Muse-inks: Improvements all around

Reader, I bought Torvi a Thunder Shirt. All I have to say is a-MA-zing! I put it on her the day Phil brought it home (last Sunday) and the beast just went into the bedroom, hopped up on the bed, and curled up.

I thought, perhaps, it was an anomaly, but I started putting it on her every afternoon when we got home from work. And she was noticeably calmer.


Here she is modelling the TS.

Then, on Tuesday, I went to my vet for Torvi’s flea and tic medication and asked about motion sickness meds. I went home with some to try.

On Thursday, Mom also came with me to obedience. Between the TS, the meds, and Mom, Torvi survived class number two without vomiting, or behaving like a twit.

Mellie haz a happy.

I’ve slowly been increasing my writing production, and I revised my goals (again). I’m pleased with my progress. I’m writing most days. Thursdays, of course, are still a write off.

Things have improved for Phil at work. The promised assistance is slow in coming, but the powers that be have eased up on his deadlines and the other demands on his time and expertise. Though not perfect, the situation should return to pre-crisis levels of stress soonish.

There’s a bit of a shake up coming at my employer, though. My manager is moving on to another assignment and my team will once again be headed by actors. We have about 35 people on the team, so we have two managers. The other permanent manager has been off on maternity leave since last fall.

I know my new manager. We’ve actually been colleagues in the past. It should be a good thing. As ever, we’ll have to wait and see.


One bloom … two blooms … three blooms … four! Four blooms! Ahahahahaha! (My imitation of The Count from Sesame Street.)

The only negative is that, after weeks of melting, we’re getting a dumping of ten centimetres of snow today. I’ll take it. March did come in rather lamb-like. It’s going out lionish. It’s to be expected in northeastern Ontario.

Until the next time I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.


Heck month and everwinter are almost over

This has been a demanding month for me. I’ve been out of town training for three out of the four weeks in March.

The one week I didn’t travel was technically a week off, but I scheduled it full of appointments that I’d had to put off because of work. It didn’t feel very much like a week off.

Of the four internal postings I’ve applied for in the past several months, I learned that I’ve been screened out of all of them, even the new posting for the consultant position that I actually performed for sixteen months. I’ve requested a couple of “informal discussions” about my exclusion, and I’ve applied for another position that was posted both internally and externally. We’ll see what comes of all that.

Rejection is disheartening, though. I know I shouldn’t take it personally, but I do. Like most large organizations, my employer’s hiring process leaves many things to be desired. In some ways, I wish for the days when I didn’t think advancement was possible, when I was content in my position making my own, somewhat subversive, way in the corporate world.

Add to the day-job concerns a writing workshop, a month-long creative promotion on Google plus, and my decision to start curating on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Mellie’s a bit tired. That seems to be the way of things, though. If you want to pursue what makes you passionate about life, you have to make sacrifices.

Fortunately, it looks like I’m going to be staying close to home, work-wise, for the foreseeable. I’ll still be training, monitoring new trainees, and overseeing a customized monitoring plan, but I’ll be working from my home office. I think I’ll be able to recover.

The sun has just set here, and though it’s been snowing and miserable forever (it seems) I have hope that the weather will improve. It’s not uncommon for us to have snow into April or even May, but this winter has been such a consistently snowy one, and freezing cold when it hasn’t been snowing, that it’s difficult to be optimistic.

Usually, we have some form of a break, a green Christmas, January thaw, or the sight of green in March, but this year it’s only been snow and cold. We haven’t had it as bad as some areas, but I think northern Ontario, heck, North America, is probably ready to say goodbye to this everwinter.

This is Writerly Goodness, shaking off the winter blahs.

snow can be pretty

It can be pretty, but I’m ready for it to melt 😉

Tomorrow will be another day.

The SADness of winter in northern Ontario

This winter has been a challenging one pretty much everywhere this year. Though we’ve only broken a couple of records in the cold temperature category, I don’t think we’ve broken any for snowfall, which feels strange to me, because we’ve had more snow this winter than we have in … well a lot of years.

They say we have global warming to thank for all of this, but that seems counterintuitive to me. This whole winter has been alternating snow and freezing temperatures. It even snowed as far south as New Orleans. New York and the Maritime Provinces have been repeatedly slammed. Our weather certainly is messed up this year.

Winter has always been a difficult season for me. As a person with depression, the seasonal reduction of daylight combined with the number of overcast days makes me prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

I’m more tired than usual, and I’m tired most of the time. I just want to hibernate.

It’s a struggle to remain productive, both at work and in my writing life. I miss more days of writing in the winter than I do at other times of the year, which distresses me. It’s more difficult to feel enthusiastic about things, even things that I enjoy. I have to fake it until I make it.

I also eat more and am less active in the winter. I gain weight. Fortunately, this doesn’t distress me so much, but it can lower my self-esteem.

I feel like I’m falling behind. There aren’t enough hours in a day. Everything seems to take longer to do.

The light is returning, though. We’re in March and only weeks away from the Spring Equinox. I’m starting to feel better already.

We’re also one week away from the “spring forward” of Daylight Savings Time (DST).

It’s frustrating that we still follow it. I call it self-imposed jet lag. Just as I’m beginning to feel better because of the increased daylight, we leap forward an hour, plunging my mornings back into darkness. It’s once more a challenge to get out of bed and start my day.

Plus I lose an hour and that messes with my already fragile circadian rhythm. Insomnia abounds.

It can take me days, sometimes weeks to recover.

The claim is that DST saves energy from the use of incandescent lighting and has economic benefits in the summer because of increased retail, sporting events, and other activities that can more easily be conducted in the evenings due to the shifted hour.

I really don’t see it. We use lights when it’s dark regardless of whether it’s dark in the morning, evening, or both. We’d take advantage of the daylight regardless.

I can’t change legislation, though. So for now, I must simply deal.

What about you? Do you get SAD in the winter? Has this winter’s wonky weather patterns got you down? Do you see the point of DST, or does it bother you? Do you even have to deal with DST where you live?

The dog in winter … just because

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, or even if you drop in occasionally, you’ve probably noticed that I write about my dog from time to time.  This is one of those times 🙂

Nu (Nuala) is a quirky beast.  First, she pees like a male dog.  Yes, she lifts her leg.  It’s a learned behaviour adopted from dog-friend Daisy, who in turn learned the skill from her dog-friend Colonel.  This is a particularly useful skill in winter, when snow banks often crowd the sidewalks.  Trust me, it’s better than the embarrassing (for me) pee in the middle of the sidewalk or driveway, which often occurs just when another pedestrian or the homeowner walks up.

She used to climb the banks, but I’ve had to curb that inclination.  More on that in a bit.

Nu also has a couple of behaviours reserved for winter.  She’s a sniffer.  The rest of the year, she walks with her nose to the ground and often finds the most interesting (read disgusting) things on the side of the road.  Used tissues are a favourite, but occasionally she’ll go for the feces of other animals or the leavings of feral cats (bird corpses mostly).  It’s so disappointing when your pet actually behaves like a dog 😛

Her reaction to having these things extracted from her mouth has resulted in one of her many nick-names: Clamps.  Nu will clench her mouth shut, and physically curl her body to prevent either Phil or myself from getting to the offensive bit.  She becomes completely rigid and I’ve often had to lift most of her 80 pound weight to get at whatever tasty she’s found.

The snow-nosian pupWhen the first decent snow falls, though, the sniffing takes on a whole new dimension.  Nu buries her entire face in the snow, snuffling and digging through it in her attempt to find whatever delicious smell has attracted her. She emerges as the snow-nosian pup.  The snow melts pretty quickly, but sometimes we see the abominable (adorable) snow dog.

I walk Nuala using a Halti.  She can haul anyone clear across the driveway when she has a mind to, so it helps to keep her in line without causing strain on her neck.  She hates the thing though, and during the rest of the year, she’ll rub her chin on the ground in an attempt to scratch beneath, or remove the Halti entirely.

In the winter, this behaviour turns into what I like to call her seal impression.  Nu slides on the snow, nose first, clearing a path for the rest of her to follow.  Her front paws fold back (kind of like flippers) and she slides across the snowy yard, wiggling.  She really does look like a seal.

In recent years, Nuala’s had a few minor health situations.  A couple of years ago, she sheared one of her molars in half.  This necessitated a lengthier-than-expected dental surgery that left her disoriented and whining in that particular post-surgical way.  Any of you who have gone through it with your pet will know what I mean.  Stumbling when she tried to walk, and moaning through a clenched and quivering jaw.  It was truly pathetic.

Last year, she developed what we thought was arthritis, and she was started on a regimen of Metacam and Cartrofen which seemed to be working, but this year, after her Cartrofen booster, she started limping more than usual, not less.

She wouldn’t put weight on her right rear leg and when we took her in to the vet last week, the tentative diagnosis was an ACL injury.  Yes, animals get them too, but unlike humans, you can’t tell them the reason why they can’t run around like a yahoo anymore, climb snow banks, and get overly excited over company.

Here are a couple of helpful videos from Vetstoria.  Note: The second one shows the actual surgery and those uncomfortable with graphic medical information should steer clear.

We’re trying to keep her quiet, and ‘easy,’ ‘whoa,’ and ‘no’ have become a large part of our communication these days.  If she doesn’t improve over the holidays, Nu will be admitted to the vet’s for a day where she’ll be sedated and a definitive diagnosis made.  At this point, she’s resisting the manipulation that could potentially reveal the extent of the injury.

Because the ligament is soft tissue, an x-ray won’t show anything about the ACL.  It will show any ancillary damage caused to the bone, however, so that too might be in Nuala’s future.

If the ACL is significantly torn or detached, Nuala’s headed for surgery, either in Ottawa or Guelph, and that’s an issue for us because both Phil and I work and Nu doesn’t travel well, even over short distances.  One or both of us would have to take the time off work, and neither of us has the vacation to accommodate such a trip.

Though expensive, the cost is not the issue with us.  Our last dog, Zoe, had a couple of Zoesurgeries in an attempt to remove the cancer (hemangiosarcoma) that she developed.  The bill was over five thousand and in the end, the cancer had spread and still resulted in her death.  Sad days, those.

Our cat, Thufir, developed diabetes, and we treated him for years with metformin and then insulin before he finally succumbed to complications.  Phil and I believe that pet ownership includes the responsibility for the animal’s overall health.  These unforeseen crises are some of the reasons we have credit cards and a line of credit.

So that’s life with Nuala these days, who’s earned yet Thufiranother nick-name, the Hoblin, as a result of her current injury.

Will likely update you in the New Year with the developing situation.  I won’t lay claim to prescience, but I have a feeling that surgery will be in our collective future.

Do you have a pet with health issues?  How are you managing it?  My best wishes to anyone dealing with anything serious.