Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Good-bye, Dear Friend

D.J.: June 1990 - October 31, 2006

I said farewell to DJ tonight.

I returned from meetings this afternoon to discover his nasal infection had progressed to bleeding from his nose. There was blood thoughout the house, and lots of it.

I immediately phoned the vet.

They scheduled us for a consult at 5:15 this afternoon. I was hopeful that on consulting the doctors they would suggest we continue with the new anti-biotic, since it had been only three days. Although a veterinary doctor is obligated to suggest all possible options for treatment, we both understood what we were so carefully not saying.

It was time to say good-bye.

The biggest question that ran through my mind was

"How the hell can I in good conscience, play God!?"

Who was to say that he wouldn't bounce back? After all, the treatment was scheduled for 28 days, not 3.

As DJ was sedated, he tried to crawl back into the kennel. He lifted his head as if to say,

"I'm strong, I will make it!"

I stayed with him until he was under the anesthetic. I wonder if it makes me a coward that I didn't stay until the end.

I went to class tonight, probably a good thing too.

I think now is a good time to find comfort in tears.

DJ and Family

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hump Day

I've hit "hump day" in the cycle of things. I noticed it most at school, but over this last weekend I've seen it at work and at home too.

Last week I found myself, for the first time, behind in my assigned reading. The excitement and the high I've felt for school just aren't there.

Work has been status quo on the surface. It takes stepping back to consciously observe the progress. On the up side, I sold off a substantial amount of old, beat up, "it-doesn't-owe-me-a-dime" equipment. The space in the shop is a luxury!

Last night I walked in to a house that needed some TLC. For some reason I just felt really adjetated over the presence of some clutter and a few dishes set to the side of the sink.

It may also have something to do with the fact I had to make an appointment to have some warranty work done on my new washing machine. At the same time I think the dryer needs a heating element. To top that, the furnace is making strange noises and seems to come on at odd intervals - sometimes only minutes between cycles.

On Friday I took DJ to the vet. He's been on numerous batches of anti-biotics to fight a nasal infection. Nothing's working. The vet prescribed a children's antibiotic he says he's had fabulous results with. It's basically Azythromycin. I've been on it. It seems to work well on Turtles, we'll see what success we can achieve with Cats. Sadly, "trying a new drug" is pretty normal in DJ's world these days.

Finally, my body hurts. I had a massage that just about sent me through the roof in pain. I'm locked up in several places from head to toe, and I attribute it to the pace of my life these days. I seem to be paying a lot of attention to "achieving", but keeping my body in order seems to have slipped under the radar... or under the front porch mat. Yes, that must be it. You're welcome to come for a visit, just be mindful of the lump that is me as you step over the sill.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Phon-with-words and breakfast too!

I was babysitting my nieces the other day. The one housekeeping item before lights-out was to give N. a spelling test for school.

Right up my alley! (S'long as it wasn't a Spanish or French spelling test, and it wasn't!)

We ran down the list of a dozen words or so, I corrected the two she misspelled. (She's very bright and not nearly as slow as her Uncle Turtle!)

I noticed the one word was spelled... as it sounded. Most kids I know spell words that way all the time, but this gave me an idea.

T - "You know what we call it when you spell a word like it sounds?"

N - "Ummm... no, I don't know, Uncle T."

T - "We call it phonetically. Can you say 'phonetically'?"

N - "Phon... etically."

T - "Excellent! Now, spell it!"

(do you see what's coming?)

She hands me a scrap of paper:


T - "Excellent! You know what you just did?"

N. - "What?"

T - "You just spelt 'phonetically' - phonetically!"

N. - "Yah, I guess I did!"

I have a word for YOU as well. I'll spell it, you define it:


No Googling!



I made this for breakfast today, thought I'd share...

In the blender..

1 Banana
2 cups (or so) milk
Cocoa powder till it turns dark…or to taste
Brown sugar to taste
2 teaspoons (or so) instant coffee (preferably full-lead, no decaf!)
2 Squares Wheat-a-bix cereal
1-2 Dolops of Peanut butter
Blend till smooth

…and no, it’s not gross!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thinking twice about Timmy's

This last Tuesday was special. Not only was my first-ever University essay due, it also happened to be my prof.'s birthday.

Seeing as receiving 30-odd first-year essays to mark didn't seem to be much of a "birthday present", we needed something else.

How about snacks?

We regularly have a 15 minute break in the almost-three-hour class, so what better than to have something to munch on?

On my way to class then, I detoured via Tim Horton’s located in the food court on Campus.

The time: approaching 5:00 PM

Upon reaching the order counter I asked if I could please have 4-dozen doughnuts. The poor girl on the till (not more than 17, I'm sure...) paused, looked at me in disbelief and said,

"Um... just a sec... I have to check with my manager."


If it were "I'd like a doughnut, please." would you in fact have to check with the manager? It's the same thing, really - I just want one doughnut... 48 times.

Can you believe, the reply to my request was "No."???


"Sorry, the bakery counter is closed. The stock we have has to last us until we close the service counter."

OK, let me get this straight. You sell doughnuts. It's what you do. I came to you wanting to BUY doughnuts. Now you tell me you won't sell me doughnuts? You're just going to hoard them until close? What time is "close"?

"We close at 8:00."

OK. There are TONS of doughnuts here... in fact, there's cookies, pastries, muffins and so forth... I'm dumbfounded. I don't get it.

So, I asked if she could do a combination of cookies, muffins, doughnuts... so as not to deplete the stock of any one given product.


"Three dozen?"



"OK, thank you." (not really, but...)

I decided to wander the food court to see if there were any other options. Low and behold, here we have another bakery stand! Their counter had far less product than Tim's. So, I began by asking if I could get THREE DOZEN of any combination. With a look of sheer delight, the lady behind the till set about loading me up. We started with cookies and moved to muffins. They had no doughnuts, but who cares??

I paid for the items and proceeded to load myself up, backpack, bags of muffins and cookies...

"Here... Have some of these too...", she says, handing me a bag of mini-cookies and a lemon pastry... free. "Thank you, very much!"

Well... I was impressed. Sadly, I’ve forgotten the name of the snack stand! I will confirm and post later! I may just write them a letter, too.

One girl brought a birthday candle. So, after M. chose her muffin, we stuffed the candle in it and lit it.

So... what's with Tim Horton’s? I have to admit, I’m going to think twice before patronising them… seems they don’t really need our business.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Silent Anniversary

On occasion someone will cross your path who profoundly affects your life by awakening your senses and challenging you to take on new and different opportunities.

Today I'm reflecting on a dear friend whom I met one year ago today.

Is there anyone like this in your life?

Enjoy them - they're rare.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


It's done.

It's printed.

It's assembled.

There's no turning back now...

...with 2 hours to spare...


Monday, October 16, 2006

The wall of concentration-frustration

This feels really weird. I'm on the brink of my first project deadline for school. The deadline looms dangerously close. Under normal circumstances, this would cause me to flip into a panic and instantly become super-motivated and focused on getting through it.

I find the opposite is true. I'm becoming increasingly distracted and my level of concentration seems to be diminishing. These distractions include but are not limited to:

I'm tired
I'm hungry
Oh yes, the long list of things OTHER than this that require my attention

I truly thought that I would become so engrossed in the paper that the outside world would just fade into the distance. Not true. The outside world is serving as an annoyance - frustrating me because... when I hit that brick wall of writer's block, my mind zips to something else I'd SOONER be doing than being in writer's block. I'd really rather be slamming words to the page, yammering on and on defending my thesis statement.

Alas, no... I'm just trying to avoid the feeling of writer's limbo by stuffing a distraction in the way.

Chatted with my friend M. yesterday - or was it the day before - about a 5000 word essay he wrote years ago that caused him to stay up all night, drink copious amounts of rye, and meet daylight and his Dad at the breakfast table with a completed work in Canadian History that earned him an 85% grade.

Maybe that's it. I think it was Sare who said "Remember, Turtle... 4AM is the new 1AM..."

So, to Sare's Uncle J. (AKA Anvilcloud) I know I promised a draft by yesterday, and you've been more than kind to offer your experienced quil of guidance, but alas... I'm stuck. I'm going to have a nap and see where it takes me. Then, maybe 4AM will bring with it some inspiration.

And to Jeremiah and Susie too... thanks for the offer... I've hit my wall and need to regroup.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Turtle speaks out

Turtle's First Audio Post

Be forewarned... this piece is not scripted. Today's blogcaster tends to ramble and bump into things like microphone stands.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Turtle Nerd.

I have a confession to make.

I've turned into a nerd.

"A nerd?”, you say...

Yes. Quite.

You see, over the past number of weeks I've taken much delight in school... in English. Delight to the point that... well... I'm afraid to say it... well... OK.

I had work in Olds - a town about an hour north of Calgary - on Saturday night. As I went through the motions of what appeared to be quite a routine event, a wedding reception at the Olds College, I began to feel an itch.

It was an itch to crack the books.

So, once set up, I parked myself in Tim Hortons. I sat myself down with a long john, a blueberry apple fritter and a cup of coffee, double cream.

Here it comes... the nerd part:

I began to read - not in the fashion of the reference text it was, (looking up only that which was important) but rather, beginning at the first page as one would read a novel - the Broadview Handbook to Writing.

Yes, folks. I'm reading reference texts... for fun.

I say again...

I'm reading reference texts for fun.

I didn't make it "cover-to-cover" in the hour and a half I had at my disposal, probably because I was savouring each and every tasty morsal of "this is our idea of good and proper sentence structure".

I won't go into the disappointment I felt when I got home to discover my Speech text from the Radio course (1993) was not where I expected it to be!


Yes, I crave a re-visit to the days of thinking about WHAT one is going to say and HOW one is going to say it - BEFORE one opens one's mouth.

Turtle Nerd out.

Friday, October 06, 2006

"Happy Anniversary, what would you like?" .... "I think I'll take a new washing machine, please."

I'm attempting a short post here, so please excuse the point form.

-Last week my washing machine died.

-What repair guy in his right mind EVER says "You're best to buy a new washer, dude."?

-Turns out October 2006 is my 13th. anniversary here in this particular Turtle Shell.

-Is that why the washer crapped out? Maybe.

-I decided to buy new - this being my... FIFTH washer in the same 13 years.

-Time to go shopping... washing machines are $600 to $2500 CDN Ouch.

-Top load, start, stop... I'm good. $600.00. (I need not fly to the moon with a full-sized window to watch the planets go by!)

-New washers are light. This, too, pleased me. I guess having met with success lightening Hide-A-Bed sofas, why not try it with washing machines too?

After getting it downstairs, the rest was a piece of cake...

...doesn't match, but who cares?

I read the instruction on the peel-away plastic, but felt so warm and fuzzy over a NEW washing machine, I've left it in place, just for now.

...and just for the record, this is the inaugural load.

I love that word, inaugural

[in-aw-gyer-uhl, -ger-uhl]


1. of or pertaining to an inauguration: Harding's inaugural address.
2. marking the beginning of a new venture, series, etc.: the inaugural run of the pony express.


3. an address, as of a president, at the beginning of a term of office.
4. an inaugural ceremony: to attend the presidential inaugural.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Is this a University class or a Literature Club?

Yesterday's class was cool. We spent much of it bantering amongst ourselves in open discussion. Quite literally, it felt like I was a member of a book club, not a student in a formal classroom.

With the exception of a mini-lecture on Chaucer, the bulk of the class was dedicated to discussing what we'd been assigned to read:

The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales
The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale

There's something about my prof. that I absolutely love. She makes me laugh. She's a stickler for all things good like grammar, spelling and proper pronunciation. Also, you'd be best in her class to choose your words carefully BEFORE you open your mouth. She's forever stopping a student, drawing attention to what they've just said and asking them point blank if there's a better way to say it.

This kills me.

I get such a charge out of it!

Call me crazy, but I'm quite literally entertained by that!

The many examples from last night's class escape me except for one... because it was mine. At the beginning of the class, dear Professor M. asked if we all felt we were in the "right" class.

"Is there anyone here who doesn't recognize this room? Are you in the right class?"

She'd realized that there were a couple faces unfamiliar to her - hence the question.

I put up my hand.

She looked puzzled.

"David, you're in the right class, you've been here from the beginning."

"Yes," I said, "but I have a better word."

"A better word?", she inquired.

"Than 'right'", I said. "How about... 'correct'?"

Oh boy. Did I start a discussion!

"Is David right? Is David correct? Which is better?", she queried the class.

She looks to me, "Explain, please."

"Well, 'Are you in the correct classroom?', to my way of thinking is more... precise because 'right' could also be confused with direction." , I said, rather proud of my quick response - which I really didn't have enough time to comfortably formulate before spitting it out! (Once a Turtle, always a Turtle...)

After much debate (and I seriously didn't intend to open a Pandora's Tool Box of Speech) we came to the conclusion that 'right' was perfectly correct as she had used it.

The arguments were flying left, right and centre, and I was a little foggy when the dust had finally settled. From what I remember, the reason she was correct in using the word 'right' is that there is a hair to be split here. Could I remember? Nope.

This morning, I emailed M. to get the straight goods.

DAVID: "...I was reflecting on our discussion from last night regarding the use of the words 'right' and 'correct'. I was trying to sort through by memory all the different arguments that floated about over the course of this discussion. I can't for the life of me remember accurately the conclusion we came to on the difference between 'right' and 'correct' (in the context of "Are you in the 'right' (or 'correct') room?".) Could you jog my memory for me, please? I seem to recall something of "societal" VS.. "permission"? Perhaps I'm still in a fog. I need tea..."

PROF. M.: "...'Right' has, in addition to the usage which is synonymous with 'correct', a moral connotation that 'correct' lacks.

Correctness is about facts, it seems to me, whereas rightness is about being properly (another synonym!) located, morally & ethically.

All this, of course, is semantics!"

So there you have it: one of the things that makes the English language unique and far from dead. Also a fine motivator for all things good... like tea and coffee.

About Me

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.