Friday, November 24, 2006

Moving On

For the past few of weeks, I've been spending most of my free time working on a backyard project that's been going on and off for some time now. It's getting pretty cold lately, so I'm here blogging instead. I usually work on it after a major exam, or when I'm fighting with Tu Anh.... you would think I'd be done by now hehe.... Digging in the dirt gives me an opportunity to relax my mind from the myriad of drugs, treatments, physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms, biochemical reactions, physical examination techniques, arrgghhhh etc...that I need to know. I have been able to contemplate less pressing issues lately, and it feels great. The effect of such contemplation is that I have something to blog about.....
photo © NC Wildlife Resources Commission
While working outside, I saw many Canada geese fly overhead in their characteristic migrating V pattern. I haven't seen any of them lately, so I suppose winter is very near when the geese have already moved on. But seeing them made me think of another winged creature that migrates south for the winter..... The monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus. These little things are amazing. Like the geese, they've already moved on to warmer climes, but I recalled flocks of them over the summer. I used to see some gliding by the window from as high up as the 4th floor.

On a recent study break with my study group, we decided to go for a walk in a nearby park. It reminded me of ecological surveys during my undergraduate days, and re-kindled my love of biodiversity, so lets take a brief look at this interesting species..... About one month ago the first monarchs were sited in their wintering grounds in Mexico. There, millions of monarchs will stay, surviving on the energy reserves they built up over the summer until around March. Then they will make the journey north in search of Asclepias plants (wilkweed or butterfly weed). A single female will begin her journey with about 400 eggs. She would have been born in Southern Ontario last August and will only have several weeks to lay her eggs before she dies. Her offspring will be born in Texas or another southern state, and they will continue their mother's journey north. The first monarchs are sighted in Southern Ontario by May. They will search for wilkweed and lay their eggs. The grandchildren of our matriarch will probably complete their grandmother's journey back to Mexico in the fall; 3000 miles away, to a place they have never seen before, guided by instinct alone.

(last 2 pics taken from:

The sex-life of the monarch is no less interesting. When a male spots a female he will dive at her to direct her flight downward to the vegetation. He may even hold on to her body and glide down with her. When she has landed, he will join his abdomen to hers and they will proceed to do the nasty. Still connected in a frenzy of copulatory lust the two may fly up together to as high up as 75 feet. With the female suspended beneath the male, he may fly them up a tree where they will remain joined for as long as an hour. Whew.... kinky....

Pondering the lepidoptera made me think of a charming Native North American legend that I learned of in, of all places, the Philippines. It goes something like this: when the Great Spirit created the butterfly He gave them all the colours of the rainbow but no voice. If you catch a butterfly, tell it your wish and release it. It will keep your wish secret and take it to the Great Spirit, who alone will hear it. I learned of this because, as I've mentioned before, I almost got married in what seems like an eternity ago. Butterfly release during weddings was quite popular then. When I realized that I needed to move on from that relationship, I sent her a box of live butterflies to release on her own. A symbolic "I release you" but "I wish you well". Remembering this reminded me of how lucky I was in not getting married, like the geese and monarchs, I too have moved on and know that I am exactly where I need to be. I was reminded however, of my friends who were there for me during that painful episode, and having been blogging about nostalgia, it made me miss them. So here's to....

Kim (who's catching butterflies with me here)...


Joy and Steve (and Bambi)....

and Neil....

Cheers guys!

I think I've finally decided to move on from my Friendster blog, so if there are no objections..... I didn't think so...... this will be the last time I post there.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tagged again

Well, I'm "it" again, c/o Ghee.... here are the questions and my answers:

How often do you blog?
I wouldn't say that I have a regular blogging schedule. My computer is on all the time and my blog is set as my homepage, but I only blog when I have free time. Actually updating my blog.... maybe 3 or 4 times a month, sometimes less. I can easily get carried away when I start surfing though, so many blogs, so little time.... I really should be studying and being more productive....

Online Alias:
Angelo? sometimes Nermal?

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Sure, if I've witnessed that they are in the right.

What do you do most often when you are bored?
Watch t.v. and go online..... at the same time.... I like to multi-task.

When bathing, which do you wash first?
My hair.

Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
No, only 36.

What color looks best on you?
I have no idea.... blue?

What's your favorite alcoholic drink?

Do you believe in heaven and hell as a real place that each of us will go to after death?

Do you find that you have more online friends than offline friends?

What was your favorite subject in school?

Are you a perfectionist?
Somewhat, but my perfectionism is tempered by my practical side, and sometimes by my lazy side :)

Do you spend more than you can afford?

Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved before?
I guess so, but it's painful. Although it may be just as painful to never have loved at all?

Do you consider yourself creative?
I think so.

Do you give yourself the credit you deserve?

Do you donate time or money to charities?
If I had either of those two I would.

Have you recently done something yourself that you've criticized others for doing?

What's on your mind right now?
I don't have anybody to tag.

Say one nice thing about the person who tagged you and the five people that you are going to tag:
hmmm..... Ghee..... "gentle and compassionate"..... genuinely friendly and kind-hearted. I think she is very sensitive of others, and has a strong nurturing quality. With this combination, it's not surprising that she works with kids. These qualities are also reflected in her blogs and by the kind comments she leaves on other blogs. I am always eager to read her thoughtful and enthusiastic comments on mine, and always look forward to reading her latest insights on her blog. I believe I am not alone in these sentiments, evident in the flocks of people who comment on her blog.

is that ok Ghee?.... I'm not it anymore :)


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Santa Claus Comes to Town

The annual Santa Claus Parade came to town today. The last time I braved the cold and went, I think I was still only 3 feet tall..... well, 3 feet taller later, and the century old tradition still puts a smile on my face. I'm not feeling the bah humbug that I felt last year around this time.... in fact, I was happy to hear the Christmas music starting up on the radio already.... hence the sudden desire to go to the parade after the decades long hiatus.

So here are some pics from the parade, to get us into the Christmas spirit.... or is it the spirit of commercialism? You decide:
I hate clowns, they scare me.... here's one bonking kids on the head....Here are clown walking on their hands.....
Got milk?.....O Canada....
Here comes Santa Claus....Well, I guess it's officially Christmas time in the city....I need a haircut.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

At Par with Developmental Milestones

Wow a year has already gone by since my nephew/godson Aiden was born. According to the old adage, "they grow up so fast".... tru dat.... it has been a privilege to observe his development over the past year, so in honour of Aiden hitting the big 0-1... let's discuss developmental milestones in pediatrics:

By 6 weeks:
lifts chin intermittently when prone (gross motor development)
social smile (adaptive and social development)

By 2 months:
arms extended forward when prone (gross motor development)
pulls at clothes (fine motor development)
coos (speech and language development)
By 4 months:
lifts head and chest in prone position (gross motor development)
rolls over front to back (gross motor development)
no head lag (gross motor development)
reach and grasp (fine motor development)
objects to mouth (fine motor development)
responds to voice (speech and language development)
By 6 months:
weight on hands when prone (gross motor development)
tripod sit (gross motor development)
rolls over back to front (gross motor development)
ulnar grasp (fine motor development)
begins to babble (speech and language development)
responds to name (speech and language development)
stranger anxiety (social and adaptive development)
By 9 months:
pulls to stand (gross motor development)
sits alone back straight (gross motor development)
creeps/crawls (gross motor)
"walks" with hands held (gross motor)
finger thumb grasp (fine motor development)
"mama" "dada" (speech and language)
imitates 1 word (speech and language)
plays games (social and adaptive)
separation anxiety (social and adaptive)By 12 months:
walks with support, "cruises" (gross motor development)
pincer grasp (fine motor development)
throws (fine motor development)
one or more words (speech and language)
plays peek-a-boo (social and adaptive)
drinks from cup (social and adaptive)By 15 months:
walks without support (gross motor development)
draws a line (fine motor development)
uses jargon (speech and language)
points to needs (social and adaptive)

Happy Birthday little buddy!TECHNORATI TAGS: ,