Friday, May 28, 2010

One Fish, Two Fish, Three Fishes?

It’s been a busy week. The Victoria Day long weekend was fabulous and it was followed by a busy Tuesday that ended with a phone call to come home quickly because something was wrong with the baby.

Turns out, after a trip to the doctor, the baby was affected by the large amount of pollen in the air coupled with the humidity, which caused his eyes to become swollen, red and itchy. All is well now.

So Wednesday was a day off, Thursday was a catchup day and Friday was a busy interview day, including an interesting conversation with the head of maintenance at the University of Toronto and what turned out to be a fantastic interview with the curator of fishes at the Toronto Zoo and .


Now there is an interesting word.

While doing research on sustainable fishing, I came across a number of sites that said fishes.

So I asked Cindy Lee, the curator of fishes, if that was the correct word for fish plural.

Lee tells me that when you are talking about multiples of the same type of fish, for example 20 goldfish, you would say fish. However, if you are talking about a number of different fish species, for example cod, salmon and catfish, you would call them fishes.

So now you know.

Happy Memorial Day weekend to all who celebrate it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bring on the Long Weekend

While our neighbours to the south have a long weekend next Monday – thanks to Memorial Day – most Canadians are kicking off summer this weekend with our own long weekend – Victoria Day.

As Canada is still part of the British commonwealth, most provinces celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday on what is known as the May 2-4, the unofficial start of summer complete with treks to the cottage, barbecues and fireworks.

As I live in cottage country, at 2:30 p.m. I will make the hour commute to my home, pick up my son, go shopping and relax for three days.

Bring on the long weekend.

Well, That Was A Mistake
At my house, whenever you had a stomachache, my mom suggested you have mint to help.

Just so everyone knows, eating most of a Terry’s mint-flavoured chocolate ‘orange’ in one sitting does the exact opposite – it really hurts your stomach.

Ice Cream Time
Ice cream is not my favourite snack. I would rather have a brownie or a home-baked cookie of some sort.

Maybe because it’s the long weekend and the start of summer or maybe because it’s hot, sunny and beautiful out there, but I could really go for a scoop of chocolate ice cream – or raspberry sorbet – in a cone.

Thank You Weather Gods
Thank you weather gods, for giving us sunshine or only a bit of rain this Victoria Day long weekend.

I heard on the radio this morning we wind chill of -3 C last year.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

If I Was Rich and Didn’t Care About The Environment…

A coworker and I were talking about cars. She said she doesn’t understand cars – in the literal sense, as in she doesn’t know how they work, as well as the attitude that surrounds them.

She said if she won the lottery, she would buy a car that was reliable and would get her from Point A to Point B without any trouble. Otherwise, she wouldn’t care what kind of car she drives.

Not me.

I love cars.

If I won the lottery, or had some sort of acting talent and was making $1 million per episode, I would be driving a new car each week.

So here is my list of cars that I would drive if I was rich, didn’t care about the environment and could drive standard:

• Mustang, any year
• Corvette, any year
• Charger, new
• Camero, 2002 and newer, in addition to the latest version, which is lovely
• Trans am, 2002
• Hummer, particularly the army-issued variety
• Lamborghini Diablo as seen in Mission Impossible 3, but any version would do
• Ferrari Enzo, but really, any version would do. The car would have to be in red
• Porsche Spyder
• Porsche 911
• Dodge Viper
• Cadillac CTS as seen in Matrix Reloaded
• Cadillac's Escalade as seen in Matrix Reloaded
• BMW 6 series
• Mercedes SLR sports car
• Mini Cooper (OK, these just look fun. See the remake of the Italian Job)
• Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle (add motorcycle license to the list of requirements)
• Longbow helicopter (add helicopter license to list)
• Carver Marquis yacht (you might as well dream big.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Careful…You Never Know Who is Reading

In a recent blog post, I mentioned I had decided to change the way I behaved and responded to negativity. Shell from Things I Can't Say said it's my blog and it's a place for me to rant, and I should feel free to do so.

True, but only to a point.

A blog, regardless if it is personal, is still on the Internet, and is open to anyone who happens to find you through a search or six degrees of separation.

You never know who is reading: the boss, your coworkers, your parents, your inlaws, your children, a perspective boss or client. Much like Facebook, what you put on your blog stays in cyberspace forever so you have to be careful what you write or it may come back to haunt you.

Other than two slips of judgment, one of which was really bad, I am careful about what I write on my blog – I don’t write about specific people and the things they do; I don’t go into details when I really want to; and I try to remember who may be reading when I am writing.

And if I am feeling angry, hurt or resentful, I pick up a pen and write it all down in my private, and offline, journal. The old-fashioned way ensures no one gets hurt and opportunities aren’t lost.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Better Than Paris

I have been reading a number of blogs recently about visiting what is considered by some to be the romance capital of the world – Paris, France.

I have been to Paris. It was a nice city. I have been told we didn’t spend enough time in it, just one busy day that saw us go on a boat tour, tour Notre Dame and Sacre-Couer (I would recommend you poke around the back and not just stay at the front), visit the shops and restaurants along Champs-Elysees and more.

Saying that, Paris was not my favourite part of France, and those who are planning a tour to the small country would be mistaken not to spend a few days at Mont St. Michel.

Located in Normandy, France, Mont St. Michel is a fantastic medieval fortress that sits on a cliff and is an island twice a year.

Mont St. Michel is every fantasy book I have read come to life. There are tunnels and pathways, narrow streets (there are no cars allowed on the island), restaurants and shops, the abbey and more.

We stayed on the island for several days and I never tired of walking around and looking at the views. When the island is not surrounded by water, you can walk to the neighbouring islands, one of which was covered by screaming seagulls.

If you like history and awe-inspiring views, you must go to Mont St. Michel.

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Way of Thinking

I was reading an article on the weekend about stress and how your attitude allows you to deal with your body’s fight-or-flight response.

I skipped over some of the more, in my mind, hokey parts, but the basic idea of the article is you have the ability to deal with stress positively or negatively.
I thought about this article in relation to what some people have commented is my negative attitude in my blog.

In hindsight, perhaps I have been down a bit and it has obviously come out in my writing.

My apologies to all I have offended, although I suppose at the time I was hoping to offend in hopes for people to look at themselves and see what others see.

But based on this article, and Handbook 2010, an email I received from a friend, which lists a number of things to keep in mind in the health, personality, society and life categories, I need to look more at myself rather than worry so much about what others are doing or saying.

So my new goal is to let go things that really bug me and walk away when rudeness reaches new levels; remember I am good at my job and a good person; and to think happy thoughts when negativity and unhappiness surrounds me.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happiness Is…

• Little boy giggles.
• Little boy ‘sad’ face.
• Little boy hugs.
• Little boy talk.
• Little girls’ games.
• Little girls’ conversations.
• Peanut butter and honey sandwiches.
• Lilacs.
• Weekends.
• Baked goods.
• Laughter.
• Heated seats.
• Family fun.
• Sunshine with heat.
• Puddle jumping.
• Baby animals.
• Nature.
• Lakeside views.
• Painted bedrooms.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Action Dreams

I am so tired.

My doctor, who is also my son’s doctor, recently said in order to get proper sleep, I was going to have to wean my son through the night.

My little guy now goes to sleep at about 7:30 p.m. and sleeps until around 5:30 a.m.

So I should be getting around nine hours of sleep myself.

But then I remembered – I have never had uninterrupted sleep.

I get up every couple of hours to pee even if I don’t after dinner. And then there are my action dreams.

Now that I am likely getting into a deep sleep, my action dreams, or sleepwalking, have return with a vengeance and I find myself wandering around the bedroom or down the hall.

I jump out of the bed in terror because in my dreams my son is choking or I have somehow lost him.

I wake up reaching for things, pushing away things or hiding from things. I have the same dream each night, waking up in the midst of saving my husband (or just shaking him awake) or scaling the wall because I have seen something.

I am so tired, not because my son is up every two hours to nurse, but because I am up non-stop, even when I am sleeping

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Forecast today: Rain, cold and windy

My son has the book Duck and Goose, How are you feeling? By Tad Hills.

One page, either duck or goose, I can’t remember which one, is strolling through a field. It’s a dark, grey day, the flowers are closed and he is ‘sad.’

The next page, duck or goose is jumping for joy. The sky is blue and dotted with white clouds, the sun is shining and the flowers are open and bright. He is ‘happy.’

I think that is why I have been a little sad recently.

We had snow on Mother’s Day, and it’s been dark, windy, rainy and cold since.

However, the rain doesn’t always make me sad. In the spring when the rain is accompanied by some warmth, I love watching the rain, playing in the rain and listening to the rain. And I love the smell of rain, just after a spring shower.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pet Peeves Tuesday

I try not to let too many things bug me otherwise I turn into a frustrated, annoyed person. However, I thought I would list some of the things that continue to bug me.

In writing
• That.
In most sentences, you do not need to use the word that. It’s a redundant word. Read your sentences and take out the word that as often as possible.
• Brand new
This one really annoys me. It’s not a brand new car. It’s just a new car.
• Very
He was angry. End of story.


• People who do not signal or who put their signal light on as they are in the process of turning.
• People who jump the lanes so they can sneak into several cars ahead. I realize they are in fact saving themselves some time, but it’s rude and it pisses me off.
• Tailgaters have always annoyed me. Now they also scare me. If I have to stop suddenly, I will likely be successful but they won’t.

• Negativity. It drags you down.
• Backstabbers. Don’t be nice to my face and then be awful behind my back.
• Tattle-tellers. If you have a problem with me, let me know and I will try to be accommodating. Don’t talk to others without talking to me first. Remember what you tell you kids: if you are only telling to get me in trouble, don’t bother.
• Respect. Try it.

On a different note, yesterday I saw a mom fox and her two babies. They were so cute. Hence, the picture.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Haunted by Chernobyl

I received a letter to the editor about wind and nuclear power in my day job as a copy editor for a group of community newspapers in the City of Toronto.

The letter writer was talking the cost of wind energy versus nuclear. As wind can only be gathered 20 per cent of the time, nuclear is in fact cheaper over the long run because it can be used and gathered all day, every day regardless of, well, the wind, the letter writer wrote.

The letter writer then went on to say that in our lifetime, there has only been two nuclear disasters, both due to operator error: one in 1979 on island near Harrisburg, Penn., and the second one in 1986 in Chernobyl, Ukraine, which was also blamed on faulty equipment.

As a copy editor, I have to confirm what people say is correct and also give background information.

I was about 11 years old when the ‘accident’ occurred in Ukraine. I am thankful the Internet wasn’t around when I was in Grade 6 and that my parents and teachers didn’t dwell on this disaster as I am sure I would have been terrified by it. As it was, I remember hearing about it but only as something that didn’t affect me, that happened in the past.

Twenty-four years later, as a mid-30 year old, I am now haunted by what I have read and the photos I have seen. I looked up the basic information for the letter, to confirm these disasters were operator and equipment error, which then led me to reading old news stories, looking up photos and reading stories about people who are now going on tours of the surrounding ghost towns.

I can’t get Chernobyl, and its stories, out of my head. I feel sickened by it.

So it seems I should share some of the more horrific details with you.

• The firefighters who went in to put out the fire died because of radiation poisoning. One firefighter’s body is still inside the reactor.

• The former USSR government didn’t tell anyone, including neighbouring countries, they had a nuclear explosion and it wasn’t until governments of European countries noticed large amounts of radiation blowing into their jurisdictions did the former Soviet Union let them know what was happening.

• The Soviet Union government didn’t let their people know the seriousness of the accident. In fact, older school children went to class in Pripyat, the town where workers of the nuclear plant lived, the next day.

• The bridge of death is so named because local residents stood on it to watch the rainbow-coloured fire on the reactor and died because of severe radiation poisoning.

• There is a forest called the Red Forest named because it glowed red after the accident.

• Hundreds of neighbouring towns no longer exist because of radiation contamination. The current government is trying to bring the towns back to life, 24 years later, saying the radiation is not as bad as people claim. However, the device, that measures radiation beeps dramatically when you enter these towns.

• You can now tour Chernobyl and neighbouring towns. However, you can’t go off the asphalt otherwise you’ll need a chemical shower to get the radiation off you.

• The reactor that exploded is covered by a sarcophagus, which is now crumbling and in need of repairs. People are paid $1,000 a month to work two minutes a day to repair it. They can only work that long as the radiation level is that high.

Visit this website for more information and pictures about the disaster.

As far as the letter writer goes, his letter makes me angry. I am not disagreeing that wind turbines come with their own health problems nor am I saying we should have wind farms. However, you can’t compare the dangers of wind farms to that of nuclear energy. There may have only been two nuclear disasters in our lifetime, but the death and the suffering is continuing.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Random Thought Fridays

• The mosquitoes are back. They are big, they are nasty and they are hungry. I am hoping my son has my husband’s yucky blood rather then my tasty stuff. I am willing to sacrifice myself– literally – for my son.

• It was my one-year blogging anniversary yesterday. I started the blog when my little guy was six months old with the idea of making money off of it. A year later, no money, but I am having fun. Like any good blogger, I am addicted to comments.

You must look up Megan’s response to my horse farm posting. It makes me laugh each time I think about it. If you are in the mood for chocolate, check out her blog posting about a restaurant in NYC city that serves the good stuff.

• My son now says ‘Please.’ He also says ‘Cheese, please,’ which I think is funny. Of course, I have to remember just because he says please – and it’s oh so cute - it doesn’t mean he gets what he wants. I found myself reaching to turn the TV on because he said ‘TV please.’

• I owe the Canadian government money from 2009. I filed my income tax return and hoped the government would find an error and I owed them less than I thought. Sadly, this didn’t happen. I begin paying this week.

• Last weekend, my niece, brother, son and I saw a ‘mommy and daddy’ Canada geese with seven little ones. They are so cute. We also checked out a tent caterpillar nest and my son got within inches of stuffing a peanut into a chipmunk’s mouth.

I was surprised the chipmunk let us get that close. Later, my son and I sat on the ground and called the chipmunk. It was cute to watch my guy imitate me calling the little creature. Sadly, the chipmunk ignored us.

• It’s been almost a year since we had to put our cat, Sylvester, down. I miss him, particularly the nighttime cuddling, and wonder how he would have like the moving, chasing baby.

The daycare provider has three cats, but the oldest is my favourite. Fluffy is a longhaired calico and like all calicos, Fluffy is a she. She apparently also has the calico trait of being…unpleasant.

For whatever reason, she seems to like me and greets us each morning, lets me pet her, chat with her and scratch her ears. This morning she was purring. I told LC that I was taking Fluffy home. Fluffy makes me miss Sylvester even more. She makes me also realize I am almost ready for a cat.

• Puppies and little boys. They seem to go together don’t they? I had a beautiful golden retriever-black lab growing up. We put Buffey down more than 10 years ago. I still miss her. However, I had no desire for another dog.

Dogs are a lot of responsibility. You have to walk them, rain or shine; pick up poop; come home; find a dog sitter when you are going away for the weekend or a dog walker if you are going to be longer than a day.

I still don’t want a dog, but somehow the idea of my son and a dog just seems right. Don’t get your hopes up, Alex Day, we are not getting a dog any time soon.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy Thursday Thoughts

I didn’t want my first posting since Friday to be one of bitterness and panic, so I thought I would instead focus on Happy Thursday Thoughts.

• Good news week.

There was happy news from both sides of the family this weekend. As it’s not my business to share, that is all I can say. I know that’s not very nice but you can trust me – it’s happy news.

• Spring is here.
It seemed like it happened overnight. One day there were buds on the trees and the next, the trees were offering a full canopy of leaves. I have decided spring, pre-bugs, is my favourite time of year.

• Secure employment.

There was a story on the radio this morning about how people are doing the jobs of two or three because so many people have been laid off. I am lucky that I have an enjoyable job that is fairly secure.

• Mother’s Day.
It’s Mother’s Day Sunday. I am thankful I have such a strong, caring mom. She means the world to me. For the second year, I am also being celebrated. My little guy brings joy to me every single day.

• Family.
I have a loving family who brings me happiness and joy.

• Thursday.
Only one more day to go and then it’s two days of hanging out with my little guy and my family. Bring on the weekend.

• Sun and warmth.
The day can’t be bad when the sun is shining and there is heat within its rays.