End of an era.

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I remember being a young teenager exploring the internet(likely it was dial-up AOL actually), looking for information on body modification. Not that I knew what to call it at the time but, I knew I liked people who looked different. People who had coloured hair, jewelry in places other than their ears, and tattoos all over their bodies. I came across BME while searching for photos and stories of exactly that. I joined the site and absorbed every last bit of information I could. BME is a resource of photos, experiences, forums, blogs and countless other avenues of information about the body mod scene worldwide. Wanting a little more I joined the social networking side of the site called IAM. I created m own page and started looking for people in Ottawa. To my surprise I found some, right around my age and was FLOORED that there were others so close that shared my interests. I made numerous friends over IAM and met a large portion of them I met in person as well.

My longest friend from IAM is Taryn Dams. We grew through and out of our teenage years together through IAM, msn messenger, hand written letters and many road trips to see each other. In fact, I saw her a week ago and what a fantastically well rounded woman she has grown up to be. The very last person I met off of IAM was Dante Penman . I was cruising through the pages of people who had recently visited my page and he looked so cute I had to say “hi”. That was August 2010 and now we are married. Imagine that. Two of the most important people in my life I never would have met had it not been for BME and IAM. There are lots of people I have lost touch with, or don’t speak to anymore but, I will always respect what I have learned from them and I’ll cherish those memories. To add to that, I would not have had the opportunity to do a suspension at the All Grrl Suscon in 2005 with Taryn without the loving family that BME is.

BME and IAM helped shape me as a person. Had Shannon Larratt not created a community that is so open and accepting I would not be who I am today. I found guidance there. I chose to leave IAM after 10 years when Shannon’s ex-wife, Rachel, took over. She had changed too much and I didn’t like her version of the site. Luckily I found what I needed there, even if I took that long. I still follow MODblog religiously to keep in the loop of the body mod world.

So heavily hearted I have to say that Shannon Larratt passed away yesterday. He suffered from an extremely painful disease that progressed relatively quickly over the last few years. Even if you know nothing of BME and nothing of the world of body modification please read his last blog post on Zentastic, it is truly moving.  Below is cache from google because the post was removed.

Shannon Larratt, at last truly Zentastic

BEST farm!

I can’t believe I forgot to write for a whole month.I thought I had missed maybe two weeks!
I’ve been holding on to this idea for a while now, and I finally have a nice amount of photos to share with everyone.

Every time I drive out to the Sanctuary I pass this amazing organic farm call Cava’s Organic Farm. I first stopped off at the end of the first summer I started volunteering and found out how nice all of Mr. Cava’s produce is! He has a really large field right off of Roger Steven’s Road with a small greenhouse and a skeleton of a green house where he keeps scales, tables and any vegetables he has picked that morning. He’s a scruffy older man who seems to only wear t-shirts, the same pair of dirt covered shorts and a pair of flip flops that are basically all the way worn through. He has an indistinguishable accent, wears glasses that are always crooked on his face and is COVERED in a layer of dirt every time I see him. I see this as a physical form of how much he loves his little vegetable farm and how dedicated he is to it. Did I mentioned he runs the place by himself?
The first time I went I asked for tomatoes (he then pointed at the table under the greenhouse skeleton that was strewn with random tomatoes and said “jus’ wipe one off and trrry” (I had never eaten a tomato like this before!). I also asked for corn and potatoes. What happened next amazed me. He didn’t bring me over to an area where I would choose what he had already picked but instead said “ok, I be rrright back” and went out and picked my corn and tomatoes and dug up fresh potatoes! I was hooked. How much more FRESH can you ask for than picked right at the moment you buy it? He gave me enough food for several meals and he quoted me under $5, I gave him the full five anyway. An absolute steal!
That was the only time I was able to go that summer but its been two years since then and I still go every week or two as soon as he opens. This year has been the funniest and more plentiful yet. Now, he invites me along with him on the treks through the field to pick for myself, allows me to walk through the greenhouse, and poke about on my own.The first time I went this year he gave me this haul:
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Not pictured is twice as much basil, as much parsley and 1lb of garlic. The small bunch on the counter is wild mint. He asked me “would you like mint?” I said yes and he bent down right where we were standing in the field and picked me some wild mint! He hadn’t even planted it. It just grows wild all over the property. He then went on this 15 minute search through all of the plants for the eggplant and cucumber just so I could have the first ones of the year.
The next time I went I asked for more oregano, basil, parsley, and mint with the purpose of creating a stock of dried herbs. He mumbled something about a bag each and went out to pick them while I took photos and checked things out. These are the photos I took!

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SO MUCH GARLIC. There was at least four or five times as much garlic, laying around in places, than this! This is my favorite photo.

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Look at these amazing tomatoes! There were even a few that were bigger. Mr. Cava said some of them were at least 2lb in weight!

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When he came back with a grocery bag each stuffed of the herbs I understood what he mumbled. I was excited to have it all but it ended up being a lot of work to prepare it all! I put some of the herbs in water and they rooted themselves within days. They are nice little displays in my kitchen window now. The rest are dried in jars ready to be used up in something delicious.
The greenhouse is really amazing. He grows eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes and a few other things in there. When I walked in it was like going straight into a sauna! Everything looked lush, healthy and there was condensation dripping from the ceiling. Walking back into the 30degree weather was like walking into air conditioning, if only for a moment.

I’m always glad to go and check out what is ready that day or what interesting things Mr. Cava is going to say to me. Last time He gave me a huge bunch of weeds that I was instructed to eat in a salad “lots of omega 3!” They tasted like grass soap, so I didn’t end up keeping those…

I asked him if he runs the farm all by himself and he told me that he does, and only gets help from one person, but very rarely. I also confirmed with him that he does use the word organic truthfully and he really does. “Ever since I starrrted farrming! No pesticide. All natural” Which you can really see, there are bugs crawling wherever they please and there are weeds in between each row. He does sell meat rabbits, which I obviously don’t agree with, but I’ve never seen them. I think they are far off in the back. I almost forgot to mention one of the best parts! When you walk onto the property, hanging off the greenhouse skeleton is an empty propane tank and a hammer with a sign that says “ring the bell”. He’s often far out in the field and can’t hear if you just shout “hello”, so he has this funny makeshift ‘bell’. I always feel strange striking this tank with a hammer and hearing metallic “BONG”.

If anyone want’s to visit the farm, I highly recommend it. Head down the 416, take the Roger Steven’s Road exit, hang a right and it’s just a few moments down on the right, before the town of North Gower.

I’ve got many other ideas brewing for posts and I’ll write them as long as I can find a moment to sit down. Keep your eyes peeled!

All the most interesting wildlife

There are a few posts I want to make about what I do with my life. As in, what do I do in a day generally, and why am I so busy? On of the highlights is Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary!

RVWS is a small mammals wildlife and turtle rehabilitation center, and I’ve been volunteering there for 3 years now. Ever spring I return to be an animal care attendant where I feed and clean many different orphaned and abandoned little creatures. Right now I go every Wednesday morning and my day generally starts with feeding juvenile raccoons and cleaning their cages. We have quite a few skunks so I’ll move on to the juvenile skunk room and take care of them next. We also have a fox that has a severe mange infection that needs care. She’s doing well but still doesn’t have a lot of fur growing in yet. I go in and feed her and clean up her cage too.
Feeding consists of bottle feeding an amount of formula according to the animal’s weight, providing bowls or different foods, water, and more formula in a bowl. Cleaning consists of removing all the newspaper and replacing with clean paper (which they will most definitely dirty again in about 5 minutes) and giving them a new plushy toy to cuddle, washing the bottom, sides and wire tops of the cages. Taking care of all these juveniles takes around two hours lately but it can take a LOT longer closer to the beginning of the season when the rooms are just filled with cages of babies!

There’s also a juvenile squirrel room that is often full of eastern grey squirrels, red squirrels, and chipmunks. These little guys are fun to feed because they’re always hungry(meaning easy to feed!) and just too cute. I get to take care of them every couple weeks. When I work with the squirrels I feed and clean them up in the same manner I do the raccoons and skunks, but I also give the squirrels a bowl of fruits and vegetables. If there are any baby or juvenile groundhogs indoors then I’ll take care of them after the squirrels.

Halfway through the summer we start to move animals outdoors. First it’s the squirrels and then as the raccoons and groundhogs. They get moved outdoors a few at a time into groups based on where they were originally orphaned. Being outside aclimatizes them to outdoor weather, as well as gives them a chance to meet more of their own species. Mostly importantly it further removes them from human interaction. This is important because it(obviously) isn’t safe for wildlife to want to be close to humans or feel like need us for survival.

We have also taken over the SHELL turtle rescue. Right now we have blandings turtles, painted turtles, and snapping turtles. We even have a full grown male snapper that we think is about 30 years old! He came in with a prolapsed penis and since turtle reproduction is so important to the environment he was taken to the vet to have to replaced, making sure it doesn’t come back out when it shouldn’t. A lot of the turtles come in from members of the public that have taken them off of the side of the road when they’ve been hit and their shells crushed or broken. We repair the shells and keep the turtles until everything is healed enough to return to nature. Some females come in pregnant and lay eggs while in our care. Right now we have some snapper eggs and some painted eggs incubating.

My favorite part about working with RVWS is all the different animals I get to see.
Eastern Gray squirrels (in gray and black)
Red squirrels
Northern Flying squirrels
Chipmunks
Racoons
Skunks
Mink
Muskrat
Eastern Cottontail rabbits
Beavers
Foxes
Groundhogs

Sleepy squirrels

Littlest skunk!

Tiny chipmunk!

Juvie groundhog eating veggies while standing IN the bowl.

Another juvie groundhog eating veggies in one of the outdoor cages.

RVWS isn’t very big so we can’t care for more than a few hundred animals every summer. We rely entirely on public donations, that means NO government funding. There was even a risk of not being able to open this summer because of a lack of funding. Thankfully many donors came through with over $90,000 in just a few weeks! It was unbelievable. I’ve been able to get $1500 donated on behalf of my volunteer hours right from Starbucks over the last two summers. I work there part time and they will match an amount of money to hours volunteered to a chosen registered charity. Literally every penny counts for this small sanctuary!
Check out the website and read up on how you can help or just read but because you’re interested in what’s going on. Thanks for reading once again!

Purzum the Devon Rex

Today I want to write about the new addition to our family. Purzum, the Devon Rex cat!.

She has a little story behind her.
I saw her at work, the shelter, and spent a little time with her, over a few days while she was in the cat wards in the back. I brought up her breed to Dan and we did some research and she sounded like such an interesting breed of cat. That and I have always had a soft spot for weird looking creatures. So, I put in a request for a Devon Rex with the Adoptions counselors, hoping that she would make it up and we would have a chance to bring her home. Well, she ended up not sheltering well, and stopped eating. This is bad for a cat in any shelter. If they don’t do well then how can they pass through for Adoptions or be healthy enough for any needed surgeries? Knowing that she wouldn’t have much time to adjust I offered to foster her for as long as it would take to start eating again. I took her home without even asking Dan because I was really distraught and worried about her situation. He fell in love with her right away so I wasn’t in too much trouble. Although this is the second time I’ve brought home a cat from work without asking him so I’m definitely not allowed to do that again! It took her about 5 weeks to get back on her feet after having some infected ears and weening her into and back off of different foods. We introduced her to our other foster cat, Spice, and my cat, Onyx, and everyone seems to get along pretty well so I proceeded with the necessary steps to adopt her. Luckily she is still under 1 year old(therefore no dental work needed), and has already been spayed so she needed no surgeries! The vet noted there was a possibility of some sort of allergies with her skin, which means she ended up being a “special needs” adoption. About 5 days later she was ours!

Sleeping weirdo.

Her original name was Trix, which definitely needed to be changed so Dan chose Purzum. the word “burzum” is Orc for “darkness”, so there’s a bit of a play on words here, purr+burzum=Purzum. She did turn out to be pretty evil after she became completely comfortable. She runs all over the apartment, chasing anything that she thinks is moving. The best times are when she’s really revving up to run around, she sounds like some sort of cat fight is happening but it’s just her screaming to herself. It’s the weirdest thing.. She jumps and bounds all over (especially down the long hallway) and loooooves pestering the other animals. There’s a bit of training to be done. Simple commands like her own name, “get down”, and “no” are all new to her. That or she pretends to not understand..

She’s been officially ours for a week now and we both can’t get enough of her! We’re hoping that she’ll be able to pick up a few tricks, as the breed is known to be able to do. She is incredibly curious and sniffs everything, so if we can get to to learn to “kiss” by touching to nose to someone’s face I think that would be the cutest thing!

Sleeping beauty, once again.

I highly recommend reading the Wikipedia article I linked in the beginning of this post. Devon Rex’s are such interesting creatures and she’s a spot on example. I’d like to find a Devon Rex group or club so I can share all the hilarious photos and see how other people and families lives are touched by these squishy faced, tiny necked, crimped little aliens!


Several times now she’s been caught hanging out like this.

First food post

This post will be the first of many posts I will make about food!

I’ve had a few odd situations lately where I’ve had food given to me that I can’t eat and I wanted to address it and see what other people think about similar situations. I also wanted to post some photos of things I’ve eaten over the last month or so, and share where these vegan friendly places are!

I find whenever people offer me food and I politely respond “no thanks, I’m vegan!”, I often get treated as if I’m offending someone or they think I’m offended. I can’t get a grasp on exactly why this happens. Why are people weirded out by veganism? THEN there’s the awkward situations that pop up when someone has made the effort to make or buy you food specifically, and they’ve still gotten it wrong. Please don’t misunderstand what I say. I always appreciate effort made! Let me give you a couple of examples.
A week or two ago I got some noodles from a restaurant called Oh Basil! right in the same plaza as the Starbucks I work at. They took about 40 minutes to come out (normally takes about 15) so they gave me some rolls as a “bonus”, they called it. I was really stoked because I love the food I’ve had from this place! I got back in to work and opened them up and it turns out they were rolls made with shrimp. *womp womp womp*… I ended up giving them away to some coworkers who did enjoy them very much, at least they didn’t go to complete waste. It’s too bad the cook didn’t put two and two together and realize that I’d made my order with no eggs and no meat, somehow still thought I’d eat shrimp. I appreciated that they gave me something extra, but completely bummed out that I didn’t get to have them.
Something else happened where someone bought food with me in mind. Yesterday was Canada Day and a bunch of us still had to work (at the shelter, some full days some half days) so the supervisor bought us all pizza. I figured there wouldn’t be any that would be safe for me to eat. That normally happens, which is easier to deal with. Anyway, turns out she bought a small just cheese pizza for me not knowing that I’m vegan, thinking I just didn’t eat meat. *womp womp womp* once again! She felt bad that there was nothing for me and I felt bad because she had to spend money on something that may not get eaten.
I just don’t like the “no it’s ok, I’m fine, it looks great though!” pleasantries, because I still want to be part of the meal, and I do feel bummed out about it.
So, what do you vegan readers think about these types of situations?

Now on to the fun stuff! Photos I’ve taken of delicious food.
These are Oh Basil Noodles, no eggs. With vegetarian rolls and peanut sauce. They came from Oh Basil! in the Elmvale Plaza, Ottawa Ontario.

This is a TLC bagel from Kettleman’s Bagels on Bank St. here in Ottawa, Ontario. Instead of swiss cheese we asked for the delicious non-dairy cream cheese, on a whole wheat bagel. The whole wheat bagel is the only vegan option, but let me tell you, it’s insanely yummy!

Here’s a vegan burrito with rice! It’s from Ahora. It’s a great little Mexican restaurant hidden on Dalhousie St., Ottawa, Ontario. We’ve been here a few times now and it’s always SO good. They have a huge assortment of salsa’s to go with you dish and there are a few other vegan options as well.
For one last photo, something I made for dinner!

This is my masterpiece from Saturday night dinner. It’s a potato salad with tons of spinach, cauliflower “wings”, and vegetarian “tips”. I definitely made too much food, but it was all so good. I used a garlic chili sauce instead of hot sauce for the cauliflower and I used a lot of fresh herbs in the potato salad.

Post below any comments or ideas or whatever you like, and stay tuned for more photos and talk about vegan food in my home town of Ottawa!

First post, a little about Caro.

Well, this blog has been a long time coming.
I’ve wanted to create a space where I can talk about interesting things in my life for about a year and I decided to finally go through with it today.

So, why did I call this blog “chamaleonidaeislove”?

The word chamaeleonidae is the scientific classification (family name) for the group of reptiles called chameleons. They are by far my favorite type of reptile and I’ve had the pleasure of working with several kinds. For example, Panther chameleons, Veiled chameleons and Rudis chameleons.
What am I going to write about on this blog?

Well, I’m an extremely passionate animal lover. I’m not a speciesist, I’m vegan and I devote a LOT of time and effort into making things better for animals in need. I want to use this blog to talk about what happens in my life daily, interesting things I’ve learned and occasionally rant about different topics.
What exactly do I mean when I say I devote a lot of time to animals?

Ok, this is a bit of a repeat of what I’ve written in my bio. but, I work as a Veterinary Technician’s Assistant at an animal shelter, I volunteer weekly at Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, and I also make time and space to foster animals, from the shelter, in my home. Oh yeah, there’s also the vegan thing. Other than what already existed in my life before I chose to be vegan, everything around me doesn’t involve consuming of animals. For example, I own a pair of leather flats that a bought a few years ago, and although it would be wrong for me to buy a new pair now, I’m going to wear out these ones before buying something new and animal friendly (as I also oppose over consumerism!).
Who gives a hoot anyway?

If you’re reading, than you do!
I’ll leave it at that for now. Go forth, be interested!