Friday, May 29, 2009

Last photo in Canada

On Thursday, I left once again for Los Angeles.

This is the last picture I took before getting into the car for the airport. I'm not sure why I was smiling. I was actually quite sad.

Guess I can fake it when I have to. Always smile for the pictures!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A walk in the woods

Just behind our cottage is a large area of woodland. Since it was too damn cold to lie out in the sun or take a canoe ride (yes, the weather did change suddenly), I decided to take a walk. Couldn't forget my camera, of course. You never know when a Pulitzer Prize winning subject might suddenly jump in front of me.

I started off by taking a picture of our ancient tractor. I think it dates back to 1943 or something which is ancient in my books. I call it the death tractor because a couple of summers ago, it tipped and crushed my brother as they both toppled into a ditch. He managed to get away with just a broken elbow but it could have been a lot worse.

The problem with this piece of equipment is that the two front wheels are very close together, making it quite unstable.

I entered into the woods and although there wasn't much animal life to shoot (in the picture sense), I did manage to catch a few photos of the flora.

For example, we have a large tree fungus.

And the Forget-Me-Nots were in full bloom.

And we have several trees together, which is why I called this a walk in the woods.

And there were even wild violets. Am I boring you yet? I think I'm boring myself.

These are tent caterpillars. Apparently they are very nasty and not good for the trees. At least, this is what my dad always told me as he soaked them in gasoline and torched them.

I have never forgotten my childhood image of burning caterpillars falling from the trees. Squirming and wriggling and burnt. Just not a very good way to die.

And finally I stumbled upon two creepy looking wood figures. I thought the guy was bleeding from his throat until I looked closer and realized that it was probably a bad depiction of a bolo tie. I'm not sure who wears a bolo tie in Canada but I think this was what the artist was trying to represent.

I think the other figure was an Eskimo, which is much more Canadian.

These figures were even more disturbing considering that there is a dead child lurking in our area. Victoria Stafford, an eight year old girl, went missing last month and is presumed dead. They have recently combed our lake and the cottage area for any evidence that could lead them to the body. So far, no luck.

It's like a real life "The Lovely Bones." It's not a book that I heartily recommend unless you like reading about a child being murdered. I couldn't even finish it. Apparently it is being made into a movie by Peter Jackson.

Yep, the same guy who did The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But in all fairness, he also did Heavenly Creatures so he does know something about contemporary murder.

Anyway, I'll leave you on a more upbeat note. Here is a picture of our linoleum floor in the cottage.

Yep, it looks like a clown threw up.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back to Canada

For five days, I've escaped to southwestern Ontario, Canada. This is where I grew up and where my parents still live.

We have a cottage on a small lake, just outside of a town called Fergus. I spent many summers here and not much has changed. Much of the furniture is the same, the linoleum floor is straight from the 60s and the the board games that we played during the rainy days still sit on the shelves.

It's very comforting that I can still go home again.

The spring is a great time to be here. The weather can be a little temperamental but so far, it has been warm and sunny. And everything is green.

Red skies at night, sailor's delight.

Red skies in the morning, sailor's warning.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Nutts for Mutts

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Nutts for Mutts in Woodland Hills.

This is a dog show that celebrates THE MUTT. New Leash on Life, an animal rescue organization, is in charge of organizing the event and you can check out their website at

For the first time ever, our clinic had a booth. I arrived at 7:30 in the morning to unpack and because I had stayed up until midnight watching Tomb Raider the night before, I was barely awake. I drove over a curb and nearly ran over a small dog. I'm just not a morning person and I was going to use this defence in court if I had to.

By 8 a.m. it was already getting hot. Uncomfortably hot. I was wearing long pants and my scrub top that said "Dr. Phil" on it. This choice of clothing was unfortunate for two reasons. One: I knew that they were going to have record high temperatures and long pants turned out to be like a fabric oven. Two: When people saw that I was "Dr. Phil", they invariably joked about the comparison to the Dr. Phil on tv and I'm just not in the joking mood when my sweat glands are in overdrive.

By 10 a.m., I was so freakin' hot that I was really quite apathetic about the show. I picked up my camera and I didn't even have enthusiasm for my photos. I clicked blindly not caring what I caught in my frame. I felt sorry for the dogs but they had lots of water everywhere and I didn't see any dogs keeling over from heat stroke. Even the Bulldogs seemed to be doing okay. Maybe I'm exaggerating but it seemed like a summer in hell to me.

My office manager, Annie, was showing her dog, Katie Scarlett. Katie is a wolfhound mix and was rescued after the previous owners no longer wanted her.

Annie adores this dog. No, actually adore doesn't quite capture it. There really isn't a word for it. Let me put it this way; if Katie and Annie were on board while the Titanic was sinking, Annie would let Katie float on the piece of wood while she swam in the frigid waters, eventually disappearing into the icy depths.

She loooooves this dog.

Katie went on to win 3rd place for most beautiful mutt. This was a proud moment for Annie and her very hot dog.

I snapped a picture of a Peruvian hairless dog. I've never seen one before and I had to ask the owner what type of breed he was.

He was kinda cool looking. Shiny and black, like a canine 8 ball.

Our booth was a huge hit. Not only was it the most colorful but it was also the most interactive. We had a wheel which you could spin and win amazing prices such as dog treats, Frisbees, goodie bags, free exams, free baths and free vaccines. For a dollar, you were also entered into a raffle for three baskets worth in excess of $180 each. That, my friends, is a bargoooon.

The kids loved it. Some of them came back several times to hand over a dollar and spin the wheel. I wondered if some of them even had dogs.

We also had a big jar full of biscuits. For a buck, you were allowed to guess how many biscuits there were and if you had the closest guess, then you won the jar. The answer was 627 in case you were dying to know.

Strangely enough, I answered only one veterinary related question. Some guy wanted to know what he could do to keep his dogs out of his garden. Building a fence had apparently never occurred to him.

This picture is pretty boring but it is way better than the others I snapped. By 4 pm, it was time to call it a day.

I was soooo happy to jump into my car and turn on the air conditioner.

Overall, I had a good time and all the money we raised (I'm not sure of the final tally) will go towards our rescue organization of choice, MUCH LOVE.

See you next year.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dr. Phil on location

Santa Barbara is on fire and it's not looking very good for many homes. Thousands of people (last I heard was 30,000) have been evacuated.

I was up in Santa Barbara on Wednesday doing some shopping. I didn't know that I was getting in the middle of a natural disaster!

By the late afternoon, the downtown area was filled with a murky, twilight haze. Many of the shops had closed and they were asking people to clear the main streets so that emergency vehicles could get through.

The smoke was so thick it obscured the sun.

I figured that this was not a good time to browse the clearance rack at Macy's so the shopping day was officially over.

These photos were taken from the roof of a parking garage in downtown Santa Barbara.

Of course, I am not one to miss a photo op.

I do hope the fire is under control soon and my sympathies go out to all those people who have lost their homes.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

New Awesome Slideshow!

Well, I've neglected my friends, family and dog just to finish up this slideshow.

And it IS finished.


Are you excited yet?

There is no cost to you to view this slideshow but donations are always appreciated. :)

Just click on the link below to access my collection. Then click on the CAMBODIA slideshow.

Once the show has started, you can right click and make it full screen if you so desire. Make sure the volume is turned up.

Sit back and enjoy.