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Bobcaygeon, Kawartha Dairy, and the Chipmunks

Posted by Sabrina Ali on August 13, 2011 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

            Okay, this blog was supposed to be all about my thoughts and observations of the week. I was planning on throwing a bit of philosophy in here too, I swear I was. And I will, I promise you that. So far only one post truly is part of my vision for my blog, another vaguely touches on it, and the rest just don't. That will change. After this, though. Hopefully. But before that, there are a couple more mundane stories I would like to tell you, and then I’ll start with the deep and gooey stuff.

            AND ALSO… Please, please, please don’t forget to subscribe to the site so you’re notified on all updated posts. And if you know someone who might find this blog interesting, don’t hesitate to mention me to them. I’d love some more readers, and advertisement is really hard to come by guys. I’m counting on you!

            Now, I really want to tell you about my week at the cottage, particularly the three chipmunks I befriended, the local dairy, and the town itself. Really, there's not much to say about Bobcaygeon. It's tiny, quaint, out of the way, and the Tragically Hip even wrote a song based on this tiny township, appropriately titled ‘Bobcaygeon’. This perhaps explains why most of town-goers were walking around with Hip shirts on, unless the Hip did a concert I didn't know about, in which case I'd be very upset.

            Bobcaygeon truly is one of those towns where if you blink you miss it. Their town consists of one two-way street with a strip of stores on either side, the IGA and Bigleys Shoe Store taking up most of the room. At one end of the street there’s a turn-table style bridge that also allows boats to pass through the canal that runs under the road. On the other side of the road there is a small variety store next to Godfather Pizza, which starts off the side of the street that Bigley's is on. Walk for a couple minutes and you're at the other end staring at some of the most expensive shoes you'll come across. Cross the street and you're at the steakhouse, possibly the closest thing they have to a black tie restaurant; old overweight men wearing muscle shirts and ratty jeans with they're waist length graying hair tied back, sitting with pudgy old ladies dressed up in pastel coloured tee shirts and carefully coordinated shorts. Continue up the street and you'll pass a couple clothing stores and eventually reach the IGA, beyond which a sandwich story and an electronics store are located. If you turn left and then turn a few more times (don't ask which direction, I don't know) you'll find a Tim Hortons and a value-mart, and if you dare to go a bit further, make a couple more turns here and there, you may even come upon the legendary Kawartha Dairy, at which point one really should stop.

            I don't quite know the history of Kawartha, though I'm sure this dairy is the reason the region we were in is known as the Kawartha Lakes. I do know that it was founded in the late 1930s, 1937 if I'm not mistaken, and that they served the freshest, tastiest milk in the region. Not long after that, the company founder Jack Crowe, whose descendants still live on the factory, learned the delectable art of ice cream making. From then on, Kawartha became something of a pioneer in ice cream. Their flavours are rich and creamy and just so delicious, their rather large small-sized ice cream cup they give you just isn't enough. Over the years the dairy has grown and expanded, being sold in many different stores in Ontario, though not a single one truly tops the ice cream you get fresh at the dairy itself (when I add pictures, hopefully sometime this week, I’ll put up a listing of the Dairy’s locations).

            Kawartha dairy is a stop we make once a day for the week while we're away. Every day I got a new flavour to try and I eventually found one that I would like to bring home. Believe me, this wasn’t easy. With thirty two flavours, even if you had ice cream twice a day at two flavours a cup for seven days, you still would not be able to try all the flavours at once. That's why you have to be daring; reach out to that weird sounding thing with the ‘NEW’ symbol beside it. Or go for that one that woman who sold you fishing worms was telling you about. Any flavour, with my personal exception of Rum and Raison, Black Raspberry Thunder, and any chocolate flavour, as well as a small handful of other flavours, is a good flavour. Over the years I've been able to establish my favourite flavours: creamy orange, moose tracks (yum!), mango, butter pecan, and I've recently added blueberry cheesecake to that list. I know there are flavours I've missed, but it's impossible to name all my favourites, there's just too many of them! For the most part, any flavour you pick is going to be one you enjoy. Be warned though: the small size is FAR from small.

            Once we've walked the town and had our ice cream we head back to Sugarbush Cottages where we laze around all afternoon, watching the water roll into the small bay. Occasionally someone will go up to the dock and try to fish, stubbornly casting and recasting the line out. I look a bit closer at the frustrated man and realize that it's my own father struggling on the dock. Oh well, I'm too busy here reading my book, and besides, I've seen some chipmunks scurrying to me out of the corner of my eye.

            I have to say, for creatures the size of one of my fists, these guys sure are brave. They don't wait for me to lower my hand and give them the peanuts like normal animals do, nuh uh. If I take too long peeling the shell off, they climb up onto my knees and desperately push away my fingers to get at the nut. I'm not kidding, several times they've moved my finger out of the way so that they have better access to the peanuts. They sit on my arms, my legs, even my feet if I'm still long enough. I actually have video of one of them on my lap stuffing his face with peanuts, and trust me when I say he was stuffing his face. The adorable hyper-active little guy could have fit a whole other chipmunk in his mouth if he wanted to. If we run out of peanuts, they start to run around like mad, jumping on chairs and chasing after each other. My dad made the mistake of falling asleep outside and one of the chipmunks decided to sit on him for a few minutes, and while he was doing that his buddy was busily sneaking into our cottage, where I would find it prancing around on my sleeping bag, diving under the cover and head-butting my pillow. We did manage to get him out though, and no harm was caused to anyone involved in the process; it was mostly a lot of foot stamping to startle him. Eventually he scurried out of the cottage and out of sight, but he reappeared the next day with his two buddies looking for a fresh batch of peanuts. I swear to you these little guys were moochers, but they were cute so it was okay.

            The week at the cottage was enjoyed by all. It's not everyday you get to sit around doing nothing all day, and being able to do it for a week really helps you recharge and reconnect with yourself. Before I went to the cottage I had been feeling physically ill, like there was something going horribly wrong in my body. I felt like I was getting sick and that this time I might not get better. I seriously thought that for a good chunk of time. On top of that I've just been feeling totally burned out and out of touch with everything. I was so tired I was prepared to just stay in bed all day, something totally uncommon for me. This year has been horrible for me thus far, and this summer has essentially been summer of sickness. Every week it's been some new ache on top of the old pain. I've had a cold three times, thrown my back and my knees, and somehow got a moderate case of the runs that lasted for a few days. And while my back pain is not entirely gone (perhaps sitting in a boat all day isn't such a good idea...) I feel like I've had the opportunity to recharge ninety percent of the energy I've lost over the last few months. I could take on the world right now.

My Apologies

Posted by Sabrina Ali on July 18, 2011 at 5:12 PM Comments comments (0)

Hey there guys and gals, sorry for the lack of updates recently. I've had so much going on... I feel like I'm that one car on the highway that's stranded and everyone else just keeps whizzing on by. The world is moving too fast, and I just can't keep up for some darn reason. Seriously, I'm getting pretty close to blowing a fuse.

So once I've been towed to the mechanic and everything is back in working order, I promise to update. Could be in a week, maybe two, three, or five. And I deliberately skipped four because I'll be on vacation that week.

Blog posts to expect:

1. A Cat Named Diesel Pt 2.

2. Why Camp Is Good For Me

3. (there are two more posts that I will be putting up, but I can't recall what they were titled at the moment.

Talk to you soon!

A Cat Named Diesel: Part 1

Posted by Sabrina Ali on July 1, 2011 at 9:36 PM Comments comments (0)

          So you may have noticed by now that I have several pictures uploaded of my adorable house cat, Diesel. We've only had her for seven months now, and I honestly cannot believe how we managed without her. She's such a funny little kitty, entertaining us in one unexpected way after another. An added bonus is the amazing amount of love she seems to have for us too. You know how you always hear people say that cat's are lazy animals trying to enslave the human race? Not Diesel, nope. This kitty does what she can to show us she loves us.

          Actually getting her was the tough part. I'd been trying for the better part of ten years to get my dad to let us get a cat; he was absolutely adamant: NO CATS IN THE HOUSE. My mother and I would both ask for one, just a small one that we would look after, and still no. It seemed he couldn't be won over by the total cuteness of a kitten.

          And then my younger sister got in on the action. It actually started as a joke. I asked Julia what she was getting me for Christmas and, Julia being Julia, told me straight up "A kitten". Oh really? What kind of kitten? "A cute one." Good luck with that, I though earnestly, and then kissed her goodnight. After all, my father would never allow a cat even to enter the garage. It seemed highly unlikely that Julia would be able to procure a kitten for me, so I just assumed she was joking. But she kept it up. Every Santa who asked her what she wanted would recieve the same reply, always that she wanted a cat. I rememer at my dad's work Christmas party she was sitting on Santa's lap and she said with a mischievous grin "I want a cute cat for Christmas," and my dad, standing off to the side, just rolled his eyes.

          It seemed that word eventually got around. My mother has a friend who lives on an alpaca farm, and so she regulary employs cats in the barns to take care of any rodents that might decide to take up residence. Every few months she gets a box of ten or so kittens to put up in the barn, and there they stay. Diesel arrived at Alpaca Central in late spring of 2010, and was placed in the barn just like the other kittens. However, Diesel was not cut out for barn life, and believe me when I say this: she may think she's a hunter, but she's not. Her hiding skills are terrible, and she makes quite a bit of noise for a cat. But I digress... I'll talk more about her mannerisms in part 2.

          So Diesel was not cut out for barn life. Add that to the fact that some pedophile tom cat got her pregnant (she was still a kitten herself) and so she earned herself a place inside the family house for the rest her life. The kittens were born happy and healthy sometime in late June, and they themselves were also placed in the barn; Diesel was kept in the house. Now, I'm not exactly sure about how this whole shin-digg went down, but from what I gather my mom visited the farm one day (i'm guessing early November), set her eyes on Diesel and fell in love. She took a picture of Diesel and sent it to my dad, essentially saying 'Do you like this cat? If so, I'm bringing her home. If not, I'm bringing her home anyway."

          And so, my parents both spent the next month and a half tip-toeing around my sister and I, taking Diesel to the vet to be spayed and to get all her shots done and everything. My mom would go to the farm a couple times a week to spend time with Diesel, until the day she was brought home. I had been out of the house all day, and I don't know how they managed to keep my sister from seeing Diesel because she goes everywhere with my parents. But they managed it, and Diesel took up residence in my mom's basement office for a day and a half until the big day arrived.

          I remember waking up Christmas morning and thinking that there was probably a cat hidden in the basement somewhere because my dad had said not go there for the next couple of days. I also figured that I shouldn't get my hopes up. I slowly carried myself out of bed, went through my morning routine, and drifted down the stairs. My family was already sitting in the living room, waiting for me to come so they could start assaulting the bottom of the tree. It had barely been fifteen minutes and my sister and I had ripped through countless boxes and bags, revealing the goodies hidden within before tossing them aside and moving on to the next box. Neither of us noticed my mom slip away into the basement. I was opening something from my godfather when she reappeared with something white, orange, and fluffy in her arms. She put it on the floor and it started moving, it's tiny pink nose working feverishly to draw in as many scents as it could. My first thought was 'Well that's a really cool robot'.

          Of course it took me a couple seconds to process what had just happened. My mom had left, there was no cat in the house; my mom came back, there was a cat in the house. Not just any cat, but a cute and adorable little kitten named Diesel that quickly wormed her way into our hearts forever.

I Don't Like It Dirty

Posted by Sabrina Ali on June 26, 2011 at 6:51 PM Comments comments (2)

          I think I get it from my dad. He's the most nit-picky fellow I know, always wiping down the counter, vacuumming up crumbs, sweeping the floor, dusting furniture... You know Monica Geller from FRIENDS? He's the male version of her. But it's not like my workspace has to be neat and tidy with 90' corners and nothing going diagonally, no. As long as I can see the top of my desk, I'm good. With me, it's germs.

          I swear people are starting to think that I have bladder problems for how many times in a day I go to the washroom. It's not that, it's just I can only stand that disgusting sticky feeling on my hands for so long. By the time noon comes around, I just have to, have to, HAVE TO wash my hands and face. But don't get me wrong, I really don't mind getting dirty. I actually love the idea of being covered in sawdust or plaster dust (or even just dust), mostly because then I can think 'Well, I did some good hard work today!' when I look at myself. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty when I'm doing something I enjoy. Every other time, though, gets a great big solid NO.

          Take yesterday, for example. My friends Christine and Matt (I'm going to call him Mr. Woofles, 'cause I'm cool that way. But I'm also partial to Clarky. Sorry Matt) and I went to Square One for the day, after which we crossed the road to the movie theatre. We were a few minutes early at the theatre, so to kill some time we figured we'd go to the arcade and play some games. Well, Matt did anyways; Christine and I mostly milled around the arcade, observing parents attempting to control their wild children. Matt was content playing pinball. When he was finished, he asked me to play a shooting game with him, and I would have gladly obliged to do so as I enjoy the odd gun game here and there too. However when I picked up brightly coloured green rifle and felt the germs on the side of the fake firearm, I was forced to toss it back into the holster, repulsion riddling my mind. The gun felt slippery, and not like slippery because it had been polished or anything. Remember, we're in an arcade in a movie theatre, with tons of little kid with greasy little fingers touching everything in sight. Do you think they wash their hands before touching something? No. Their fingers, all lubed up with popcorn butter, sugar from candy bars, and the odd bit of pop that managed to spill, not to mention what other grime had built up on the armrests of the seats they were sitting in, and the fact that little kids always seem to be digging in their noses, mouths, and ears for some long lost treasure... That's enough to make me pack up and leave. Shortly after putting the gun away, I fled the arcade in search of a washroom.

          The above is just one example out of many that have taken place in the span of my life. I truly do hate that germy feeling I get on my hands and face. Hand sanitizer just won't cut it for me either; it must be soap and water. I can feel sanitizer on my hands, even long after it's dried, and I hate that feeling (I'm also really sensitive to strong smells. They give me head aches [I'll eleborate more on this in a later post]).

          As a general rule of thumb for me, if I can feel it on the surface of my skin, I'm going to want it washed off, ASAP. If I can feel germs on the surface of what I'm touching, I will most likely stop touching it, and if I don't get to wash my hands and face at some point during the day, I will not be a very happy lady.

          I just really HATE germs.


How Are YOU Feeling?

Posted by Sabrina Ali on June 21, 2011 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (0)

          When something really great happens, you feel good about yourself, right? You get that rush of adrenaline telling your system 'Hey guy, something totally awesome is happening, wake up!' It's a surge of energy galloping through you, pulling you out of whatever robotic daze you were in moments before. It feels pretty good, am I right?

          In contrast you could be feeling the opposite emotions; you feel completely drained, exhausted, irritable, and downright shitty. You just want the day to end so you can curl up underneath the bed sheets and fall asleep and hopefully dream up a world where everything is vastly better.

          Regardless of what you're feeling, you're still feeling something. After all, we are humans-- we think, we comprehend, we formulate... By all means of the definition, we are what one could describe as a computer. However a computer we are NOT. We are flesh and blood, controlled by a brain and regulated by a heart. We are not robots. A robot can present what it believes an emotion to be through data and words. We, on the other hand, communicate emotions through our very own eyes if nothing else. Our emotions are conveyed in the way we stand, the tone of voice we use, what we're saying –hell even our general appearance can give away our emotions!

          Why, then, is it so gosh darn difficult for me to communicate what I’m feeling? It’s not the fact that I don’t feel anything; it’s that when I do feel something, like happiness or anger, it’s in such minute quantities that it somehow gets lost in translation from my brain to my physical demeanour. My boyfriend once said to me that I always look like I’m bored when we’re together; it’s not that I’m bored, Alex, it’s just that I’m very…stone faced? Even more surprising is what we were talking about that led up to his confession: exploding thermite. Who the heck is bored when they’re talking about exploding thermite? Me, I guess.

          In reality, I do appear bored a lot. Boredom is plastered to my face when exhaustion isn’t; it’s dripping from my voice and oozing out of my physical movements. I talk slower, I move sluggishly, and my voice seems to drop an octave whenever I try and say something. Even my eyes droop a bit. By all accounts I actually look like I’m about to drop dead at any moment. Rest assured though, unless I say that I’m bored, I’m probably not.

          Now, I know I’ve kind of made this sound a little bit negative, but even I have to admit there are up-sides to not being in touch with my emotions. For one thing, I’ve never been stressed. For example, we’re in the middle of exams right now at school, and I realized Monday morning that despite it being the four most important tests I’ll be taking for the courses, I’m barely stressed over them. Scratch that; I’m NOT stressed at all. I’m concerned for a couple of them, sure, but not stressed. Last week I found myself thinking about how I should be feeling worried and overwhelmed about exams even though I wasn’t.

          I’m also the calmest person many people have said that they’ve met. During the school year I work the sound board during masses and presentations. To someone who’s never seen a sound board before, picture a rectangle, roughly three feet by one foot, with a row of sliders and about seven or so knobs above each slider. Each channel, as we call them, controls pitch and volume level for its own individual microphone or instrument. To the outsider looking in, it looks like the most difficult thing on the planet. Now, I know that I’ve been doing this for a little bit more than a year, but even with that experience, one would think that I still get a little nervous before a major presentation with multiple channels being used. Well, that person would be wrong.

          If I were to tell you right this very second what I was feeling, I wouldn’t know how to do it. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I just can’t put it into words this odd, empty-like feeling I have in my chest all the time. It’s like being in limbo; I’m not happy, but I’m not sad either. It seems that on the grand scale of one to ten, I keep scoring a five. And try as I might, I just can’t get it to budge.

I Have A Theory

Posted by Sabrina Ali on June 17, 2011 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Hey there everyone, how you doing?

This is my first attempt at blogging, so by no means do I know what the flack I'm doing. I'm just doing this for the experience, really. Wanted to see what it was all about. A bit of peer pressure didn't hurt either. Well maybe. I have a pretty big bruise on my arm right now. But I digress.

I have a theory, and it is that humans were at one time was deaf. I've always found it interesting that people use hand gestures in their conversation to help get their point across. Seems like an innocent enough action, but what if there's thousands of years worth of wiring still in place even after the development of the modern human?

I used to have a teacher in elementary school who would tell us to stop using our hands and facial expressions when explaining something to her. All I can say is that it was really hard. It forced us to use our minds to a degree we weren't yet used to, but even now, ten years later, I still find myself waving my hands around the air whenever I'm talking. Seriously, I've whacked a few people in the face.

Several years after that I had a teacher who just loved using hand gestures. Well, It was that or she really like the thought of groping herself. She was a big lady... And I also knew someone who did what I like to call 'the wind mill'. He would stand at he front of the class giving a presentation, and his hands would be going in circles, almost as if to say "keep going, Nathan, you can do it". He annoyed me. A lot.

The reason I've come to the conclusion that everyone was once deaf is through simple observation. I've already extablished that I like watching people, and I often notice alot of similarities from one person to the next. Most of the hand gestures we use on a daily basis are very much alike. This could be for two reasons:

1. Human's have become so adept at using verbal forms of communication that our ability to use simple sign language skills have become almost redundant, however we still hold on to this genetic predisposition. I say it's genetic because like everything else that's default in out human anatomy, these hand gestures we use are simply things passed down from generations. You know the flight or fight response? This is also deeply rooted in our genetic make up.

2. At one point or another all humans understood one universal language. Nowadays you'll bump into people who don't speak a word of English. It's always a curiosity as to how this is because English is the one language common in almost all countries. It's the hardest language to learn, but the most globally used. I believe that at one point in history, sign language was the English of that era, and those motions our ancestors used to communicate were passed down to us.

Now I'm not saying that sign language is something that we all secretly know. In fact modern day sign language has only been around for a short amount of time, and only certain circumstances make it necessary to actually learn it. I tried teaching myself sign language two summers ago. I got the alphabet down, and then promptly forgot most of it in the weeks following. Sign language is difficult, but it's a good skill to have.

Oh, by the way, most of my posts probably won't be this long, and they may even have pictures if I feel inclined to add them. They also won't be about theories I have about the world and so on. This was just the first thing I thought of tonight. 

But thanks for reading. Keep it clean.

PS- I'm going to try and update at least once a week.


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