Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A slow news month.

There really hasn't been much to say on this blog lately. I haven't done a whole heck of a lot. I'm still unemployed, but finally got off my duff and applied for EI, so hopefully that'll help keep my head above water for a while. I sent off my tax return, and expect a decent amount back so that should also help.

Haven't done grocery shopping or much cooking or major cleaning in a while, so I can't even report in on that.

In short, I am in a simple and green slump.

Does that happen much to any other green and/or simple-living bloggers? Do you ever get a touch on ennui and just end up not doing much to move forward with your goals, instead just sitting back and resting for a while. Not even rest to recover from something. Just lazy rest, where you can't be bothered to make headway.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Absolute disgust

Rachel and I went to a local pet store, Village Pet Centre, to pick up some eye drops for one of our cats, who's had some eye irritation over the past few days. While there, we checked out the pets for sale, not with an eye to buying them, but just to spend a moment looking at cute fuzzy things.

That's when we noticed the hamster with the bleeding hind foot. We called over an employee and told him about it.

"Huh. Nothing I can do about it," he said. He looked closer to make sure that the hamster still had all his toes, said that the little thing had probably gotten its foot stuck between the bars of the cage and had ended up biting it, but nope, there was really nothing he could do. He wandered away to continue doing whatever he'd been doing.

Absolutely disgusting.

Yes, there was something he could do. He could take the hamster from its cage, clean off the foot, apply a bit of Polysporin (it's suitable for animals as well as humans), and clean the cage of the blood that was smeared on the bars, bedding, and food bowl. It's not rocket science; it's basic animal first aid. If he wasn't trained in it, that's not much of an excuse either. The store should train employees in basic animal care, and the employee at least should have thought to call someone over who did know how to do what needed to be done.

If it wasn't for the fact that our cat needed the eye drops pretty badly, we would have walked out right there and then, but neither of us could justify causing yet another animal additional suffering on principle like that. The only other pet store in the city that we know doesn't mistreat their animals was too far out of the way to get to at that point, clear across the city and off a bus route.

Needless to say, Village Pet Centre will no longer be getting our business, and we plan to write a letter to management about this incident. For the mistreatment of a $20 hamster, they have now lost potentially a few hundred dollars from two customers, and I have no problems with spreading the world about what happened today.

I beieve in treating animals properly, in acting as though they have as much worth to a comfortable and happy life as any human does. This was a blatant violation of what I hold dear to my heart, and might even be something the SPCA should hear about. It's neglect, pure and simple. Willful neglect of animal pain.

My heart goes out to that hamster. Believe me, if I had the money, we'd have brought the little guy home with us so we could take care of him. Apparently we have more knowledge of how to do that than the guy whose job it is to do so.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy birthday kitties!

My cats turned 7 years old yesterday. Or rather, we celebrated them turning 7 yesterday. We don't know their exact birthday, having gotten them from a pet store rather than a private sale, but we know they were born sometime in early March, 2003. So we decided, for fun, to designate March 3rd their birthday, so that we could say they were born on 03/03/03.

They celebrated by playing with catnip toys, getting lots of pets and cuddles, and then sleeping a lot. I'm pretty sure they enjoyed their day, and so did we!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Good news!

My mother did not have a TIA last Thursday! We went to see a neurologist today, as she had been directed, and he said that from what she described, coupled with the fact that she had a headache later that day that went to the following night, it sounded much more like a migraine with aura than a mini-stroke.

This was such good news to hear!

It did get me thinking, though, about the popular image of migraines in culture. A large number of people use the word 'migraine' to describe a bad headache, and while head pain is common in migraine sufferers, the two are not one in the same. This has also led to people who actually suffer from migraines being told, "Oh, you just have a headache. Stop complaining and just deal with it."

On the other hand, my mother's migraine was mistaken even by doctors as a potentially dangerous attack of something else entirely. If a migraine can look like a mini-stroke, tingling limbs and slurred speech and all, you'd think that would make people give it a little more credence.

But most people don't know that. Heck, it fooled all the doctors she saw except for a specialist.

Much like my roommate's IBS. People brush it off and tell her that a stomach ache is no reason to miss work. On the other hand, the pain associated with it has been compared to the pain associated with childbirth. She's been tested for kidney stones, more to rule it out than because they seriously suspected it was happening, but they wouldn't have wanted it ruled out if there wasn't a chance that it could have been happening. They don't X-ray your hand when you sprain your ankle, after all. Kidney stones are notoriously painful. She has that pain. And yet people tell her she must be exaggerating her illness because "no stomach ache can be that bad."

Which is why I'm spreading the word. Misconceptions like this cause poor quality of life for the sufferers, because not only do they have to live with the condition, they have to live with nobody taking them seriously and nobody making accommodations.

I'm glad my mother's doing well and that things aren't as serious as we both thought. But I hope this doesn't mean that even she'll ignore such health problems again, figuring that it's nothing the way so many other people do.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A connection to the people who let us live cheaply.

What is that strange thing in the image above? It's a candy wrapper for a banana-and-cream sucker from China. Not something you typically see outside of Asian markets, unless you're, well, in China.

This was found inside a newly opened box of shoes last week, at the store where my roommate works. She was putting new shoes on the shelves, and opened a shoebox for the first time, and found this tucked inside.

This is a connection to the people who made that pair of shoes, the people who work and live in substandard conditions so that we in the affluent west may spend a little less money on our belongings. I don't mean to come off as preachy when I say that. I'm sadly aware that my clothes, my electronics, most of my belongings, were all made by cheap labour so that a big company could save on production costs. Alas, I don't let have all the skills I need in life to make my own clothes properly to cut down on things like this.

But when my roommate showed me that wrapper, I really started to think. It's one thing to think of some faceless mass of underpaid workers toiling to make cheap goods, but it's completely another to think that the person who made that shoes left a little something of themself behind. Did they have to sneak in that little treat? Where did they buy it? Do they like banana-flavoured things, or was it just a random grab from a box of suckers?

That faceless worker suddenly got a face, and it made me all the more aware that they all have faces. We tend to forget that, and lump them all in together because of a similar condition they all share. But they're all individual people, driven to the factories for one reason or another, trying to live their lives as best they can. They all have failings, foibles, fantasies. They're all individuals, and I'm going to try even harder to keep that in mind from now on.

After all, I've got hard evidence sitting in my hope to attest to that.