Saturday, October 28, 2006


Dear Squirrels,

I feel compelled to apologize for jumping to the conclusion that you were responsible for the phone problems we were having. As it happens there was some kind of problem with the lines a few poles over. You had not, in fact, chewed your way through the phone box outside.

Under the circumstances squirrels, I’m sure you can appreciate why I might’ve thought you responsible. A precedent had been set. Also, the way you’ve all been carrying on around here lately, one would almost think you own the place. Anyway, no hard feelings. I hope we can move forward. Truth is, I kind of like having you guys around. You’re quite cute and very agile. Some of your antics are down right entertaining.

All the best to you squirrels,

Love Tabby

ps – please accept my condolences for the loss of your brother last weekend

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I love dairy products... much.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Squirrel Saga

It is wonderful here at home. I’ve barely left the house all weekend. I am joyous, relaxed, and calm. I've laundered my clothing, languished in my flannel bed, and marveled at the cleanliness of my bathroom (after I cleaned it).

There’s just one little black mark on the weekend. It actually began several weeks ago when Bobcat and I became aware of growing static on our phone line. This problem has reached unmanageable proportions over the last 2 weeks, rendering our phone virtually unusable. I’ve been using my cell phone all weekend, even to call Bell Canada and let them know they better come over and look into this sitch.

This has happened once before, about 2 years ago, and it turned out that the squirrels who pretty much own the backyard had chewed through our phone wires. Based on the vibrant squirrel community I’ve observed in the yard lately, I have no reason to believe that this time is any different.

Well anyway, they’ve been getting on my nerves all weekend. The phone thing is super irritating, and I think they might’ve broken into the roof, because this morning, I awoke to a squirrel symphony above my head. They were pounding so hard I thought one was going to crash through the ceiling onto me. At one point, I heard a really loud noise, so I got out of bed all bleary-eyed and pulled back the curtains to find a gigantic black squirrel pulling a spider man on my window screen. I screamed bloody murder, told him to get lost, and got back in bed.

This afternoon I had to go to the airport to pick someone up. I was driving home down Halifax drive and a squirrel darted out onto the road. I swear to God I tried my best to avoid him. I shouted “hey, get off the road you!” He didn’t listen. I swerved. I braked. I did everything I know. But it was no use. He got caught under the wheels. I felt it and then I saw his mangled carcass in my rearview mirror. I wanted to go back and see if he was dead, but then 2 cars were coming, so I couldn’t.

In my extensive 13 year driving history, I can recall killing one small turtle, possibly a chipmunk, and likely hundreds of frogs. I’m not super granola or anything, but I feel really sad whenever I run over a living creature. The guilt over today’s carnage was compounded by the fact that I wondered afterward if some unconscious part of me, angry at the bastard squirrels taking over my backyard, didn’t perhaps run over that little guy on purpose.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Hi all,

Just a quick update to let you know that I’m home. I came in last night on the greyhound bus – always an adventure. Montreal, though I love it more than anyplace, has been stricken with torrential rain over the past couple of days. This relentless rain led to an unfortunate series of events Friday evening when the cab I called did not come.

I was gunning it to try and catch the 6pm bus and becoming increasingly panicked about the cab. Eventually I said “f%#$ it” and charged out into the street with my backpack and two big suitcases. I felt empowered for about 20 seconds, and then I just felt cold and wet. It is a 15 minute walk to the bus station from where I was staying, sufficiently long to get soaked through. There I was, pathetic and drenched, frantically dragging 2 giant suitcases as they bobbed up and down and smashed against the uneven sidewalks of Mtl. I wanted to cry.

I burst into the bus terminal only to realize that I had missed the bus by about 2 minutes. Good grief. But….I made a new friend and we chatted the whole way home, so that was nice. Plus I was dry by the time we pulled into Ottawa.

All of the moving around lately has me totally wiped out, but it’s been very re-energizing being home. I slept like a baby last night in my bed, and my right hemiplegia was totally gone when I woke up this morning. Futons were invented by satan.

It is also great to be out of the ghetto I was staying in. My allergies were out of control and the mildew growing everywhere had a definite toxic mold vibe. Not good.

Some highlights of my 3 weeks in Montreal: four blocks of delicious cheese (2 Roqueforts, 1 Saint Aubin, 1 Camenbert Le Rustique). Excellent bread, great shopping, the ballet.

This week I witnessed an argument between the bus driver and a rider on the 535 bus I was riding. I had just left the psych emerg after a long day. The driver and this guy got into a huge argument and the bus driver had a temper tantrum and stormed off the bus, leaving us all there. I've never seen anything quite like it. Everyone was screeming at the bus driver to shut up and do his job. The police were called. It was total mayhem. I loved it.

Dr. X and I had lunch together the other day and it was perfectly lovely. He seemed astonished when I mentioned that most of our prior interactions had left me in acute distress. He said he thought everything was peachy keen. Go figure.

So I am home for the next 2 weeks, and then off to Benin. I have to finish all of my residency applications between now and then. Yuk yuk yuk yuk. I have bought groceries and am looking forward to quietly milling about my house all weekend, eating good food, and working on CARMS. Next week I start a child psychiatry elective with a preceptor that I absolutely love.

I hope you are all doing well. I saw a cat at Tristan in Montreal who looked exactly like Proscuitto. It was uncanny. I actually walked right up to him, stared at his face, and then slowly backed away with nothing but complete disbelief on my mind. That’s freaky shit man.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tabby Loves Montreal

Right then…where was I? …Eating my pho, minding my business, and the server/owner comes over to me, unsolicited and puts a fork down in front of me. I recoil, subtly, then look down at my food, hoping no one noticed. But there are only about 8 tables in this restaurant. So I glance over at the older woman eating across from me and she is leaned over her soup, looking at me out of the corner of her eye and laughing. So, I look up at her, and say “I don’t think the server has very much confidence in me.” At this point she loses all restraint and begins to chortle loudly. I start laughing harder too. I say something like “I thought I was doing pretty well. I certainly didn’t realize that I was embarrassing myself.” Then the lady asks me if I’ve ever eaten with chopsticks before. I tell her yes, on a large number of occasions. She is now in total hysterics….

So, we became instant friends. She told me all about her life. She lives outside of the city, very close to where my grandma’s family is from. One of her sons works in for CIDA in one of the Stans. The other has recently joined the navy. The navy guy is married to a Vietnamese woman and they are expecting their first child. She is a retired school teacher. I got the distinct impression that she is solo, but did not ask. She was lovely and we had a wonderful chat – all in French.

Just before she left, this guy came in, maybe 23-24 or so, and asked if he could sit by the window. Neither of us had any objections. My friend left and the young man turned to me and said, in English “you didn’t know that woman did you?”

I said “no”.

He said “what were you guys talking about?”

I said “ourselves”.

He said “well people really do love to talk about themselves the most don’t they?”

I said “yup”

Then I said “she was very kind and we had a wonderful chat. It was a complete surprise and the kind of interaction that makes me happy to be alive”.

He nodded.

Then we chatted some more, but he was giving me that naïve teen prophet vibe, trying to psychoanalyse me and shit, and it was making me a little claustrophobic, so I told him it was great meeting him but I had to bust out. Said I’d see him again sometime. We said joyous goodbyes. He told me that the regulars all order #41. I said I’d have it next week.

Now the other part of this story is that shortly after I had first come in, this hot looking stud, around my age came in and sat in his usual spot and ordered his usual meal. He initially came running over in my direction – literally, and then suddenly stopped and moved to another spot, where I could not stare at him probably (I have a long standing staring problem).

The guy’s eyes were burning holes into the back of my head. When I got up to pay my bill and leave he followed me with his eyes all the way to the cash, and then said to me “have a good night and see you later”. The guy was no creep. He was an attractive…okay he was a gorgeous, smooth-looking stud….

I didn’t understand. And still don’t. What was this interest in me yesterday? I swear to God people were turning their heads on the street. I can guarantee I did not look anywhere close to a million bucks. I probably looked like about fifty bucks. And in a city like this one, where people just look damn hot, my sudden allure baffled me. I came to believe that maybe my eye had once again swollen shut or I had a large amount of food on my face or something… but no. Maybe it was just because I was looking people in the eye?

I love this city. Today again, I walked around all over the place. I just really groove on the vibe of it. I decided that since I am speaking French all the time, I should just act French, and so I went to the liquor store, and the Provigo, and picked up some wine, baguette, cheese (Roquefort and St. Aubin), and some figues. I died of joy whilst eating it. I am still joyous – probably from drinking a half bottle of wine by myself.

This morning I saw Dr. X in the emerg department. It was to be expected, and I was glad not to be caught of guard. We had a 10 second interaction. He said “hi there” I said “hi” he said “how are you” I said “good. You?” he said “good. It is good to see you”. I said “you too” and walked away. Painless enough.


Monday, October 02, 2006

Twillight Zone of PHO !

Hello Everyone,

Last time I wrote, I believe I was stopped over in Edmonton en route to Toronto. I landed in the T-dot without incident and the wedding weekend was fun, but is a total blur. I got a great pedicure, landed some new jeans, rocked out with all of my loved ones Friday night, emcee’d a great wedding reception on Saturday. I must say, the wedding was seamless: Everything went off without a hitch. Turtlecat looked gorgeous and so did my bro. Reviews were of the rave variety.

So like I was saying, the weekend was a complete whirlwind. Not having slept on Thursday night, I woke up both Saturday and Sunday mornings feeling like a truck ran over my body. Yesterday we woke up a little later in the morning at 10 and went to a brunch at my aunt’s place. Then Bobcat and I went to the airport to catch our flights. We had booked separate flights out of necessity, but had hoped to change them last minute. No such luck. Air Canada in their generous way, had actually overbooked both of our flights.

But don’t fret, using words such as sitch and frustraish, I was able to communicate with the Air Canada agent, who was in my age cohort. She booked us both on a slightly later flight in business class and sent us to the first class lounge to take advantage of the amenities. We did.

We were already running quite a bit later than our ideal schedule and things were tight because Bob was driving me to Montreal last night so I could shrink heads here starting this morning. Somehow sensing this, Air Canada chose yesterday as the first (but probably not last) time to fuck up my luggage. One bag arrived, the other hung back in Toronto. Apparently they had some sort of falling out. Neither one is talking.

In any case, we had to go back to the airport and pick up my bag an hour later as it had stuff I needed for Montreal. We also had to stop at the Mofo to drop something off, and then we ate the dirtiest food I know of – McDonalds. It was delicious. Unfortunately, we both had night sweats therafter.

Today I started my new elective. It always feels horrible showing up somewhere when you have no clue what the hell is going on. That said, everyone was very nice, and I had a pretty good day. Also, I was able to use predominately Anglophone-ness to help them edit some brochure they had translated. They were talking about it in the team meeting this morning and my heart totally went out to them. It was like the reverse of me trying to write something in French. It sounded atrocious, as though they had entered all of the text into one of those Internet translators. Sook Yin Lee would've been proud. So, I made a few suggestions, and they took kindly to them. I think my time at this hospital will be good. Though I was a little dismayed when I realized that the bulk of my elective is going to be in French (I thought I was purposely choosing an English hospital), Ah ben, c’est la vie.

I am staying in a virtual stranger’s home. With another virtual stranger. who does not live here either. The stranger whose room I am living in, is living at my house. It’s like Wife-Swap, only more like Life-Swap. Anyway, so far it is working out well, and the girl who is here from Winnipeg is quite friendly and well-adjusted. Also, I managed to ascertain that she likes cheese. I welled up with tears when she said she liked blue cheese and immediately started making plans for the rest of our life together. Okay…well…maybe our next three weeks together….drinking wine, eating cheese, baguette, doing CARMS – that last part just made me vomit in my mouth.

One last thing I wanted to share with you is that tonight I had a crazy Twilight Zone – like experience. Hence the title of this entry. I took the bus home, and then decided to tool around in my neighbourhood a little. After all, I am right downtown (in a bit of a ghetto actually), and I frickin' love Montreal. I wandered around for a bit and then started feeling kind of hungry, so I scooted down to Chinatown to rustle up some grub. In much the same way as early man discriminated good food from bad, I used the “if people are eating there it must be good” method of restaurant selection.

I ducked into a modest looking Vietnamese restaurant and ordered a little something. Shortly after I arrived and chubby, older woman (maybe 55-60) came in and sat down very close by to me. We politely ignored each other for some time, but we were both solo and pretty much facing each other.

Our food came and we began eating, when all of a sudden…..

(I will have to finish this tomorrow night. I'm tired, and have to go to bed. Plus this post is getting too long….à bientot mes amis).