Tag Archives: animal

My First Apple Tree (Part 2)

After a few weeks of non-stop activities surrounding the apple tree that wouldn’t stop dropping bushels of apples, I finally got a day off thanks to thunderstorms.

I took a moment to realize what a struggle it had become to wedge in the apple picking, the sorting and the distribution, between everything else I needed to do and before it got too hot and humid outside. I had to suspend pretty much all other garden maintenance work when I had only a limited window to work with in the early morning.

With the apple tree still dropping apples faster than we could collect them and everyone’s hands cramping from peeling the apples we gave them, I was feeling stressed.

With bags of apples accumulating quickly, getting progressively larger and waiting for the next “disposal”, we were attracting more than our fair share of insects and possibly fauna as I kept spotting partially eaten apples showing up in random parts of the property nowhere near the apple tree.

Funny enough, I realized that in the recent rush of apple activity, I was too busy to notice that my legs and glutes weren’t burning anymore. I guess the body adjusted to the intense activity… hello bright side!

When I took to the Internet to do some research, I discovered that yard work can burn about 300 calories per hour. That seemed to bring a whole new perspective and positive mindset about the time and effort I was devoting to the apples. When stretching, squatting and moving bags of heavy and wet apples was part of my daily morning routine, who needs a gym work out consisting of stretches, squats and weights? Continue reading

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Filed under food, home, Humour

When the Cat Has an Upset Stomach

From the time when Ivy the Wonder Cat joined me, I have to admit that my floors and I have been pretty lucky.

With only a few rare exceptions, it seems that she has a stomach made of steel, metaphorically speaking, of course.

And as much as friends and colleagues warned me about volcanic eruptions of hairballs and everything that comes with them, Ivy has been pretty good in that department as well.

Funny enough, it’s when she is nervous about something, whether it is change, disruption, car rides or temporary relocation that I can almost guarantee that she will need to barf… three days later.

Why three? I don’t know.

But it isn’t a problem, it’s not her fault. That’s her stress reliever.

If that’s her way of doing the Taylor Swift “Shake it off” to move on with her life, all I can do is to empathize and to clean it up. Having experienced anxiety issues leading to severe knots in the stomach and eventually throwing up, I completely understand. Like father, like daughter. Continue reading

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Filed under Cats, Humour

Would I Volunteer When I Retire?

Ever since I turned 50, not a day passes that I don’t consider what I might want to do in retirement.

It is kind of funny because for the first half of my career, it was all about mentally preparing for the next work assignment and the next career step, hoping to strike to right balance between something I can be good at, something lucrative and sustainable, and something that will keep me happy.

At this stage in life, the hunt is still on, but not so much about the next career step as it is for activities I may be interested in pursuing in my next chapter.

Of course, there is no rush. As I suggested in my post about my retirement “gap year”, sleeping, recharging my batteries and writing for the fun of it will be my top activities in that first year. But at the same time, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking note of the activities that make me happy and which hold particular meaning to me.

Volunteering is one of those activities.

Much like with one’s career, I think it is very important to pitch in not only where the need exists but also to volunteer for causes that are close to one’s heart. In doing so, the time spent volunteering should be more fun and energizing rather than draining.

This is what I tried to explain to my dad many moons ago, when he objected to my volunteering just as I was launching my career. In retrospect, I certainly understand his point of view in that it was important to focus my full energy to my burgeoning career. But early on, there were days that I felt that my job was not tapping into my full potential, especially from a creative perspective.
That is why I was looking for other outlets. Continue reading

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Filed under 50+, Cats, Inspiring

Ivy’s Mysterious Past

When it comes to Ivy the cat, I have to say, I am incredibly lucky. She is a happy cat, relaxed, content, healthy as can be and a delight to have around. She is clearly an extrovert as she loves to be around people and she appears pretty calm around other animals.

After 7 months, she has no doubt of who her adoptive daddy is. I am always here to ensure her needs are met, including a lot of time for play and for chilling together. When I head out the door, she is sad to see me go, even if it is just to put her poop bag in the garbage outside, and she always greets me with open paws when I get home from work.

But every once in a while, she will do a little something out of character that has me asking, “Where did that come from?” Aside from meowing like an ambulance from time to time, she really is perfect in every way which makes a rare quirk easy to disregard, but still makes me very curious as to why.

When she ran into that little feline parasite thing about 4 months ago, I called the Ottawa Humane Society to check into her immunization and treatment history to confirm what else she may require to be completely up to date. At the same time, I had a chance to ask a bit more about her back story from her life as a stray and how long she had been living life “on the streets”.

I teared up to think about little Miss Ivy (currently Queen of this household) living a life of rooting through people’s garbage, looking for shelter, living outside through a winter that seemingly never ended, with no place to call home or a human to call her own to offer her affection whenever she wanted. Who knows how she was able to survive.

I get images of her standing on the street corner, posing by a cardboard recycling bin, with a cigarette in her right paw, seductively meowing to crusty old tomcats, “You wanna date?” just to find warmth and shelter, even if just for a few minutes. How was she able to sustain her catnip habit? Did she have to turn to a life of “pet”-ty crime? It must have been a very dark and lonely life. Continue reading

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Filed under Cats, Humour, Inspiring