Melissa's Blog

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Kids...

Not a lot is going on right now, I'm takin
g some time off of working to focus on school and writing my thesis. That pretty much means there isn't much money coming in, which in turn means I've been laying pretty low.

I did realize
however that I hadn't introduced you to Alain's family, well, at least the ones he lives with every day. They are a great bunch, and really do act like a family. They all love and crave attention, and while they fight occasionally (as all families do) mostly they get along. I call them The Kids... because let's face it, to us unmarried, non-parent types, these are the closest things to kids we have.

Zulu is the oldest of the bunch, a beautiful,
jet black short haired cat that can definitely hold her own. She likes to fight a little, but I think it's only because she feels the need to show the others who is the boss. She's also a total snuggler and will get right in the middle of things (if we let her). She purrs up and storm and one night, when I was feeling pretty sick, tried to lick me better. She's pretty adorable.

Sam comes next, he's the man of the group and is one laid back dude. I have to admit, I have a soft spot for Sam as he is a short haired cat with orange hair and looks a lot like Pumpkin (we're pretty sure there is no relation). He's a little, um, fluffy, and often plops down right on top of things (as opposed to the middle of things) making it impossible for his current resting place to move (mostly me!). He's also pretty curious and often ends up in boxes, plastic bags, or the various pieces of luggage I drag through Alain's house.

Nina is the next oldest, a Calico, and is pretty cute as well. Alain has a soft spot for Nina because when she was a kitten she was pretty sick, but he nursed her back to health and now she's doing great. She loves getting treats and loves getting pet as well. She is definitely not opposed to sharing a good snuggle with us. Alain tends to slip her food from the table when Kelly isn't looking. Nina is pretty spoiled as a result (in a good way of course) and I think she knows it. (Check out Sam in the background of this photo!) You have briefly met Kelly already, a black lab who is full of affection and love and wiggles A LOT when she meets you. She is totally adorable, and although she demands the most attention of the bunch, she rewards you with a million kisses and always looks happy to see you. She's not much of a tracking dog, but she's learning, we've been playing hide and seek with her a lot lately, and the look in her eyes when she finds you is pretty priceless. Her happiness is definitely contageous. She's very well behaved, but somehow knows that I'm a little bit of a push over, and uses it to her advantage... I really need to learn to be more of a disciplinarian when it comes to these animals (well, okay, with Pumpkin too I suppose!). She is also a self-appointed peace-keeper among the cats and breaks up most catfights before they get too rough. She loves playing in the pool and sometimes catch, and recently has been sneaking into the garden when we aren't looking. We'll have to keep an eye on her!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Update on Pumpkin's Surgery

I just wanted to let everyone know that Pumpkin had her dental surgery yesterday and everything went well. She spent about six hours recovering at the animal hospital and then came home with me.

Although she was a little groggy yesterday and didn't have much balance due to the anesthetic, she ate several small meals and rested easily. At night she continued to eat and slept curled up beside me the whole night.

Today she seems happy and hungry, although I will be softening her food for a while and I'm still limiting it somewhat to make sure she doesn't get nauseous from eating too fast.

She lost two teeth including the front bottom large canine. This tooth, although I didn't realize it when the doctor was telling me about it, is her front bottom fang, so she looks quite different without it. I think it will take us both some getting used to with life without it. However, she seems happy and healthy and comfortable, and that's what's important.

Here are some photo's of Pumpkin from yesterday, you might be able to see a small patch of fur that's been shaved from her right arm, that's where the IV when into her during surgery.

Oh... Did I mention we saw a MOOSE ??

We saw this guy (actually I think it was a girl) on the main highway. In Algonquin, whenever a moose is sighted, there is a long line of cars pulled over and people get out and take photo's. We were no exception and did this shamelessly.

Here are some photo's of our campsite at Tea Lake.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Alain and I had a great time at Algonquin last week. It was cool, but not cold and although it rained a little, it didn't dampen our spirits, or even us too much.
Our first day we drove in and set up camp. We took our afternoon siesta (AKA a Nap) and then made dinner. We followed up dinner with a quick trail walk up the Lookout trail to an amazing cliff overlooking the park, it was quite a view.

The second day we slept in (we were on vacation after all!) and then had breakfast and headed out for another trail. This trail was called the Whiskey Rapids trail and was little longer, but not too long. It wound it's way around the Oxtongue River and ended at the Whiskey Rapids that were named after some logdrivers lost their barrel of whiskey in the river.
We took our time and learned about the ecology of the area from the trail guides and enjoyed wading in the river as well.

After lunch (and a siesta) we headed out to do another trail before dinner. This one was Alain's pick, but one he knew I would like as it featured an archaeological site. It was the Big Pine's trail and featured 80 huge, old growth white pine trees in amongst the rest of the forest. The trail guide taught us a lot about the white pine's and how difficult it is for the to become established in that part of the park, but also talked a lot about the history of the logging industry within the park. The archaeological site was part of an old logging camp, and although it is hard to imagine what was once there (or that 30 000 trees would be logged from the area in one season!) it was really neat to learn about an important part of Ontario's history. We hugged a few trees and enjoyed the peacefulness of the trail.

Tuesday night we stayed in at the campsite and made a killer campfire. We had spagetti for dinner and roasted marshmallows and made s'mores and basically just enjoyed the night.

Sorry everyone, I've been slacking on my blog. These past few weeks have just been sooooo busy. I'm home now and starting to buckle down on my school work in hopes of finishing this thesis of mine this semester. Today is kind of an off day for my because my kitty, Pumpkin, who most of you should know is at the vet today. She is having her tiny kitty teeth cleaned, and also having a few that have cavities extracted. Nothing reminds me how much I love her as much as when she isn't here. Yes, she can be a pain sometimes, but as soon as she's not in the apartment with me I'm desperate to have her back. I know it's only a few hours, but I miss her terribly. Here are some cute pics of Pumpkin that Alain took a little while ago. She really shines in these photo's and he was able to capture her in a way that I haven't been able to do lately. He really has a way with animals.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Here are some photo's from the Peller Estate Winery just outside Niagara on the Lake.

Here are photo's of Alain, Monica and I causing trouble in the vineyards.... Alain, eating the grapes... Monica crushing the grapes... Melissa picking the grapes...

Finally, Alain and I enjoyin g our wine samples (yes, I got drunk after one tiny sample...)

Niagara Falls!

On Tuesday we went to Niagara Falls for the morning and Niagara on the Lake for lunch. It was a beautiful day (although a little sunny - you will see me squinting in many of the photo's) and we had a great time in the few hours we spent at the falls. We avoided the touristy stuff for the most part and just enjoyed the natural beauty of the falls themselves.

Monica came along and it was nice to get to spend the day with her. She has been keeping busy with her tour guide job this summer and it was the first opportunity of the weekend to see her.

We wrapped up the day with a trip to the Peller Estates Winery just outside Niagara on the Lake. I'm not a huge wine drinker, although I'm trying to learn to like it, but I really enjoyed the Ice Wine sample I tried. We ended up buying a bottle of their 2006 Gold winning Champagne, it was also quite good, but we're going to save it for a special occasion. Lot's of photo's of us being silly at the Peller Estates Winery in the next post.

Sorry Guys, I'm still playing catch up from last weekend, we're still in vacation mode, so we've been keeping busy since returning to Ottawa. Hopefully I can get a few more posts up tonight because tomorrow we're off camping to Algonquin for a few days, and I know I'll have a lot to post about when I get back.

Ok.... So, Sunday Alain, Kelly and I took a nice long walk on the Rail Trail in Cambridge. The Rail Trail is what it sounds like, it's an old railway line that has been turned into a walking/running/cyclying trail. It runs along the Grand River from Galt to Paris and is 19 kms long. We walked 3 km each way, which may not sound like a lot, but for me, it was! I think it was good training as we are planning on doing a lot of hiking trails at Algonquin.

It's an easy walk, but pretty, as you'll see in the photos.
It was a beautiful day and Kelly even got a mini swim in this little water pool that we happened across.

She sure was happy, and hot.

Wow that's a big tongue!!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Here are a few photo's of us relaxing on the dock before dinner, enjoying the cloud show.