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Monday, May 30, 2011

Internet Challenges Associated with Living in The Boonies

We've been having intermittent internet since Friday. We've been out almost all of today.

Poor Ed, he had two phone conferences today, makes it tough with no phone (as you know, we use VOIP and don't have a land line).

Ed's pretty sure that it's tree foliage that is our problem If that's the case, we'll need to install a tower (at least 40'). That's going to cost some money. We need to buy a (used) tower (~$30 for each 10', $120, new it's $150 per 10'), we need to have someone experienced to scale/build the tower (cost unknown) and then we need to pay our service provider to come out and re-establish the connection ($250). Assuming that's the problem...

If you're trying to get in touch with us and it's not urgent, please call and leave a voice message and/or email. When we (sporadically) get internet and/or pop over to The Sheriff's to check, we can get our voice message and emails and call you back.

If it's an emergency, call our cell phone or The Sheriff.

Just a reminder (Mom, smile) that calls IN TO and OUT OF our cell phone are long distance. Our calls ping off of a tower right near our house that is in another area code. You can imagine how much I love paying (unnecessary) long distance charges.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tons of Events Going on in The Boonies

Dandelion Festival Logo Yesterday afternoon, for the first time, we attended the Dandelion Festival.

There was a lot to see; the opening of the new library, face painting, train taking kids around town, buskers, folk dancing, singing and playing, rock stage, art exhibits, food and drink to name a few.

We went because we wanted to see the Reptile Exhibit but they changed the time and date on us (to today) so we missed it. The kids couldn't have cared less. Max enjoyed chasing the bubbles that I made (I brought them with me) and Artemis spent her time cleaning up the area (read: picking up cigarette butts off the ground, her Mommy is so proud...). Sorry, no pictures (we forgot).

Today, we went over to Cousin Ethan's house for a BBQ. The adults ate; barbequed chicken breast with an assortment of 37 bbq sauce flavours (okay I'm slightly exaggerating but not by much), potato salad, spinach salad with raisins, tomatoes and walnuts (yum), fresh homemade bread with balsamic/oil dip, many different beverages (Christina has this really cool Keurig coffee machine). The day ended with Lemon Swirl Cheesecake. Once again, we forgot to take pictures. Next time for sure (no excuses) because Christina got a new Nikon D3000 camera. The kids tested out each others toys while the parents ran around and further baby proofed the house. Thanks for having us!

On the way home from Christina's, Ed noticed this "Clubhouse Swingset" (made by Little Tikes) disassembled and hidden in the front bushes of someone's house. I went in to ask about it and sure enough, they'd just put it out (a few hours earlier) and it was FREE. Their grandkids had outgrown it and hardly ever used it. Hopefully Ed can replace the bucket swings for our infant swings. Once he's through with it, it will look new. Score.

We spoke to Poppa and he is coming for a visit on Wednesday. Followed by Nanna's visit on June 8 (wow, it's almost June!?). We can hardly wait!

We are still accepting Haiku poems. Here's another one to get/keep your creative juices flowing. By the way, feel free to submit more than one (but at least submit one).

This Blog turned one
It has been a super year
Here's to many more

Have any Haikus of Your Own?

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A "Zoo'ed Up" First Blog'versary

One year ago today, I posted this wild and crazy introduction (well not really wild and crazy to the general populace but it was for The Zoo).

Since that time, we have made 129 posts (well 130 if you count this one). Not bad considering I didn't (read: couldn't) post for 102 days while we were in Mexico over the winter. Subtracting that, I posted 49.4% of the time (263/130). That won't win me any awards (read: sponsorships) but my Mom and Dad think I'm great so that has to count for something.

So, in celebration of The Zoo's First Blog'versary, we're having a giveaway (because that's what everyone does). However, unfortunately for you, it's not that easy because Ed's in charge. Allow me to explain.

Over dinner, I informed Ed about our Blog'versary. He immediately suggested that we pay everyone who commented one dollar (you can tell how big he thinks our readership is). To which I replied, we might be out up to $500 (after one friend tells another friend and so on and so on, by the way, what is that from? Note that Ed, of course, knows where this is from, note the "useless information" comment below). Being the "Finance Minister" (that's what Ed calls me), I immediately ixnay'ed that idea.

His next brilliant idea (brilliant only to himself and his mother) is to have everyone submit a "Haiku" poem. Of course, we're going to celebrate our First Blog'versary with a "Haiku" contest (doesn't everyone?).

In order to inspire you, I had Ed write (a happy, according to him) Haiku poem. Here it is...

I love mayonnaise
Fun for the whole Zoo
"Clean-up on aisle five"

For those of you who (still) choose to participate, please leave your poem in the comments section. The winner will NOT be selected by a randomly generated computer selector program (or whatever it's called, you know, the thing that everyone else in the universe uses). No, Ed will personally pick HIS favourite. Note that if you are the ONLY submission (very likely), he assures me that this does NOT mean that you will defacto win the prize (which we have yet to discuss).

Basically, I highly suggest that you do this because for some strange reason you want to and not because you'll win a prize (I mean, let's be honest, we're not that kind of people, whatever that means).

By the way, whoever said that "opposites attract" (seriously, who really said that?) was right! Ed knows more "useless information" than anyone I know. And, after 10 years together, I wouldn't trade him for anything.

Happy Haiku'ing!

Added after the fact. I just read the "Urban Dictionary" definition for "Haiku" (I was secretly hoping that I had created the verb "Haiku'ing") when I realized that Ed's poem wasn't right (can you spot the error?).

Added after the fact, again. Blogger is having some more problems, especially with comments. It's so bad that I can't even leave a comment on my own blog (well I can but it appears as if I'm Anonymous!?). In turn, for all of you that are desperately trying to submit your Haiku poems (you know you are), please feel free to email me; shood50 youknow hotmail youknow com.

Here is my reply to Amy's Haiku;

Brilliant Haiku!
Amy has set the bar high.
We have ONE comment.

(Just a little Haiku of my own)

Reina's New Bionic Knee Surgery is a Success!

Note that at the bottom of this post, there are a few pictures of Reina's wound. There is a tiny droplet of dried blood (it looks black) and I don’t think it’s gory at all. In fact, I think that it looks very pretty. But, if you have a weak stomach, perhaps you should skip this post. In a nutshell, she’s doing great and should have a full recovery.

Reina had her ACL replacement surgery on Thursday evening. The surgery entails the replacement of the ACL with a synthetic product (they don’t reconnect/repair her own ACL). She has 17 little staples all in a neat row.

She doesn’t have any arthritis in her joint and all of her blood work came back normal. She’s in great shape for her eight plus years. The clinic said that she was one of the quickest recuperators ever! We are very proud and pleased.

She should start to use her leg after approximately two weeks. She has a follow-up appointment (to remove her staples) in two weeks. The initial recovery period takes eight weeks. She is expected to make a full recovery which will take up to six months.

She’s on two medications (pain killer and antibiotics) for 10 days and a joint care formula pellet for at least 11 weeks. Ed has to carry her in and out of the house (she can’t use the stairs). That’s no easy task considering she is 58 pounds. She has to wear an Elizabethan Collar and stay away from Phoenix. He’s a roughhouser (what Boxer isn’t) and has been caught licking her wound. She doesn't mind if we touch around her knee and is quick to lie on her back for a belly rub. Good ole Reina.

On a totally unrelated note, here’s a picture of Thursday nights dinner. Homemade pizza, yum! The pizza has; tomato sauce, thick slices of tomatoes, sundried tomatoes (we like tomatoes), oregano, kalamata olives, broccoli, chicken and feta cheese. I think that it was lacking a salty condiment (Ed thought it was perfect) and will add capers and/or anchovies next time. Mmm, I love anchovies.



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

T.I.H.L.A... Cheerios

Things I Have Learned About (T.I.H.L.A)... Cheerios.

1. Teddy and Panda like to eat them. The kids were feeding them all morning.


2. Cheerios fit perfectly through vents. I can't believe that I'm posting a picture of my disgustingly dirty vent.


3. No hands are required to eat them. In this picture, Artemis is eating crackers so pretend that they're Cheerios. They eat their Cherrios with no hands all the time (I just don't have a picture of it). Real classy, I know.


4. They are an easy snack (to eat and carry around) and the kids love them.

Tonight, Reina heads to Ogdensburg, NY for the evening. Her ACL replacement surgery is tomorrow morning. We will pick her up on Friday and let you know more about her recovery then.

The kids have a real facination with shoes (especially Artemis). She likes to walk around in my flip flops (quite a sight). Here she is wearing Ed's workboots.


This afternoon, the kids and I headed outside to play. We lasted 30 minutes and then I couldn't take it any longer. The mosquitos were so bad. Max tried to catch a couple of bees. We have a fair amount as we have a ton of lilac bushes.



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The May Long Weekend of 2011

I have been inundated with requests from my mom and dad loyal followers to do a post about this weekend. That and they want to see pictures of their grandkids. Grandkids grandshmids. What about me, their only daughter? Replaced by the spawn of my loins. I could go on but this IS a family blog.

On Saturday and Sunday morning, Ed and Kevin woke up early and went garage saleing. Andrew and I stayed home to tend the litter and make breakfast (bacon extravaganza and pancakes).

During the days, the boys, burned the burn pile, brought the wood stove upstairs (and all it’s accessories), mowed 5 acres, fixed the front door (well found out what was broken), fixed the lawn mower tractor, fixed the sump pump (but then unfixed the sump pump, it's a long story...) and chainsawed trees (I’m sure I’m missing something(s)).

On Saturday evening, Kevin MADE ME call my neighbour (The Sheriff) to ask him if Kevin could come over and watch Saturday Night Live at his place (at 11pm, even though he’d never met him) all because Kevin has a man crush thinks that Justin Timberlake is funny (you knew that was coming Kevin).

On Monday morning, we all got up early and went to a Cooper Auction sale. There was a ton of stuff there (a six hour sale at least) but not much that we wanted (mostly machinery). Kevin bid on a couple of things (thankfully he didn’t win anything as we already have to bring back a 4x8’ whiteboard this summer). The boys left at 11am and we left shortly thereafter but not before Ed called the neighbourhood (okay, only The Sheriff but Gord and Dave also showed up) letting him know that an almost new boat and motor were for sale (The Sheriff is in the market for a “new to him” 15hp motor). I bought three wooden captains chairs (for $1, the deal of the century) and when we got home, Ed pressure washed them (they’d been in the barn) and fixed them up pretty (glued them).

Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for… pictures.

I know that you won't believe it but I think that Andrew "might" be smiling in this picture. Seeing as it's the only picture in the world (of him smiling), I will be selling copies for $10 (proceeds to the dogs).

Credit Card Management with Uncle Kevin (The Teacher).

"The Dorm". Words spoken by Kevin when he saw his accomodations.

The Burn Pile Before (note that there IS a burn barrel hidden somewhere in there).

The Burn Pile During.

The Burn Pile After.

Got Cheerios?

Multitasker.

Super Star!

The (Il)literates.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Letter to Ed #2

Kevin, Andrew and Bailey (my brother's dog) arrived at 3:09pm and within 3 seconds of arriving, I had them helping me out; take down the bunk bed, get the table and chair from the portable, assemble a new kids toy (which required a trip back to the portable with a flashlight), get the laundry from the basement and babysit the kids so that I could use the washroom.

Kevin wanted to hide his car behind the portable but I told him that you wouldn't recognize it. Now if he'd brought his truck... As I thought, you just thought that it was someone else's (specifically my friend Rene's).

While we were waiting for you (read: drinking beers), Kevin had made a list as long as his arm of things to do; trim tree, finish bathroom, burn the burn pile, mow the lawn (Andrew's job), but not before you reassemble the lawn mower tractor.

When you arrived, your response to seeing this


Was this. Classic. (Note that this was not staged, however, I was waiting at the door to catch your reaction).


You arrived home at 4:45pm and within two minutes (literally, you left in dress clothes and shoes), you guys were back out the door and headed to Finnerty's for "Guys Night Out". Kevin is already planning on buying something big (what he doesn't know, nor is it really important) because we can take it to him this summer (we'll be bringing the trailer).

Letter to Ed #1

You just pulled out of the driveway (you have business in Ottawa) and I am putting the last touches on my scalloped potatoes before they arrive (eta of 3pm). "They?" you would have asked. "Whose coming? It can't be Andrew as he isn't expected (by train) until Saturday afternoon...".

As you are well aware, I hate (receiving) surprises. However, I love to give them but I'm unable to keep them (I'm always dying to tell). Besides, I’m a horrible liar.

So, it's no small feat that I've been keeping this surprise since Easter (that's 3.5 weeks but to someone like me, it might as well have been 3.5 years).

I can just imagine your face when you find out. Realizing that all my craziness was for a reason (not that I need one).

- "Scalloped potatoes?" you asked (secretly wishing that Andrew came more often as we haven't had them since the ice storm of 1998, I don't cook that often…),
- The 6th chair (by the way, where is it?),
- Why I needed you home RIGHT after your meeting because I needed to go and look at Laurie's chickens. Like if I didn't see them by 4pm they'd turn back into eggs. To top it off, you then ask "What about the kids?". See what a bad liar I am, I totally forgot about the kids.
- How Andrew can bring Bailey on the train with him without a cage (it's actually here) AND take back a dozen eggs. My response, "My mom loves scrambled eggs".
But being the easygoing guy that you are, you just helped me rush around getting ready, one day early...


So surprise (I know that it will be)! Cousin Kevin (My Dad's Brother's Son) and Uncle Andrew are here for the long weekend. The three of you together is going to be hilarious.

I got this photo off of Nanna's camera so I don't know where it was taken. I'm assuming Kevin's new house!? I do know that it was taken on January 16, 2011 (good ole "Properties" details).

Now hurry home because I want to give you my list of all the things that you can now do because Kevin's here...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Feeling Verklempt

Change in plans (I'm sure you're not surprised). Ed and Reina went alone to the vet. After some sleep thought I realized that all of us didn't need to go (especially because the kids would have missed a short nap, snack and dinner).

It only took them 40 minutes, including a (regular) stop at the border to get where they were going. FYI, that's the same amount of time that it takes us to get into Ottawa.

Thankfully (it seems kind of funny to write that), Reina's condition is exactly as we thought. X-rays showed that her bones and joint were intact, she does not have arthritis, however, her ACL is torn (where we don't know, they can't tell from the x-ray). The doctor prescribed some painkillers and her surgery (Extracapsular Repair) is scheduled for Thursday.

Ed was very impressed with the doctor and his practice. They were very busy and had all the latest equipment (they even had a bile chromatograph, only Ed would know what this was and/or get excited over it). The only problem (for Ed) was when he went to pay, he realized that he'd left his Mastercard at home. Not a problem, use the Visa, oops, expired, not a problem use American Express, oops, the vets Amex system was down. Thankfully, I sent him with a pile of American money otherwise, Ed would be washing down dog cages as we speak.

Before her x-ray, they had to give Reina a cocktail to make her relax. While they were giving her the shot, she looked up at Ed as if to say "what is going on here, will I be all right"? Ed said that he was suddenly feeling very verklempt. He was thinking about the day when her time is up...

Thankfully, now is not the time. She's still got a lot of years left in her!

P.S. It's times like this where I think of our pet turtles, Phlegm and Catarrh, RIP.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reina's Roadtrip to the Vet in Ogdensburg.

Portrait of Reina
Reina hurt her knee almost five years ago (we don't know how) and every 12 months or so she has a flare-up (it will dislocate on and off for a couple of days) and then life goes back to normal. Until now.

For the past three days she has not been using her right rear leg at all. She has not been able to climb steps. She has hardly been eating. When I bend and straighten her leg, the knee pops in and out. None of this is normal for her.


In turn, tomorrow evening, Ed, the Kids, Reina and I (Phoenix, Aries and Alexander will guard the house) will be off to see a vet in Ogdensburg, NY. Thankfully, it's only a short drive (less than 30 minutes).

Why a vet in Ogdensburg? Our friends recommended them, The Zoo doesn't have a file with any vet in Kemptville and we imagine it to be less expensive.

Worst case, she'll need an orthopedic surgeon to replace her ACL or more. Most likely (read: what we expect), she'll need her ACL replaced by a (normal) vet. Least likely, we'll bandage her knee and be on our way.

We're looking forward to Uncle Andrew's visit this long weekend. Maybe he should bring his passport...

Note that Reina (pronounced Ray-Na) means "Queen" in Spanish. She had the name when we got her. We didn't rename her as we thought that we wouldn't be keeping her (Ed had other plans). Not that there's anything the matter with Reina (we now love it), it's just kind of like naming your dog Rover.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hasta Luego Nanna

Sorry for not posting more but we've been having a blast hanging out with Nanna and blogger (the site that hosts this blog) was deleting posts doing maintenance on Thursday and Friday.

On Friday night, for the first time since December (at least), Ed and I went to Finnerty's alone. On Saturday, we went out "garage saleing" (I think I just made a new verb). We can't thank Nanna enough for all her babysitting, laundry, cleaning, early morning wake-ups, food shopping and just generally helping us out.

For those of you that don't speak Spanish, this doesn't mean that the Terminator is going to come and blast Nanna with a double barrelled shotgun. "Hasta Luego" means "See you Later" (literally translated it means "Until Later")

Here are some pictures from Nanna's camera.

Max's Serious Look (that he gives all the time but we rarely catch on film)

Look like anyone you know? Check out Artemis' picture to the right.




Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gypsy Girl (and the Other Guy) turn 17 Months

Ed calls Artemis his "Little Gypsy Girl" (well he's also called her a name that begins with "S" and ends in "trumpet" but he told me not to tell you that because it's not very nice, apparently it has something to do with the way I dress her!?), anyways, I forgot to tell you that they turned 17 months today.

We spent the whole day outside playing, picking dandelions, eating rocks, riding the lawnmower tractor and having a great ole time.

Ah, the life of a 17 month old...


Horsey Ridey



Nanna bought the kids a toy yesterday, his name is "Horsey Ridey". The kids love him. Artemis, our little daredevil is definitely going to be in the circus as she likes to stand on the seat with NO HANDS and rock back and forth (we don't have any pictures because that would be irresponsible, and we are never irresponsible)!




The kids still have runny noses so we haven't gone to playgroup in two weeks. We're hoping to go tomorrow. The weather has been amazing and we've spent time outside everyday. Today looks like that will make 4 days in a row! I managed to find time (and sugar) and filled up the hummingbird feeders. One hangs in front of our baywindow (where the picnic table is) and the kids love to watch them feed.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Technically Speaking, Today was Mother's Day 2011

Yesterday was Mother's Day, however, we pretended that it was today. We all got dressed up and went out for lunch (and we missed all the crowds). What a beautiful day!

When we got back from lunch, we took some pictures of the kids outside. I thought that the pictures turned out pretty well for a Canon point and shoot and considering I couldn't see what I was taking pictures of (it was so sunny). Sorry for the picture overload but there were so many cute ones.

Ed and I spent the afternoon weeding the garden as I hope to have time to plant and tend one this year.








Sunday, May 8, 2011

Celebrating My Second Mother's Day is Bitter Sweet.

This morning, Ed and the kids made Nanna and I a feast to remember; bacon, eggs, toast and coffee, yum! The kids gave Nanna their "Happy Nanna Card" complete with traced handprints, crumpled envelopes and missing a corner (tasty).

We gave the kids their new toy; a picnic table. We figured they were old enough to actually sit at it (maybe not) and use it for colouring (instead of the kitchen floor, our house is carpeted).
Max and Artemis sitting on their new picnic tableMax and Artemis Lying on their new picnic table


Happy Mother's Day to all Mother's, especially those that are Mother's but don't have their babies in their arms. Remember that your babies are thinking of you too.



Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo