And The World Still Turns

Why, yes, I am posting an end of year/year in review post. Why the heck not? Just because I’ve somewhat fallen off the face of the blogosphere, doesn’t mean I have forgotten about this place!

2012 has been a busy, busy year. There have been some big changes in my professional and personal life, and big changes can often be very time consuming.

As 2012 comes to an end, and the world does not, the dust is starting to settle . . . and hopefully I will once again be finding time for the things I enjoy, such as this blog, that help bring balance to my life. This also, hopefully, means I will start reading some of your blogs again. I miss you guys.

I’m not QUITE ready to be back… but I thought I’d just do a quick hello and look back while I sit here in the airport on my way home, having just had my very relaxing annual holiday retreat. Sadly, the sense of calm, restfulness, and relaxation will probably be gone by this time tomorrow as I dive right back into the chaos that is my life right now (I’m somewhat in the middle of a move), and go back to work in just a couple days (the problem with going away is all the messages that await you when you return).

Perhaps the curious amongst you, who have not been following me closely on twitter, are wondering what HAS 2012 brought me? Well, in a brief nutshell: some amazing new friends, a new relationship, a new home, a new best friend for my dog whose owner travels often (and I dog sit for), a lot of challenging and/or meaningful cases at work, new equipment (that came with training and a very steep learning curve), and all sorts of adventures related to all of those things.

Starting in November I pretty much stopped having free time to speak of, and I barely made it to the holidays with sanity intact . . . so I am heading back to the rock with a lot of ideas, hopes, and plans for regaining a better balance in my life so that the hobbies I enjoy and the things that are important to me aren’t lost in the chaos so easily. Over this past year I was focusing on my health to deal with problems I had with insomnia and I have made great progress on that front, but life gets pretty boring if it’s just working and sleeping . . . even if you love your job and find it super interesting.

So, look out for much more Maggie in 2013.

2012 was pretty good to me. . . so you’ve got some big shoes to fill, 2013!

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A Lily By Any Other Name. . .

Once a friend of mine jokingly asked “Are lilies toxic to cats?” because her arsehole cat chewed on the flowers someone had given her after a bad day.

I kind of freaked out at her. Dramatic caps locked exclamations freaked out.


Her cat is fine. But I promised her I would spread the word a little about the dangers of lilies with a blog post.

Here’s the deal: the whole plant is toxic. Stem, leaves, petals, every little bit. The actual toxin is unknown, and it caused gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) and acute renal failure.  This is cats only, not a concern for dogs, and there is a very high mortality associated with ingestion of lilies. We treat symptoms and provide supportive care and cross our fingers and hope for the best.

So what do you do if you so much as suspect your cat has chewed on some part of a lily? Call your vet. There is no home remedy here. Call. Your. Vet.

If your vet happens to be me, this is what will happen: I will tell you that you should come in, we should do blood work to immediately assess kidney health and hospitalize your cat for observation and IV fluids. After a couple days, I would recheck the blood work and with any luck everything is fine and you can bring your cat home. I will be sympathetic to the fact that this plan costs several hundred dollars that you might not have laying around. . . so I will discuss the option of waiting to see if symptoms develop, making sure you understand the BEST option is to be proactive. If you chose to wait and monitor at home, I will advise you that the very first THOUGHT of vomiting, you need to bring that cat in. There is no ifs ands or buts about this: if your cat so much as chewed on any part of a lily and so much as urges, it needs to be seen. You cannot live without your kidneys. If you wait until the cat is definitely super ill it will be too late.

I can’t be over dramatic about this. Lilies and cats are the worst.

Personally, as a cat owner, I just don’t ever have lilies in my house. There are plenty of very pretty, non-cat-killing flowers. Like roses. People can give me all the roses they want. Just saying.

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Happy Canadian Turkey Day

Today is Thanksgiving Day up here in Canada Land, at least for a few more hours. I’ve mentioned before, this is my favourite holiday. Time to be thankful for all the good things in our lives, and to eat until we feel like we never need to eat again. Then you lie around doing very little until you have digested enough to be able to eat again. This usually translates to having pie for breakfast the next morning.

Every year, a friend of mine hosts a turkey supper. It is a bit of a potluck affair, and everyone brings at least one thing, if not two or three things. . . SO MUCH FOOD. This was the first year I wasn’t on call the day of his supper, so I made a pumpkin pie and a pumpkin cream pie. Yay pie!

And now this becomes a story of pie. Because my first Thanksgiving in Newfoundland, I didn’t make anything because I was on call but the guy I was seeing at the time made a couple of pies. I helped. And while I helped I remembered that my mum once taught me how to make pie, including making the pastry from scratch. It was one of those things that I stopped doing in university because I didn’t have time. So after that first Thanksgiving in Newfoundland I routed around in my recipes until I found my mum’s pastry recipe, and found my favourite lemon meringue pie recipe, and had at it.

And it was magical.

And now when my best friend lets me leave my car in his driveway when I’m out of town, I pay him back with pie. He gets a key lime pie for his birthday every year.  And whenever a holiday meal potluck is happening, I bring at least one pie. Often two.

I am thankful for pie.

Banoffee Pie, before we covered it in whipped cream. Was my first time having it. It is DELICIOUS! And it is a fairly simple pie to make, with enough foresight. (Making the toffee takes time, but is super easy.)

I had never made pumpkin pie before, but my mum made amazing pumpkin pies. I was therefore admittedly embarrassed to be associated with this particular pumpkin pie. It was not great. I make GREAT pumpkin pie.

It was Bob’s first Thanksgiving! Looking at this picture makes me hungry… I love turkey suppers.

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