Friday, March 24, 2006

Me vs. Vancouver

Vancouver has turned against me. Oh yes, last week it was all romance and sunshine, cherry blossoms and daffodils. But now, it seems that one or two among the vast array of plants I’ve been enjoying has sent little bits of itself to bind to the antibody on my mast cells, causing a histamine release. Yes, I am allergic to beautiful Vancouver.

I have discovered that when you live in a different place, allergies can have different symptoms. I didn’t realize my main symptom until two people in two days told me I looked tired. Argh. I hate hearing that. I wanted to protest, “But I’ve been getting a lot of sleep lately! And I don’t FEEL tired! My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I’m taking care of it, really I am!” Instead of saying that, I complained to Danice, who told me to disregard these people. The next day, after eight beautiful hours of sleep, I woke up, looked in the mirror, and I looked tired. “Danice, I look tired,” I said. She said the comments of others were going to my head. “No, really, I look tired.” She refused to comply. She’s not very perceptive.

This morning, my eyes were so puffy and red that I went out in the pouring rain to find a medi-clinic. After a morning of searching for a clinic that would take me, and waiting, I found out that no, it’s not pinkeye. It’s allergies. Even if my body has never reacted like that allergically before. Maybe my mast cells are maturing. I wonder which of you plants is the culprit…

I hope it’s not the big-white-flower trees. They excite me. I saw them blooming and I didn’t know what they were, but I told Danice in my seriousest botanical tone, “Those flowers are ancient, because they have many petals and many stamens.” She nodded quite seriously. She is learning a lot from me. I went home and did an internet search on “white flower fuzzy bud” (very serious terminology). Sure enough, they’re magnolias! Magnoliaceae is pretty much the second oldest extant eudicot plant family in the world. I was so right. Thank you, plant taxonomy 323. (I still like to call them big-white-flower trees.)

So Danice and I were thinking maybe if we live together in this house again next year, we might get a pet. We were thinking a pet of the reptilian variety. You see, our landlords don’t like pets, but they’ve allowed fish in the past. Fish are boring. But reptiles go in tanks, like fish. So maybe they’ll be ok with it…

We’ve done a lot of research online for this, looking up geckos and iguanas and chameleons and frogs and newts and anoles and skinks and even giant lizards that don’t fit in tanks. Anything to procrastinate from doing real work. We’ve learned that a lot of them eat insects, a lot of them need heat lamps, and a lot of them give you salmonella. The turtle seems to be our best bet for staying alive and not costing us very much.

The Wikipedia website at was particularly helpful, telling us right off the bat that “A pet is an animal that is kept (mostly by humans) for companionship and enjoyment, as opposed to livestock, which are kept for economic reasons. The most popular are noted for their loyal or playful characteristics or their attractive appearance or song.” Ok, first of all, Wikipedia, did I read that correctly – “mostly by humans”? Mostly? I’m not sure about that. But Danice and I did agree on one thing… if our turtle isn’t loyal, playful, attractive or vocally extraordinary, we’re going to inform everyone who asks about our pet turtle that actually, it’s not a pet, it’s livestock, and we keep it in our home for economic reasons.

Last night I went to an insanely amazing concert by a guy called Trace Bundy. He doesn’t sing, which is good, because instead of learning to sing, he just taught himself to play acoustic guitar in ways previously unknown to humankind. He sounds like three guitar players at once. He abandoned the pick years ago because he found out his fingers were way cooler than a piece of plastic. Some of his songs are entirely hammer-ons and pull-offs. He has one song where he intentionally clutters up the fingerboard with five capos just to introduce obstacles that give him a sense of challenge, and another where he’s constantly pulling off and putting on capos in the middle. If you don’t know guitar, or what a capo is, or how to pronounce it, just know that this guy damaged the egos of every guitar player in that room. You can check him out yourself at , or wait for me to get home and show you the DVD.

Which reminds me, as of tomorrow, I will officially be back in Saskatoon in one month. Crazy! I’m excited because Christine is coming to take me home, and we’ll get to ride on a plane together. And when I get home, my grandma will be there, and I haven’t seen her in five years! First, a couple papers to write, a lot of books to read, a few exams to knock off… and I’d better get over these allergies, because at this rate, you guys won’t even recognize me when I get home.

P.S. This is my fiftieth post! Hooray! In honour of that, here is an eagle in a tree (he's at the top left).


Evan said...

I had a turtle once. They're neat yet slothfully amazing. The downside is that they start to smell after a while (it might have something to do with reaching a certain age) - at least as far as my experience went.

You should reconsider the gecko route. They're probably cooler and much more fun to feed (mmm bugs).

Anonymous said...

And I'm really hoping that you start using your blog as a procrastination technique because I LOVE reading these!!

(Of course, READING blogs is my procrastination technique...also quite helpful)

I suppose if you can't have a dog...a turtle might be cool. (Can you take a turtle for a walk?)

Have you seen the pink magnolia out back of Regent? Oh yes, more fuzzy trees for your sneezing/sniffling pleasure...I'm right there with you. Runny eyes, sniffles, the whole thing!

Happy Weekend!

katevp-a said...

i recommend a newt. even tho soya killed a few, myriam even more and mike killed one too, chad muska lives on. my little newt has now been with me for 7 years. is this possible? i have found that the main trick is to always forget about him, and so to feed him like once a month, and forget to change his water ( or even fill up his little tank). sometimes finding him half dried up and then adding water back to his tank seems to help as well. i have a super newt. the newt that never dies. speaking of which, i should check on him.

Anonymous said...

If your sinuses can handle it, you should get some friends together and head south of the border to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival where you can be amazed by fields and fields of a wide variety of Tulips. It is quite a beautiful experience. See: