My Father's Daughter


When Geese Attack!

I’ve always enjoyed working on a university campus. There are many advantages. And with summer coming comes a campus that is lighter on students, thus even more enjoyable.

However, here at the University of Waterloo, the coming of spring/summer also heralds another significant change on campus — the return of the Canada Geese, in all their poopy glory. Sure, sure, they are attractive enough birds, but what they do to campus sidewalks and lawns is decidedly unattractive.

And, as a friend and I discovered earlier this week, they are down right vicious at times. My co-worker and friend Sarah and I go for a morning coffee every day. We walk over to the Timmy’s at the Student Life Centre (which, incidentally, is the second highest grossing Tim Horton’s in Canada [the 1st being somewhere in Toronto]. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Proud? Disgusted that I contribute to the fat-cat ways of a major corporation?). On our journey back to our building, in a courtyard leading to our door, we encountered a goose. A goose that hissed at us. And waddled toward us. We diverted our path (Sarah more quickly than I) and continued on our way to the door (Sarah more quickly than I). I turned around to look again at the goose, while Sarah admonished, “Pick up the pace McGrath”; and we both watched as the goose took flight and headed straight for us. At this point we both picked up the pace and ran for the door. We arrived there and because we were both pressed to the door and therefore unable to open it, Sarah nudged me aside to get the door open and we were able to get safely inside (in the retelling of this story to our co-workers I have taken great joy in embellishing this detail to explain that Sarah PUSHED aside the pregnant lady in order to get herself to safety in a George Costanza-like maneuver).

After we started telling our very dramatic story of escape from near maiming at the beak of a goose, we found that a number of other people have had their own encounters — and not all have been as lucky as we were. The first co-worker we crossed paths with was struck in the head by a wing. My sister saw another man beat repeatedly in the head. One of the dearest women that Sarah and I work for was also attacked and took a wing AND a beak to the head. We were lucky to have gotten away with some minor pushing and shoving (I’m still looking for bruises, you know, anything to add to the story). Seems there is a nest in that courtyard and our ‘friend’ is just protecting his own.

Shortly after our experience plant ops put up barriers — two saw horses with signs that read “Caution: Nesting geese may attack”. And not signs made from poster board and magic marker. Professionally printed signs. Evidentially, this has been a problem before.


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My sister and I went swimming last night (trying to get some of that ‘exercise’ everyone is talking about these days — I hear it is all the rage; all the kids are doing it). I had forgotten just how uncomfortable it is to change in front of other people (even those of the same gender). There is all this maneuvering with the towel to keep the important bits (mainly one’s entire trunk) hidden from view while pulling on intimate bits of clothing; the desperate attempts not to make eye contact and to keep one’s gaze away from the nakedness of others. It is unnecessary torture. And I don’t know what was more painful – seeing a number of naked bums, or knowing that my bum was out there for others to see. Shudder.

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I don’t know how to spell success and other scary truths

I don’t know how to spell success. There are 10 minutes left in my work day this Monday. I’ve been sleepy all day. So, surely it is justifiable that I actually had to pause and think for a few seconds about how to spell success. I did come up with the right spelling — it just took me longer than is reasonable for a woman with an English degree to her name.

I’m afraid of my own shadow. Anyone in my family and anyone I’ve lived with can tell you that I can be quite jumpy. Sometimes people even take advantage of that (ahem, Duane, Holly). So, it’s not REALLY surprising that a few weeks ago I jumped at my own shadow. I was returning to my office when out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of my shadow moving on my half-closed door. My immediate thought was that someone was inside the office and I started ever so slightly – I didn’t jump (or scream thankfully), but my heart just leapt a teeny bit. I was frightened by my own shadow.

Most things I know, I know like the back of my hand… I noticed two moles on the back of my right hand the other day (Phil calls them freckles, I call them moles — definitions of each for another blog), that I’m sure I have never noticed before. Have they always been there? Can I really not have noticed them in nearly 30 years of co-existence (feelings about upcoming milestone birthday for another blog)? Am I really that unaware of my hands?

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Ahhh, now I get it

So awhile back I blogged about all the whoz-its and whats-its on womens pants vs. the simple button and zipper on the male career pant. Today I found out what is useful about this aspect of women’s clothing. I lost a button; well, not lost it, I know where it is, it’s sitting on my desk in front of me, but the point is, it isn’t on my pants where it belongs. Thankfully there is no concern that my pants will fall to my ankles at any point in the day (by their own volition anyway) because the additional clasp on my women’s pants are securely keeping them at my waist (yep, my waist; as we’ve discovered in another previous post I am too old for trends like low-rise). If a man lost the sole button on his pants he’d probably just jerry-rig his pants with duct tape or a paper clip or some other fool thing. We women are able to avoid these messy solutions.

Neat, eh?


Eggbert Jolin

If the Jolin’s have a short list of baby names they aren’t sharing. I can understand that. It can be a touchy thing (You’re naming your kid Earl??!!).

But just in case they aren’t yet prepared, a friend and I have come up with some suggestions that might suit baby Jolin:

Morris (then when he gets to the NBA he can be MoJo)
And our personal favourite: Jon Bon*

Thoughts? Favourite? Other suggestions?

*Note: Credit must go to Ian Sykes for this suggestion, made when Mari Alice was pregnant with Ada

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You can take the girl out of the country…

On March 12th (yes, I’m a bit behind), Phil and I went to see Brad Paisley in concert. Cowboy-hat-wearing, country-guitar-picking, down-home-singin’ Brad Paisley. I wore my Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame 2005 Inductees t-shirt; just to prove that even though I may be a little bit country I’m also a little bit rock and roll. But I needn’t have worried, my lack of cowboy hat and/or boots did set me apart. And that, I discovered, is the major drawback to the country concert — big ole’ cowboy hats on good ole’ boys screening the action. Oi vey!

Despite my limited view, and the fact that I spilled a good percentage of my Fruitopia all over my jeans and the floor just as the concert was starting, I enjoyed the concert. Johnny Reid and Terri Clark opened. Johnny Reid was quite good — that boy’s got pipes! Terri Clark was also really good. I’ve never cared too much for her, but she was surprisingly very entertaining. I found I knew more of her songs than I thought I did, and that I enjoyed them. She was also a good entertainer. She engaged the crowd and was quite funny. It was great seeing Brad in concert too — I really enjoy his music. So does Phil (the reason we went to the concert — his Christmas present), but he was a little disappointed with the concert.

I guess I must accept it, admit it, and embrace it — I like country music. You can judge me as you wish.


Oh how embarrassing…

So, yesterday afternoon I was quietly sitting in a meeting listening attentively. I was vaguely aware that there was a something rattling around in my right nostril, but I was powerless to do anything about it. I continued to sit there breathing normally when all of a sudden — whewp — a little booger came flying out of my nose and landed on my notes in front of me (I don’t really know the medical term for said substance so must use the common vernacular; for even more interesting terms please contact my nephews). You must understand, this is a very serious meeting. No one had cracked a smile for about 20 minutes. Words like “iteration”, “contextualized” and “aggregate data” were being bandied about. And a booger half the size of a paper clip FLEW OUT OF MY NOSE!

Thankfully, the damage was minimal. I think very few, if anyone, saw it. I was sitting back from the table a bit and my notes were in my lap. With as much grace and slow deliberation I could muster I calmly reached over and brushed the offending projectile from my page and resumed attentive listening (while simultaneously scanning the eyes of the other attendees trying to discern a barely concealed smile that might betray a witness to my faux pas).