Friday, July 30, 2010

Random July

This one got a bit delayed as the week got completely away from me. The fact that these things just keep getting bigger and bigger added to the delay, but here it is.

From Roger Ebert's tweets, an absolutely beautiful short movie about a mirror and a small town in the Italian Alps, an illustration of how a sewing machine works, which was fascinating - I've used the things, I've seen them work all my life, but I had no idea about the how of it - and another short movie of an atheist explaining his spirituality.

In a comment on Monday's post, Marie mentioned sniglets, calling my fuzzy moment destinesia and I'd completely forgotten about this most beautiful invention. I love sniglets (warning, you will lose hours)! The language of marriage, a post pondering whether English is in danger and vaguely related (because of the English thing), it appears that Arthur's round table has been found and is not exactly what we thought it was. Staying within the language theme, there is a Japanese pop duo that's crazy about Denmark and the Danes and here's a video with them singing Reseppten, the song for the 1986 World Cup. For comparison purposes, here's the original. And staying within Denmark, the best restaurant in the world has been crowned and it happens to be Danish, naturally awakening my national pride. And hunger.

The genome quilt design, which is the perfect mix of crafty and geeky (I want a quilt like that) and as the weather has been a bit of a conversation starter lately, what with us finally having a rather excellent summer, the seven best weather bloopers and weather tips from the hottest spots on earth.

Moving into politics, the Vatican's new list of "exceptionally serious crimes" includes pedophilia committed by a priest (about time) and in the very next breath, ordination of women. Wha??? Musings on the role of social media and student reporters in the aftermath of the G20 debacle in Toronto and John le Carre on the recent spy swap. A great piece about why conservatives should think twice about holding forth with the one about the "growing number of scientists refuting climate change" thing, one of the best reasons to recycle ever - think ocean and so much plastic you can't even comprehend it - and photos to and help you visualize the consequences of all that plastic. And while we are on oceans and tragedies, if you want an idea of how big the BP oil spill is, you can superimpose it on where you live.

Still within the natural world, but in a much happier way, a very happy orangutan, beautiful pictures of animals doing what they do, scientists have discovered whether the chicken or the egg came first, fascinating images of a python digesting a rat and prepare yourself for much cooing and your voice going up several octaves: baby sloths.

Lucia sent me a hysterical link to a bilingual cat. Over at Sally Jo’s, I found I Write Like, which spread like wildfire. According to that esteemed website, the first paragraph I submitted was like Dan Brown. When I recoiled in horror – dude may be a good storyteller, but not really a good writer - I tried another paragraph (from the same piece of writing) and got Vladimir Nabokov. Well, then. On the one hand, I like it because the man writes like a dream, on the other hand, he wrote Lolita and you know how I feel about that.

Janet contributed the Chemical Party that taught me something while making me laugh. She also reminded me why I hate dating, sent a spoof of the Old Spice Guy (who I adore - dude got a film deal!) and yet another interesting interpretation of a ramp. Trevor told me that Toronto is the new capital of cool, a weather forecast asking for cool and while we’re on cool, an MRI of food. Awesome. Also awesome, but in a very disturbing way, a new breakfast food and staying within the food area, albeit more in terms of the consequences of eating too much of that particular type of breakfast foods, a hypnotic gastric band. Moving into the animal kingdom, Trevor shared a video about why you shouldn't argue with an ibex that's so surreal and nonsensical that I laughed until I started hiccuping. Another video starring a turtle who wants a friend, a graphic illustration of the stories you'll tell your grandchildren about how you used the Internet and one of the loveliest animal stories I've seen in a long time: a cat with bionic feet.

David's contribution this month started out with several moments of squee and moved on to an illustration of Maslow's hierarchy of Internet needs, both illustrating the stories we'll tell our grandchildren about how we used the Internet. Within the natural world, pictures of when a whale goes people watching and an interesting story about whale penises. Trust me, you'll want to read that one. A story about how a magazine took away a disabled person's prize that happen to be a date, which I've tried to write a post about, but it makes me so infuriated that I can't, so here it is. Also the story of Mountweazels, which led me to adopt the use of 'esquivalience' in word and deed as much as possible and a new kind of way to find Waldo. Lastly, some videos - how they made the Old Spice videos, Jewel goes undercover and lastly - and most awesomely – Tofu the vegetarian zombie.

Enjoy the long weekend. Even if it's not a long weekend where you're at.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

RA and Osteoporosis: Preventing and Managing Thinning Bones

The much-delayed osteoporosis post on MyRACentral is finally done:

"Rheumatoid arthritis.

Sedentary lifestyle.

Being low on vitamin D.

All are risk factors for developing osteoporosis. Although being a postmenopausal woman tends to be one of the more familiar risk factors, men, children and young adults are vulnerable, too. If you feel as if a heavy sack of doom just snuck onto your shoulders, you're not alone."

The rest of the post is

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Life with Codeine

I'm finishing breakfast, about to take my morning round of drugs when I notice that I need to add some more of one of my painkillers to the Box o’ Meds I keep on my dining room table (because it's a handy reminder to take my meds with meals). I also notice that my tea equivalent (hot water with a small slice of lemon- really good for the stomach) is no longer hot. The plan is to put the cup with some cold water in the microwave, then go to the bathroom and get the painkillers, take my meds, then go back to get the hot water.

This is not how it works out, because when you have high pain levels and take enough of the really good meds for long enough time, things can get a little fuzzy.

I take the cup and wander off, mentally back at the computer where I'm in the middle of writing something, stop and drink the mostly cold water left in the cup while still mentally writing something, then look up and connect to where I'm at. Which is by the bathroom sink, facing a Lene in the mirror who's looking at me with a mix of wha…? and disdain. Because I was supposed to be making a cup of tea (OK, hot water with lemon) and why the hell am I in the bathroom? Sure, there's water there, but no microwave and no bowl with lemon slices, either. The Lene in the mirror makes a face at me and snorts derisively (she really is quite rude) and I turn around and move purposely towards the kitchen, focused on the task at hand.

When I do finally make it to the kitchen, there is part of my brain that keeps niggling at why on earth I went to the bathroom, slightly concerned that perhaps I have completely lost it. And it is not until I have rinsed out my cup, added more water, put the cup in the microwave, pressed the appropriate buttons to select a particular length of time for it to do its thing, gone back to the dining room table to get my plate and spoon so I can take them into the kitchen and rinse them off while the tea (OK water) finishes and look at the Box o’ Meds that I remember why I went to the bathroom.

So off I go, back to the bathroom, very deliberately not looking in the mirror because I have a feeling that the Lene who lives there is right now wearing the kind of facial expression that would be counterproductive to my self-esteem.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fun with Attendants

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about living independently in the community and how that can be facilitated by attendants. These are people whose job is to be your hands and feet, doing things that you cannot do yourself or that would take an unreasonable amount of time or effort to do. In Ontario, some people receive such assistance through agencies, others get direct funding from the Ministry of Health to hire and manage their own staff.

Life with staff can be interesting. Once you learn how to direct you care - in other words, you don't ask somebody to cook you a pork chop, you direct them through each step of the process - it's pretty easy and as long as you and they remember to be polite and interact as decent people, things are relatively painless. Relatively. Because there are snags that come from dealing with people and their individual foibles, snags that come from being pulled into agency/staff politics, snags of a different sort that you may get to experience if you're unlucky. Most abuse of people with disabilities is done by caregivers and as I'm fond of saying, there are two kinds of people who choose this kind of job: those who genuinely want to help and those who like the power.

Today, however, is not a polemic about abuse, because I simply don't have the shoulder power to write that much. Today, I thought I would share a couple of moments from living with attendants.

Moment #1: the attendant and I had been chatting through my shower, because once they become familiar with your routine, you end up talking about other things. This particular day, we talked about religion. Which led to a shining moment of revelation. She very earnestly explained to me that there was a reason I had a disability and when I inquired what other than my RA may have had an impact, she told me that it was because my parents or grandparents had done something bad. Wha??? Oh yes, the Bible said so.

I changed the subject.

Moment #2: I asked how the attendant (someone different than the star of moment #1) was doing and as she says "I'm alive, I'm walking around, I can do things".

As she's unpacking the groceries in my backpack that I cannot put away myself.

I'm still shaking my head over that one.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Review: Linger

Following up on perfection is a difficult thing. And Shiver was perfection - I reviewed it last summer, in complete raptures over the beauty of the story, the beauty of the writing and the beauty of the narration and when I found out that the story would be continued in Linger this summer, I was as excited as a child on Christmas Eve. To refresh my memory on the story, I reread Shiver a couple of weeks ago and much to my delight, found it to be just as perfect as the first time I read it. If you haven't read it yet, go get it. And stop reading this review, because I'm about to post spoilers. If you’re currently reading Linger, you might want to come back after you’ve finished – there won’t be spoilers, but I will opine.

Shiver ends with the story of the desperate cure Sam, Grace and Isabelle had tried for Sam and Isabelle’s brother Jack, injecting them with blood from someone suffering from bacterial meningitis. Grace's friend Olivia had decided to become a wolf rather than risking death, Jack died, but Sam lived, cured and the book ends with Grace and Sam reunited.

Linger focuses on four people, Grace and Sam, Isabelle and Cole, one of the new wolves made by Beck in Shiver. Isabelle is drawn to Cole, despite his generally obnoxious attitude. Cole has a lot of issues he needs to work out, as does Isabelle and their story is of the two of them dancing around each other, both broken, damaged people who hide behind a shield of tough and dismissive. Grace and Sam have their own issues, to. Not with each other, but with Grace's parents, who despite having spent most of her teen years not being terribly parental, have decided to essentially throw their weight around due to her relationship with Sam. As many parents of teenagers, they worry that their daughter's relationship with her first boyfriend is too intense. Sam is trying to adjust to being cured, to actually being able to plan his life, while adjusting to being the guy in charge of helping new wolves now that Beck has become one permanently. And if all this wasn't enough, there's something wrong with Grace.

The book continues the exploration of the themes and ideas introduced in Shiver. Growing up, death and dying, love and loss. I listened to an interview with the author, Maggie Stiefvater, who mentioned that one of her goals in writing Shaver was to make people cry. And she did that - it is an exquisitely sad book, but in a good way (if you know what I mean). Linger continues in much the same way, even moments of happiness are tinged with melancholy, but it's done well, serving the story instead of gratuitously pressing the tearjerker button.

However - and I cannot tell you how much it saddens me that there is a however - it's not as good as the first book. It has many of the same elements that made Shaver such a joy to read, the language is beautiful, the story is beautiful and most of the narration is wonderful, as well (although why they chose someone else to be Sam is something I do not understand). But here's the thing. It needed a rewrite. There are times when the beautiful language doesn't quite sound true when coming out of the mouth of a teenager - when the last time you remember an adolescent using the word weary? - and whereas the first book was such perfection in terms of the craft of writing, clearly nourished and polished to the point where there wasn't one word out of place or one word too many, Linger stutters.

In the beginning of the book, there's mention of how Grace is an excellent liar, whereas Sam is a terrible one. And it grated, because the person Grace had been until this moment had never been a liar and maybe it's my personal interpretation of her, but someone who has really excellent marks and never misses a day of school does not seem to be the type of person who would lie really well. But whatever, obviously the personalities have to be explored in more detail in the second book, so although I'm not buying it completely, I trust Stiefvater enough to stay on the ride. Except then this sudden characterization is dropped completely until the end of the book. And there are other moments where something is missing - for instance when Cole remembers meeting Beck, he mentions something happening to Cole that makes you really worry and want to hear more about, he mentions seeing Beck and then we never return to continue that flashback.

Maybe I'm nitpicking, maybe I would've loved this book more if I didn't have such high expectations, but dammit, Shiver was such a transcendent experience, one I’d very much hope to continue. I'm planning to read Linger again in another couple of months, to see if maybe I missed something. Because despite my quibbles with the book, I definitely want to read it again. Not just to experience it again, but also to listen more closely to the music and the lyrics to Sam’s songs, both lovely and composed and written by the author.

The last book in the trilogy will be published in July, 2011.
For those of you who’ve read Linger, what did you think?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

5 Lessons Learned While Sitting Still

The first thing I learned came on the very first day of my 2 weeks leave. And it was the sheer exuberant relief of knowing I had 2 weeks, 14 long days with no responsibilities, no to-do lists, nothing on my plate but to sit still and heal. In a comment on last Friday's post, Nairn called it giving over and that describes it in a nutshell. More than giving in, different than giving up, it was an almost literal handing over of the situation to someone else, something else. Who or what, I don't know, but the weight that was lifted off me made me feel so light I was almost floating.

The second thing I learned came on the third day of my two week leave. And it was the realization that now when I no longer force myself to focus, to concentrate through and around the pain, but instead let my mind and my body do what they need to do, I only have enough mental focus for a half hour conversation. Because I have no energy left, am probably in a decided overdraft in that department and whatever energy I do have, is used to cope with the pain and is used to heal. This not only means that I cannot multitask at all, but have also been rendered incapable of any conversation that requires a nimble mind or lasts longer than about 30 minutes.

The third thing I learned came on the fourth day of my two week leave. And it was that having a good night's sleep while dosed to the gills with muscle relaxants can mean getting up in morning without immediate high pain levels.

The fourth thing I learned also came on the fourth day of my two week leave. And it was that my desire to get things done will override any sense I may have accumulated and at the first sign of feeling better, the mental list came surging back. Which at the end of the day resulted in feeling wonderfully productive, but also getting kicked back several steps in the healing process.

The fifth thing I learned came on the fifth day of my two week leave. And it was the sheer exuberant relief of knowing I had one and a half weeks, 10 long days with no responsibilities, no to-do lists, nothing on my plate but sit still and heal. As well as processing a number of lessons.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Never Say Never

"Please shoot me," I said, like an arrogant snot, "if I ever get a Twitter account."

I have a friend - who shall remain nameless to protect their dignity - who regularly sneers at television. Simply doesn't believe that there can be anything of value, artistic merit or non-trashy on the small screen. We all know that this snobbery is a cover for the fact that if you put said person in a room with a television that's on, they will never, ever leave, completely mesmerized by the flickering in the corner.

I suspect my arrogance was rooted in something similar. Given my tendency towards immersing myself rather fully (which sounds so much better than the word obsessive), Twitter has the potential for taking over my life. And then there's the fact that I doubted I could express myself in 140 characters (me? Verbose? Well, now that you mention it...).

And then I got injured. Well, not the one I'm "enjoying" at the moment, but the one a couple of weeks ago and there wasn't any writing and I was resenting it and felt completely gagged and… signed up for Twitter. I’d probably have done it eventually anyway. I recently spent an afternoon listening to Antonia Zerbisias of the Toronto Star - who is brilliant and for an example of her brilliance, she posts things like this on her blog Broadsides - talking about social media and how to use it politically. And then there was Roger Ebert's article about a similar conversion that I've just experienced in which he gave examples of wonderful tweets from people he's following. And it was this one, from natashabadhwar that tipped me over the edge and got me to sign up immediately:

There's a drizzle in the breeze today. Small droplets, smaller than the tingle in my skin when I see you.

I may not be able to write such beauty, but I most definitely want to read it.

And then there's the thing about being too injured to be able to write something with paragraphs and finding out that it is indeed quite possible to communicate in 140 characters. And somewhere inside me, there is a pondering on the human will to communicate and how when it is blocked in one way, it, like a river, inevitably finds a way around into new territory.

It turns out that Twitter is an endless source of entertainment, one around which I have to place certain restrictions to combat the aforementioned immersive tendencies. Not only is it a fun way to keep in touch with friends and read transcendently beautiful poetry, but it is also a source of the greatest links. Seriously. Roger Ebert alone can keep me entertained for hours, pointing me in the direction of an article about orangutan language, an incredibly well made, yet apoplexy-inducing video from some arse named Rick Barber, another video about the Tetris god that made me howl, a graphic that sums up the earth and blew my mind. And then there's this tweet, found by The Boy, allegedly from the Queen after England blew the World Cup.

Consider me hooked. Should you want to check out my decidedly newbie antics, I am a Twit here.

Friday, July 09, 2010


In a moment of stunning personal growth, I gave up. Stopped fighting. Let go.

You know how when you stub your toe, it becomes a magnet for furniture, baseboards and random bric-a-brac lying about? So magnetic, in fact, that the aforementioned items tend to leap out to hit that particular toe over and over again, despite you having gone the past three years without random attacks by inanimate objects.

My shoulder's like that. There was an injury, I was off work for a week, I healed somewhat, and limped back to work and things were going OK. Well, not terrific - in fact, I'm on record as having stated that I needed a month off to do absolutely nothing in order to get ahead of things, but who's got time for that? Especially when you're self-employed. Then something ridiculous happened last week to make everything flare up, I sat very still and took lots of drugs and bounced back, only to the very next day, have something even more ridiculous happen that wrecked me. And when I say wrecked, I don't mean the usual wreckitude where I can still do something, the kind that can be pushed back with a day of being quiet and some really good muscle relaxants. No, I mean the kind of messed up that is aggravated by brushing your teeth, making a sandwich, petting the cat. Nevermind how it responds to being on the computer. Blinding, unrelenting pain everywhere from my fingers through my forearm and elbow, my upper arm into my shoulder and neck and down my back. Everything was screaming, is still screaming and it started to occur to me that if I didn't stop, really stop, not just the reducing my activities by about half that I usually call stopping, it might be the end of my shoulder and therefore my ability to work.

It took a couple of days before the part of me that believes that giving up is not an option was beaten down by the part of me that knew I had to, but as of yesterday, I am on leave from my job for the next two weeks. And these two weeks will not be spent doing everything else on my list that I haven’t got to for a while because I haven't had the energy. The next two weeks will be spent watching a lot of TV, spending time in the park and reading a lot of books - thanks Colleen, for letting me know that Linger is out two weeks before thought it was (I'd link to your blog, but my bloody commenting system doesn't list it and I hurt too much to rummage through my archives). There will be blogging, but what shape it will take remains to be seen, because until further notice, I'm allowing myself two, max three periods of 30 minutes of writing time a day.

I haven't been off for very long, but already, there's something rippling inside of me. Thoughts about giving up and how sometimes, it isn't. That sometimes, giving up does not mean failure, but is instead an act of power. Is a statement about what you will accept, what consequences you consider reasonable, a realization of who you are lies not in what you do.

I've spent my life fighting my limits, working around them, become an expert in compromising, accommodating and somehow, doing what I want anyway, psyching out my limits so they don't realize what happened on so after I'm done and then we can crash together, my limits exasperated, but with me being smug about having outwitted them. When you do it every day, fighting becomes automatic, keeps you going way past what's reasonable on a regular basis and because you're so used to it, so used to ignoring sense -because if you listen to everything your body says, you'd never do anything at all - and it becomes mindless.

And there it is again, the consequences of what not paying attention can do dropped on your head like one of those frozen lumps of waste from an airplane and your life is crap. Getting there, to that point where you let go, it all feels like failure, like falling and not getting up, like admitting that you are not able and you flail about, resisting, fighting, hurting yourself more until you have to give in and you surrender.

And within the act of letting go of your expectations of what you should be able to do, you discover a freedom. That in the act of surrender, you can find the gift of yourself, a gift of breath without pain, of a relief so profound, lifting of the sorrow, disappointment, resentment and grief and you feel so light you could float. Because somehow, the surrender is about walking forward into the mystery, into finding something more that had been obscured by all the things you thought you should be doing. Into finding corners of yourself you didn’t know you had.

Pretty powerful stuff.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Independent Living with RA

The theme for July at MyRACentral is independence:

"The key in the door wakes me and I listen as my attendant putters around in the kitchen, pouring juice and getting a plate, letting me wake up slowly. She pushes my wheelchair into my bedroom, laughing as Lucy the cat refuses to get off the seat to allow room for me, meowing her protest as she is removed at last. I shower, my attendant washes my hair and later helps me dress. Toast and tea put on the table, she leaves and three hours later, another attendant comes to help me go to the bathroom."

You can read the rest

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Book Review: The Poisoner's Handbook

When I first saw The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum, I hadn't read more than the few sentences in the summary before I made up my mind that I had to get it. Forensics? History? In one book?? It doesn't get any better than that! And the cover's pretty fabulous, too.

Blum organizes the book’s chapters by years and by poisons, i.e., chapter one takes place in 1915 and focuses on chloroform. As the book progresses, moving through the first 30 years of the 1900s, chapters cover cyanide, arsenic, radium, thallium and as these years also cover the era of Prohibition, a number of chapters focus on the various forms of alcohol, such as methyl alcohol, wood alcohol and ethyl alcohol.

The book also follows the development of the Medical Examiner's office in New York, from an office granted by the mayor to his cronies as reward for political support, which resulted in an astonishing amount of completely unqualified people holding the position, to the hiring of Charles Norris as Chief Medical Examiner, who was not only highly qualified, but who developed the position and in many ways the profession in the US. Norris was a passionate man, someone who fought hard for years to professionalize the Medical Examiner's office and to build forensic science into something that could be used in the courts to assist in determining guilt or innocence of people accused of murder by poison. Norris also hired Alexander Getler, a toxicologist who spent years developing tests of increasing sensitivity for various portions. Together, these two men pioneered forensics and their story is fascinating.

Before Norris and Getler got involved, one of the easiest ways of killing someone and getting away with it was poison and the early parts of the book covers an impressive amount inventive ways of killing people throughout history. For instance, arsenic, so favored by the Borgias, was known as ‘inheritance powder’ due to its helpful quality of knocking off relatives who wouldn't die quickly enough. I learned other things, as well. That the Y-incision used in autopsies was adopted instead of a straight incision due to pressure from undertakers who needed to be able to hide the incision under a body’s clothes should there be an open casket funeral. That Pepto-Bismol became Pepto-Bismol in 1919. The story of Typhoid Mary, the details of which I've never known and that's just for starters.

The stories of two poisons in particular stood out the most.

The first was Prohibition. Designed as a sort of ethical experiment in saving the world from the evils of alcohol, it actually had the opposite effect. Blum recounts how Prohibition actually got more people drinking and what they drank was often extremely dangerous. Bootleggers would hire chemists who try to make industrial alcohol, such as ethyl alcohol or wood alcohol, drinkable with varying levels of success. The government would respond by denaturing industrial alcohol – i.e., making it even more poisonous - the bootleggers would hire even better chemists and at the end of the day, thousands of people died from being poisoned by the results. Norris spent much of his time as Chief Medical Examiner of New York fighting Prohibition with facts and figures and eventually succeeded in New York repealing it before the rest of the country did, but not until this "ethical experiment" had taken its toll.

The second was the chapter on radium. When first discovered, radium was hailed as being good for you, used in health drinks, added to cosmetics and a host of other products. But it's a story of the radium girls that hits you hard. Women were hired by watch factories to paint luminous numbers on the dial of watches and because they didn't know any better - after all, if radium is used in a health drink, it must be safe, right? - they played with the paint, painting their teeth, their hair, their skin and having a great time generally glowing in the dark. Years later, these women got sick. In a horrific way. They got weak, their bones crumbled - the stories of women whose jaws fell to pieces are horrific - and they died terrible extended deaths. Blum tells of one woman, bedridden and waiting to die, her hair still glowing in the dark.

There are times where reading nonfiction feels like a bit of a job, something I do to edify myself and make sure my brain still works. This was not one of those times. The Poisoner’s Handbook is an absorbing read, well written and presents the science in a way that's easy to follow (did I mention chemistry ordinarily makes my brain hurt?). The stories of murder cases and other ways of dying, combined with the stories of how Norris and Getler developed tests for various forms of poisons are so absorbing that the edifying becomes almost accidental. It's a terrific, fascinating book and I highly recommend it.

Monday, July 05, 2010

A Visit by the Queen

The Queen is visiting Canada these days and yesterday, she went to church in my neighbourhood. Naturally, we had to go up and take a gander. The Pride Parade was also happening in the city and we'd hope to get close enough to suggest then she grab a float and a super soaker. It would most assuredly have broken protocol, but might be more fun than what she usually gets to do...

We weren't the only ones by the church. There were bears

and naturally, corgis.

This was my view

But one of the benefits of having a tall (and dark and handsome, too) boyfriend is that you can hand him your camera. Which I naturally did.

The crowd could best be described as a melee.

Photo by David

I'd expected that at best, I'd catch a glimpse of her hat and by doing a royalty version of triangulation, in which I checked where all the cameras were pointed and zeroed in on the Mountie next to her, as well as the pink hat belonging to someone in charge of wrangling her flowers, I managed to do just that. The bright blue dot almost obscured by men in suits is Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Well, her hat anyway.

Photo by David

the tall and clever boyfriend also managed to get a couple of photos of the unobscured royal.

Photo by David

And the Mountie. Can't forget the Mountie.

Photo by David