Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Exploring The World At Home

As I've been very busy in my photoblog as of late- I am in the midst of a series on Canada Day at the moment- I am presenting today another photoblog post here. Ottawa Welcomes The World is an ongoing event through the year presented in collaboration by the city, numerous embassies, and other organizations in turn. Countries have a day or two (or more) to present themselves at Lansdowne Park. As part of the Canada 150 celebrations, the idea was put forth to present the world through this series. The result is a mixture- artisans, photography from other places, music and performance, documentary films, food, and more, all presented in the Horticulture Building. Two events in recent days caught my attention. First it was Rwanda's turn, and when I visited, dancers were on stage in traditional attire.

These crafts caught my eye.

As did the photography mounted on the wall.

A couple of days later it was Taiwan's turn. A Buddhist charitable organization that specializes in emergency response was near the entrance, and its members showed me a number of things, including this useful item. It is easily transportable into disaster zones, a chair that folds down into a bed and can be used in emergency shelters. They've used these in places like Nepal after the 2015 quake, as part of their work.

These hand puppets really caught my eye.

As did the photographs mounted on the wall, this strange landscape among them.

But this was the show stopper landscape. Jade Mountain as it's called in English doesn't usually look like this- Taiwan's location in the tropics doesn't allow for permanent glaciation, and snow is fleeting high on its mountains. But the mountain itself took my breath away.

This floral arrangement was set up. It was done in the shape of the main island, and placed over a boat, one done in the traditional indigenous style of Pacific Islanders.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Day In The Life Of A Cat

It is time for the cat to have her say, after the dog got the first word in my last post...

7:01 AM. Waking up at home. Big stretch. Followed by a big yawn. 

7:03 AM. Sitting on the back of the couch, staring out at my domain. Some flying lunches out on the lawn. Okay, how long do I have to be polite before I can go wake up the staff? I mean, it is the weekend after all, which allows her to sleep in, but more importantly, I am feeling peckish right about now.

7:06 AM. Heading upstairs. Okay, staff. Enough’s enough. Time for you to get up and get at them, as the expression goes.

7:07 AM. Jumping up on the bed. The staff remains asleep. Okay, as I see it, here are my options. First, I could just let her sleep. Second, I can stare at her endlessly, willing her to wake up. That totally freaks humans out when we do that. Third, I can give her a head bonk. Fourth, I can howl like a banshee. Fifth, I can roll around at her side, stirring her from slumber. Sixth, I can softly meow over and over again. And seventh, I can jump on top of her. Decisions, decisions....

7:08 AM. A good firm meow gets her eyelids fluttering. Yes, staff. It is morning. I am hungry. Get up.

7:09 AM. The staff appears to be trying to sleep in another five minutes. I must therefore react by meowing more insistently.

7:10 AM. I have successfully roused the staff out of sleep. She’s now getting up. That’s better, staff. Now then, I’ll be downstairs awaiting you, so get to it. I fully expect you to be downstairs feeding me by seven thirty at the latest. 

7:11 AM. Descending the stairs, taking up position on the back of the couch. Having had done my feline duty in waking up my staff, I can rest content. Assuming she doesn’t sneak back into bed for another half hour. She’s done that before.

7:16 AM. Sounds from upstairs indicate the shower is on. Very good. Unless of course she deliberately did that to make me think she’s getting ready for the day and not just back under the covers. Is it me, or do I seem overly suspicious today?

7:29 AM. The staff comes downstairs. Well, it’s about time, staff. I was about to send a search party up to get you. That search party would have consisted of me, and I would have been meowing constantly. Now then, two items of critical importance await us. First, this is the weekend, so I fully expect you to stay home and cater to my every need. And second, I am expecting breakfast.

7:32 AM. The staff provides me with breakfast. Chicken and milk in bowls... and a bowl of field rations. I sigh with dismay. Staff, how many times do I have to tell you? Oh well, I’ll content myself with the first two.

7:35 AM. Finished with breakfast. Have left the field rations by themselves. I have also left the staff in peace to have her own breakfast. Licking my chops as I head into the dining room.

7:46 AM. Sitting on a windowsill. Looking at a plant further along the sill. Musing on the physics behind swatting it off the windowsill. What would be its termination velocity before it hits the floor? How much of an effect would gravity have on it? Was Einstein a cat passing himself off as a human being?

7:49 AM. Startled out of my musings by movement out on the lawn. It’s that annoying mutt!

7:50 AM. Telling that foul hound exactly what I think of him. And I’m using all sorts of bad words. But they’re justified under the circumstances. Dogs are, after all, annoyances of the highest order. He claims he’s a good dog, but I know better!

7:51 AM. Giving the dog the finger. Get lost!

7:52 AM. The staff comes to see what all the racket is about. She reaches for the door. Hey, wait! How do you know he won’t just barge in here?

7:53 AM. The staff is out there on my lawn petting and talking to that infernal dog. I am beside myself. Traitor!

7:54 AM. Watching the dog leave the property. The staff comes back in. I glare at her. You just touched a dog! Right now I’m mad at you too!

8:26 AM. Still annoyed. Brooding a lot. Speculating on taking revenge against my staff by the shredding of cashmere.

11:06 AM. Waking up from nap. Slept well. Dreamed of the dog getting chased by a bear.

12:21 PM. Have coaxed the staff into giving me a couple of slices of ham. Very good, staff, very good, but don’t think this lets you off the hook for being polite to that hound this morning...

4:28 PM. Running for my life up the stairs to a bolt hole. How dare the staff interrupt my nap by turning on the vacuum cleaner!

6:19 PM. Dinner with the staff. She’s made bacon pancakes. I am contenting myself with eating one of them. I suspect she is trying to butter me up and make amends for the whole petting the dog thing today.

8:57 PM. Lying on my back, getting tummy rubs from the staff. Oh, this is nice. At least until I decide I’ve had enough, and then it’s kill shred destroy the hand!

11:28 PM. The staff is off to bed. Very well, staff, but keep the door open. I fully expect to be able to pounce on you in the middle of the night and run away before you knew I was there.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Day In The Life Of A Dog

Once again it is time for the perspective of the dog and the cat. As always, the dog has the first word (they're impatient and easily distracted, after all)...

7:08 AM. Waking up at home. Slept exceedingly well. Dreamed of chasing my tail and catching it.

7:11 AM. Getting a look outside. Sunny day. Plenty of time to get out there and chase some squirrels. Once I have breakfast. Breakfast must be the priority.

7:19 AM. The human comes downstairs. I wag my tail in greetings. Good morning, human! Fine day, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I feel a bit peckish. How about some breakfast?

7:21 AM. The human thoughtfully provides me with a bowl of kibbles. Oh boy!

7:22 AM. Licking my chops after devouring breakfast. Man, was that tasty....

7:25 AM. The human lets me out for a morning run. See you later, human!

7:33 AM. Running through the back fields, barking my head off. Oh, what a day this is! The sort of day that makes you feel happy and self assured and that nothing awful can possibly happen. Except if that something awful is something happening to the mailman. Like contracting the Ebola virus.

7:41 AM. Exploring the woods. Have barked hello to the barn owl. Didn’t seem happy about being woken up. Why do they call it a barn owl if it roosts in a tree? Shouldn’t it be a tree owl?

7:47 AM. Stopping by the house where that cranky cat lives. No sign of her from the tree line. I wonder if she’s having a nap, or sitting in another window sill. Possibly the former. Cats do sleep a lot, after all. Even more than dogs do. Maybe I should take a look.

7:49 AM. Circling around the house. And there she is, in a windowsill. Good morning, cat!

7:50 AM. The cat is hissing at me, issuing forth insults, and casting all sorts of doubt onto my parentage. Oh, come on, cat, why can’t we just be friends? Honestly, just because I occasionally bark you out of a sound sleep just for fun doesn’t mean I’m a bad doggie! I’m a good doggie! Everyone says so!  Except for the vet. And the mailman. And the mayor. And Mrs. McIntyre. Honestly, you dig up one flower garden, and the old bat never trusts you again.

7:51 AM. The cat is giving me the middle finger and telling me to get lost. Fine. Whatever. I will never understand the utter mystery that is the mindset of a cat. Strangest critters around, if you ask me, and of course you are asking me.

7:52 AM. A door opens. The cranky cat’s human comes out on the deck and says hello. Well, hello, human! Tell me, why is your cat this irritable? Is it me she hates, or does she hate all dogs? Because if it’s just me she hates, I don’t really understand the reason why. Is it wrong to bark at a cat when they’re sleeping? I don’t think so. 

7:53 AM. The human gives me a scratch behind the ears. I wag my tail in thanks. The cat is glaring at us both in the windowsill. Well, I shall take my leave. My human is still at home, and as we all know, humans need close supervision.

7:54 AM. Departing from the property of the cranky cat. One last glance over my shoulder indicates she’s furious with me. If I were the sort of dog that worries about anything, I would be worried right about now. Oh, come on, what’s the worst that can happen? It’s not as if she’ll call my vet and ask her to make a house call on me, right? Right? Of course right.

8:02 AM. Stopping in to see Spike the Magnificent, Tormentor of Squirrels. Hello, Spike!

8:05 AM. Spike and I confer on the movements of the enemy. The squirrels are busy gathering nuts. To what ends is a mystery. Is it fuel for their ultimate weapon? Or is it a feint to hide their true motivations from us? Inquiring dogs want to know.

8:11 AM. Parting ways with Spike. We agree to keep each other up to date on any squirrel sightings. This being the weekend, that infernal monster the mailman isn’t coming around. So much the better.

8:42 AM. Having had returned home to the welcome attention of my human, I believe it’s time for a nap. One can never stockpile too much sleep, as they say. I circle around on the rug three times and settle down.

12:07 PM. Waking up. Say, is it time for lunch?

12:11 PM. I have successfully mooched a cheese sandwich from the human. Yum yum yum!

2:52 PM. The human is having afternoon tea. I am contenting myself with munching on an oatmeal cookie. Boy, does that taste good...

4:36 PM. Barking up a storm at a rabbit out on the lawn. Don’t you even think of getting in the flowerbeds! That’s for me to do!

6:29 PM. Chowing down on dinner. The human’s been decent enough to cut up some nice strips of beef for me. I don’t know why she’s having brussel sprouts with it, but hey... let’s face it, sometimes humans are weird.

8:44 PM. Lying on my back, staring up at the ceiling, musing on the meaning of life. Am I a good doggie, or am I occasionally prone to acts of mischief? And if it is the latter, how easily can I cover my tracks?

11:37 PM. The human is off to bed. Well, good night, human. Sleep well. I shall keep a close eye on things down here. If I happen to start barking at four in the morning, it’ll be because there’s a squirrel at the window. In which case, I must be let out post haste.