Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Poor cats

I got a new toy for Christmas!(A super huge thank-you to you know who you are). It's a camera flash - SB-600. I'm really excited - I think it is going to open up a whole new world of photo fun.

I've been lurking over at for while now (site, flickr). It's a blog about off-camera flash run by this awesome guy David Hobby. The reason he is so awesome is because has taken the time to extensively write about how to use cameras and flashes, all from the goodness of his heart. He gives this info away free on his blog. If you have any interest in learning about non-studio lighting you need to head over there and read up. If he ever does a seminar near me, I'll be the first in line to buy a ticket.

Anyways - now that I have a flash, I'm hoping to work my way through his Lighting 101 and Boot Camp series of assignments. Look for more photos here in the near future.

But in the mean-time, while I'm learning and gathering more equipment (I'm looking at this as an addition to the flash), I'm going to practice on my cats. They don't seem as adverse to the flash as I had anticipated. This is good but I may have to get my good wife to take a look at their eyes periodically to make sure I'm not burning out their retinas.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mystery Plant

I picked up a bouquet of flowers for my wife on the day she had her appendix out. I walked into the store and immediately saw what I would get her: three purple gerber daisies wrapped to a piece of bark in a vase with green stones at the bottom. It was very "Tara".

She loved it of course, probably because just it came from me. A couple of weeks later the gerbers died but the piece of bark started to grow shoots and roots. And now I don't think it's actually a piece of bark at all (they don't call me Mr. Obvious for nothing).

We're going to try to keep this thing alive for as long as we can. The shoots have grown 12cm since we got the thing. It's not pretty, but it is interesting.

I don't know if there are any armchair botanists who read this thing or even stumble upon it, but if you have any idea what this thing is, we would love to know. Leave a comment.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Overactive January


You know when you are right in the middle of Christmas and you have a flurry of things to do, people to see, and places to go? When you are feeling torn between getting everything done and 'enjoying the Christmas'? You know that thought that crosses your mind?
   "I love Christmas, but I'm kinda looking forward to a quiet January"

I've thought it. You've thought it. We all have. And I hope you have had a quiet January. Because ours has been anything but.

Two and a half weeks ago we were sitting at home on a Friday night wondering what we were going to do that weekend. Perhaps we'll go skiing with Tara's sister and husband we thought. We called them up and invited them to go skiing, but the weather was too warm and we just decided to have dinner together and catch a movie.

Before dinner Tara mentioned she wasn't feeling well and after dinner we all could tell she wasn't lying; she was doubled over in pain and kneeling on the floor. While we drove her to the emergency room, I couldn't help but think it was just my risotto that caused this (it was my first time making it - it turned out a little gummy). We saw a nurse right away and they took a CT scan of her gut. The doctor came back with a diagnosis: Appendicitis. But they couldn't operate at the current hospital so we got shipped to Grand River Hospital (at 1:00am).

Tara had her surgery the next morning and then had a couple of complications (nothing I need go into). She was in pretty bad shape for a few days. Her sisters and I went shopping for her and I got her these cool slippers that said "Kiss Me". I thought it might cheer her up, plus they were only $6. It turns out there was a reason they were only $6. They cat-called every time you stepped on them. While I thought this was hilarious (as did Laura and Alissa), I don't think Tara was all that impressed. Neither were her roommates at the hospital (but the nurses got a giggle).

Tara made it home and her mom came to stay with us for a few days to help out. Life could go on now I thought. Right.

Saturday night I closed the door on Fez's tail. At 10:30pm. This necessitated a trip to the Emergency Vet Clinic to pick up some pain killers. We thought it might be broken, but it's fine now. I felt pretty guilty about it, but thought it was just a bad ending to a bad week.

Nope there was more to come.

Tara started to feel worse and worse so on Thursday last week we brought her to the emergency room again. They did an utrasound and saw an abscess in her gut; they admitted her and started pumping her full of antibiotics. Unfortunately there was no beds in the hospital so Tara had to stay and sleep in the emergency room. For 30 hours. They did eventually find a bed for her, but the good surgeon said she could go home just 10 hours after that.

So ya, life has been full and interesting and scary and tiring this new year. I'd rather be in "Christmas mode". What can you do but ride the wave of life? (Because you know at some point that wave is going to crash up against the beach).

A huge thanks to everyone who helped us out over the past few weeks:
* Laura, Tim, Alissa and Linda for sticking around and pitching in
* George, Darren and Steve for giving us lifts (and you too Andy!)
* Our small group for passing along some movies to watch and food to eat
* Hannah and Deb for visiting my sick wife
* All those who sent flowers
* PEER Group for letting me take off time at such short notice
* All of you who have been praying

January has a week and a bit left in it. I'm not expecting a smooth ride, but I am expecting to have fun.

P.S. Here is an audio clip of the slippers. When you listen to it, imagine Tara shuffling along down the hallway, with the cat calls being made with each step...