Saturday, September 30, 2006

WCB #69

Here are the Couch Potatoes...need I say more? Actually, this is Mr. Mao's usual position, Madame Dutchess just likes to park herself on us when she wants to be fed, lest we forget about that. Head on over to The House of (Mostly) Black Cats for this weeks roundup of Weekend Cat Blogging.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Link to the Past

Although there is a lot of stuff going on right now, it all seems so mundane and just not blogworthy enough.
The last few weekends have given us damp cold weather so we haven't been to the trailer. Doesn't look like we're going there this weekend either with definite rain in the forecast and only a high of 11 C (which is 51.8F in American.) I'm sure that the cats would stare at us peevishly and think that we were animal torturers if we were to take them there this weekend. They are a wee bit spoiled, and like to be warm.
My friend KD was in town for a conference and a few of us managed to get together for dinner last night. It's always fun rehashing old times when we met back in Saudi and were working at the Eye Hospital. The pictures here show what my accomodations were like. It's hard to believe that I was only 27 when I arrived there. I was young, full of adventure, and everyday life was new and exciting. Kevin reminded me of our weekend to Jubail which I hadn't thought about in years. Jubail is an Industrial Oil City, and I remember driving past miles and miles of Oil Refineries to get to their only hotel by the sea. The Eastern Provinces are much more liberal than Riyadh so it was a great weekend away with our male friends and we didn't have to worry about the religious police. There was sand, beach, turquoise water, paddle boats, speed boats. Kevin, the natural athlete wowed everybody with his water-skiing abilities. What was great about this hotel, was that Westerners and Saudis spent the weekend together harmoniously, all enjoying the weekend. We did have a good laugh though, recalling the Saudi women dressed completely in their black garb on the paddle boats, some even daring to go into the water with their metres of abaya floating around them in an inky mess. Very daring for them...what they must have thought of us, baring all in our bathing suits in front of men! And might I mention that the guys were wearing Speedos?!
On my second night in Riyadh, Kevin had indroduced me to KD, figuring that we would like each other because of our common interest in the band Blue Rodeo. KD knocked on my door a few hours after our introduction and invited me to 'Dip Night.' She had an excellent connection at the Canadian Embassy and once a month, on a Wednesday night (the Saudi equivalent of Friday night) they would provide real booze for their expatriots. I was terribly jet-lagged but she would not take no for an answer! So, I went.
Let's just say it was my Coming Out Party. I was the new meat in town...and Boy! did I feel like Scarlett O'Hara! The ratio of men:women is probably 10:1. Being a very inexperienced 27 year old I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I have never had that many men literally at my feet wanting to get to know me. But I have to say, it was a once in a lifetime never happened again. After one was all over. KD, took me around town and introduced me to many people, and of course, I had to fall for the biggest Leba-loser in the world. OK, maybe not in the whole world, but none-the-less, the biggest loser in the world that I have ever come across. But, that's a whole other story, and lets just say that after 8 years of mental abuse and immmaturity, that chapter ended. But my friendships with KD and Kevin, and a whole slew of people in England, Australia and the US have survived, and every once in a while it's really good to stir up those old memories.

Friday, September 22, 2006


I've never been happier to see the end of a work week.
It has been super busy in the Recovery Room. With summer vacations being over, the surgeons are all back full-force working on the backlog of patients awaiting their operations.
The days were hectic, and patients were generally very grateful that a)their surgeries were finally over b) that they were alive and c)that there was a hospital bed assigned to them.
One patient stands out this week because she was the most obnoxious, manipulative, rude, passive-aggressive Wench that I've ever come across in sixteen years of nursing. I was very nice and accommodating to her, although, I must admit, when she wasn't looking, I was rolling my eyeballs around so much that it hurt. And, as time passed, I would really have liked to have given her a good swift kick to the head (only I'm not limber enough.) But, let me reitterate: I was polite to no point did I intentionally antagonize her. I have witnesses!
This woman has had a significant chronic illness since she was 8. So, she has been in and out of hospitals since then and let's just say, that she knows her way around hospitals probably better than any doctor or nurse. Because of this illness, she has abnormal muscle tone, so this surgery was the second blilateral browlift that she has had in a few years. (Ummm..not sure but the surgeon might have actually overcompensated the browlift so he wouldn't have to deal with her again...her brows were perfect semi-circles located quite close to her browline. She kind of looked like she was going to have a permanent SURPRISED! look which, I must admit, was incredibly comical.) (And, she had little beady eyes) However, comical she was not.
This woman gave me such a hard time when she found out where her bed assignment was. In our hospital, the plastic surgury beds are shared with the orthopaedic unit. She felt that the nurses would not be able to handle her condition adequately, that she needed to be assigned on a unit with neurosurgical patients. So...she would rather be sharing a room with a head injured trauma patient, that someone with a broken bone. (OK>>>WTF?!) I tried assuring her that the nurses were well aware of her condition, and would be able to handle it. She threatened to pull out her IV, find her clothes and leave the hospital if she was being forced to go there. She wanted to speak to the Hospital Administrator. Then she started the spitting. She spat and spat and spat some more, and I was so grossed out! She told me she was having an asthma attack and if she were at home, she would take her puffer. Uh...Ya...right. I didn't hear a single wheeze, but I humoured her. I got her a brand new puffer, and a brand new aerochamber ( a plastic thing that makes it a little easier to take puffers)
Then I called her surgeon, told him I was having a problem with her, that she didn't want to go to her assigned bed, and also needed a specific kind of pain medication for her, because "nothing else worked for her" and that she was being rather difficult.
Anyway...blah-dee-blah-dee-blah...long story short...she refused to sign the Leave Against Medical Advice form without "Her Lawyer present" but left anyway and took the freakin' bus home...Highbrows and all.
I had a funny feeling about her, so I filled in all kinds of forms, wrote myself an email about her and called the appropriate Hospital Higher-ups. They, of course ignored my phone message, until.....
...Yesterday, she decided to return to the hospital to file a complaint about me. Apparently, I have given her HIV from a dirty aerochamber and she was demanding bloodwork to be done! Can you friggin' believe that?!?!?!?!
The Patient Advocate to whom she was complaining to, recalled my message so suddenly she had the heads up! There was no reasoning with this psycho woman and she eventually made her way to the CEO of the hospital! OMG!!!
In a way, I'm impressed because I would have no idea what the $2 Million Man looked like, and she had the balls to sit in his office and refuse to leave until she had her wishes met! I can only hope that he might sympathize with a lowly nurse upon meeting the likes of her.
So, she had her HIV test.
But I'll bet at least $2 Million that that won't be the last time that she wreaks havoc in Ontario's hospital system.

WCB #68

Mr. Mao would love to wish Sarah Jane a very Happy 3rd 24th Birthday, and would be very happy to help Tiggy blow out some candles! Thanks for hosting WCB this week! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

ICE: In Case of Emergency

The following information was posted on my work email today from our Security Department. It seems like a really good idea, so I thought I would pass it on.
Security Task Force Safety Tip: ICE - In Case of Emergency
A recent article from the Toronto Star, "the ICE idea", is catching on and it is a very simple, yet important method of contact for you or a loved one in case of an emergency. As cell phones are carried by the majority of the population, all you need to do is program the number of a contact person or persons and store the name as "ICE". The idea was thought up by a paramedic who found that when they went to the scenes of accidents, there were always mobile phones with patients,but they didn't know which numbers to call. He therefore thought that it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognized name to file "next of kin" under.
Following a disaster in London. .The East Anglican Ambulance Servicehas launched a national "In case of Emergency (ICE)" campaign. The idea is that you store the word "ICE " in your mobile phone addressbook, and with it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted "In Case of Emergency ." In an emergency situation, Emergency Services personnel and hospital staff would then be able to quickly contact your next of kin, by simply dialling the number programmed under "ICE". For more than one contact name simply enter ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc.
A great idea that could make a difference!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Mirror, mirror...

Does anyone know where I can buy a mirror that will do this?! Or, perhaps goggles that the rest of the world can wear so that I don't have to go on a diet (again!)

Friday, September 15, 2006


Mr. Mao dreams of one day being a big-shot celebrity cat on TV (this was the best pic I could find in a music-and-arts theme!)
Many thanks to
Cat Synth for volunteering for Weekend Cat Blogging this weekend! Do go check it out for more links to cute kitty pics and wonderful blogs. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Toronto Film Festival

OK, now for something WAYYYYY more light-hearted. Last night I went to the World Premiere of El Cantante at the Toronto Film Festival, and it was so much fun!!!
The red carpet was rolled out, it was all a glitz and a glamour, the paparazzi were out in full force...and all just waiting for me! Nahhh, you you that's not true. They weren't waiting for me, but rather for JLo and Marc Anthony!

She looked absolutely stunning in a long white sequined gown, her hair piled high on top of her head. He, looked a little tiny, to be truthful.

Before the movie started, the director and JLo and Marc went on stage and said a few words. The crowd went WILD when JLo spoke! She came across as being very happy, friendly, and humble. Marc didn't say a whole lot, he let her have the limelight but he did have a smile that stretched from ear to ear.

I really enjoyed the movie, both JLo and Marc were excellent, and the Salsa music was incredible...I have a new respect for Marc Anthony.

" The fabulous Lopez delivers the goods as Puchi: all tight dresses, oversized sunglasses and sexy New York brass. Anthony is a revelation, bringing a pitch-perfect combination of charm and vulnerability to the endearing but star-crossed Hector. His captivating vocals adorn re-recordings of Lavoe's hits - an unforgettable repertoire of classic songs that enrich the story with all the lustiness, joy and heartbreak this music conveys - in entrancing concert set-pieces. El Cantante is a must-see, a tale of love and loss set to an irresistible clave beat."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sept 11

I didn't want today to pass without making an acknowledgment about Sept 11th.
I remember being at work that day and a physiotherapist came by and very quietly said that something bad had happened at the World Trade Centre in New York. We always have a few TV's set up for patients who are well enough to watch and that day, I have to admit, we were all glued to CNN.
I remember going on my morning coffee break, and a bunch of us were silently watching the news. We were all there together when the second plane flew into the second tower. I remember we were all looking at each other, shocked, confused, and the newscaster's voice was breaking up in anguish. We cleared out the ICU, and our director contacted NYC letting them know that we had available beds if needed. My 12 hour shift turned into a 14 hour shift, we were on Code Orange Alert, and not permitted to go home. As it turned out, the beds were not needed...there weren't enough survivors who required ICU.
The world has never been the same, and likely never will be as innocent as it once was.
What frightens me the most about these terrorists, is their affiliation to Islam, and how they have declared a Holy War. I have lived in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, the home of Mecca. I don't think that Islam is evil, let's just get that straight. The majority of people I met were extremely kind, respectful, and thankful for the care that their family members were receiving. I loved living there and learning about their culture. Most people there lead their lives in a quiet religious manner, following the tenents of Islam. There were times, admittedly, that I felt suffocated by the lifestyle, and I did my fair share of eyeball rolling. But mostly, my thoughts were: live and let live...I didn't go there to change their way of thinking, I went there to experience it. I am interested in religion, I just personally, don't want much to do with it.
This past week, I read a book by Kathy Reichs called Cross Bones. On the last page of the book, I came across something that expresses exactly how I feel:
"The Torah, the Bible, the Koran. Each offers a recipe for spiritual contentment, for hope, for love, and for controlling basic human passions, and each claims to have gotten the recipe straight from God, but via a different messenger. They're all just trying to provide a formula for orderly, spiritual living, but somehow the message gets twisted, like cells in a body turning cancerous. Self-appointed spokesmen declare the boundaries of correct belief, outsiders are labeled heretics, and the faithful are called upon to attack them. I don't think it was meant to be that way."
Whoo-hoo. Sunday night and I'm at work. As I start this post it is 1:13am, and tonight is one of those nights when I won't be able to catch a nap. The OR is still running, they are operating on some poor soul who has a bowel obstruction, and I am watching over a 20-something youngling who had his appendix removed today, and there are no beds available in the hospital for him post-operatively. Welcome to Canadian healthcare. At least he is a very nice young guy who is sleeping quite peacefully. I'll be the one struggling to stay awake.
Weekends when I work, I am the only nurse on nightshift, and it's a dark, lonely place here in the Recovery Room. I am working with an Environmental Service Provider, which is a fancy way of saying Housekeeper. I guess everyone gets to have a politically correct title these days, except us Nurses. Really though , he is here because otherwise I would be completely alone save for the nicely drugged up, sleeping patient I am watching. I hardly think that he would be able to help me if the boogy-man were to come and get me.
Anyway, the ESP is nice enough, but I don't know him very well, and he is well, a little odd. Last night he brought in a pillow for him to rest his head on during nap time. Know what it was? An empty wine bag that he had filled with air. You know when you buy a box of wine and there is a bag inside with a spout so it's like you have a little keg-o-wine? Well, he says you can fill it up with as much or as little air as you like, and it's quite comfortable. (Except for the tin-foil crinkle sound everytime you move your head!!!) He also has a tendency to listen in on conversations and add his two cents worth. So, he knows I've just bought a house, and he thought he would give me an unsolicited tip about driveway paving. The first time he mentioned it, I humoured him. Twenty minutes later he continued his lesson on driveway paving and tarring. Half an hour later, he discussed sealing. Another half hour later he remembered that you have to prime before you seal.
WTF?! I finally had to say to him that I really had no intention of paving, tarring, or sealing my driveway anytime soon, that the driveway actually looked pretty good. At the rate he was going, I thought he might actually want to discuss it all night!
Sigh. OK, I'm mean, I know. He was just trying to be nice.
I'll stop blogging now and throw him a bone. Maybe I'll ask him how to prevent ants from building anthills in the driveway cracks just to get the conversation rolling again...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Book Club

With all the excitement of buying a new house, I forgot to mention that we bought it the night before Greg flew Out West for 5 days to Guitar Tech for a band. We've been on the phone numerous times throughout these days, but today there was no running around and I had a really quiet day to myself.
What did I do? I started a book The Birth House when I woke up from my nightshift at noon. It's now 10pm and I just finished it! It was that good, that I just could not put it down.
So now, a quick shower before I head off to work again.
Read the's an 11/10.

WCB #66

Who needs a stuffed animal on a bed, when I've got a very sleepy Mr. Mao making himself all cozy? This week, head on over to Chef Sarah Jane's place to catch up on Weekend Cat Blogging. Thanks Sarah Jane!
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Friday, September 08, 2006

Lemons and Auras

There are times, when life sends unexpectedly good things my way. I don't think that I am a particularly 'lucky' person, but I do know that when I have a desire for something, it usually happens in a very good way.
Now, I've mentioned before, that I am not a particularly religious person, and I don't believe in heaven or hell. And, while my thinking or beliefs might be considered unorthodox (maybe even childish) I do believe that when your body dies, your spirit lives on. Not in the form of a ghost, but maybe more of as an Aura.
So, when good things happen to me, I like to think that it is my Dad watching out for me.
The year after my Dad died, I needed a reliable car. I went out one day with my brother to various used car dealerships, and all we found were expensive, rusty lemons. It was a cold, miserable day and we were only too happy to get home. My brother resumed his position on the couch and I read the Buy and Sell section of the paper. I saw an ad for the exact car I wanted and called the number. A little old lady answered and said that it was her grand-daughter selling the car, but that it was 'just lovely.' After much grumbling from my brother I talked him into going out to see the car (it was quite a hike away.) I remember saying to him "if the car is green, I'm going to buy it." We turned the corner, the car was green, it ran perfectly, it was half the price of the used-car lot lemons, and I had a new car. They even threw in the winter tires.
I believe my Dad sent me to look at this car. I have had the car for 6 years now, and have never had a problem with it. And have never been in a car accident with it.
I lived in my first downtown condo for two years. I called it my Chickie-pad and lived a 'Sex in the City' kind of lifestyle courtesy of Lavalife. When I adopted Mr. Mao, my Chickie-pad was suddenly too small for me and a cat. I also found myself enjoying evenings at home with Mao more than going out on a bunch of blind dates. But with no room for a litter box, and a very hyper cat, it became a lemon.
So, I bought this condo for Mao 4 years ago. Three weeks after moving in, I met Greg. And, the day after meeting him, I just knew. I just knew that he was The One. We have been very happy living here, and again, I believe that my Dad somehow arranged this.
Last week we went house hunting. The first house we fell in love with was absolutely not in the area where we had wanted to live. I grew up in the Suburbs, and didn't want to move back. As you know, that house ended up being a lemon. In looking around at the area where we wanted to live, the houses were all very run down and would have required thousands of dollars of renovations in order for them to be even livable. I asked Greg to have an open mind about the suburbs, knowing in my heart, that it was our best option, but not wanting to push him into living in a place where he would be unhappy.
Surprisingly, Greg took a day off work, and drove around the city with a list of all the houses that he had seen on MLS. He came home later that day, and he agreed that we would be smarter to move a little further out of the downtown core to get more value for our money.
The very next house we looked at, is the one we bought. It needs no renovations. It has a yard. It is walking distance to the beach. It is 10 minutes from my mom (far enough away that she can't drop by for a cup of sugar, close enough that it's made her VERY happy) ( I even bull-shitted her and told her we had moved closer to her on purpose, figuring the white lie wouldn't hurt!) It is a 25 minute drive to the core. I was automatically approved for a mortgage, and since I had worked at this particular bank branch 17 years ago, my financial advisor gave me the staff mortgage rate.
And something else, that's a little strange? The Sellers of this house, have family photos hanging everywhere. In their bedroom, is a portrait of a man, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Greg. We were teasing Greg when we initially went through the house. When the deal was signed the Sellers wanted to meet us, so we spent an hour getting to know each other. I asked the husband who the fellow in the picture was. He looked at the picture, looked at Greg, looked at his wife, his wife looked at Greg, and she whispered "Dave, my son." Is that freakin' spooky or what?!
Well, the story goes on. They asked us if we need basement furniture (which we do) and they said that they were interested in selling everything in the basement, including the giant tv's and all the stereo equipment, and if we wanted it, we had first dibs. And, we could have all the booze in the bar, they didn't want it.
Crazy. Now I'm wondering where Dave is, in all of this. (I hope that he is still alive and kicking.)

Is it silly of me to think that my Dad is watching over me?
I kind of like the thought.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New House

Hmmm, hmmm-hmmm-hmmm...
Would you like to see my new house?
Click Here! and check out the multimedia button at the top.
We put an offer in tonight, and it was accepted!
I can't wait! I don't even think I'm going to miss my red kitchen anymore...

Monday, September 04, 2006

WCB #65---Whisker Glory

You know that old saying "If something is too good to be true, it usually is?" Well, we went to have one more look at the house we liked so much, and ended up being terribly disappointed. There was water damage in the basement, and when Greg pulled up the carpeting in one of the corners, the subfloor was black with water damage, and the termites were scurrying away! Ewwwww! We decided to walk away quickly, very quickly.
So, we are back to the house hunt. One thing that we discovered though, was that we are keeping an open mind to making the move back in to the suburbs. The houses are more affordable, the properties are bigger, and the area we are looking in is really just 25 minutes from the downtown core. I'm sure we'll find something in the next few weeks.
Our long weekend at the trailer was wet and rainy, but a lot of fun. I had some of my friends up for a couple of nights, and it was a great, cozy time. I think everyone had a good weekend, despite the tail end of Ernesto raining down on us.
I was too late for Weekend Cat Blogging this week, but do take the time to head on over to Miss Ellies Page who was kind enough to host this week.
Here's The Dutchess, in all her Whisker Glory.