misslynx: (Me - w/ Kiska (on couch))
  1. Some dogs handle being tied up outside while you go into a store (or, in this case, the farmer's market) better than others.

  2. In particular, if it is a fairly nippy day, a long-haired dog of a northern breed (huskies and variants thereof, etc.) will probably be fine as long as they're not out there for too long, but a short-haired dog may be really unhappy about it.

  3. And temperament-wise, a mellow dog will just relax and enjoy the sunshine, while a high-strung/dependent dog will get incredibly agitated and bark and whine constantly until its humans come back. The latter should really not be left tied up outside if you can possibly help it. They will (a) be very unhappy, and (b) drive everyone else around them, canine and human, crazy.

  4. Similarly, a very young, energetic dog that can't hold still for more than 30 seconds is perhaps also not the best candidate for being tied outside for any length of time.

  5. There is more than one post/handle/railing/etc. that dogs can be tied to outside the Wychwood Barns farmers' market. Seriously. Look around.

  6. So, given all of the above, was it really fucking necessary to tie three other dogs, all of whom were varying degrees of short-haired, high-strung, unhappy, cold, over-energetic and constantly barking, to the same post Kiska was tied to, with all of them on short leashes so that they couldn't get away from each other?
FFS, people. By the time I got out there (and I wasn't even inside for very long), their leashes were tangled together into a near-impenetrable knot that took me probably longer to untangle than it had taken me to buy my veggies in the first place. I'm just thankful it hadn't yet degenerated into a full-on fight. Maybe you were thinking the dogs would enjoy each other's company and help keep each other warm. But it certainly didn't look like that was how it was working out.

On the bright side, I have rarely seen Kiska quite as happy as she was when I finally got her leash free so that she could get away from the other dogs...
misslynx: (Me w/ Kiska (on couch))
First surreal moment of the day:

Where are we going, and why are we in this handcart? )

And this (among many other reasons) is why I should never become a bus driver. Because that would be me. Every single day.

. . .

Second surreal moment of the day:

The Hound of the Baskervilles... wants to be your friend )

. . .

In less surreal news, I am now coming to fully appreciate why cardigan sweaters are popular among middle-aged women. In particular, things like those "twin sets" of cardigan + camisole/tank-top. I think I need to get about a dozen of them.

Random perimenopausal grousing )
misslynx: (Cat Attack)
Had a very weird experience walking Kiska earlier tonight. Just past the park I usually take her to, she was up on the lawn of a house sniffing at things, when I saw a small, long-haired ginger cat looking at us. Out of habit, I called to the cat, although I didn't really expect him to come near with Kiska there. But he did, though a little hesitantly, and came up and rubbed against my hand, though glancing warily at Kiska and making a few little warning "wrr-rrr-rrr" type sounds under his breath.

Kiska noticed the cat and came over closer, because Kiska is made of optimism where cats are concerned, and expects all strange cats to want to be her friend, despite the fact that in the five years I've had her, this has almost never been the case. I expected the cat to run away, but no -- he glared up and her, and then walked across the little wall he was standing on, directly in front of Kiska, who was only inches away. I had just started to compliment him on being fearless, when he suddenly turned around took a whack at her with his paw. She yelped and jumped back, then, giving him a wide berth, jumped down the sidewalk and stayed on the far side of me, glancing nervously at the cat, who by now I guess she was pretty certain was not her friend.

The cat, looking very pleased with himself, strolled back along the wall and rubbed up against me again -- and then jumped off the wall and went charging straight for Kiska. He got in one good swiped before she yelped and ran out into the street, and I got in between them and pushed him back.

Since this was now well beyond admirable fearlessness in a cat and into sheer thuggishness, I tried saying emphatically "NO! BAD kitty!" while keeping Kiska behind me and urging her to get moving, which at this point took very little urging. So we started off, only to look back and see that the cat was following us, with a look of determination in his eyes. The fact that Kiska outweighed him by about ten times didn't seem to deter him at all (nor did it reassure Kiska any -- she was definitely trying to put some distance between her and this cat).

I stopped and told him to go back, which being a cat he ignored completely. His body language didn't look aggressive, and he seemed to be looking at me more than at Kiska, so I thought maybe he'd just swiped at her because she was on his territory before, and he was now following us just because he was affection-starved or something. So I reached out to him, somewhat against my better judgment, and he came up and rubbed adorably on my hand looking all sweet and cute again -- and then, as soon as he had me off guard, darted past me and tried to attack Kiska again!

I intercepted him, just barely, and yelled "BAD kitty! GO HOME!", pointing back to the house where we'd found him, but he just kept trying to duck around me to get at Kiska again. So I nudge him back with one foot, and then took off with Kiska, not running, but walking very fast. Looked back: he was following us again.

When we crossed the street diagonally to our block, he stayed on the corner, and began mewing piteously, as thought to say "Wait! Wait! Why are you leaving? Look at me! I am cute and adorable! How could you possibly abandon me like this? Don't you realize that I have not been petted or given attention EVER?"

Not about to be fooled at this point, I left him there, and when I eventually couldn't hear the mewing any more, glanced back just to be sure -- and the damn cat had crossed the street and was heading after us again. So for the remaining long block down to our building Kiska and I played Dodge The Ginger Avenger, with me running interference when necessary -- and the cat nearly always trying to get friendly with me in between bouts of trying to assassinate my dog.

At one point we passed another pedestrian, and the cat seemed to get distracted, looking up at the new person with the same "Love me! Love me NOW!" sort of look that he had tried on me, but apparently got nowhere. I glanced back hopefully and saw no sign of the cat, and thought momentarily that we had escaped -- only to suddenly have him dart out from behind a hedge and go after Kiska again.

We picked up the pace and soon seemed to have lost him again, and finally made it home with no sign of the cat -- until suddenly he appeared from behind a parked car and tried to chase Kiska right into the building.

I got Kiska inside and closed the door, trying to figure out what to do about the cat, who promptly strolled over onto the patio of the Italian restaurant I live above. My apartment is right on the corner of a busy street, and psycho or not, I didn't want the cat to get run over. But on the other hand, given his apparent volatility, I wasn't sure I wanted to try and carry him back to his home -- Kiska may be up to date on her vaccinations, but I'm not! Not to mention that I didn't know if the house where we first saw him even was his home. He didn't have a collar on, though he clearly wasn't a stray -- long-haired cats get matted very quickly if they're not groomed regularly, and his coat was perfectly silky and tangle-free.

Eventually, I lost sight of him and went inside to soothe Kiska's frazzled nerves, leaving Ninja Kitty to find his own way home, though I felt kind of bad about it. I suppose it's weird to be concerned with the well-being of a canicidal and possibly insane stalker cat who seems to have devoted himself to the downfall of my dog, but I do hope he gets home OK.

But I think I may be a little warier of befriending strange cats in the future, because some are clearly stranger than others.
misslynx: (Default)
Every visit I have with Aidan, I keep thinking of all the cute or impressive things he's doing and making mental notes to post them on LJ. And yet, most of the time by the time I've dropped him off, either I'm tired, or hungry and need to cook, or have messages from clients that want answering, and somehow I never get around to posting them.

So this time, I've just got to actually do it, because the number of cute and/or awesome things he has been doing is mounting up too high to be borne. So, in no particular order, some great Aidan moments/discoveries/accomplishments of late:
  • Meow: Aidan is very big on meowing lately. He meows just about every time he sees a cat, including in pictures, from a distance, through a window, etc. He also meows any time he's approaching my apartment building, and all the way up the stairs once inside. Apparently, due to the cats in residence, my new home has been christened House of Meow. His version of meow tends to have an extra m at the end, so it's more like "mee-yom", but the intonation makes it unmistakably a meow.

    He'll even use it to refer to cats when they're not present — one time recently in the park I said it was time to go back to my place, and he replied "Meyom, meyom, da-ga!" (da-ga is Aidanese for dog). At first this seemed a bit random, but then he repeated it, looking intently at me the way he does when he's clearly trying to get something specific across, and I realized he was basically saying "Cat, cat, dog" — as in, yes, we're going to the place where there are two cat and a dog.

  • Dogs: He is fascinated by dogs, but also seems little scared of them, though sometimes it looks more like play-scared than real scared. Every time we see a dog — Kiska or any other — he seems absolutely enthralled, and usually wants to go closer to them to get a better look, but if the dog approaches him or even looks at him, he'll fling himself into my arms or hide behind my legs as though he's terrified and in need of protection, though most of the time he's smiling when he does it. He's even done this when Kiska looks up at him through the doorway when she's lying in her dog bed in the next room.

    I think it may be partly the fact that yes, dogs are mostly bigger than him and thus maybe a bit scary for real, but it also seems to be at least partly a game, especially when he peeks out from his hiding place coyly until he catches the dog's eye, then squeaks and hides his face again. But he can't be all that scared because he always wants to go see dogs in the park. One of his favourite recent dog encounters recently was with a golden retriever that was leashed to a signpost in the park, so he could position himself just a few inches beyond where the dog could reach, watching it from the closest possible safe distance (we'd already established with the dog's owner that it was friendly, BTW). After a while of watching like that — and rebuffing all attempts to get him to do anything other than stay watching the dog — he finally tiptoed up behind it while it was lying down with its back to him, and petted it, very gently. Of course, as soon as it turned its head to see who was petting it, he squeaked and dived back to safety in my arms, but he had a delighted look on his face even then.

  • Music: Aidan is a tremendous music lover, and seems to like dancing as much as any of his parents. He knows how to turn on the clock radio in my bedroom, and also how to adjust the volume, and any time I take him in there, he'll go straight for the radio, turn it on, and then start bouncing around happily on his knees, flapping his arms in his own unique style of dancing. If we're out in the living room, he likes to have music on the computer — today I hadn't put any on at first, and at a certain point he looked pointedly at the computer and then at me, and said "Dat!" So I fired up iTunes, and he immediately started dancing happily. I guess the computer has now been identified as Source Of Music just like the radio, and it's only a matter of time before he finds a way to turn it on himself. Hell, he's already figured out not just which button turns on my cell phone, but also which one takes the keypad lock off, disturbingly enough. Which brings me to:

  • Phones: He's obsessed with telephones. He's always trying to get his hands on my cell phone, and when at home, the landline as well. When he doesn't have one of those, sometimes he'll pick up any other random object of a similar shape and size and pretend it's a phone. What he does with them is press them to his ear like he's talking on the phone, and while originally he would say "I!" ("Hi!" with the h dropped, basically), he's now graduated to "Ello!" He's also now started deciding that the phone is sometimes for me, and will hold the phone up to my ear instead. And earlier today, even Kiska had a phone call, apparently.

  • Gargoyles: Speaking of taking after certain of his parents, he's fascinated with the stone gargoyle on my bedroom windowsill. He often stares at it with great interest, sometimes tracing its various parts with his fingers. One time, a few visits back, he tried to feed it a piece of apple. He held the apple out to it as if expecting it to come to life and take it from his hands. When this failed to happen, he looked annoyed for a moment, and then reached out and smashed the apple into the gargoyle's little fanged mouth. Apparently satisfied that it had had its share, he was then able to go back to eating.

    But we had some particular gargoyle progress today — I'd been saying the word "gargoyle" to him before when he was focussed on it, but today he clearly said "ga-go" back when I said it. And repeated it several times, as though trying to get used to the word.

    He also started touching specific parts of it, and was able to associate them with parts of his body. First he was poking its eyes, so I said "eyes", and pointed to its eyes, then his, then mine. He watched with that sort of intent learning look that he has sometimes, as I repeated it a couple of times, and then he pointed to its eyes and then his and said "eye!" I did the same with noses, which made him laugh, and then, without prompting, he touched the gargoyle's tongue, then stuck his own tongue out and touched it! And a bit later when playing in the next room, he suddenly pointed at his eye and said "eye!"

  • In general, watching him learn about the world, and about how to communicate, is one of the coolest things about having a child this age in my life. Every single visit it seems like he's picking up new words or signs, or in some other way coming to new realizations. watching him do all that is like discovering the world, and language, all over again. It's both adorable and impressive, by turns.
And there are also PICTURES )
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
Alert to dog owners in Toronto - in case you haven't heard, there's been another case of dog poisonings in a public park. This time it was Dog Hill, in High Park -- someone laced the drinking water provided for the dogs there with antifreeze, and two dogs died.

Full story

This comes after a few years ago, someone left bits of meat laced with pesticide around Withrow Park in the east end, another popular park with dog owners. And I think in between those two there was an incident in another park where someone scattered broken glass and other sharp objects in a dogs' off-leash area in another park, though I don't really recall the details of that one.

This incident hit closer to home for me than the others, though, because I've been to Dog Hill with Kiska. She's probably drunk out those same water bowls. Not recently, fortunately, but still...

Further thoughts )
misslynx: (Oh R'lyeh?)
Today, I:
  1. Survived a one-shot Call of Cthulhu game with no ill effects except temporary insanity, scars from a shotgun blast to the face, and a deep desire never to see the inside of a cave again under any circumstances (which would probably be less problematic were my character not a professional caving guide). Ironically, I think it was the insanity that saved me, since it made me panic, scream and run like mad for the nearest exit, which all things concerned was probably the most sensible thing I could have done under the circumstances.

  2. Met a dog that had been rescued from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. His new owner had only had him for two weeks, because he was one of the dogs that the rescue organization had had the hardest time placing. Had he not been adopted within a few days of when he was, he would have been put down. He had reacted to the trauma he'd been through by becoming really skittish and fearful of people, so when people came to adopt dogs, he'd shy away from them, and they'd adopt the friendlier dogs instead.

    But this guy adopted him, and after only two weeks in his forever home, he was much improved. He was able to socialize with Kiska while being only mildly jumpy, though he did initially cringe back and growl a little when I offered him my hand to sniff, so I could see why some potential owners might have reacted negatively to him. But when I stayed still, and his owner and I both spoke to him soothingly, he eventually slunk forward and sniffed my hand and tentatively wagged his tail a little. He seemed like a nice dog, just one who'd been through some very bad times. But it's amazing what a loving home will help a dog recover from.

  3. Discovered that a combination of cooldown time, chocolate and willpower will eventually allow me to answer even an e-mail that pushes all sorts of different emotional buttons and hotspots in a reasonably calm and civilized manner.

  4. Also discovered that, despite not having weighed myself in a long time and fearing the worst, and despite having been inundated with many and various forms of really good chocolate over the course of birthday week, I not only have not regained any weight, but having finally hit 180 (well, 180.2), and thus feel justified in finally crossing out the "30" on my profile and writing "35" (as in, pounds lost, under the Goals Accomplished section).

    5 pounds more to my target weight. Unless I for some reason decide I feel a compelling desire to actually land within the "normal" range of the BMI, which would require another 7 pounds or so coming off. But really, I recall 175 as feeling pretty good, and that will probably do just fine.
More substantial update coming... someday. Right now, the only reason I am awake is that I should theoretically be working, as I did not get a lot of work done this weekend between various things. But I am tired and cannot brain, so I think I will go to bed.
misslynx: (In tree)
I have a love-hate relationship with this time of year.

Love, because seasons of transition, autumn and spring, are much more appealling to me than seasons of extremes (winter and summer). I like seeing all the day-by-day changes and the slow shift from light to darkness, darkness to light.

And because the colours of the leaves, the movement of their fall, and their scent in the air are so very beautiful. I live in a neighbourhood with a lot of huge old trees, and the autumn leaves are a very intense presence here. Right now we are hitting the point when they're coming off the trees en masse, and walking Kiska today, both times, I was entranced watching them swirling down from the trees.

There were a few points when the sight of them seemed to stir something visceral in me, some kind of almost bodily resonance that I get at times when seeing something beautiful (nearly always in nature), where it seems to reverberate in me in a way that feels almost sexual.

It's that kind of feeling, in a sense, that makes me a pagan, though I can see how for someone else it could make them something else entirely, depending on their own beliefs and frame of reference. What I don't understand, at times like that, is how anyone can not feel a connection to nature. It feels so present and intense for me that trying to imagine not having that is like trying to imagine being without one of my senses. Intellectually, I know there are plenty of people out there who don't feel anything of the sort. But emotionally/experientially, I find it really hard to comprehend.

There are, however, some specific aspects of nature and the turning of the wheel that I do not love. You will recall my reference to a love-hate relationship with late autumn.

The hate part mainly comes in with the lack of sunlight. I know, I know, I'm going to lose all my goth points saying this, but I need a certain amount of sunlight to keep me on an even keel. Ironic given that I never go outside in the summer without a ton of sunscreen and sometimes a parasol, but when the days become too short, it starts feeling oppressive to me, like everything is closing in on me somehow, or at least like time is somehow slipping away from me.

I think it may be partly a touch of seasonal affective disorder or something -- since we descended into the current pattern of short, grey days and cold rain, I have been inordinately moody, so I suspect my serotonin levels are all out of whack somehow. It's not so bad in actual winter -- the sun seems to shine a little more often, and sometimes there is snow to reflect it. The presence of snow in winter improves my mood by about 500%. But in late fall, there's almost never more that a few scattered flakes once in a while, not enough to make a difference.

Also, working at home, where I don't have to leave home for my work day to start, does not help, since what little light there is is outside and I am inside.

Having a dog does help, though. Dogs have to pee, and they do not use litter boxes, so that gets me out of the house at an earlyish hour when even right on the solstice it can't possibly be entirely dark. Dogs also need exercise, as do work-at-home geeks, so I try to make Kiska's walks decently long.

And even on rainy days, that means a lot of pretty falling leaves. And sometimes, that's what gets you through the grey times.
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
  1. No babies yet. Just thought I'd get that out of the way first, as it's the question everyone asks as soon as they see or hear from me.

  2. Kiska and I finally got to meet the Newfoundland puppy we've seen at a house on our usual walking route. All I have to say is: WANT! That is the softest, sweetest, wonderfulest little* dog in the world. Except for Kiska, of course. I continue to hope that we will one day get a second dog, perhaps when we're in a house instead of an apartment. I want THAT dog, or at least one very much like her. But [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen thinks Newfoundlands drool too much. And yet, she's having babies, which are also known for drooling... No consistency, I tell you!

  3. And speaking of people in our neighbourhood... In fact, very close at hand. Possibly even better than meeting the Newfoundland puppy on our evening walk was what I heard from one of our downstairs neighbours who was coming in as we were going out: they are moving out on the 31st!

    Any of you that have visited here in the past 9 or 10 months know how great a thing that is. Anyone who has not -- well, picture loud music constantly pounding up through the floor from club-level sound equipment, often until the wee hours of the morning. Loud enough to rattle the windows, and make the couch feel like one of those vibra-massage-chairs. They're nice enough when you meet them in person (usually), and do tend to turn it down when asked (usually), but they are denser than dwarven combat bread and have no idea what constitutes a normal volume for music when you have neighbours. Or even a normal volume for TV, conversation, or door slamming closing. It's like living upstairs from the hip-hop version of the Loud Family from Saturday Night Live.

    And they are moving out. Let there be much rejoicing. I only regret that we will likely not have the chance to drive them crazy in turn with the sound of crying babies (in stereo, yet), or at least not for more than a week or so, depending on when the twins make their appearance. Then again, they'd probably just turn up the music to drown it out.

  4. Some of the subject lines in today's spam harvest seem to be spectacularly surreal. Behold:

    hairy eggplant
    ghastly toothache
    pathetic mastodon
    twisted chainsaw
    mysterious bicep
    placid avocado pit

    I think hairy eggplant may be my favourite. It sounds like it should be a euphemism for something.

  5. I forgot to write, a few weeks back, about my optical revelation. I finally had the long-awaited eye exam where I thought I would have to say goodbye to contact lenses for ever in favour of bifocals, given that I am now officially Middle Aged (and that they don't make bifocal contact lenses in toric, which is what I need due to my astigmatism). But instead, my eye doctor suggested something I'd never heard of: monovision.

    What's that? )
* Little at the moment, anyway. Being as she's a Newfoundland, she is certainly not going to stay little...

Dog funnies

May. 9th, 2007 11:00 am
misslynx: (With Kiska)
Linkage from [livejournal.com profile] elorie:

I has a sweet potato

No, it's not one of those "lolcat" (loldog?) photo thingies, though it references those in a few places -- just the narrative of a very frustrating day with a very determined dog. Well, frustrating to the dog's owner, anyway -- freakin' hilarious to everyone else.
misslynx: (Cat vomit)
Menu Foods, a large pet food manufactuer that makes, among other things, two of the major store brands of cat and dog food sold in Canada (President's Choice and Our Compliments), has just issued a major recall of many of their brands of pet food - specifically the "cuts in gravy" styles that have chunks of meat in liquid gravy. Apprently there have been a number of reports of pets become sick and in some cases going into kidney failure after eating it, ever since they switched to getting wheat gluten from a new supplier.

There's a section on their web site that lists all the affected products: http://www.menufoods.com/recall/

Apart from the store brands, the only others I recognized were Nutro and Iams - I think most of the rest are specifically American.

I should add that it's not everything sold under those brands that's been recalled -- it's specifically the "chunks in gravy" style foods. There's a detailed list on the site.

There's also a story on it on CNN.com: http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/03/17/petfood.recall.ap/

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] nehiwolf in [livejournal.com profile] therianthropy for the original post.
misslynx: (Default)
Well, now. Apparently, no transit strike after all.

Stuff I wrote when it still looked like there would be one )

On the bright side: ask, and ye shall receive. A few days ago, I posted something about wanting to live in a more weird and magical sort of world, and then what should happen but, on Parliament Street, en route to picking up the cheque that covered the first half of our rent, I saw a dog-faced child!

Well, OK. I suppose technically I did not. But it all depends on what you mean by "saw". Is what you see really what's there, or the explanation your brain initially comes up with while trying to make sense of visual input? If the former, then what I saw, I suppose, was an orange pomeranian which had been dressed by its demented owner in a pink sparkly little-girl T-shirt and was sitting in a baby stroller -- and sitting up in a disturbingly human-like posture, at that, not with its paws down the way dogs usually sit, but sitting back on its haunches with its paws up on the safety bar in front of the stroller. But if you take "saw" in the latter sense, then I definitely saw a dog-faced child because that was what my brain told me I was seeing when I first looked at it.

Hey, I wanted weird and magical, and apparently I got it. I suppose it's all a matter of perception...

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