Archive for February, 2010

Saturday started off normal enough.  Got up at the regular time of 5:30am to let the dog do her thing and make breakfast for the pets.  As I crawled back into bed I noticed it was very warm in our room so I cracked one window open about an inch and half figuring that would let the cool air in while keeping the snow and wind out.

A few hours later I’m suddenly awake, my wife is asking telling me there is a bird in the room.  The six cats are jumping off the shelves, dresser and bed, launching themselves at the low ceiling and windows as a little bird zooms around the room.  My wife and I fly out of bed and ‘join’ and by join I mean ‘add’ to the pandemonium.  My wife decides to put all the cats in the bathroom so we can rescue the bird safely.  Putting the plan in motion she grabs a cat and in the bathroom it goes, I’m quick on her heels with another cat.  Two in, four to go.  In the back of my head I hear the voice of worry, is it really a good idea to shove six excited cats who don’t really get along into a tiny bathroom together?  My wife opens the bathroom door to toss in a third cat, in the process the first two escape.  I snag another cat, but when I open the bathroom door I free the captive cat in the process.  Keep in mind we went from a dead sleep to total pandemonium to the implementation of a plan in mere moments. 

“Wait!, where is the bird?” I asked. In the moment I took to try to get a better grasp of the situation I noticed that while the cats were still excited they seemed to be looking for the bird and not finding it.  Could it have found its way back out the window?  We stopped and looked and listened.  No sign of the bird surely if it was still in the room the cats would know, but they were also looking.  My wife went to open the curtains a little wider and she noticed Trouble staring intently, following his gaze my wife spotted the bird on a shelf.  Everybody spotted it at the same time.  Once again chaos ensues.  Now we were a little more awake the task was to toss the cats into the living room.  Once again every time we got a cat out the door, the previously evicted cat would sneak back in.  Finally we got all the cats clear of the room and opened up all the bedroom windows as wide as we could.  Once again we lost track of the dang bird!

As I am starting to freeze to death in our room my wife says to me, “Do you think the bird flew into the living room while we had the door open?” We look stupidly at one another, my wife heads into the living room while I keep watch in the bedroom.  Half a minute later I hear through the closed-door, “The bird is out here”  As I step out the door my wife is heading towards me with a cat in her arms, “Cats back in the bedroom” she calls out as she starts to pass me.

“Wait!” I yell in a panicked voice, “windows in the bedroom are wide open”


I ran back into the unbelievably cold bedroom and closed all the windows.  Once again we were faced with the task of herding all six cats through another door.  This time we had the added benefit of the dog howling away in the laundry room.  Finally we managed to separate the bird from the cats.  The bird (a Carolina wren) seemed to be in good condition and we managed to gently usher it through the door.  My wife and I sat down and took a collective deep breath. After a minute or so of silence I asked,  “So, breakfast at Denny’s?”

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Regular readers know that every ten posts I write an introspective into my writing. 

So what have I learned?  Most glaring are the phrases ending in ‘then’  such as in if then and more then.  I almost always type it that way, lucky for me the nifty WordPress editor saves me and kindly suggests that I use ‘more than’.  According to the WordPress editor I am also guilty of using a ‘passive voice’ for using phrases such as ‘it seems’  too bad I like that kind of phrase.  It seems that I am also guilty of using something called ‘hidden verbs’ At first I did worry and tried to correct the hidden verb problem, (not that I totally understand it) but fear not, I got over my worry, now I just re-read the sentence to make sure it makes sense.  I’ve also been accused by the WordPress editor of making things complex. I find this complex issue both subjective and more importantly insulting to you the reader. For example if I use the term final destination the WordPress editor will highlight the phrase and tell me the word destination is too complex and I should replace destination with place.  I understand the theory  I just happen to (passive voice) disagree with the theory (complex, replace theory with reason).  Don’t get me wrong, I am lousy with punctuation and sentence structure and I strive to get better so I am glad for the help,  but I am not about to change my writing style (which I happen to like) to appease (complex, change to please) the language gods.  I will of course make corrections if I think it will help, otherwise I will use my favourite feature the Ignore Suggestion button.

I read an article by Stephen King.  apparently (submissive voice) he used to get upset when critics told him he couldn’t put a proper sentence together.  He would get past it by looking at his bank book and suddenly what the critics had to say didn’t carry much validity (complex?) his fans didn’t care, and lets face it his fans pay the bills.  Nobody is paying me to write this blog, but we did enjoy a free meal at Denny’s courtesy of the management (thank you) because of what I said on my previous (complex replace with earlier) post.

Subject matter is becoming an issue.  I have been trying (complex, replace with have tried) to stick to a few specific themes, the problem is that I don’t want all my posts to sound the same. The challenge becomes expanding my subject matter but manipulating it so it fits.  I’m not sure why I find this a daunting task but I do.  I’ve also been working on ways to expand my readership.  I’m working on a few ideas and I’ll let you know how it all works out.  Perhaps in my 40th blog. 

Thanks for reading.

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Yes my wife and I eat at Denny’s.  I’d be the first, okay the second to tell you that the track record with Denny’s has not been great. My father would be the first.  However even my father likes the Denny’s in State College.  The food is good, the location is perfect for us and I even know some of the wait staff by name, which for me is an incredible feat.  There is Dana who is so good at her job and is such a fun person to be around, that she got my father to admit that there is hope for Denny’s and is now willing to eat there when he visits, of course we have to make sure that Dana would be taking care of us.   We have also gotten to know Mark quite well, in fact my wife is talking to him on Facebook as I write this blog. Even when not sitting in Mark’s section he makes sure we are taken care of properly.   Carrie always makes sure she comes by our table to say hello and enquire about us and the dog and is joy to talk too.  We don’t see Marvin (one of the managers) much anymore, but when we do he always stops by to say hello. There are others I like who I will apologize to now seeing as I can’t remember their names off-hand, such as the young woman who is usually at the cash and always laughs at my corny jokes. 

The other night as a couple sat down at a table across from us the woman nodded and waved at my wife.  My wife asked if we knew them from somewhere.  The womans response was that she has seen us in the restaurant a few times now so she felt like she knew us.  I thought it a little odd, but my wife being who she is started up a conversation.  I don’t know how the conversation ended up where it did, but it turns out that this couple were also volunteers for Sparrow, the wild life rehabilitator. They help her transport the animals when transport is necessary.  I realize that Sparrow is the only wild life rehabilitator in the area, but how many people are involved in this endeavour.  How many of you release wild life? or transport wild life? or even know a wild life rehaber?  I’m not seeing many hands.  Yet I’m eating at Denny’s and my wife strikes up a conversation with a complete stranger and of course we know the same people and have the same interests. 

A family at another table was obviously listening to our conversation and they decided to chime in.  While they are not involved in animal rescue on any ‘formal’ level they do have six cats and like our six cats they rescued them all.  They also happened to be looking for a good vet, and seeing as we just found a good vet in the area we were able to help them out on that front. 

After all this time I’m not sure why I am still surprised over incidents like this, but I am.  What worries me is I’m getting used to it, what worries me more is I am starting to think that it is a good and positive way to live.  What pisses me off however is that now I learn that Sparrow has people to transport animals.  Where the heck was this information before the skunk incident?

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Perspective Please

If we truly believe that actions speak louder then words, then why is it that the squeaky wheel gets the grease?

If it is really so lonely at the top how come we are all in such a rush to get there?

If we should not judge a book by its cover, then why weren’t we made inside out?

If I can’t have my cake and eat it, then why would I want it in the first place?

If the early bird gets the worm, what message are we sending to the worms?

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French class in high school lasted an hour a day for our entire youth, we were forced to do two things,  conjugate every verb on the planet and read the book,  “La Dynamite”.   ‘La Dynamite’ was about these guys who had to transport TNT over an old logging road to get to the job site.  The previous drivers died on the way because the truck hit a pothole and the TNT exploded.   

One fall day my wife and I found ourselves driving home with two pet carriers full of  skunks in our back seat.   Yes we were holding our breath for fear of setting one or all of them off.    Sparrow the wild life rehabilitator promised they would not spray.  I wasn’t sure how she could make such a promise, after all they are wild skunks, but she promised and we trusted.  Sparrow failed to mention, (and we didn’t know enough to ask) that skunks stink even when they don’t spray.  

With the windows open and the air cranked, we cringed at every stop light, turn and bump on the road.  As the skunks chattered away in the back seat I thought about those two guys in ‘La Dynamite’ and really, they were idiots! Why the heck didn’t they just keep the blasting caps separated from the TNT?  




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A few years ago my wife embarked on a quest to have some changes made at the local SPCA a quest which turned out to be successful.  But that is not what this post is about.   During operation, ‘improve the SPCA’ my wife met a few people of like minds one in particular we will call IB.  We maintained a friendship with IB and her husband for quite some time. Over the years that friendship has drifted, again that is not what this post is about.  

It turns out that IB, like me is not from central Pennsylvania.  It turns out that IB, like me is from Canada.  It turns out that IB, like me is from Montreal Quebec.  It turns out, like me IB went to Concordia University in Montreal, not only did we both attend Concordia, we attended Concordia at the same time.  As far as we know we never ran into each other.  We certainly were never friends and never travelled in the same circles.  Yet there we were a good 13 years after our university days eating at a Chinese buffet discussing our shared experiences with animals, home, small towns and no matter how big the world can be, it can also be really small.

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What can she possibly be thinking about

I told myself when I started writing this blog that I would not do stuff like this.  But I think I will and I won’t make apologies.  My wife, myself, our dog and six cats are inside on this blustery cold night.  We are all well fed and warm.

Sequoia is very lucky, if she wants to get out of the snow, the wet and the cold she certainly can.  If she takes one step backwards she is out of the falling snow as she is on a covered deck.  A few more steps backwards and she can jump onto her lounge chair.  She also knows that if she wants in the house all she has to do is let out a few howls and we would let her come inside.  The simple fact is she likes to be out in the snow and the cold.  She is after all, a husky, and this is the season of the husky. One shake of the coat and all that snow is gone.  Slip your hand past the guard hairs and she is dry.  During this season you can’t even feel her skin due to the thickness of her undercoat.  If you call her she just turns her head and gives you the ‘come on let’s go play in the snow look’  She will not go hungry and there is always clean water available for her.  

Not all dogs and cats are this lucky. There are thousands of dogs and cats suffering out there without homes, they don’t have fresh water or a steady supply of food they can’t get out of the elements and they are without a voice.  The majority are alone and unwanted.  Please take a moment and give them a thought.  If you are a pet owner and have not yet had your pet spayed or neutered then get it done, tomorrow.  Believe it or not your pet does not need to experience parenthood, that is your ego, your emotion not your pets.  Truth is there are enough pets already out there for everybody to own numerous times over.  Don’t deny them that chance by just adding to the pet population, adding to the problem.  If you are looking for a pet then adopt one from the SPCA or any shelter.  Want a purebred?  Guess what for every breed of dog there is a rescue organization that deals exclusively with that particular breed. Not only are they purebreds they are a fraction of the cost and more important they need a home.  Please don’t be a part of the problem, contemplating a pet? Excellent, but be a part of the solution.

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Husky Fun

Husky fun
Husky fun

You know you are in for a trying day when it is 5:30am and the snow in the driveway is up to your huskies belly.  My saving grace is that it is Saturday which means that instead of securing the dog on the porch and dragging out the snow blower and moving snow for two and a half hours, I can turn around, stick the dog in the laundry room and go back to sleep and worry about the snow later.  I’m not a fan of snow, yes its pretty, but pretty is only skin deep and ugly is to the bone.  Watching Sequoia play in the snow does add a whole new element.  I wish I had set the camera to video mode but at 5am I am not thinking that clearly, it is amazing I had the presence of mind to grab the camera.  I seriously had to laugh as she bounded through the snow, tail in the air, mouth open tongue lolling out to one side.  Every now and again she would dunk her face in the snow then pull it back out totally encrusted in snow up to her ears, her blue eyes sparkling. Then she would stretch out her neck, her eyes would narrow to slits as she put her nose high in the air and breath in all the scents the world has to offer her. The next moment she would be bounding through the snow again. If Sequoia has taught me anything it is to take the time to live in the moment.  It is a lesson I forget all to easily, thankfully she is there to remind time and time again.

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The following are just a few examples of how small, small towns really are.

The person who they just hired for a customer service position where I work, used to work with my neighbour.

 A sales person where I work now, used to work at the same branch of the same bank in the same position I worked for, only five years earlier.

My neighbour’s beloved baby sitter had to quit because she got a full-time job.  The full-time job was in the lab where my wife works, (we figured out they were the same person years later)

The maintenance person for the building where my wife works is married to the cleaning person at my work.

My ex-dentists, ex-husband is a sales rep where I work.

My wife’s co-workers husband worked with the person who owned the house my new neighbours now own.

My neighbours grandfather built the house I live in. The granddaughters husband installed our central air and heat for us. Later, the company we hired to fix the original install knew the husband in question.

The entire town I live in, and the town next door to the town I live in know exactly where I live if I mention that I live in the ‘old Donaldson place’

The entire wait staff at Denny’s not only knows us by name but our drinks are practically waiting for us before we sit down.

When I go to the local market, and by market I mean gas station with a little store attached people tell me, ‘so you are the ones with the husky who are living in the old Donaldson place”

You don’t have to know my name, just mention the Canadian eh and they all know who you are talking about.

When you go to any sort of ‘meeting’ and everyone is made to stand up and introduce themselves 8 out of 10 people work at the same place.

Never mind small towns, how about a close knit family, go ahead give a listen.

I\’m my own grandpa

Stay tuned, I’m sure I’ll add a few more and I’m sure you will have some of your own to add.

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