Or the adventures of the Summer Solstice Girl in the Great White North

Good Ole Customer Service

I met with my new friend Pam for coffee this morning. We each had a lovely caramel mocha coffee. No cake, though. That is sad.

But! we have a great time, nonetheless.

Yesterday, we had talked of walking there from my place. The day started wet and cold so we decided to drive instead. Since we did that, I imposed on Pam’s kindness to take me to the pet store in order  to get food for J & K, since they had none at home and breakfast had been meager. They wouldn’t be happy if I showed up empty-handed.

She took me to PetValu on Huron Church Road. They didn’t have the brand I used to get in Ottawa so I asked the lady there for some advice. She was super helpful as I was getting lost looking all the different brands they carry there. Like, bend over backwards super helpful. She even went online and checked my preferred brand to learn the ingredients of it and then she together we chose one that was similar to it and wouldn’t break my wallet (is that how the expression goes?).

Then I remembered I still needed the tags for the kitty collars so I chose them and waited while she engraved them (thank you Pam, you’re an angel). She made Jay’s first and gave it to me to check it for spelling and such. It was all good so she went ahead and made miss Kaylee’s which I didn’t bother checking because I figured it’d be as fine as the first one.

I got home, fed the kitties – first things first, right?- and when they were done having their treat, I got their collars to put the tags in them. When I got to K’s collar, I realized that her name was missing a letter and my phone number was missing a digit.

Not a biggie.

I called the store and told them my plight. The lady asked me if I could go pick a new one up after apologizing for it. I said yes but just didn’t know when because I usually rely on friends to give a ride since I don’t own a car. She asked if there was a PetValu that was closer to me than the Heron Church one. I said I wasn’t sure cause I still didn’t know my way around Windsor very well, after moving here from Ottawa.

THEN she asked me where I lived and when I told her, she proceeded to tell me she’d make a new tag and then she’d drop it off this evening after work.

Now, THAT’S customer service.

Thank you, PetValu lady for making my life that much easier today, when you didn’t have to.

Replacing the tag was expected, of course. Being so nice about it was definitely lovely. Going the extra mile to help a person with obvious mobility issues is just above and beyond anyone’s job so I am very thankful for it.

So nice to know there are still people that care about what they do!

By the way, Geekboy and I went to the same petValu on Christmas Eve to get Jay a christmas treat (miss Kaylee was still at the Humane Society, being unbeknownst to all of us she’d become part of our family). There was a different employee that evening but they were still super nice and cheerful. Guess which pet store has become OUR pet store.

That’s my feel good story for today.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

March the 25th

 Today is the birthday of the super-amazing-kickass-ridiculouslygorgeous-insanelytalented-businesswoman daughter of mine.

And for the third time in life, we’re in a different city.

The first time, she was 11 and I was in Bogota, for my Molecular Biology internship after finishing med school.

The second time, she was between ages 13 – 16 and I was here in Canada while she remained in Colombia with her brother, waiting for her Canadian papers.

This time around, we are both in Canada but I am in Windsor and she is in Montreal/Ottawa. I just got off the phone with her. She told me she’s sad we’re not together on her birthday.

I am sad too

I went to bed last night thinking I was not going to be able to jump on her bed while singing the happy birthday song loudly to wake her up like I always did. Or put her birthday card and present by her coffee cup (full with delicious Colombia coffee I had just made for her, of course) on the table for her to find when she came to have her birthday breakfast.

I know that this is how life is supposed to be. Children grow up and then they leave the nest.

I know I was very lucky to be able to do it for so long.

I know she needs to spread her wings and I am very happy she’s doing it now.

In a way, I am happy I am here because if I were still in Ottawa, she’d still be with me and I know I was holding her back. You see, even though she had had her own place for a while, which is normal and healthy, she had moved back in with me when I got very sick back in 2012 so she could help with my recovery. Sure, we had great times together. We traveled, we laughed, we cooked – okay, fine, SHE cooked and I ate. We watched movies. We worked together. We entertained friends. And I did get better.

But she’s a grown up woman now and she needs to live her life.

So, happy birthday daughter. I know you’ll have a wonderful time in Montreal today. Laugh. Drink. Eat cake. Dance. Savour every moment because life is but an instant and in the end, all we have is our memories and the love we gave and received in return!

Life Should Be Celebrated 2

Footnote:

The phone conversation didn’t end up in a sad tone. We did laugh and I did sing her the birthday song and wish her a happy birthday. Now she’s off to enjoy the day, as it should be.

You heard it

Warning: what follows is highly politically incorrect. If you are easily offended by either religious jokes, by swearing like a sailor or both, you should stop reading here. You’ve been warned. Please don’t give me crap on the comments for my usage of foul language or my disrespect for religion. Thank you.

Yes, yes. I do have a very weird sense of humour. I also have a very special relationship with [my] god and religion(s).

What you are about to read, happened in its entirety, all via IMs. The American side of Geek Squared has given me permission to reproduce it here. This is just to show you the kind of grief he has to put up with. Bless the geek.

GeekGirl: Ha! La senza has $4 St pat’s panties. Oh sorry. St panty’s

GeekBoy: That’s funny

GeekGirl: yeah

GeekBoy: And now I’m picturing you in them – not good for my productivity

GeekGirl: hehehehe

GeekBoy: So here’s a study in contrasts. [some school’s crap. One teacher’s failure to accommodate one of the Sidlets’ special needs. Lack of sympathy for said Sidlet’s struggles. Another teacher’s outstanding and compassionate approach to it.]

GeekGirl: Oy. are they not compelled by law to give accommodations? And what does the principal have to say about that?

GeekBoy: I’m going to ask those very questions next opportunity I get/make.

GeekGirl: Be angry, though. Just like I need to be less angry and confrontational, you need to work on being more angry and confrontational. Don’t be sad for her. Be angry at those who discriminate and stigmatize her. And spit it on their faces. Also, give the [understanding, professional teacher] a hug for me

The beauty of sending them to a stupid private school is that as a parent you have A LOT MORE SAYING than at a public school. Use that to your advantage. Fuck being meek. The meek will inherit shit

um… what was that bit about me being less angry and confrontational?!! um.. er… yeah, that

GeekBoy: hahahahahahaha

GeekGirl: Anyway, didn’t Jesus himself say he hadn’t come to bring order and peace or some shit like that? Me neither. They sent me for the complete opposite [of order and peace]. Jeez. Can you imagine my judgement meeting with God?

God: Um, yeah, what the hell was up with all that quoting of my son for your shit disturbing purposes?
Claudia: Er… yeah, about that…. wasn’t it hilarious, though?
God: [quietly smiles Claudia]

Smites

SMITES

DYAC

GeekBoy: Lost my connection!

GeekGirl: Ugh. Don’t tell me you missed all my fine jokes

GeekBoy: Hopefully I’ll be there for your judgment

GeekGirl: Oh, It’ll be a riot

GeekBoy: Either to help your cause or to watch

GeekGirl: Alternate ending

[Both God and Claudia roll on the floor laughing their asses off]
GeekBoy: Hahaha

GeekGirl: Or you know, God Smites me, then he resuscitates me and say, just kidding, and then we both proceed to roll on the floor…

Holy cow, I’m on a roll today

I have to blog that shit

GeekBoy: You really are. Was just going to say that

And that my friends, is business as usual at chez Geek Squared! Poor GeekBoy.

I’ll leave you with this: Purim, of all the religious holidays, my all time favorite.

Chag Purim Sameach

Chag Purim Sameach

PS: I know some people take their religion very seriously. I don’t mean any disrespect to them. I firmly believe that everybody is free to believe and live in whatever way makes them happy. Me, I don’t take myself seriously at all.

5,000 years

I can live 5,000 years and never understand people.

Geek & Sundry, a page I follow on Facebook, posted this picture, which I found very disturbing.

Naturally, me being me, I immediately posted this:

Um… How is killing innocent animals just to see how they work inside geeky?

To which someone replied:

Science is geeky. Biology is science. Dissection teaches about how things live (biology). Therefore dissection is geeky.

And that, my friends, makes me very sad. Yes, you can say I am a dreamer but I know I am not the only one (on top of Spanish, English and Italian, I am perfectly fluent in movies and songs quotes). But how is it even remotely possible that people can still think dissection ==> science ==> geeky.

As you can imagine, I had to reply.

Two things:
1. It irks me to think about all those “Natural philosophers” as they called themselves, doing the vivisections depicted here. Yes, way back when “scientists” opened the poor animals when th
ey were still alive in order to see how bodies work. These knitted animals are a perfect representation of the original illustrations on old biology [zoology, back then] books, which of course were faithful reproductions of what the illustrator saw on the tray. These knitted reproductions are so perfect they even have the pins to hold the animals down.
2. I am a medical doctor and a molecular biologist. I am as scientific as scientists come. Science runs in my blood. I was a geek and a nerd way before being a geek and a nerd became cool. And I am telling you. Dissection doesn’t teach biology. Dissection teaches torture and murder. Why is it okay to kill animals just to show kids how things live? Anything that needed to be learned, has been learned. There is no need to kill any more poor animals. Even as a seventh grade student I refused to kill any frogs in my biology class because anything I needed to learn I could learn it from the books. As a med student, I refused to kill a dog for my Physiology lab. Again, anything I needed to learn was already in the books and we also now have computer animations to teach new students.
 
I apologize if I appear patronizing or confrontational. I don’t have anything against you. But I have everything against animal cruelty. I am all for ethical treatment of animals. Even for my PhD research, I chose a lab and a project that did not do animal research. And I am telling you – and anyone else that cares to listen: Dissection is NOT geeky, says the geekiest of all the geek girls on the planet!
I have no hope I will change anyone’s mind with my little soapbox moment.
As I said to one of my son the philosopher’s colleagues the other day: I am both a humanist and a misanthropist, if you can believe it. The funny thing was that he not only could but he did. Believe it, that is. Even quoted another philosopher who wrote about the very same dichotomy. Of course, I should have seen that coming. There was bound to be a philosopher who had philosophized about it already. I suppose I should add to it that I am also a philanthropist, sans the money part, obviously.
Long story short, I both love and hate humans. I care about people and their suffering. Why, I became a doctor, precisely because I wanted to heal people. But by George I hate people too. The things they do. The hurting they cause. The damage. The carelessness. And the stupid. THE STUPID.
I can live 5,000 years and never understand people.

Silent Scream pt. 2

image

I am not cutting, i am not worthless, I am not ashamed, I am not offended, I am not timid and I am not victimized – at least I don’t think so. But I sure am all of the others.

Silent Scream

Had the worst nightmare ever. The viciousness of it is mind-blowing.

I was trapped in it for a long long time too.

I had to fight for what felt like hours just to wake up and that is not even what made it vicious. The horror of it is unspeakable and as such I can not, will not utter the words.

I now lie in bed.

I am tired and disoriented but I don’t dare close my eyes. I can feel I am not free of the clutches yet. The room is still moving and I still feel like I am floating.

The bedding was soaking wet when I woke up, of course. It is still damp and all that made my hips very cold so I am in more pain now but I don’t mind. Perhaps the pain will keep me anchored in the awake world.

I am still terrified, nonetheless.

The Holiday Season that wasn’t

Heartbreak

Anger

Sadness

Bitterness

Loneliness

Not a lot of Holiday spirits here, as you can see.

This holiday season easily takes the prize of the second worst Christmas ever. By like a mile.

Transplanted to a new city. Alone. Far, far away from my children. Missing Satchie.

No decorations, no yule tree, no joy, no singing, no dancing, no presents.

There’s always a first time for everything, they say. And this is the first x-mas there wasn’t any presents. In my 13 years in Canada, I’ve gotten used to the no singing, no dancing part. But there was always some decorations, some cheer, a tree, some traditional food and some presents with little monetary value but highly priced in love.

I know it is not about fancy gifts. It has never been about the money. But one of the things that give me joy is getting the people I love a present that will bring a smile to their faces. I truly enjoy shopping for presents for them. I didn’t get to do any holiday shopping, for various reasons. 1. I’ve got no family in this continent. 2. After paying first and last month rent for the place I am taking possession of next week, I was left with very little money. 3. Even if I had money, there’s that little issue of anxiety getting in the way of me going out to the ONE mall in this city.

In theory, the shopping should have been very easy since I only had to shop for the fiance (the gifts for the Sidlets were made a long time ago, when I was still in Lansingtown. Besides, I don’t think I’ll get to see them any time soon and not for a long time). But the lack of money and the anxiety of getting on a bus in a city I am not familiar with, got the best of me.

Whatever.

Actually, I lied. I did manage with the help of the fiance, to get Jay a last minute catnip fish and a can of wet food. He was very happy with bothCatnip fish

43

On September 26, 2014 a group of students were on route to Iguala, the capital of the State of Guerrero Mexico, to hold a protest. However, their trip was cut short by the Mexican police who had blocked the roads leading to the Capital. Hell ensued. By next morning, 6 people were dead, 25 more were wounded and 43 students had been forcibly disappeared.

The rest is a surreal story that should belong only to the realm of the dystopian future genre. Yet, stories like this one are common in many parts of the world, including Colombia. Not in the history books of those countries, mind you. Oh no. In their every day reality.

I invite you to read the Wikipedia entry if you dare.

And if you do, I hope it doesn’t escape to you that those students in Guerrero were allegedly planning on attending the upcoming anniversary march of the 1968 student massacre in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas* in Mexico City. How’s that for an irony of fate?

I did a quick Google search for the 43 murdered Mexican students. I used mexico murdered students as key words. Google spat back about 17,600,000 results after 0.65 seconds.

Here’s an excerpt of the results in chronological order, not Google’s hierarchical one.

Nov 7 – Drug Gang Killed Students, Mexican Law Official Says

Nov 9 – Notorious hitman brought missing Mexican students to garbage dump, shot them and burned their bodies

Nov 11 – Remains could be those of 43 missing Mexican students

Nov 14 – Mexican mayor charged with murder linked to students’ disappearance

Nov 19 – Americans ignore the mass murder of students that is roiling Mexico

The newest article** (second first on the list, after the Wikipedia entry) is from November 19.

There are more recent news, of course. But you have to dig deeper to find them. The truth is, America and the rest of the world doesn’t really care.

As the Chicago Tribune aptly puts it:

After the mass murder of these students, Mexico is on the brink. But America is largely oblivious

However, there are 43 families who will never forget. They will grief their children forever. There is no possible comfort for them.

43 young men were forcibly taken, tortured and murdered because they dared to dream of a better future. Because they loved their country and they believed in standing up for justice and in changing things for the better.

Instead, they were betrayed by their own corrupt government. They were handed over to a drug gang by the police under orders of one of Mexico’s elected Mayors.

Let me say that again. They were handed over. To a drug gang. By the police. Under the Mayor’s orders.

And the world doesn’t care one bit. The 43 are yesterday’s news. Just another Wikipedia entry, like the Tlatelolco Massacre, la Noche de los Lapices, or la Matanza de las Bananeras.

People – MY people, continue to be kidnapped, tortured and murdered with impunity. Every day.

The world may not not care but they matter to me.

Every life matters!

Footnotes

* Incidentaly, I visited  Plaza de las Tres Culturas in June 1983. I have a picture of myself with the three historical buildings in the background but unfortunately it is currently in storage. Perhaps I’ll add it at a later time. Also, this little bit of history was hidden from us tender tourists by our tour guide.

** Yes, I know one can select “news” instead of “web” when doing a Google search in order to get up to date results but honestly, how many people are aware of this?

It is “Embarrass Your Kids Publicly” time!

And now, for something completely different. It is “Embarrass Your Kids Publicly” time!

There is no such thing as too much when it comes to embarr… er… telling your children you are proud of them.

Being proud of your children doesn’t mean agreeing with everything they do. It’s about supporting them in their life decisions even if you would have made a different one in the same circumstances. It’s being happy for them even if their journey takes them away from you both physically and ideologically.

Because being proud of your children should not – does not, depends on whether they adhere to the same religious or political beliefs you do or whether they get good grades or whether they become famous or important people.

I am very proud of my children because they are not afraid of speaking up and they are not concerned about fitting the mold. Because they are bravely embracing life, mistakes and all. Because they are not afraid of laughing, of crying, of loving immensely and generously.

Truly, a parent can’t ask for more.

This proud moment has been brought to you by whatever they put in the water in Windsor, ON

Offspring 1 & 2

Offspring 1 & 2

A Disgrace On Humanity

Summer Solstice Girl:

“This evil happened not in my land, the dead are not my kin…but I share the pain, I suffer the ache.”

Perhaps this phrase explains more accurately what I have been trying to explain. They are no my kin, and yet, they are.

Originally posted on Artist Within Me:

••He woke up that morning only to see darkness!
He- who lived only to see the funeral of his classmates!
He- who might be called lucky, is the unluckiest of all!
He- who will never see his friends again, never will hear them call!••

The apocalypse is no longer a distant propaganda. I WITNESSED IT TODAY.
6 armed demons – enter a school in Pakistan – target the innocent – spray machine-gun fire – howls and screams of children – they run for rescue, all in vain – firing continues – hours later, all that remained was the chaste blood: blood and limbs and torn pieces of children’s flesh.
This evil happened not in my land, the dead are not my kin…but I share the pain, I suffer the ache. The sin that was witnessed is a disgrace on humanity. Blind on revenge, man has committed unjustifiable crimes. Look where…

View original 76 more words


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