Monday

Left home earlier than usual this morning so that I could stand on the platform and wait for a train that I could fit onto. Well, I could have fit on any of them, if the people in front of me would move INTO the train instead of just crowding themselves into the doorway. Eventually I was the one boarding first so pushed my way into the area between two cars, where there would have been tons of room were it not for the pieces of shite wearing their backpacks, oblivious to the notion that there might be other people nearby.

Wrestled with a decision all the way in. Still undecided but possibly resigned to feeling like I don’t really have a choice, and that it’s my own fault if that’s the case.

Growing weary of the bullshit and lies, yet allow them to go unchallenged because I just can’t invoke my righteous rage if it’s in defence of my own well-being.

Arrived to find more angry emails about things that aren’t my fault, yet come down on me, anyway, because life.

Forgot to mention another little thing from my volunteer shift yesterday. It involved simply drying the feet of two birds (no idea what they are called) after they’d been in the sink getting a bit cleaned up. Neither liked it, and both of them kicked a lot as soon as they were lifted out, which is why it was a two woman job. I had to grab one foot at a time, but gently enough that I didn’t hurt the little ones, and luckily for me they both stopped kicking once I’d gotten a light grip on one foot, so I could pat them dry, and leave them to kick again once I’d let go.

I talked to them the whole time (not that it helped them, but I think it helped me), and it ended up feeling like this intimate little moment between us. Not an entirely good moment, but not an entirely bad one, either.

My family’s going through some stuff, my buddy’s going through some stuff, I’m going through some stuff. I learned at a young age that people will usually stop being cruel if they don’t get a reaction out of you, as the reaction is ultimately what they/we want. Same goes for other actions, of course, but usually we don’t want the good ones to stop. I learned to hide what I was feeling – hide my reactions – and I learned it so well that I have a much more difficult time expressing them now than I do keeping them closed. It can be frustrating.

I am angry today.

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Volunteering

This morning, I went to my first volunteer shift at a place called Hands On Exotics.  They are a shelter/zoo of sorts, accredited by CAZA but not open to the public.  They take in mostly animals on the more exotic side of the spectrum, from rats, bunnies and ferrets, to parrots and other bird species, to a whack of reptiles and snakes, all the way to a lynx, various lemurs, a porcupine, kangaroos, a quokka, skunks, foxes…and the list goes on.  Many came from being either pets that were given up, or illegally owned, some from other zoos, but not matter where they come from, each individual critter has a story.  And the people who work at Hands On Exotics do their best to give each one of them the best quality of life possible.

They do a lot of outreach with many of the animals – birthday parties, presentations, fairs and other shows.  Some of the animals have appeared in film and television, and some are even capable therapy animals.  Any funds earned are funnelled back into the centre and the maintenance/improvement of the animals in their care.

A former co-worker and I once talked about possibly hiring them to do a birthday party for US, and we planned to only invite a handful of people so that we could mostly have the animals all to ourselves!

I actually haven’t ruled that out, if I could save enough for it and find a place we could do it outside.

Anyway, any doubts or concerns I’d had about volunteering there were laid to rest during the orientation session, but I really didn’t have a good sense of what it would be like until I worked my first shift.  That’s what I did today.

I did basically 3 tasks, and there were a couple on the board that I didn’t even get to, but already there’s a ton to remember, and to keep in mind.

I started off in the small rodents area, where I had to wash/change/refresh all the food and water dishes.  There were rats, ferrets, sugar gliders, a bunny, hedgehogs, and an opossum.  Or possum?  It was sleeping and I can’t remember what the sign said.  Anyway, most of them were pretty easy, even though I was slow at it.  I did each thing one at a time so that I wouldn’t forget anybody’s bowl.  The only real issue was the bitey ferrets.  Two of them were okay and mostly ignored me, but the other two (and I was warned) were not going to make it simple for me.  I locked them into one part of their cage so that they couldn’t get at me while I changed their bowls out.  But then I had to drop their ladder back down so they could get to their fresh food and water.  I put on some gloves to give me an extra layer of protection, and just as I managed to loosen the ladder, one of the little boogers nipped at me.  But…gloves, so no harm done.  They look at you so innocently and cute, too.  I considered it to be part of my initiation.

Up next was misting the reptiles.  Only 4 get misted on Sunday’s – a chameleon, an iguana (who loves it), and two different kinds of python.

Yeesh.

Luckily, it wasn’t as involved as I’d feared, and I was actually okay with it.  I kind of liked it, too, because it was refreshing after getting so sweaty earlier.  I didn’t finish that part, though, because I was up in the bird area changing papers in the small bird cages, and when I went to check on the misting situation, everything had already been put away.  I’ll try to be more on top of that next time.

The bird cages were interesting.  I was paranoid about any of them escaping, so that took me longer than it should have, too, but I’ll get better at all of it as I go.  I talked to the birds a bit as I worked, too, since I’m a stranger, and all.  There were two in the final two cages that weren’t impressed with me at all.  I think one just got tired of me taking so long.  The other was in a bad mood today to begin with, so her patience was only ever going to last so long, anyway.  I started going back and forth between the two until I got both done, so it took a while, but was a success overall, I think.

Plus, one of the bigger birds in a cage across from the ones I was working with started talking to me!  Naturally I talked back.  Well, responded – not talked back.

Anyway, there was a lot of “hello” back and forth, and then a few rounds of, “I’m a pretty bird!”

“You ARE a pretty bird!”

Made me laugh.

It was around the time that I was finishing up those last two bird cages when something completely random and never happens…happened.  I won’t go into details because they are not important.  What’s important is that I got to go into the lemur enclosure for a few minutes!!!

One my first day!!!

There were two occupants left in there because everyone else had gone out to a show our something, but the more outgoing of the two spent some time on my shoulder, and the timid one let me crouch next to him while he had a snack.

And I freaking love lemurs, so this was pretty ,Cush the greatest end to a shift I could have imagined.

I’ll go back next weekend, and see if I can get things done a little faster on my second go at it.

For now, my exhausted body hurts.  Time for beer.

Feed The Bees!

hnc_bbtb_cereal_box_image

Honey Nut Cheerios is doing a pretty cool thing right now, and not only am I excited to participate in my own small way, but also happy to spread the word about it, as well!

The company has – at least in Canada – removed their bee mascot, Buzz, from their packaging for the first time EVER.  It’s being done as part of an effort to raise awareness about the declining bee populations in our country and around the world. In addition, they have teamed up with Veseys in an attempt to give away 35 million packages of wildflower seeds – for free! The idea is to give away approximately one package of seeds for every Canadian, which would increase the options bees and other pollinators have to do their thing, and hopefully boost the pollinator population overall!

I think it’s an amazing idea, and something I was thinking of trying myself last spring, but just never got around to it. A trip to Dollarama one evening got me all excited about plants and birds and butterflies and bees, so I started researching which kinds of flowers would be best for pollinators, and how to build a bird bath and a bee bath (I’m not allowed to have bird feeders on my balcony – probably for poo reasons – but I think a small bath would be okay), but time just got away from me, as it does, and I never managed to get going on it.

Now, though, I have seeds coming in the mail, and quite an assortment, to boot! With the building going up right outside my window, I’m not certain how much direct sunlight my balcony receives now, but it’s definitely worth a shot! I have cats inside, so I only have one lonely indoor plant kept out of their reach, so the idea of having flowers and plants in general out on my balcony is really appealing to me – especially if they can survive outside year-round. But even if not, I now have an excellent excuse to hit up Dollarama soon and get me some plant stuff, and if anything is still alive by the end of the summer, I’ll figure something out. I’ll also research to see if any of the plants are actually perenials, anyway.

Assuming I can get anything to grow. I mean, I was not blessed with a green thumb. At all. I’ve managed to keep Patty Palm alive for several years now, but she only needs to be watered once a week, and part of her died off long ago, so really I only have half of Patty Palm left. Not a great track record. My mom always had plants in the house. They are great for the air, and for the zen. Cats, however, are not great for plants. Not the cute jerks who live with me, anyway. Hopefully I’ll get some colour growing out on the balcony, and then Patty will be able to see her new friends from her safe spot high up in the apartment. That would be nice.

Anyway, I’ve committed to free seeds. If I then go to Dollarama and commit to plant and garden stuff, then even if I can’t get anything to grow from seed, I’ll be determined to have flowers regardless, so I’ll go buy some that have already started growing! Can’t let Dollarma stuff go to waste, after all! The trick then will be to keep them alive, but hey – one step at a time!

I just wanted to share this because I am excited about it, and if anything actually comes of my bee-feeding attempts, I will likely be posting photos and such here. So you may as well get used to it! 😉

In the meantime, please consider going here and signing up to receive a package of seeds for yourself, as well! Bees are necessary for our very survival – not to mention honey, which is delicious – and even little things like this can make a huge difference. I’m definitely going to have a bee bath or two out, as well. Something shallow, like the lid from a margarine tub, or something, with fresh water and a few small stones or pebbles for bees and butterflies to land on and rest while they drink and bathe.

We have to take care of our pollinators, guys.

Even if you don’t want to use your seeds, send ’em my way! Lord knows I’ll be struggling to grow whatever I can, as it is! I’ll take all the help I can get!

#BringBackTheBees