The Mayoral and Council elections are quickly approaching and I took notice of this sign that is posted all over the township.

I know I live in a small town, but isn't a giant Jesus fish on an election sign wildly inappropriate?  Also does the slogan "in your service" refer to me (a constituent) or is he referring to being in God's service?  I don't even know what this candidate's platform is, but based on his sign, he is really into his religious beliefs.  Maybe that is all I need to know...

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, September 30, 2010 No comments
Recently we adopted a sweet little kitten for our Grandma.  We adopted her at about 8 weeks, so she still needed her shots and would eventually need spaying.  I have never had a kitten before where I was responsible for the veterinary care (that was always something adults had to do -- just another reminder that I am indeed a grown up).  I understood that Vet visits cost money, but I was really out of touch with how much money it actually costs to get a new baby kitten into optimal cat condition.

The first place I called seemed reasonable; $103 for the first check up/shot/deworming and then $17 each for two additional shots.  When I called back to confirm and set an appointment, I was informed that yes the additional two shots were $17 each, but there was also a mandatory exam that went along with them; the exam cost $63.  So instead of the second and third shot being only $17 each, in real life they were $80.  That is a big difference in my eyes, especially since altogether, the kitten shots were now going to be $263.  So the frugal shopper in me decided to shop around.  I called ten places and to my amazement, $263 for kitten shots was actually the second cheapest price I found.

I called ten Animal Hospitals located in Midland, Penetanguishene, Elmvale, Wasaga Beach, and Barrie.  Here is what I found out.

Kitten Shots/Check up/deworm
Lowest price: $164.48 (incl. complimentary nail trim).
Highest price: $484.77 (incl. complimentary microchip... I should hope so for that price!)
Average price: $300 (though the average may be inflated by the higher priced ones. Most were in the $270 range).

Lowest price: $169.50 (with the option of getting IV fluids and blood work done for an additional charge).
Highest price: $488.16 (the IV fluids and blood work were mandatory).
Average price: $245 (all but one [the highest] gave the option for IV fluids and blood work as an add on).

What I find most interesting about the prices I was quoted, is that the extremes vary by hundreds of dollars.  I wonder what the services are like at the highest priced animal hospital vs. the lowest priced one?  Maybe they have giant HD tvs and massage chairs in the waiting room or something!

I'm taking the kitten in for her check-up/first shot this afternoon.  We're going to the lowest priced Animal Hospital from the ten I called.  Not only did they have the best price, but also the nicest person to talk to on the phone.  I actually called the office three times to double check the price and eventually book the appointment.  Each time the assistant was helpful, friendly, and never tried to pressure me into making an appointment (two of the people I called were trying to make a sale).  I look forward to meeting the veterinarian this afternoon.  I hope Cindy isn't too upset about getting her needles!

Good luck today, Cindy!

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, September 29, 2010 2 comments
I'm heading out shortly to pick up Mom and then we are off to the Oro World's Fair, happening this weekend, September 17 + 18, 2010 (Click her for a map of the Fairgrounds).  Mom and I get to spend the day with my niece (2) and nephew (5) and see what kind of trouble we can get into.  Also, my eating goal today includes candy floss or fudge.

If you are in the area, come check out the fun!

A tractor in the fair parade.

Posted by Jen B On Friday, September 17, 2010 2 comments
This is Gary.  She has lived here for the past eight years.  Due to the recent visit by the new kitty-next-door, Gary would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone (especially me) that she is the Boss of this house.  Kitty cuteness aside, Gary would also like to mention that she is the sweetest, softest, most lovely cat on this block. She would also appreciate it if I could stop returning home smelling of kitten.
Gary is an affectionate cat, but it is normally when she feels like it and that isn't all that often.  Since the brief kitten visit yesterday, Gary has been sitting on my lap every time I sit down. No need to feel insecure, Gary. You are my one and only. 

Posted by Jen B On Thursday, September 16, 2010 No comments
We adopted a sweet little kitty this morning for our Grandma/next door neighbour.  Because Grandma lives so close, it's like we got a little kitty too!!  So far Grandma is calling her Cindy, so here are some photos of sweet little Cindy for your enjoyment!

Exploring and playing.

Having some fun with the planter.

Cindy has the cutest black chin.  It's like a little beard!!

Cute little cat.

Giving my finger a little kiss.  I love this photo.

Enjoying the camera strap.

"Haven't you taken enough photos yet?"  I will never take enough!

After thorough exploration of her new place, it was nap time.

Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, September 15, 2010 No comments
We go through a lot of scented jar candles around here.  After they've burned down, it always feels like a shame to throw them out, as they make excellent candle holders.  I recently Googled 'how to get wax out of a jar candle' and discovered a super easy solution.

Step 1: Take the used jar candles and place them into the freezer for 1 hour or so.

Step 2: Remove candles from freezer. They will be frosty! Take a dull knife and poke at the wax until it loosens.

I did four candles at once, so I chipped away a nice pile of wax. It smelled great!

Step 3: Wash the empty jars in hot water to remove any remaining wax that couldn't be chipped away.

Step 4: Replace with other candles/tea lights.  One day we might try our hand at pouring hot wax and wicks back into the jar, but for now just using it as a candle holder works just fine.

Step 5: Enjoy!!!!

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, September 14, 2010 No comments
The boys made it safely to Phoenix, AZ and have already sent a photo of a Phoenix sunrise.

I am incredibly jealous of their adventure.  The weather is 100°F and sun - all the time.  Must be nice!

Posted by Jen B On Monday, September 13, 2010 No comments
Tomorrow I'm driving my brother and brother-in-law to the airport as they are heading to Arizona for two weeks.  I have never driven to the airport by myself before, so I am a little nervous about it.  On our way to Guelph a few weeks ago, we practiced the loops I will be driving tomorrow so I could get a feel of what exits I am supposed to take.  I am fairly confident, but I'll be driving Dave's new car, so I have extra pressure to make sure I do everything right.

Even though I know I can do it, driving around the airport and out of Toronto is new territory for me, and the new/unknown is a good source of anxiety in my life.  Last night I had an anxiety dream about the drive.  In the dream I got to my brother's house and realized I had the wrong shoes on (shoes I couldn't drive in!).  I ran around going in and out of stores trying to find sneakers. I finally found some, but it turned out they needed shoelaces, so I was back to running around again.  In my anxiety dreams I am always chasing something.

We are heading to the airport tomorrow morning at 8am.  I must be on the list of nominations for the 'World's Best Sister' to get up that early on a Saturday!  Anything for the Bro!

Have a safe flight Bros!!

Picture Source

Posted by Jen B On Friday, September 10, 2010 No comments
Yesterday I made my way out to the garden to pick some beans.  As I approached the bean patch a Garter snake slithered around on the grass in front of me and slid right into my row of beans.  Needless to say there was a scared scream heard throughout the yard and no beans were picked.  Later the beans were again approached and the Garter snake poked his head out and looked right at me!  Then he slithered into the woods.  I know Garter snakes are harmless, and can even have cute faces (from a distance), I'm just not into things that slither around in the grass.  We realized if Garter snakes were hanging out, our grass must be too long, so we quickly mowed away any places for slithery beings to hide.

The Garter snake sighting brought forth many family tales of Garter's that have crossed paths with us over the years.  Mom told me she once walked into the kitchen of the old farmhouse and saw something sticking out from the cuppord under the sink.  On second glance, she noticed it was moving (slithering, in fact).  On closer inspection it was a Garter snake (in the house!).  Luckily my dad has no fear and promptly removed it.

I was reminded of a photo dad had taken of my brother Tommy, at ten years old, grasping a Garter snake in his hand.  When questioned how the photo had come to be, Dad said he had encouraged Tom to pick up the snake, in order to teach him that it wasn't harmful. I am very glad I missed out on the nature lesson that day. 

There is also the tale from many years ago that involved John's cats.  At that time, the cats had a "doggy door" so they could come and go as they pleased.  That was until two of them, Cleo and Eddie, came back through the "doggy door" carrying a Garter snake, one end of it in each of their mouths.  It was alive.  And they let it loose inside the house.  Terrifying!  From then on, the "doggy door" was dismantled, and his family now screens what they let the cats drag in.
Posted by Jen B On Wednesday, September 08, 2010 1 comment
I have a tumultuous relationship with sleep.  I need very specific conditions in order to fall asleep, and even if all those conditions are met, sometimes it just doesn't happen.  It seems pretty counter-productive evolutionarily speaking; I doubt I'll be taking the next leap with the rest of mankind.  August was particularly sleep deprived, with the best night of sleep resulting from three consecutive sleepless nights.  Passing out from exhaustion isn't really a reliable or relaxing sleep aid - it is actually incredibly stressful.  I prefer to get my sleep on a regular basis instead of it all being crammed into just one night.  Is that so much to hope for?
Gary sleeps anytime, anywhere, and for 16 hours a day.
Sounds like a beautiful dream.

I spent the past week trying to recharge. I actually forced myself to do nothing.  Doing nothing isn't something I accomplish easily - as my "nothing" days soon become errand running days, clean up days, or organizing stuff days.  This past week I actually managed to avoid the busywork I usually turn to and did nothing.  The most strenuous things I did this week were re-watching seasons three and four of The West Wing and playing video games.  Near the end of the week I did tidy the house, but I did it while watching The West Wing and it was surprisingly relaxing.

And the result?  I caught up on a lot of sleep and I actually feel alive-alert-awake-enthusiastic today. Which is such relief.  Being tired all the time is super frustrating and everything is made more stressful with a perspective that is skewed by lack of sleep.  Now, I just have to maintain this relaxed/able to sleep attitude so I can continue to enjoy regular rest.  This will probably involve finding the correct balance of all things in life: work/play, diet/exercise, anxiety/calm.  That should be easy enough to do, right?

Posted by Jen B On Tuesday, September 07, 2010 No comments
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