon: U2!

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Frosh, everywhere!

I haven’t been a frosh for 3 years now. (Well, this is my 4th as an upper year student.) All the other years, I can’t remember disliking the frosh so incredibly much. I have a couple suspicions as to why I suddenly had difficulty tolerating them.

1. They’re completely ignorant about the way the university works, but since they have an older sibling in university, think they know everything. This was me. But I couldn’t help cringing at the first year student standing in front of me in line at the bookstore, talking to his buddies like he was the wise, all-knowing, superior brand of first year student.

2. They wander around in happy packs and chatter away incessantly about nothing. This probably just points to my own skepticism about my university degree. They’re all bright-eyed and excited about what’s to come and I’m all cynical about all the time I just put into something that might not be useful in the least.

3. Similarly, everything is a new adventure to them. For me, standing in line at the bookstore for 45 minutes to drop $300+ on books because I need to buy the ridiculously expensive music theory books right away so I can do the stuff I need to have done for Wednesday is a painful experience best survived by zoning out as far as I can. I’m ready to be done and they can’t wait to start.

I can’t wait for all the frosh excitement to calm down. Honestly, I don’t know how upper year students can stand to live on campus with all that going on.

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An announcement

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been a little MIA for the past week. Most of you know why. For those of you who don’t, remember how I caught the bouquet at my cousin’s wedding last week?

And now:

M had a carefully orchestrated proposal ready for me when I arrived to visit him on Friday. The ring doesn’t fit and until we can get to the jeweller’s, is being held on by the only other ring I wear, which I usually wear on the same finger of the opposite hand.

The weekend that followed is one of the best in my memory. We galavanted all over the city.

Saw some amazing street artists.

I tossed a dollar in his supply box as a thank you for letting me take his picture.

I tossed a dollar in his supply box as a thank you for letting me take his picture.

Wandered down the the waterfront and sat on the ‘beach’.

Hopped a free ride on the Island Airport ferry and took enough pictures of the Toronto skyline, which probably made it seem like we’d never seen the CN tower before.

We walked a good 15km the first day, another 7 the next and at least another 5 on the Monday. Our calves ached every morning when we woke up, but we had nothing else to do but go back out. It was a delightful weekend of holding hands, talking about the future (it’s not quite so scary anymore!) and thinking about preliminary wedding planning.

World, I am ridiculously happy.

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The stylist’s chair

When my best friend came back to Canada from a stint in Florida, she chopped half her hair off and enrolled herself in hairdressing school. Her hair went from long and wavy to a canvas for experimental art, seemingly overnight. Knowing her, it was a perfect fit.

In the years since that time, I haven’t let anyone else bring a pair of scissors to my hair. She’s done simple layered cuts of my hair and gleefully gave me a blunt straight cut with bangs when I requested something a little more experimental. But, she knows I’m pretty conservative about my hair styles. I’m boring, if you will, mostly because I’m lazy. I want a cut that’s easy to manage and requires little to no maintenance.

This frustrates her, I know. She gives me ideas of cuts and colours that she knows will look stunning on me. She does her best to convince me. But ultimately, she gives me the same cut over and over again. And I love her for it.

This weekend, I sat in this chair:

Cindy started to work on me. She threw the hideous cape around my neck, opened a few drawers at her work station, moving slowly, looking for something. Asked me if I wanted sparkles (No!), asked me again, set up a curling iron, pulled out the hair spray, mumbled a bit. My anxiety level was shooting up and shooting up fast.

As she curled and hair sprayed, tied and hair sprayed, bobby pinned and hair sprayed, teased and hairsprayed, I zoned out. Found a happy place where I didn’t have to pay attention to what she was doing to my head.

Of course, it turned out beautifully:

 

When the day quieted down a little and I had a chance to think about it, I realized what my problem was.

I have never before had someone I called My Stylist. When I was a kid, I got a haircut maybe twice a year. Or less. And every time, I went to the same salon but had a different woman cutting my hair. I cared about as much about it then as I do now. But I never felt like I got a bad hair cut.

And then my best friend became a stylist. I want to support her, help her be a success. Besides that, the salon she works at is beautiful and upscale. (I’m a little nervous about what her rates are going to do as she finishes up her apprenticeship… but it’s important to me that I support her.) The past half a dozen times I’ve had my hair done, she’s done it and I can’t imagine making an appointment for myself with anyone else.

And because she’s my best friend, I trust her completely to make me look good. I’ve never had a moment of anxiety sitting in her chair, wondering what I’m going to walk out with.

I don’t trust Cindy. She’s a random hairdresser who, unlike My Stylist, doesn’t know me almost as well as I know myself. I’ve gotten used to being able to put myself fully into My Stylist’s hands knowing it’s going to be perfect and not having to guard against that potential for disappointment. My fake “Oh, I love it!” smile was out of practice and I didn’t know if I could bring it back.

Hmm… I think I’m due for a haircut soon…

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Isn’t she gorgeous?

I almost want to relive the day. Watching my cousin get married this past weekend from one of six of the best spots in the church was one of the highlights of my summer.

Weddings, in general, don’t make me cry. I almost wish they did. But there wasn’t a single wedding this summer that caused anything beyond a sentimental sigh. I haven’t gotten teary at a wedding since A and T’s wedding last summer, which I was watching from inside a crumbling relationship. But as my cousin came down the aisle and as I snuck a look at her groom’s expression, I’ll admit, my vision was swimming a little.

Likely, I wouldn’t have had the same reaction if I hadn’t been a bridesmaid. My cousin and I were like best friends when we were little. I remember playing with kittens in my grandparents’ hay mow and helping my grandma pick beans together. I remember putting on all the dresses and clothes my grandma had kept stored in a bin upstairs and playing dress-up. We were a team against the second cousins once removed at family reunions on both sides.

But then I hit my awkward stage that lasted through high school and maybe even into university. Suddenly, I didn’t know what we were supposed to talk about anymore, how we were supposed to interact. We were too old to play dress up and chase kittens in the barn. We were too old to have sleepovers at Grandma’s house.

I would say we’re still recovering from that stage, which is only natural, considering our changing lives allow us to see each other only once a year, if we’re lucky. When she told me she wanted to have a wedding party made up of family, I was honoured to accept her request to be a bridesmaid. In many ways, it felt like I was being given permission to continue being not only her cousin, but her friend, to honour the bond we had created in the hay mow and to let it continue into adulthood.

Congratulations Liz! You were a beautiful bride and I pray and trust that you and Andrew will have a long, happy life together!

(I’m aware that this post is full of sentimental drivel, but I’m not really sorry. If you can’t be sentimental about weddings and childhood friendships, what can you be sentimental about?)

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Week 7

Despite reaching my goal of 4-5 days a week for 6 weeks, I’m still running. I’ve taken a break from morning running though. I wonder if the trick is to change my routine every 6 weeks to keep myself interested and my body going.

Running in the evening means my body had more resources to run longer. No way could I do such a long run in the mornings. No time, no food.

I took a picture of myself after a good run last week just so you can see how funny I look when I run.

Yesterday’s run, 5:30.

9.1 km

58:13 minutes

6.4 average pace.

I walked a bit, I’ll admit. And I was hoping for 10K, but since I don’t have GPS and didn’t map out my run before hand, I was a single, measly km out. Still, it was a good run.

It will be the only one this week too. I need to let up on myself and try to not feel like such a failure when I don’t run. Running should not be an activity of guilt.

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This is how I feel about English Lit…

… 4 years into it.

I have 8 months to figure out my life and sometimes I feel like all I’m looking at is a bunch of closed doors. I think this might be called ‘4th Year Dread’.

(“Sheldon” belongs to Dave Kellett. Not me. Click the comic for more.)

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