Photo - me w/ Kiska on couch

First post in a while, and not with good news :(

I keep meaning to start posting here more often, and have not been all that good at actually doing it. But since there seems to have been a slight resurgence on LJ of late, this would probably be a good time to start making more of an effort...

Plus, there has been some significant news in my life of late, and not of the good sort. Last month, my dog Kiska developed what at first seemed to be just a UTI. But the antibiotics the vet prescribed didn't get rid of it, so they did an ultrasound to make sure she didn't have a bladder stone or kidney problems or something, and a urine culture to try and see exactly what sort of bacteria we were dealing with... Only to find that there was no bacteria any more. The UTI was gone, but the symptoms were still continuing, albeit at a lesser level. And she didn't have a bladder stone. Or kidney problems. Long story short, two more ultrasounds, an x-ray and a biopsy later, she was diagnosed with transitional cell carcinoma, which is basically cancer of the lining of the urinary tract.
Collapse )

So this is what I'm trying to wrap my brain - and my heart - around now. And also deal with the financial repercussions of. I ended up setting up a GoFundMe page for any friends, family or others who might want to donate to her care, because otherwise the Lynxcub and his little brother would not be getting much of a Christmas/Yule and I wouldn't even be able to buy groceries for the rest of the month, because vet bills have cleaned me out pretty much completely, even with my partner helping with some of the cost. I know this is a financially difficult time of year for pretty much everyone, and I certainly don't intend to pressure anyone, but if anyone does happen to feel willing and able to help, or even just wants to boost the signal, here you go:

There's also more detailed information on her prognosis and the treatment options there.
Art - Fini - Dimanche

Zombies, smoothies and recreational murder

Two recent entertaining incidents with the kids, and interesting strangers:


Wednesday, I was in a yogurt/smoothie place with both of them (the Lynxcub and his younger brother D (who I need to come up with an interesting nickname for - he can't really be a Lynxcub since he's not really mine), who comes with us sometimes). The Lynxcub had been having a temperamental sort of day, and was immersed in playing on the iPad as he nursed his mango smoothie, which I didn't want to take him away from because it's often a calming thing for him. But Little D was getting restless, so we ended up playing a somewhat rowdier game in the meantime - with me pretending to be a monster chasing him around, and him pretending to shoot me with a Nerf gun (with no actual darts in it).

I should perhaps mention that we were the only customers in there at the time, so we weren't disturbing anyone, since the staff just looked amused. Particularly this one girl, who was watching from behind the cash with a big smile - and at one point, when I was pretending to be a zombie and shuffling forward with arms oustretched, and D had retreated to right in front of her counter, she leaned over and stage-whispered to him "Shoot for the head, kid, it's the only way to be sure!"


This evening, the Lynxcub was incredibly manic on the TTC, which has been happening more often than not ever since he stopped playing iPad games on transit out of fear of motion sickness (even though to my knowledge he's only ever had that happen when playing Blocksworld specifically).

At one point when we'd first gotten on the subway, when he was less manic and more cranky, he'd shaken his fist at a young woman with vibrantly purple hair who happened to be standing in front of the one-way mirror at the front of the train (through which you can actually see out the front window, but only if you stand with your nose literally pressed to the glass). Mistaking his gesture, she said in a mock-plaintive tone "Oh no - don't stab me! What did I ever do to you?"

The Lynxcub, of course, decided that this was the funniest thing EVER, and kept doing it over and over again, though now out of amusement rather than actual anger, and for the whole distance from Bloor up to Sheppard, where she eventually got off, he kept wriggling away from me to go after her again and again and again. Thankfully she seemed to find it funny rather than annoying, as did a guy standing nearby who initially kept trying to look like he wasn't watching and having trouble not cracking up laughing, but eventually gave up the battle completely. But I was getting a little exasperated, and at one point said in frustration "What exactly do you think you're doing?"

Very cheerfully, he replied "I'm trying to murder people!" Which got both the purple-haired woman and the guy next to her into another fit of laughter, although I was a little bit alarmed, and responded with something like "We do NOT murder people on the subway!", which really didn't help on the cracking-people-up front.

But later, on the Finch bus, he asked me "Muime, what does murder mean?"

A little surprised, I told him "It means to kill people. That's why I was a little disturbed to hear you say that on the subway."

"Ohhhh," he replied, with a thoughtful look. "I thought it just meant to bother them."
Art - Fini - Dimanche

And now, what I originally came here to post!

So the Lynxcub has apparently decided he wants to be a cop when he grows up, rather than (or perhaps in addition to) a mad scientist. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's "in addition to", given the plans he outlined to me today. And lest any of my activist friends be put off by this turn of events, you will be pleased to know that his definition of criminals includes more than just the usual kind....

Lynxcub: "When I grow up and become a police officer, I'm going to create a bunch of huge cat robots, which will be controlled by our movements and will have big retractable claws and shoulder armour. We'll be able to grab ALL the criminals with our claws!"

Me: "Like a cat version of the robots from Pacific Rim?"

Lynxcub (who has not actually seen Pacific Rim, but is fascinated by it nonetheless, and at one point insisted on me narrating it to him as a bedtime story): "Yes! Only BIGGER! One LEG of my cat robots will be as big as one of the robots from Pacific Rim!"

Me: "Wow! And what kind of bad guys are you going to go after with your cat robots?"

Lynxcub (without a pause): "NESTLE!"

Me (trying not to crack up laughing and not quite succeeding): "Well, it sounds like you have your priorities straight... That's the kind of bad guys the police at present can't really do much about."

Lynxcub: "Well, *I* will! I'll find ALL the places that sell ANYTHING made by Nestlé and make them all stop! And then the people who work for Nestlé won't have any money, and they'll end up out on the street and they'll STARVE! THAT'll teach them a lesson!"

Me: "Sweetie, your plans for the future are inspiring and disturbing, in almost equal measure."

. . .

And a bit later on the Don Mills bus:

Lynxcub (jumping back to his future plans from an unrelated topic): "And when I catch criminals when I grow up, I'm going to put handcuffs on them and then hang them from the ceiling by the handcuffs, so it'll really hurt!"

Me: "Sweetie, there is this thing called the Geneva Convention that you are going to need to familiarize yourself with at some point... Torture is kind of frowned upon these days."

Lynxcub: "...And I'll make them watch nothing but kids' shows! Like BARNEY THE DINOSAUR!"

Me (thinking that that might be a bigger violation of the Geneva Convention than the cat robots and hanging-by-handcuffs put together): "You know sweetie, hurting people actually isn't a very good way of stopping people from being bad, in the long run." (He looks up at me curiously.) "Think about a day when people have been mean to you - maybe some kids at school picked on you, and then maybe Mama or Daddy was in a bad mood and yelled at you... Did that make you feel like being nicer, and treating people better?"

Lynxcub shakes his head no, looking thoughtful and a bit disturbed.

Me: "I bet it made you want to kick and bite people, right? Because being treated like that made you really angry?" (He nods, with a little half-smile.) "Well, it's the same with grownups - except maybe with less biting. Being treated badly doesn't make you into a better person. The real way to get people to stop doing bad things is to make them understand why the things they're doing are bad - to get them to have more understanding of, and respect for, other people. And that's a lot harder to do."

Lynxcub: "Well..." (He thinks for a minute) "OK, I'm still going to hang them up by their hands, but I'll make it less high, so they have the floor under their feet. So that'll be nicer, right?"

Me: "Sweetie --"

Lynxcub: "And that way they can entertain themselves by swinging back and forth, so it'll be fun for them!" (I try again not to crack up laughing, and fail again.) "Except that sometimes I'll put the cuffs on their ankles instead, and attach them to the wall. That's not mean - it's just like when you tie Kiska's leash to something to keep her from running away! And the only reason I'll be doing it is so that they don't run away or attack me when I'm up in front with a chalkboard TEACHING them!"

Me: "OK, this is starting to sound slightly less creepy..."

Lynxcub: "And I'll let them watch My Little Pony, so they can learn ALL about friendship!"

. . .

So there you have it: the Lynxcub, of the future Mad Science Police, will end crime - corporate and otherwise - with giant cat robots, manacles and My Little Pony. You heard it here first...
Art - Fini - Dimanche

Three conversations with the Lynxcub this evening

I thought I'd posted this a while back (it was from March 23, or at least that's when I posted it on FB), but when I went to make a new post tonight, I realized I'd only just saved it as a draft....


Lynxcub: "Who's that?" (Pointing at the TV in the restaurant we were in, which was showing a clip of Rob Ford tangling with reporters)

Me: "That's the mayor. You know, the one you compared to Jar-Jar Binks a while back..."

Lynxcub: "Oh yeah..." (laughs)

Me: "Although hopefully he's not going to be mayor for very much longer..."

Lynxcub: (interested) "Why not?"

Me: "Because there's going to be an election soon, and there's a candidate running who will hopefully make a much better mayor, if she wins."

Lynxcub: "Can we help her win?"

Me: (pleased) "Well, sure, we can try! People who are running in elections always need volunteers to help with stuff, like handing out pamphlets and buttons and things, so if you want, we could --"

Lynxcub: (cutting me off) "Actually, I meant by shooting the bad mayor. With a Nerf gun. A really good one, like that disc-shooting one from the Zombie Strike series."

Me: "...Are you saying you think Rob Ford is a zombie?"

Lynxcub: (in his grownups-are-silly voice) "Nooo! I just think it's the best gun for the job, is all."

Me: "I'm not so sure shooting the current mayor with a Nerf gun is the best strategy for helping Olivia Chow win..."

Lynxcub: "I know! Why don't we just super-glue him to the ground, so he can't get up?"


(In the same restaurant. Lynxcub is gazing thoughtfully out the window while nibbling on pickles)

Lynxcub: "What if there was a zombie body on the ground, only it didn't have any arms or legs, or a head, just a body, rolling around on the ground? Wouldn't that be funny?"

Me: "Er... Where did that idea come from?"

Lynxcub: "I don't know, I just thought it!"


Me (after chasing him down when he disappeared for about the dozenth time in one evening) "Sweetie, how many times have I told you NOT to run away like that? When we're out in public, I do NOT want you running off to somewhere where I can't see you, or hiding from me because you think it's funny..."

Lynxcub: (laughs uproariously)

Me: (getting angrier) "...because there are BAD PEOPLE in the world, who HURT CHILDREN, and they look for children who are NOT with their parents, so that's why I get SCARED when I don't know where you are!"

Lynxcub: "Well then, I'll just carry a Nerf gun everywhere I go!"

Me: "Carrying a Nerf gun will NOT protect you. A Nerf gun is a toy, not a real weapon."

Lynxcub: (sounding excited) "How about a knife? Can I carry a knife everywhere I go?"

Me: "NO, you can not carry a knife everywhere you go! YOU ARE SIX YEARS OLD!"

Lynxcub: "I know! How about a BIG staff, with knives on both ends? And I can spin it around so it'll be like whirling blades in every direction!"

Me: "You are NOT. GOING. TO. CARRY. ANY. WEAPON. You want to know what the best way to protect yourself is? STAYING WITH ME WHEN I TELL YOU TO!"

Lynxcub: "Hmmph! Well, how about I just carry a camera, and then if I get kidnapped, I'll just take pictures of the kidnappers, and their house and their car and everything, and e-mail them to you, and then you can come and pick me up?"
Art - Fini - Dimanche

Lynxcub plans for world domination, part #437,231

A couple of interesting conversations with the Lynxcub that I neglected to post last weekend:

Somehow the topic of math had come up while we were on the subway, and I made a comment that you need math for most kinds of science.

Lynxcub: "Why?"

Me: "Because you need to do various sorts of calculations in order to figure things out. If you want to be a physicist, or an engineer, or an astronomer..."

Cub (interrupting): "What I want to do is create a giant robot so I can take over the world!"

Me: "You'll need math for that too."

Collapse )
Art - Fini - Dimanche

Garden update: insect invasion

We have met the enemy, and he is EARWIGS.

Although the old Pogo comics line "We have met the enemy and he is us" also applies, because it would seem that my zealousness in weeding, combined with my lack of zealousness in carting all the deceased weeds off to a far corner of the yard away from the garden and patio, has resulted in some prime earwig habitat. And when I tried to shift the biggest weed-pile earlier this evening, there were so many of the damn things under it that I had to postpone this plan until after I could get some diatomaceous earth to surround it with first, so that they don't all run into the garden - or into my apartment.

It was actually incursions of the latter sort that led me to identify the culprit behind the recent damage to many of my plants. I looked up non-toxic methods of earwig control because of the ones turning up in my apartment, and happened to see that they are known to eat plants, that the damage they cause very much resembles that caused by caterpillars (which is what most people had thought it was from the pictures I posted on Facebook), and that their favourite plants to eat include... marigolds and hollyhocks! A-HA!

So, off I went to a nearby garden centre and got some diatomaceous earth, and would have gotten some Safer's insecticidal soap, but they were out of that. But - the nice fellow working there told me that you can get pretty much the same effect by mixing around 2 tablespoons of dish detergent with a litre of water in a spray bottle. So, that will be my next project. In the meantime, there is now a line of diatomaceous earth along the base of the patio doors where the earwigs come in, and a little more around the weed pile, and some around the base of each plant. Although the later is probably an exercise in futility given that it's supposed to rain for the next couple of days. Still, even if it just kills a few, it'll help some. And serves as notice that the all-you-can-eat garden smorgasbord is now closed!

Oh, also: carpenter bees infesting the roof of the patio. Joy. At least, according to what I've read, the ones that hover around looking menacing are all males, who can't sting. The females have stingers, but usually ignore people because they are hyperfocused on building nests and laying eggs, so if you don't look like a piece of wood, you don't exist to them. So I suppose it could be worse. Still, they are probably going to traumatize the Lynxcub, who is terrified of anything that buzzes...

And of course, even though I told myself before going to the garden centre that I was just going there for earwig remedies and NOT to buy more plants, given that they were having a storewide 30% off sale, you can imagine how long that resolution lasted (though really, to be honest, I didn't believe myself even when I told myself that in the first place). Six herb plants, and tentative plans to go back there on Thursday with my landlady who has a car, for more flowers.

Art - Fini - Dimanche

Alternating current and crossbow vigilanteism

A couple more recent Lynxcub quotes:


Tonight, as we were walking to the bus stop on Coxwell, he was chattering away while I was distracted looking for the bus, and when I tuned back in to what he was saying, it was "...and it's called alternating current because the electrons change direction 60 times a second, and that's because the terminals keep switching between negative and positive!" In a tone that sounded like he thought this was the coolest thing ever.

And yes, this kid is 5 years old... I swear he'll be building an army of killer robots before he finishes elementary school. I really must get around to registering


(This one took place last visit, after earlier in the day we'd been playing an online Lego game in which our character was armed with a crossbow, and I had mentioned being fond of crossbows.)

Him: "Muime, for your birthday this year, I'm going to get you a HUGE crossbow!

Me (amused): "Really?"

Him: "Yes! So you can hunt bad guys!"

Collapse )
Art - Fini - Dimanche

Lynxcub architecture

Background: the Lynxcub had been having a meltdown over me not being willing to make a see-through visor for the cardboard fireman's helmet I'd been making for him until tomorrow, despite that it was way past time for him to be settled down in bed being read to. After much jumping up and down and screaming that he wanted the visor NOW NOW NOW, he finally flopped on the bed and rolled around while crying and whimpering through tears how much he hated all sorts of random things. This led to (still through tears at this point) "I want to get rid of the ceiling!"

Me: "You want to get rid of the ceiling? Why?"

Lynxcub (still sniffling): "I want to get rid of ALL the ceilings everywhere! I don't want ANY house to have a ceiling!"

Me (somewhat bewildered, but used to his random topic shifts, and just glad he's not talking about the visor any more) "But wouldn't that leave all the pipes and wires exposed?:

Lynxcub: "NO! There wouldn't be ANY of those things! No wires because everything would be SOLAR! And the pipes would be in the WALLS!"

Me: "But you'd still have a ceiling of some kind, because the people upstairs would have a floor, and the underside of that is generally known as a ceiling. Unless all the houses would be just one story, no basements or second floors?"

Lynxcub: "Yes! NO BASEMENTS ANYWHERE. (thinks for a minute) Except other people could have them if they wanted them, I guess."

Me (trying to parse this): "So... Other people could have basements, it's just that your ideal house wouldn't have one? But it would still have to have something on the inside of the roof..."

Lynxcub (becoming very animated, and illustrating everything he's saying with hand gestures): "No, just a roof. A pointed one, like this (positions his hands like a peaked roof). And the only thing inside it would be... (thinks for a minute) pieces of wood! Pointing down the other way, like this (makes a V-shape). With grooves along the inside of them, and a ball that would roll up and down, because when it got to the bottom it would just bounce off and roll up the other side! Because that would be a cool game."

Me: "Is there anything else your ideal house would have?"

Lynxcub (without hesitating for even a second): "INVISIBLE LASERS!"
Art - Fini - Dimanche

The Lynxcub on matters nuclear

Conversation with the Lynxcub earlier this evening, after a science book I was reading to him made a brief mention of Hiroshima, causing me to have to explain to him what happened there:

Him: "Is it all rebuilt now?"

Me: "I don't actually know, honey... It's been a long time - this happened in that war that was going on when Oma was a little girl, so maybe. But I'm not really sure."

Him: "Well, that's OK, because when I grow up, I'LL go over there and rebuild it!"

Me: "You will?"

Him: "Yes. With a couple of construction machines. And (very emphatically) when *I* put a chain link fence around MY construction site, there aren't going to be ANY boards covering it, because I want any Japanese kids there who want to watch what's going on to be able to!" (I should note that there is a construction site near his home surrounded by boards that make it difficult for him to observe as much as he wants to.)

Me: "That's very thoughtful of you. But there might be problems with radioactivity, you know - if they haven't rebuilt it yet, that might be why. It might still not be safe for people to live there."

Him: "Well then, I'll just send special ROBOTS in, and they'll handle the rebuilding! (pauses for thought) When I'm 15, I think."

And shortly afterwards, while thoroughly resisting the notion of going to bed by climbing up the headboard (he had an early evening nap when the kids' Tylenol I got him finally kicked in and toned down the return engagement of last night's earache, so of course he wasn't remotely sleepy come actual bedtime):

Him: "When I grow up, I'm going to build a special machine called the Giant Nuclear Atom-Smashing Machine!"

Me (a little alarmed): "Er - what's it going to be smashing atoms FOR?"

Him: "For SCIENCE! So I can learn all about ALL the particles! And radiation and stuff!"

Me: "So... A machine for physics research, that smashes atoms together to research rare subatomic particles and that sort of thing? (he nods) Sweetie, someone's already built that machine. It's called the Large Hadron Collider. But maybe when you grow up you can be a one of the physicists who works there."

Him: (looking decidedly miffed) "NO! I'm going to build a BETTER one!"
Art - Fini - Dimanche

It's been way too long...

Despite the fact that I really prefer LJ to Facebook in almost all respects (all except that the fact that far more people I know are on Facebook, these days), I keep finding myself neglecting the former in favour of the latter. This must stop. In particular, awesome stories about the Lynxcub must be posted here, because they are much more findable that way. Everything you post on Facebook seems to sort of disappear into the ether - maybe less so now with Timeline, but it's still much harder to find old posts there than it is here.

So, catching up on Lynxcub stories. In reverse chronological order (note that these are from various points over the past couple of months):

Collapse )

Collapse )

Collapse )

Collapse )

Collapse )

Collapse )

Collapse )