Animal Interactions

I’m super busy today and don’t really have time to write, but I may as well take a few minutes while I eat to mention a few things.

I booked Friday off as a vacation day and went to the zoo. It was a beautiful day, and – unfortunately – a PA Day. So there were tons of hairless apes and their offspring around to ruin my zen. And my zen was not that zen-y, as I have been rather beaten down emotionally as of late.

Anyway, I saw Hudson the polar bear I love for the first time in almost 4 years! I knew it was him pretty much immediately, and while he went about his own thing, he did turn that articulating nose of his my way a few times, which was more than enough to convince me to go with my plan of visiting him as often as possible while he’s here, in the hopes that he’ll get to know me a little again. We’ll see.

He is enormous now – like, bigger than his father at 1200-ish lbs! Kind of horrifying, really. And I admit to wondering if polar bears can actually weigh TOO much. Like, might he develop arthritis or heart problems after dragging around so much weight for a few years? Has anyone studied such things? It would have to be done with captive bears, because all of the bears in the wild are basically starving to death. Obesity is not an issue for them.

Anyway, aside from his insane size, Hudson is every bit the bear I know and love. His face, the way he walks and plays and his Mona Lisa smile – all exactly as I remember. And while I didn’t cry like I thought I would (I’m all over the emo map lately), I was very happy to see him. I hope to connect with him again over the winter. Maybe that will help me reconnect with everything else again.

‘Cause if the bear can’t do it, no one can!

But I suspect he can. πŸ™‚

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Volunteering has gone pretty well the past few weeks, too. I’m still taking it week to week, and things haven’t quite settled down yet from all the previous upheaval, but they are getting there. Most of the animals who are left seem to be doing better than they were at first, so that’s a good thing. There’s still a lot I’m not sure about, and I’m taking it week to week – maybe indefinitely – but yesterday was mostly good, so I will probably go this weekend, too.

I bonded with the skunks more yesterday. I actually took a few minutes to get down to their level and talk to them and pet Pepe (I won’t touch the others until they are more comfortable with me in general), and by the time I left, they all seemed fairly okay with me being in their space. We’ll see if that carries through to next week, but for now, it felt like a big step for us.

I also got to chat a bit more with Rapunzel the red lorrie, which was amazing. We’d had our first β€œconversation” a couple of weeks ago, and that small bond seemed to carry over to yesterday, as well. She came down to my level and even brought a pea from her food dish over to eat next to me while I talked to her. We’re not friends yet, I wouldn’t say, but there’s a bit of familiarity there now, at least.

The biggest surprise of the day was Willow the capybara. I have no idea…apparently she’s a bit horny right now, but for some reason she decided I was the one to love yesterday. We’ve not really interacted much before. I’ve pet her once or twice, and I usually say hello to her when passing by the enclosure she shares with the kangaroos, but I’d never even been in there until yesterday. I went in with the other volunteer, who was going to check their water to see if it needed freshening up before we left for the day. Willow came running over excitedly as soon as I got inside, and jumped up so her front feet were on my back (she would have knocked me over if it had been the front, I think – totally was not expecting that!), and then ran back and forth in front of me a few times before finally just standing still so I could scratch under her jaw, which she loves. As I did that, though, she started licking my forearm, then rubbing her teeth and cheek against it while drooling all over the place.

I guess she was marking me? I have no idea. Just that she was loving me and ignoring everyone else for a bit there.

I’ve never had an experience even remotely like that with her before.

Will be interesting to see how she responds to seeing me next time!

More Me Now

I am terrible at remembering to refill my MS medication prescription until the day I take the last pill I have on hand. Luckily, Rexall remembers for me, so I can usually just go in day of and it’s ready to be picked up.

I did such a thing last night, but the additional cool part was that – for the first time – the pharmacist ringing it through asked how the meds were working out for me. He asked how it was going. We chatted about it for an extra few moments before I headed for home. No one’s ever asked me that before, outside of my neurologist. It was nice.

I haven’t posted on FB since last week, the day after the election. Not even this blog goes up on there anymore. I go on just to see my memories for each day, especially on days like today. It’s the sixth anniversary of the day I had to have my Kate kitty put down, and while the memories in my feed today are ultimately sad, there’s also a lot of good ones, because I’ve posted a little tribute to her each year since.

Well, not this year. Or not on FB, at least. I did post a little something elsewhere, though, including some of my fave photos of us together:

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The thing I’ve noticed about being on FB less in this past week is that I have far fewer interactions, and since this blog isn’t being posted there, I feel sort of liberated and like I can be a bit more open about things. We’ll see how long that lasts, of course, but for the time being, I actually feel like expressing a bit more on here than I have in the past. We’ll see. We’ll see.

Yesterday, I saw the dental surgeon guy who did my gum surgery. He was very pleased with how the healing is coming along – I think pleased with himself most of all, but pleased nonetheless. He approved me to go ahead and get the crown, so I’ll set that up with my regular dentist very soon. I look forward to paying for THAT over the next year or so of my life. Haha

My work day yesterday was ridiculous. A lot of entitled attitudes walking around here, it seems. I’ll no doubt complain about that another time.

Today is almost as bad, but a little over the top because my polar bear is out at the Toronto Zoo for the first time in 4 years, and I am stuck here instead of spending time with him again at last. The other thing is that I’ve been feeling so disconnected lately that I am sad about how little I’m affected by all that right now. I should be more excited to see him. I should feel more things in general. Instead I’m still just…swept away.

I’m sure that’ll change whenever I do see him again. It’s just sad that I don’t feel like I have even that to look forward to anymore.

Another FB memory that popped up was one I’d kind of forgotten about. I’d been challenged one time to list a number of things that most people wouldn’t know about me. It was fun to go back and re-visit that, so I thought I’d share it again here.

So here you go – 11 things about me that most people don’t already know:

  1. I am obsessively partial to odd numbers. I’ll …have to find a way to make my biological imperative overlook this list of 8, for example. (Note: I was later challenged by another friend so was able to add 3 more to the original list, to total 11.)
  2. I had a spoon collection when I was younger, thanks to my grandmother, who gave me her Charles and Diana wedding spoon to start things off. I’m trying to figure out where I put it, now, actually.
  3. When I was little, I wanted to be a cowboy when I grew up. Then I wanted to be a Jedi. Finding out I could be neither was almost as disappointing as finding out that my parents couldn’t give me the older sister I’d asked for.
  4. I was painfully shy as a child, but then I figured out that shy people got made fun of, so I faked it in the hopes that I wouldn’t draw attention to myself. Today it’s just as hard to leave the confines of my apartment, but I am way better at hiding it, and I bet no one has any idea now. Oh…crap…
  5. One of my biggest fears as a kid was giants. Sweetums terrified me. Technically, I’m still nervous around things that are bigger than me, but am able to be awed by some of them, as well. Like whales and bears. ❀
  6. My mom says I used to cry every time I heard the theme song from the Littlest Hobo. I actually still get a little misty-eyed over it now. Ah, doggies. ❀
  7. My bedroom walls and ceiling are partially covered with glow-in-the-dark stars. I’m 41 (Edit: 44 now), and I love them. I purposefully charge them up every night before going to bed, so I can fall asleep in my tiny universe. At least the ones Flynn hasn’t peeled off. I had to move a bunch up out of her reach. Ah, kitties. ❀
  8. I was Valedictorian of my high school graduating class. There were, like, 11 of us, I think, and I made the least stink about being nominated. My class had the coolest idea ever for a gift – we were creating a time capsule to be put on display and then buried on school grounds to be dug up in 50 years or so. We had a whole list of stuff we were each contributing, but in the end, we never finished it. So our gift to the school was actually nothing at all, which sort of sums us up rather well, really.
  9. I have – and still listen to – the first Alanis album on CD. Not Jagged Little Pill – the FIRST first album! “Never too hot, never too cold, ya take your best shot, too hot to hold! Never too young, never too old….you gotta go for GOLD!!!”
  10. I really really really miss plugging quarters into video arcade machines. I miss going to the arcade and playing my faves, usually with my brother. And I absolutely miss playing games that you can’t really “beat” no matter HOW good you are. Eventually, that little frog is going to take a misstep, or there will be too many asteroids to deal with, or the Pong ball will bounce faster than you can react. I miss that.
  11. My walls, like many pre-teen and teen girls, was covered in pinups of my fave celebs. I was a regular reader of Bop, 16 and Teen Beat magazines, and was provided with more than enough fodder for my obsessions. The biggest one – and I’ve never really out-grown it – was for Ricky Schroder. Others included Ralph Macchio and most of the 80’s Menudo line-up. And the entire cast of Outsiders. And Mark Hamill. But mostly, I was and am all about the Ricker.

Finally, I’ll end with a few shots of the supermoon I took last night. ‘Cause why not, right?

For The Love Of Animals

My work computer’s hard drive fried this morning right in front of my eyes, basically, so while I wait for IT to set me up with a replacement, I’ve had to get a little creative with my day. I’m using one of the old computers in the back, and it is having trouble keeping up with my mad typing skills (thanks Mrs. Coulter!), as well as 2016 in general, so this will be short.

Also, I’m getting stressed about this first radio play episode. We’re supposed to record it on Thursday but I am still short a guest cast member or two. So much prep needed, too, in addition to trying to find last minute actors who may be available and interested. Geez.

Anyway.

I enjoy watching Brody the dog interact with the cats, especially when none of them know I’m watching. They are fabulous together with me, and we make a sweet, fun little family as it is. But when they don’t realize that I am paying attention – when they choose to interact even though it’s not with the intention of getting my attention – I find it all even more remarkable.

Somehow, these little beings of different species have figured out how to not only share space and get along, but to accept one another into each others lives. They do more than tolerate one another being in the same space – they live in that space together. They share all of it – usually. Sometimes Flynn sleeps in Brody’s bed, but he lets her, and finds somewhere else to curl up until she’s done. Sometimes they groom one another. Sometimes they play together.

At some point in our existence, someone decided that cats and dogs could not get along. Most of us listened, instead of seeing for ourselves whether or not it was true, and whether or not that truth was definitive. Even now, that’s the first thing people ask about when they hear I live with three cats and a dog. How do they get along?

The answer is – better than most of us get along with other people.

So how is it, then, that these allegedly lesser beings (again, things aren’t always true just because someone says them) can figure out how to not only exist in the same space together but actually thrive in it, but we human masters of the universe can’t even get along with members of our own species on the same freaking planet? Let alone those of another species.

Other animals don’t care about what the other animals look like. They don’t care about differing breeds, let alone colours. Appearances are unimportant, and don’t factor into their judgments like other senses do. They listen to a whole other rhythm playing throughout the universe. They vibrate on a whole other level. And we’re just sitting at the bottom of the well, in the dark, talking about colours we can’t even see. Because it’s dark. But we imagine them there, just as we imagine they dictate the caliber of a person’s character.

Orangutans are unimpressed by flashy technology – they quickly became bored with it. That says a lot about our orange genetic cousins, but it says way more about the rest of us.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go stare at my smartphone for awhile.

On Waving Back

Walking to the subway this morning on my way to work, I passed a man and his dog. As I approached, the dog looked up at me all friendly like we knew each other, so I said, β€œHi puppy dog” and left my arm dangling at my side as I walked by. The dog stuck its muzzle up against my hand, and gave me a quick lick in greeting. Made me smile.

Then, getting off the subway on my way to work, I watched the usual hoards of other passengers – all of us making our various ways to our various destinations – shuffle right on by the little kid in the stroller who was waving at them.

Not one of them waved back.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I hate people as much as anyone, if not more. But even I am not above waving at a little kid who’s waving at me. It’s just not done. It’s practically an automated, instinctive response. Little kid waves, you wave back. So I waved back.

And he didn’t see me.

So, here we have a number of interesting scenarios and the effects of each:

Dog sees me, I see dog, we interact for a split second – day made for at least one of us. Moment made for both.

Kid sees a bazillion people, waves at them, none see him so no one waves back. Or rather, one sees him, waves back, but he doesn’t see it, so it may as well not have happened, from his point of view. To his mind, no one waved back at him. Watching his little face register the realization of his own invisibility among the morning masses was actually kind of sad. He’s too little to feel like that, and yet, even if I projected most of what he might be feeling or thinking, the little hand faltering and his smile falling away as it became more tentative and unsure can not be disputed. I’m sure he’ll wave again, because little kids have the information retention of a rubber ball, but I’m also sure that, somewhere deep inside, he’ll remember how that felt, to not be noticed. And it’ll affect him in small ways going forward.

Then there’s me – I’m used to not being noticed. I usually strive to not be noticed. But I felt bad that I didn’t make his moment with a wave-back that he could see, and – in more selfish terms – it would have made my morning even better to have felt like I did something for the little kid, as much as the dog did for me. Like paying it forward, but for how it would make me feel.

And finally, there are the masses; those who missed the wave all together. How much better could their moments have been had they just looked up and given a second to notice the world around them? It’s like we all walk around in our own little bubbles of reality, wherein nothing and no one else exists unless we let them in. It’s a necessary skill to have, to be sure, because the onslaught of humanity’s dark underbelly (especially in cities and particularly public transit) is often too much to bear. But then we miss things that would make it seem less overwhelmingly negative, even just in little ways. We miss hearts, we miss sunsets and sunrises, we miss worms on the sidewalk just trying to reach grass before the sun bakes them where they β€œstand”.

We miss lots of gross things, too, like hairy ass cracks and piles of vomit on the sidewalk.

But we also miss licks and tail wags from doggies, and confident, friendly waves from little kids. We miss some of the things that could help shape us into better people. We miss things that could make our lives suck a little less. We have to find a way to strike a balance between things that we do notice and interact with, and things that we don’t. It’s maybe impossible, though.

Because sometimes, those things also miss us.

“Is Teri Died?”

24

When I first found out about the TV show 24, I was excited by getting to see Kiefer Sutherland in something on television, and also was intrigued by the show’s real-time concept. I was on-board from the get-go, and that feeling only increased by the end of the first episode. I remember being completely absorbed and engaged – totally along for the ride. I started looking forward to it each week, and being tense while watching the episode, mixed with trying to figure everything out during the long wait in between each hour. The sound of the clock ticking away the time (and OMG the silent clock), in addition to the sound of a CTU phone ringing, burrowed into my heart right along with the characters on my screen.

That first season was epic. I was involved. I was a part of it all. I was devastated by what happened in the final few episodes – the twist revelation, those final scenes – all of it shaped how I would watch the series from then on out. Which is fitting, really, since all of it shaped how Jack Bauer would live his life from then on out, too.

I know many fans were disappointed by various seasons, but while I’ll admit that none of them would ever capture me the way that first one did, I still loved all of them. The whole journey. Even as ridiculous as some of them got, and even though they seemed to – at least in part – ditch (or pay less attention to) the real-time concept, I never stopped looking forward to each and every episode. I found coworkers who were as obsessed as I was, and we would meet every Monday to talk about what we thought would happen in that night’s episode, then again every Tuesday to talk about what had happened, and predict what we thought was coming next. We’d log onto the official show forums and see what other viewers were saying, and what other wacky theories were out there. There was a sense of community, and I was a part of it.

Then came the Fan Phone. The way I understand it, a crew member’s actual cell number was shown on-screen during an episode. Apparently someone forgot to replace it with the usual ‘555’ fake number. Some keen-eyed viewers caught it, and called it. It was posted on the boards, too, so more people called. And more. Eventually, an automated response was left, telling callers that they had reached the 24 set, and that the mailbox was full. But then, something kind of spectacular happened. Members of the cast and crew started answering the calls – while they were shooting! It was amazing! Suddenly there was an entire thread devoted to the newly-named 24 Fan Phone, and people would post details of their calls – whether someone answered, who it was, what time they called, what was discussed, and so on. I spoke with Jon Cassar for a moment (he was happy to hear I was calling from Canada, and held the phone up so everyone else could yell hello to Canada, as they had about as many Canadians working on the show as anything else, so automatically he became my new favourite director in the world), and then he passed the phone to Script Supervisor Annie, who waited quietly with me while they shot part of a scene. I heard β€œAction”, and β€œCut”…and nothing in between. Could have had a spoiler, but got nothing!

Well, nothing but amazing memories from one of my most favourite shows.

Fan Phone stories became as talked about as anything that happened on the show, and the cast and crew seemed to have as much fun with it as the fans were. They were getting immediate feedback for the episodes that had just aired, and every so often, the phone number would appear on screen again, sending the fans who caught it into another frenzy of theories and excitement. It was an accident that turned into the coolest little gimmick ever, really, and everyone just ran with it. It bonded the community in a way that nothing else could.

Things went awry after a season or two, though, because People magazine published a story about it, but included the number to call. So suddenly, it wasn’t just fans of the show getting through on the already busy phone. People who’d never watched an episode were calling just to call, trolls were calling to troll, and those who so desperately wanted to get through were getting busy signals, instead. So eventually it got shut down, because it just wasn’t fun for anyone anymore.

But that didn’t stop them from posting the number on-screen once in awhile again, as a kind of hello and thank you to the fans who were watching, and who knew the significance of that number. I even kept it in my phone after, just in case.

And every time there is a cell phone number on a display in any TV show now, I check. Even though I know nothing like that will ever happen again, I check. Just in case.

Before Facebook, before Twitter, there were message boards, and forums, and while built for fans to discuss things amongst themselves, for a brief shining moment, they served to connect us in an unprecedented way with the people making the show we were discussing. And because it was a show like 24, steeped in conspiracy and secrets and clues, it became this incredible extra thing we could all share. An added hidden level to the experiece. One that I loved, and dearly miss, but that I’m so grateful to have experienced at all.

Even if it kind of ruined every other TV show interaction for me for, like, ever, because nothing will ever be that secretly cool again. It was the secret that made it cool, really. The surprise of it, just like that first incomparable season. Nothing will ever be quite that pure again.

Least of all me. πŸ˜‰

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