Possum Adventure

I helped save a possum on the way to work this morning!

I was, therefore, late for work, but totally worth it.

Now, I was already struggling this morning, and today will be a long day, just for how exhausted I am. For various reasons that I won’t get into. I was walking to the subway, headphones on, and saw a lady I know from early morning walks with Brody. She often has treats for him, and nuts and seeds for wildlife along the way. Super nice lady, if somewhat eccentric-seeming.

Anyway, she flagged me over, so I took off my headphones and shut my MP3 player off completely when she pointed to the frightened possum hanging out in the doorway of a business on Yonge Street. It was very busy and loud by then, and the poor critter was very much regretting his poor life choice.

Someone had found an empty cardboard box and stuck part of a cucumber in it, to see if the possum would climb into the box of its own accord, but it was still pretty far away from the little fella, and the possum had not moved from its spot in the corner of the entrance area. We definitely did want to spook it into traffic, or anything, so I placed a call to Toronto Wildlife Centre and left a message to let them know where the possum was, and to ask that they come check it out and then help relocate it.

Another woman had also called an left a message, so at that point I was considering just continuing on my way, but I’d also left my phone number on the message, and wasn’t sure what I would do if TWC called back with instructions, or something. So I stayed a little longer, estimating how early they’d be checking messages, and wondering if I should just wait. I texted a pic of the critter to my manager and said I’d be a bit late, but I didn’t have much of a plan at the time. Was just waiting and thinking and chatting with the lady who’d flagged me down in the first place.

Then a slightly older lady came along, and stopped to see what was going on. We told her that at least two of us had called to notify TWC already, and she said she was going to go get her husband because she thought they could trap the possum and drive it out there themselves. At that point, I decided to stay long enough to see how things turned out with the little guy.

It took some time, and the one lady and I basically played at guard duty while we waited, making sure dogs passing by didn’t notice the critter, and keeping an eye out in case the possum tried to make a run for it. Neither of us know anything about possums or their general behaviour in the wild, so we speculated on a few thoughts, but really – we knew we needed to do a bit more research after it was all over. Other than playing possum, which was not really helpful in this situation. This one was shivering in fear so violently that we could see its ears vibrating. Poor wee heart.

Anyway, the other woman returned with her husband in tow, and he was carrying all the tools of the wildlife rescue trade – or so it seemed to me. He had a sturdy plastic bin, a wooden board which would act as a lid, heavy duty rubber gloves, a box cutter and duct tape. Wasting no time, he swooped in to trap the possum between the glass doorway and the bin opening, then slid the board down through that same gap, which effectively shuffled the possum into the bin and kept it in there with the heavy board on top as he tipped it all upright. He used the tape to fasten the board on in such a way that it was secure yet still let in plenty of air, and carried the possum package to his car.

I called TWC and left a second message to let them know that the possum was on its way to them, and could they please give it a quick check-up to make sure it wasn’t injured before returning it to the area from whence it came. I then headed to work, but of course took a moment to post a photo of the little guy to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. By the time I got to the subway, my employer’s Twitter account had liked the tweet, and by the time I got to work, TWC had liked the Instagram post.

I think within about an hour of my arrival at work, I got a phone call from TWC to let me know the possum had arrived safe and sound, and was in a dark, quiet space having a bite to eat and something to drink. The girl there said that wildlife often make bad life choices, especially when it comes to being home before the sun comes up, so the possum was probably fine, but they would check first to be sure. She also said that the man who’d brought the possum in had offered to go back and get it, and return it to a quieter place in the same area, if it was deemed healthy and ready to be put back into the wild. I thought that was pretty stellar of him, too, actually. It turns out that couple lives on my same street, so it was definitely a Keewatin kind of effort being put forth!

Just a short time ago, I got a notification from TWC on Twitter. They said that “he” is a “she”, and that she has at least one joey in her pouch! They also said they didn’t find any sign of injury, so she should be back in the ‘hood very soon.

How cool is that? I helped save a mama AND her baby from some uncomfortable at the least, fatal at the most, circumstances this morning! And still got to work only about a half hour late overall, which is much better than I worried it might be!

Good deeds are a nice way to start the day, I have to say! Yay Mama Possum! Rest up, and stay safe when you get back home!

Mama Possum

Living In Fear

I guess I pretty much live in some state of fear or anxiety most of the time. I suppose I always have. Some part of my brain is always on alert; listening, watching, trying to stay one step ahead of the world in an effort to see things coming, and plan a way to avoid or survive them.

It’s kind of exhausting, and occasionally somewhat crippling to boot.

As a kid, I would do routine inspections of the border of my bedroom to ensure nothing was close enough to the heaters to catch fire in the night. In the event of fire, I had an escape plan in place, and a mental list of the things I would try to take with me or toss out the window, along with saving the animals and family members in the house, too, of course. Somehow, in my head, that was all up to me. In the event of tornado, I also had survival plans in place. We didn’t have a basement, so I had to get creative. I wasn’t too worried about a tidal wave, being land-locked and all, though I did still have nightmares about them from time to time. But then again, zombies or alien invasions were also not out of the question, so I had to have plans for those, too.

As I got older, I started packing more on instead of less. Concerns about walking alone at night, having things stolen…I mean, stuff actually happens, and while there’s no way to be fully prepared, per se, it is possible to just be afraid and alert all the time as a way of lessening the chances it’ll happen to you.

Then I got Kate, and suddenly a whole other life depended solely on me. Keeping a roof over our heads and food in our bellies got added to the concerns, along with general financial worries that go along with unexpected expenses popping up suddenly. As unexpected things do.

It’s hard to expect everything, after all.

When we no longer had roommates and it was just the two of us, I started worrying that something would happen while I was at work; when I wasn’t home to take care of us. Every morning before I left the apartment, I would give the same little speech to her, and that became a superstitious kind of mantra. If anything bad had happened while I was out, a part of me would have blamed myself for not doing enough to prevent it, even if simple words do nothing specific at all.

As it turned out, what happened to Kate wasn’t while I was at work, but rather when I went away on vacation. I figured out pretty quickly after I got home that she was sick, and I hadn’t been around for her to let me know any earlier. She was euthanized within a few days of my return, and part of me will never forgive myself for giving up so many of those last precious days I could have spent with her, let alone the 5 months I’d left her in Colorado without me. Part of me will always believe it’s my fault she got sick to begin with, too, though.

Anyway, that’s how it was with one cat. Now I have three and a dog depending on me to take care of them. Depending on me and no one else, at least in day to day life. So now when I leave the apartment, the anxiety is the same, but multiplied by four. Some of them (I won’t name names because it’s not important) are less self-sufficient than Kate was, in that they need more care and attention from whoever is looking after them. So it’s harder for me to decide to leave, even when it’s just for the day. So many things can go wrong, even when I am there, but when I am not, the worry – the fear – is almost overwhelming sometimes. Usually before I leave and in the moments right before and after I get back home, but yeah. It’s always there, to some degree or other.

I guess it’s good we don’t really realize how out of control things are. We’d all go mad, I think. We’re on a rock, spinning in space, with plates shifting and mountains moving and the oxygen around us all we have to breathe with. At any time, another much smaller rock, hurtling through space, could slam into us and end it all in an instant (or in a slow, agonizing way, but I’ll be hoping for the instant, personally), yet here we are; all of us trying to bend, twist and force order into the chaos. Trying to assign it all meaning, and leave our mark to prove we were ever here at all.

Making plans can feel stifling sometimes, but not nearly so much as realizing that there can never be enough preparation. There will always be something we can’t predict; something we can’t avoid with forethought.

Sometimes we have to let go and see what happens. It’s really the start to living.

But it’s also really freaking hard.

I was watching an episode of a TV show wherein an artificial intelligence had taken on the voice of a human who had passed away. Hearing that voice again was hard for those humans left behind; those who mourned. And yet, at the same time, it’s a comfort. I thought of all the voices I’d give anything to hear again; voices from the past. Voices of those who helped shape who I am. A laugh, a curse, a playful tease, a story told just once more, even though it’s already been told a hundred times. What wouldn’t any of us give for the 101st?

A lot of a person is contained in their voice; certainly as much as in their appearance. That we communicate without voice so often now is a bit of a detriment – we text, we email, we comment on Facebook and Twitter. But it’s not really as much of a connection as when an individual’s voice is included. Even with Hudson the polar bear, the last time I saw him was also the first time I’d really heard his voice, and I was almost in tears when I made the realization. I know each of the cats voices; how they differ from one another and from other cats in the world.

Yet I really hate using the phone. Maybe it’s just easier to stay hidden behind a keyboard. As though taking our faces and bodies out of the mix isn’t quite enough most of the time, we also feel the need to remove our voices from the world at large. It just feels safer that way, somehow.

Safer, even as we cling to life and everything around us is shifting and spinning, spinning, spinning through space – until the day comes when we decide to sound our barbaric yawps over the rooftops of the world – and make our voices heard for all time.

What the hell am I even talking about? I think it’s time to eat lunch.

Thought Potpourri

This post will just be a hodgepodge of things – a mix – a potpourri, if you will, because there are a few things on my mind that I should probably delve into deeper at some point, but which for now I’ll just gloss over so I remember for later.

Since I got a phone with a camera, and for every phone I’ve had with a camera over the years, I stopped taking an actual camera with me in day-to-day life. Special occasions, I might take one, and the zoo I always take one, but I find that the best photo opportunities come when least expected, which is problematic, because I never have a real camera with me. I always, however, have my phone. It’s just the photos aren’t that high quality beyond sharing on social media, which is usually fine, until I want to do something more than that with them.

Take Brody, for example. I am always taking pictures of him, especially when we go for a walk, because he’s so flippin’ cute I can barely stand it. Just this morning I took this sweet shot:

Brody 2

However, I’d love to have a photo that was so awesome it ended up getting picked to be in, say, the annual Pet Valu calendar. He’s easily handsome enough, but my phone isn’t skilled enough to get a high quality snap, nor do I have a real camera handy when I am indoors. I tried over the weekend to take pictures of him with one of my actual cameras, but this was the best I could do, so I entered it on their website here.

P1080868

Not a horrible shot, but far from the attention-grabbing amazingness that he deserves.

Some day, maybe.

There are times when I feel like I am put in the position of arguing one side of a debate, simply because I can see more than one side, but whoever I’m talking to can’t. I kind of hate that, because I feel like it takes away from my ability to move past that level of comprehension and onto the next. I mean, I suppose it’s my choice, really. I could instead choose to just agree with whatever the other person is saying, because I can see their point usually, and usually even agree with some of it. But I also hate not challenging things when I can clearly see other points to be made, as well. To me, it seems like blind acceptance to not challenge something when it’s obvious that the issue is not so black and white as someone else may think. I try to push them, but for the most part, I am pushing myself, as well. Which is good, except when I get so frustrated at arguing the other side – a side I also don’t fully agree with – that I end up just playing Devil’s Advocate and lose sight of my actual thoughts involving all sides. I end up feeling angry and silently blaming the other person/people for putting me in that position, but not-so-deep down I know it was my own choice. I like to be thorough, I guess.

It’s interesting, my buddy that I hung out with over the weekend, I’d forgotten what our conversations could be like, and how much I loved them. His brain works a lot like mine does, in that we have our own thoughts and opinions, and those don’t always mesh, but our desire to talk things through from multiple angles is…rather invigorating. It really is a wonder we ever got any work done, sometimes.

Last week, a current co-worker asked one day if I had any writing projects on the go, because we hadn’t talked about any of it recently, at all. This was my response, more or less (including stuff about this blog and the possible resurrection of The Mind Reels podcast):

Carving The Light – My intent is to re-write the whole thing as a feature length screenplay. I also want to add in more unpredictable drama to flesh it all out more. The end will be the same, but the journey there will be more emotionally harrowing.

Ebon Black and the Seven Dryads – I keep toying with the idea of re-writing it in some way, skewing it for either a younger or older audience, maybe. Or turning it into a cartoon-type of format. Or maybe just shopping it around to agents and/or publishing houses to see if I can find a home for it. Regardless, it’s far back-burner at the moment!

Untitled Young Reader book about Ellie Skye – This is only a very rough first draft right now, but I really want to go back and take another pass or two at it. Eventually it’d be targeted at readers aged 9-12-ish, I think. Especially girls who need more heroes and adventure stories involving girl protagonists.

Suffer The Fury – My first attempt at a young adult novel, and would make an excellent series. I have done a few drafts, but it still needs more work before I can really try to do anything with it. I entered it in ABNA back when it was still going on, but didn’t make it far enough to get in-depth reviews of the whole manuscript. I got pretty good reviews from readers of the first 10 pages or whatever it was, though!

To Whichever Comes First – I wrote my first screenplay for a short film! I wrote it for a contest because I wanted a deadline I was forced to meet, but I also kept it super simple, so that I might actually be able to shoot it for a very low cost, if I ever get around to it! It all takes place almost completely in one room, and there are two main characters with, like, two other side characters that they interact with briefly. It could totally be done, I think! In my mind, I’ve even been casting it with people I actually know!

Sometimes I See Hearts – My first attempt at writing a picture book for children, again with a little girl as the protagonist. It even rhymes!!! Not sure if I should keep it in its current writing style or go back and Dr. Seuss it up, instead, but I’m content with the first complete draft, so far!

So there you have it. A few of the myriad of things swirling around my brain right now, in addition to finally getting approved to make an official attempt at another Guinness World Record. Got that news this morning, so still have to find time later to really go through the guidelines and see what I can sort out as far as a plan of attack goes. We shall see! More on that in the coming days, I think!

Before my alarm went off this morning, I was dreaming that I was having trouble waking up. I woke up at work, for some reason, but then everything went backwards, in a way, and I was horrifically late for work at the same time. Regardless of where I was, though, I could not keep my eyes open; couldn’t focus on anything. I think there were Muppets at one point.

So exhausted on every level today in waking life, and yet no Muppets to at least make things interesting. Geez.

Life can be so unfair.

On Making Friends

Guys, I don’t feel good!

My skin hurts, I can’t breathe, my sinuses itch (along with my ears and throat) and my body aches. Pretty sure I’m rocking a fever, though very low-grade, so it’s okay. So tired, and have another late night tonight.

BUT it’s Gala 2 of the Canadian Screen Awards, and I gotta say – I’m pretty excited for it! It’s always more fun than night 1, but also more low-key than the big broadcast gala, because that bad boy is televised, and so everyone gets away with much less than the non-televised event. I am definitely looking forward to tonight and Sunday, regardless of how sick I may or may not feel by then.

Also, today a friend I haven’t seen in years stopped in to pick up a mic for her new camera! She messaged me on Facebook to see if I even still worked here – that’s how long it’s been! I gave her my number and told me to text when she got here and I’d run up to say hi. She did, and I did, and I stayed to watch the transaction take place because I have very little idea of how to use the new system to create a new customer and process a credit card transaction, etc. So I actually learned something, AND got to catch up a bit with an old friend!

Turns out she’s getting into something similar to what Tim and I do, so I think I want to try and bring her into the studio sometimes when we need an op to monitor the sound and switch between cameras. We need more operators available than just our one poor go-to guy!

It’s kind of weird how, like – before the internet, I wrote letters – and sometimes even used the phone, though I don’t like the phone at all – to keep in touch with people. If we lived near one another, we’d even hang out in person on occasion (or daily, in University). Then came the internet and I found I was all about email. I loved being able to sit in the same room with someone and have secret conversations via email instead of out loud. I liked, too, being able to tell when they’d read it, based on their reactions!

I didn’t get my first cell phone until 2003, and that was largely because I was angry at my ex. It was a little thing, but bulky, and didn’t have camera functions or anything fancy. I used it to talk on sometimes, but that’s when I realized how much I prefer texting, and I have to say – I haven’t looked back! Pretty much all I do now is text or email or what-have-you. I mean, I have a smartphone now, so I can do way more than I could on that first little phone. But compared to what my current phone is actually capable of, and what I usually use it for…vast difference.

Lara, the friend who dropped in today, has been in my life for almost as long as I’ve been in Toronto, give or take a year or so. I had email when we met, but no cell phone. I even carried around a little mini phone/address book thingy to keep track of contact info so I wouldn’t lose anybody.

I carry around a lot of stuff, actually. In case I need it sometime.

Anyway, so Lara and I live in the same city, but we’ve both left for long-ish periods of time, so that’s likely contributed to why we lost touch. Also we don’t hang around in the same circles anymore. I don’t think it’s a case of “you make time for the people you want to see” things, because it’s not really an issue of being too busy. I think it’s because we both know we don’t have to. Our friendship is so easy and low-maintenance that we can go several years without even really talking to one another, and yet she can drop by my work and suddenly it’s like no time has passed. We’ve caught up in five minutes and are already making each other laugh!

I mean, we keep semi-track of one another on Facebook, of course, but not on a regular basis. We just will see something turn up in our feeds and like or comment and move along with our daily lives.

Not because we have to, not because we want to, but because we can. Because we both know that the other is there, no matter what.

Though, after Alysia died, I stopped seeing people as anything other than temporary. Not like in a mortality way, because I’m aware that we’re all going to go sometime. But more in a time is precious kind of way. I tell people I love them way more often now, for example.

I wonder sometimes if friendships formed largely online will last as long or be as stable as the ones we forged in more organic and personal ways. It’s much easier to maintain more friendships via online interactions and social media, but only time will tell if the setting and method of friendshipping will end up having made a difference.

Will we find we are more connected to one another? Or less?