Things My Father Said

It was eight years ago today that my dad passed.

I guess I’m not really certain if I’ve done things the right way since he died.  I mean, how do you know if you’re giving someone the right amount of thought.  Should I think of him more?  Or is the amount of time I reflect on him and what he meant to me enough?

I won’t ever forget the day when my mom told me.  It’s something you don’t expect to hear after a long day of grading labs or papers – that your father in his mid-fifties passed away early that morning.  How can a person even react to that?

People to this day still say “I’m sorry” when they hear about it.  There’s no need to feel sorry.  I’ve come to grips with his death.  But I know it’s hard to pick something else to say.

My dad and I didn’t always have the best relationship, but he was my father and I loved him no matter what he did…just as he’d have done the same for me.

There’s so many things that I could have said…perhaps even wished I’d said.

But for now, I’ll leave it at this.

Dad, I love you.  I miss you.


What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Every year around this time, people start to feel a little sentimental.  I don’t know if it’s the fact that families and friends are usually together over the holidays, or if it’s the closure of yet another year that makes us want to reflect back on what we’ve accomplished (or not) in the past twelve months.  Regardless, the sentimentality of the season tends to morph into some (often) misplaced desire to better oneself.  What I wish that people would understand is that it shouldn’t take December 31st to make you realize that there may be things in your life that need changing…working on…improving.  There’s no need to wait to resolve to do something.

It’s almost comical to see the commercials on tv this time of year – they almost always have to do with weight loss.  Considering losing weight is one of the top ten New Year’s resolutions on anyone’s list, I’d say the weight loss companies out there are anything but wasting money on them.  Another extremely popular resolution is to get healthier – be it through quitting smoking, exercising more or eating better.  Personal finances are also usually mentioned on the list of resolutions people make – people want to make more money, save more money or just plain get out of debt.  While all of these resolutions are really nice, unless you really just tackle them in the here and now, you’ll probably just get stuck in that resolution cycle of making and then breaking the promise to yourself.  But probably everyone I know has made a list of resolutions at some point in their life…

Even this guy makes resolutions...least he never tried to invade Canada... (Source: Nature's Graffiti)

I haven’t made resolutions in a number of years, but I almost always do spend some time in retrospect towards the completion of the calendar year.  I like to think about where my life is headed, and see if I’m on track.  I don’t really have a five-year plan or anything as stringent as that, but I have a general idea of what direction I’d like my life to be taking.  When I look back on this year, I start to think of all of those things that I’d never have dreamed I’d have accomplished had I tried to imagine them exactly one year ago today.

So instead of coming up with a list of resolutions for myself for 2011, I’ve decided to come up with a list of resolutions for 2010 that I never would have made in my wildest dreams last year.

1)     Get a better job

Don’t get me wrong – my previous job was truly full of opportunity for me.  I learned a lot, and absolutely loved the people I worked with.  I miss them all dearly.  However, I never expected to be able to land a job within the field of study that I spent years of my life in school for.  I’m so excited to get back into GIS again…I love cartography.  This is right where I’ve wanted to be for a long time.  Some people never get to experience this for their whole lives.  For me, being able to land a job in my field within a decade of finishing school makes me feel very fortunate.  My hat’s off to Andrew for putting me on to this opportunity!

2)     Move to a new place

I had some thoughts about moving to a new apartment in the past year.  Perhaps even from Kitchener to Cambridge in order to be closer to work.  But wow!  Who starts the year thinking “I should probably move to Nunavut this year”?  I sure didn’t.  I’m not certain why I never had the thought cross my mind before, especially since, as a geographer, these are the kinds of opportunities that I should probably be looking for.  I suppose that I was afraid of taking such a huge step.  I’ve never lived more than a couple hours’ drive from my family, so out of the territory is a big step for me – especially sight unseen.  It was probably a hindrance to consider relocation expenses, so when an opportunity arises where you don’t have to worry about those, you take it!  And now I live in the Arctic…hmm…who’da thunk it?

3)     Get my blood sugars under control

As a diabetic with a candy fetish, it’s hard to keep good, tight control of my blood sugar.  I never would have expected – even though I recently acquired an insulin pump – that this would be the year where I would finally regain some sort of control over my blood sugar levels.  I’m very proud of myself for reigning in my eating habits a little bit too.  While the pump can help control blood sugar of even the worst of eaters, it takes more than a little bit of insulin to normalize oneself.  I’ve really been trying to behave this year, and it’s definitely helped.

4)     Improve my financial outlook

I have felt for a few years that I’ve been spinning my wheels.  I’ve been slowly trying to pay down my debt, but in not saving any money while doing so, it’s hard to prevent getting further into debt if you have a bad week or month.  This year however, I managed to continue to pay down my debt and open a couple of investment savings accounts to help me look towards the future.  I would like to retire someday.  Really, I would.  This should help.

5)     Become more active

Now that I live in the north, I have stopped driving again.  It goes without saying that I’ve been walking everywhere I need to go (save for a couple of cab rides when I haven’t known where I’m going or have a load of groceries).  I also live on the third floor of an apartment building, so I have stairs I can take instead of the elevator, and let’s face it – every little bit counts.  And these little things add up and help make it easier to just go for a walk when I feel like something recreational.  Hopefully more opportunities will present themselves in the coming months – I’m looking forward to winter recreational activities up here in Nunavut.

6)     Spend more time with my family

This has been a bittersweet year for that.  While I did get to spend a lot of time with my mom, brother and nephew this summer, now that I’ve moved away, that will make it very difficult to see them as often as I’d like.  However, this move has also facilitated my ability to spend more time with Ian considering my commute is effectively a couple of flights of stairs.  It’s very nice being able to come home for lunch and just spend that little part of the day with my husband and our kitties.  I’m sure it breaks the day up nicely for both of us – it’s a change of pace.

So there you have it – my unexpected changes that could have been resolutions, but probably would not have been accomplished if I’d made them last year.  You just really have to do what you know will help you work towards a change – you can’t put it off.  The time for change is now.  Don’t resolve to do something…just do it!  Hmm…maybe Nike had the right idea after all…

I Put A Spell On You

One year ago today, I married my best friend.

Phew, okay, now that the cheese is out of the way, I can tell you the story of our amazing Halloween wedding.  Where to begin…well, I suppose the most appropriate time is sometime in late July 2009.  I was flipping through my calendar at work and realized that Halloween was going to be on a Saturday that year.  Those are the most exciting Halloweens, because more people tend to go all out when the event is on a weekend.  Then it struck me.  Ian and I have been talking about getting married forever, but we weren’t sure what we wanted to do.  We didn’t know how we wanted to handle the fact that we would not be getting married in a church coming from two fairly religious families.  And we definitely wanted something memorable.  What could be more memorable than getting married on Halloween! Continue reading

Everything is Everything

You know those times when you review the pictures on your camera while transferring them to your computer?  The times where you think to yourself, “just what was I trying to capture here?”  Yeah, well, I had one of those moments.  There were so many random images on my camera for this most recent transfer that I decided it might be appropriate to comment on some of them.  And what random post would be complete without new pictures of my kitties?  Not this one, obviously… Continue reading

The Lovecats

Despite having been writing this blog since mid-July, I have not yet had a full-on discussion of one of the most integral parts of my family – my cats.  Over a month…this must be some kind of record.  I really didn’t ever think I’d become a cat person, let alone the crazy cat lady.  Though, I’m not certain if you’re allowed to be a crazy cat lady and married at the same time.  Perhaps it means I am something else.  But I digress…growing up, my family always had dogs.  When I was born, my parents had two golden retrievers…or perhaps just one.  Either way, a large lovely dog.  When he passed on, we became proud owners of a mutt named Benji.  I was obsessed with the movie, and even though our little cockapoo didn’t look a thing like the Benji on the big screen, that’s just who he was going to be.  Eventually Benji passed as well, and we were sans pet for some time.  My brother was probably born sometime around then, so there may have been a connection there, but I can’t be sure.
We were left with a pet void for a while, and then one day we came home from helping out at a Christmas bazaar, and lo and behold, a cat was sitting on the front porch.  My brother and I were desperate for a pet at that point I think, but our mom wouldn’t bite.  Eventually I think we wore her down.  However, the cat seemed to wear her down more than us, as we’d come home or look out the window to find her hanging off of the window screen every once in a while.  Our mom finally agreed to take her in, but only if we put an ad in the paper to see if the cat was missing.  We got a call from a lady who said her cat was missing.  The description was right…well, except for one crucial point.  The cat she was looking for was a boy…this was clearly a female.  However, our parents told the lady to come by anyway to see.  Apparently the cat didn’t want to be found, as she disappeared for a couple of days while the lady was about to stop by.  With no cat to see, the woman didn’t bother to come back…annnnnnnd the cat came back…the very next day…   
We adopted our first cat and called her Sophie.  Seventeen years later, the name suits her more and more each day.  She’s a lovely, regal creature.  Very snooty.  Wants her way, no matter what you’re doing at the time, and oh she wants it now!  But we love her dearly and she’s become a big part of our lives.  The vet believes that she was likely around two years old when she adopted us, so that would make her about 19 now.  Apparently that’s comparative to being 92.  No wonder she’s so cranky.   

Sophie in her favourite place in the to the water bowl.


Sophie has given us loads of adventures over the years.  We were concerned when I moved from Niagara Falls to Waterloo for school, but she transitioned nicely.  She loves to travel in the car – completely happy to hang out on Ian’s lap or lounge on the centre console.  But even in her old age, she’s rather spritely…chasing after unseen spirits and scratching on the carpet in a strange running and stopping pattern.  We’ve been lucky with how healthy she’s been.  She does like to throw a curve ball at us occasionally…she decided that she would rather like to explore outside of our cottage on a trip to Quebec last year.  She’s not an outside cat.  After about 36 hours of worrying, searching the surrounding woods, and writing up a sign in French to display in the area for a missing cat, she decided to appear from under the cottage.  We’re not sure if she explored the area, didn’t like it and returned to the cottage, unable to find her way back inside, or if she was under there for the whole time, but either way, she’d finished her adventures and returned to us.  Thankfully.   

In the summer of 2009, we discovered a lovely little gal that would hang out in our backyard.  We fed her, and called her Mel.  We were concerned that she was very small and wanted to help her to find a home, as Sophie likely would not have accepted another cat into our household.  After a number of weeks of begging, my brother and sister in law said that they would adopt Mel.  We brought her down to Niagara Falls with some goodies like a cat bed and toys, and settled her into her new home.  A couple of weeks later, my brother called to let us know how Mel was…well…she was pregnant.  Oh boy.  Our good deed was about to multiply!   

Mel gave birth on August 31 to two kittens and September 1 (my birthday) to the second two.  Rather than leave my brother saddled with five cats, we adopted two of them.  Pretty good considering we didn’t even think Sophie would be happy with one.  The second oldest of the litter, a calico, was to be named Brit, and one of the two born on my birthday, an orange and white guy, would be named Jemaine.  Some of you may catch the Flight of the Conchords reference (and may also connect that back to Mel).   

The fuzzy babies shortly after arriving at our home...


We brought Brit and Jemaine up to Kitchener shortly after Ian and I got married – the week of our mini-moon.  They adjusted quickly to the new surroundings and we introduced them very slowly to Sophie.  Ian built a cat wall in the basement so that we could keep them in their own area, while allowing Sophie to understand that someone new was around.  Shortly after, we integrated them into the rest of the house, and by Christmas, everyone was sleeping upstairs.   

Sophie still doesn’t particularly like Jemaine.  She tolerates Brit.  Both kittens are fascinated with Sophie.  They don’t understand that when she runs away from them, it is because she wants to be rid of them, not that she wants to play.  For the most part, they leave each other alone, but there are times when we catch them all hanging out together.   

All aboard the kitty-go-round...


 It’s funny.  They all have very distinct personalities.  I’m sure I’ll speak more about them in other postings.  But for now, I’ll leave you with some of my favourite pictures…  

Sophie prides herself on being an intellectual


Knocked out in his cat bed. With MY beach towel. Well, what's left of it. It's the second towel he's destroyed with his nesting.


Brit posing on the cat climber


Sophie keeping a close eye on Brit...plotting death I'm sure...


I can only imagine the conversation...


Shocking us all, Jemaine decided to go sit on Sophie. It didn't last. Jemaine won the blankets for the afternoon with this power move.