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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i dn’t meen 2 compln


A while ago I blogged about my pet peeves. There was one glaringly obvious omission: I am dismayed by the abuse of the English language — the written word in particular. I blog, I use Yahoo Messenger, I email, and I understand the online environment lends itself to short forms and mistakes made in haste – I’ve made more than a few. But I am disquieted by the sheer volume of sloppy writing that exists on-line and fear our standards are slipping. Does anyone spell-check, or re-read his or her writing to check for mistakes, or even care about diction, style, and grammar? I understand that one of the benefits of the World Wide Web is the ability individuals have to make their thoughts known, and that free expression is a beautiful thing, but does the English language have to be raped in the process?

I know that writing is a skill and that there is an element of style to it — I don’t expect everyone to express themselves in literature-worthy fashion. I think what bothers me is that often it is painfully obvious that people don’t take the time to care about their words, about spelling, about grammar. They aren’t mistakes of ignorance, just neglect.

I fear the repercussions of this entry (I will be acerbically corrected anytime I make a language misstep), but I couldn’t take it anymore — it had to be said. I think I am already regarded as a Grammar-Nazi by some (basically because of my English degree) and this blog has done nothing to alter that impression. The thing is I don’t expect perfection (except from published works –hello, editors, proof-readers, this is what you’re paid for); I would just like to see more care and concern taken when fingers are put to keyboards.


You know you’re a woman when…

Phil and I had a disagreement this morning — and I’m not just trying to soften what was really a fight, it was actually only a disagreement. I thought I looked fat in everything I tried on this morning and he disagreed. Poor man. What could he do? And in his defence, he’s been instructed by Brad Paisley to lie in those situations.

Our disagreement this morning leads me to why I hate about half the women I work with. No, I don’t really hate them, I was just going for impact. I know, I know, I should be careful with that word and be like my friend who is very cognizant of only using that word in extreme cases (i.e. to describe his feelings for the Sens — then, and only then). But here is why I tend towards disliking them. They are all younger than I am, skinnier than I am, prettier than I am, and better dressed than I am. (Phil also said something this morning about comparing myself to others and that it was HIS opinion of me that mattered, blah, blah, blah, but I just tuned him out :)). When I started working here I was young enough and cool enough to rub elbows and make friends with the university students we had working for us. Now, I am old and fat and frumpy. There are entire fashion trends that are just plain inadequate for my girth.

Here, I think, is the true rite of passage into adulthood. Getting your drivers license, the right to vote, the ability to purchase alcohol – pshaw, kiddie stuff. It’s mourning the loss of those days before back fat and yogurt cheese thighs when a bikini was an actual possibility instead of something that just made your stomach rolls slap together as the mere thought sends you into uncontrollable laughter. That’s what makes you a true woman. (Or maybe it’s accepting the back fat, cellulite thighs, belly rolls, etc. as making you a mature woman – no, let’s not go there…)

I think it’s also being able to disagree with someone and not fighting. Sigh. I’m all growed up.

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Pet peeves

I have a number of pet peeves (an above average amount? Who’s to say…). One of these is air conditioning. Now, on principle, I am a big fan of cooling systems when it is hot and fully endorse the air conditioning industry. What BUGS me is that no one understands that air conditioning is meant to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature — not provide refrigeration! What is the point of owning summer clothing if every building you enter is cooled to the point of requiring long sleeves, pants and for-goodness-sake-please-keep-my-toes-from-turning-blue socks? In one of my summer jobs while I was in university a co-worker maintained that the air conditioning was so high so that the men who worked there could still wear suits in the summer. How dumb is the fashion industry that they perpetuate this ridiculous standard where women are in cute little skirts, sandals, sleeveless blouses, capris, and summer dresses while men still need suits to be business ready? But then, the fashion world endorsed the trend of ultra-low-rise-jeans-for-every-body-shape-and-size (shudder) by introducing thongs that are meant to be seen.

My other pet peeves are:

– People using the handicapped button for no apparent reason. Hello, you are letting all the valuable frigid, air conditioned air out! As well as wearing down a system not intended for the able-bodied which means that it will b
reak down when someone who DOES need it comes along. And, good grief, how lazy is that??
– Grown women who wear Winnie-the-Pooh wear. It will NEVER be in style people.
– People who treat the movie theatre like it is their living room.

– Warning and instruction labels on everything. C’mon, have we as a society become so mindless that we need to be told how to open the little packages containing Rice Krispie Squares??

What are your pet peeves?


Don’t let ’em steal your holiday cheer….

Well, this entry is going to be a rant…

Phil and I were robbed yesterday. Robbed! Our car was broken into (very back side window on the passenger side), and a bag from Old Navy was stolen. What follows is my rambling account of the event:

When I got home from work yesterday, my sweet husband greeted me at the door with plans for a night out. We went to Quiznos for dinner (can I recommend the Black Angus Steak sandwich — otherwise know as the Blocked Artery Special…), and then decided to do some Christmas shopping before heading to the mall to watch a movie. Little did we know we were stumbling onto the scene of the crime — The Cambridge Centre parking lot — hotbed for thievery and other bad things (I see punk kids smoking there all the time, baiting the dragon of chronic disease). Thankfully, Phil stopped to put on the new winter coat we’d gotten a fantastic deal on (make sure you compliment him on it when next you see him — don’t tell him he looks like an orange Michelin Man, apparently men don’t think he’s attractive [the Michelin Man I mean, I’m sure that men and women alike find Phil very attractive]). This meant there was one less thing to steal. Anywho, while we watched Ocean’s Twelve our window was smashed and Christmas presents stolen (highly recommend the movie though — very funny, but don’t tell Phil he’s like the Linus character in the film, again, he doesn’t find that to be flattering, I tell ya’ you try to compliment a guy…) . Apparently someone has forgotten that this is a time for goodwill to all men (and women, and Saturns).

I just find it frustrating. If I knew it had gone to someone who needed it more than we do, that’s fine, that’s great, glad I could help. But I have a sneaky suspicion that it was stolen by someone who has different motives than trying to keep warm on a cold night. It’s a sad reminder of the state of the world at a time of year when I usually am so encouraged by the spirit in the air, and I just feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s an intrusion into my Christmas gaity.

However, in the grand scheme of things we have not suffered too greatly (thanks again to great deals the monetary value was not that staggering). There are a lot of people struggling with much greater difficulties, this is just an annoyance. It is up to me not to let this disturb my feelings of holiday cheer, and it hasn’t really. We’ll replace the window and the gifts and the next time we shop and then go to a movie, we’ll take my Topaz and lock the bags in the trunk, out of the sight and temptation of tobacco-sucking, baggy-pants-wearing, messy-haired, foul-mouthed, punk kids (I know, I know, as my Dad says, I shouldn’t make assumptions about the profile of our thief; for all I know it could be a little old lady on the lam from the retirement home…). Such is life!