Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Farewell Babies

Fish keeping is a hobby of mine. I have a beautiful tank of African cichlids in my living room. Cichlids are the most colorful tropical fish, running a close second to the saltwaters. Here are a few shots of the variety I keep. Unfortunately, my camera is in need of a new battery, and this is not my tank, although I have many of the same breeds. I'll try to post my own in the near future.

Some of these fish are, ummm... how would you say... fertile. See the picture of the yellows on the left with black fins. Lil' Dudette is, well, quite active. She pops babies out on a regular basis, as long as I keep her happy with the water quality, tank mates, etc.

These fish are mouth breeders. Lil Dudette drops her eggs in the sand. Then Daddy (often Shaq - the purple fish on the right) comes along and fertilizes them. Dudette picks them up in her mouth and carries them until they hatch. She refrains from eating for 21-28 days while holding her eggs. Eventually you can see little eyes when she opens her mouth. And a few days later her offspring swim right out of her mouth into the open water.

Twice, I have noticed her carrying (picture a chipmunk with full cheeks) and pulled her from the tank during the holding period to protect the babes from evil tank mates. I've seen up to 8 babies come out of that little mouth. Mom returns to the tank and the babies are plunged into the "baby tank". I have been raising 8 of these babies for the past 6 or so months and I believe it is time. So last night, I netted the babes one by one and released them in the big boy tank. I created tiny hiding places so that the smart ones would survive the wrath of the others.

Farewell my babies. Hide wisely.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I'll Wager a Vote

It wasn't till I met my husband that I began to think that I should actually vote. Politics were never a big thing in the family I grew up in. That suited me just fine because, to be honest, I hate politics. The attitude that my vote wouldn't make a difference and that fate would ensure that the "right" candidate would be chosen was my prevailing attitude. "I'll pray about it," my Dad said this morning, stating that a non-informed vote might be worse than not casting a ballot at all. Perhaps.

But I vote now. I've done my homework. My attitude is changing. I think it's my responsibility. Besides, how can I reserve the right to complain if I didn't participate in the first place? I always need to reserve the right to complain (My Grandpa taught me this).

The Husband and I spend some of our summer days with our friends, the Sm'allards. Often this involves going to the Horse Track and watching ponies run around in circles, enjoying the weather and talking. Occasionally, I'll place a wager. Two dollars is the minimum bet. The most I've won back is $3.20. Suddenly I'm standing up at the finish to see if the horse I've chosen is in the lead. Suddenly it matters.

The election race is similar, I think. I watch the candidates as they parade around, choosing the one I think has the most potential. I could draw parallels between the mounds of horse crap at the track and the promises made by hopeful candidates, but I won't. This time on election day, I'll say "I'll wager my vote on person X to win." And I'll eagerly await the final results, because it matters.

Maybe I'll come out $1.20 on top. But if not, at least I've reserved the right to complain.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Today I sit in front of the computer, my mind a blank slate. I've started writing this post a few times, trying to stimulate blog-worthy thoughts to share with you. But I have nothing profound or humorous to say. I'm wishing I could write inspired things that dozens of people would be excited to read. Things that provoke thoughts and feelings in others. I wish I could encourage the masses and stimulate conversations in quaint little coffee shops between friends. But tonight I feel uninspired. My life feels mundane. I just feel... blogstipated.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Inappropriate Happiness

I have been in a radically good mood the last few days. Perhaps it's because I'm enjoying my days off and the weather has been so beautiful. Perhaps it's because I'm well rested. Or perhaps it's because I'm taking prednisone for a horrible rash that I seem to get in Spring. One of the side effects can be "inappropriate happiness." In that case, could I be on it forever?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Sometimes I work in the Emergency Department. It's not my favorite place to be, but my goal is to rack up the experience so that I can soon be doing things I really want to do.

Yesterday I walked in and bumped into a Doctor I used to have to see on a regular basis. I don't like the feelings our chance meetings provoke, and always try to come off as happy and put together as possible.

"How are you Val?" he said

"Super!" I said, and skipped off to do my work.

I told the Husband how I felt. He said "You'll just need to get over that."

That kind of advice has never helped me in the past. I don't suppose it will now. Please never give me that sort of suggestion. It makes me pinchy.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I was thinking about my week last week. It was pretty hectic, and I had a lot of things happen that were "firsts" for me. Let me recap:

- The Husband and I celebrated 3 years of marriage

- Therefore, we enjoyed a couple's massage and a soak in the mineral pool at the Urban Oasis

- The Husband had a birthday and I bought him no presents and gave him no surprises. He wants an ipod that he's decided to purchase in fall. Every other year has been secrets and surprises from his Wife. This year, not even a card. I think I'm a bad wife...

- I worked a night shift after a lady came in with a "spontaneous abortion" of a 17 week pregnancy. I got to spend some time with her, in her grief.

- I looked at the 17 wk conception baby. It was perfectly formed, tiny nose and mouth. My co-worker wrapped it in a blanket.

- I learned that the woman could take home "the products of conception for disposal"

- That made me sick to my stomach

- I discovered that an infant was breathing 2x faster than she should be and contacted the Dr. She'll be okay but the Mum was pretty worried. I sat with her last night while she cried on her bed.

- I assisted in establishing an epidural. I've taken over previously established lines, but never seen them put in. Epidurals are rare at our hospital.

- I came out of a room to find the hospital kitchen barricaded. Long story.

- I saw an 80-something year old shuffle buck naked down the hall. He was really upset, physically upset, that we were trying to bring him back to his room. "There's nothing wrong with me!"

- I discovered that one of our patients had overdosed.

- I spoke to a doctor at Poison Control

- She's going to be okay too.

- I got sworn up and down more than I think ever before and accused of not caring. If I didn't care, why would I try so hard to keep this patient alive?

- On a less nursey note, my favorite radio host - Ace Burpee - called me to wish me a happy international nurses week. I'm still thrilled! Thanks Tim...

I think that's it. More than enough for one week. I'm ready for a few days off.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Drive Through

I almost always grab a large coffee from Tim Horton's on my way to Portage for a night shift. Last night was no exception. However, the following conversation I had with the Timmy's dude on the intercom thing left me smiling:

TH guy: Hello!
Val: Hi
TH guy: How are you?
Val: Super.
TH guy: That's good.
Val: Um, can I place an order?
TH guy: Nope. Not here.
Val: C'monnnnn
TH guy: Well Ok.
Val: Large coffee, one cream
TH guy: That's not a very big order.
Val: Didn't want to overwork you.
TH guy: Ok thanks.

The coffee was handed to me by a female, so I never did meet the voice that made me smile.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

72 To Go

It's our third anniversary today. Three years of loving and learning more than I ever thought possible. Three years of frivolous, practical, mad, logical, dependent, independent, giving, taking kind of love. 3 yrs down, 72 to go...

Looking forward to sleeping in together. We'll enjoy a healthy and tasty smoothie when we awake prior to escaping on our mini-vacation. Time to lounge in the healing waters at the Oasis Mineral Spa before enjoying a couple's massage. We'll unwind further in the mineral pool, hot tub, and sauna before completing our evening with a light supper. The evening will end with a leisurely jaunt with Mr. Bent, a glass of Champagne, and possibly a movie at home.

My rock.
My inspiration.
My best friend.
My biggest fan.
My husband.
I just keep falling in love with you.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Making it My Own

This is a spring to be remembered. For the first time, we have a place to call our own. And we're loving it! I have 3 garden patches. I have filled one with perennials. I have no idea what day lilies, mums, yarrows, and poppies look like and am looking forward to learning. Annuals shall be added in a couple of weeks. Another bed is in pure shade. A couple of Hostas live there and I'm adding Lily of the Valley to their little group. Finally, by the garage is a south facing bed. It shall house the vegetable group. I haven't planted them yet as I'm thinking it's still a bit risky. Good thing I have my Mum, a plant expert if I must say so myself, to consult with in all matters plant. Pictures to come this summer.

On an uglier note, a happily monogamous pair of pigeons has decided to take over my roof. They sit about a foot above our bedroom window and seem to giggle when we groggily curse and slam our window shut in the morning to shut out their evil cooing. Our wonderful neighbor hoisted himself to the nest and destroyed it for us with help from a high pressure washer. Sorry baby birdies, but your parents are evil and it would be better for you to not live at all. I'm really not this kind of person... And last week, lo and behold, another nest. Persistent buggers. This one was removed by yours truly, with the help of a rake. 2 eggs plopped onto the ground. Our neighbor has now taken to shooting these disease infested critters with a sling-shot. All power to him, that's what I say.