#22 – All My Stuffed Animals

This is one of the those postings that have been floating around in my head for ages. I even took the photos for it back in December, and have been adding stuff to it here and there, but I haven’t gotten around to putting the whole posting together. Until now.  (And yes, it is a bit long and I didn’t actually write it all in the last 30 minutes… but I did assemble it and get it out today, so I think it’s fair game).

Sure I’m 32 years old.  And yes I have a bunch of stuff animals.  Your point?

This is Bunny:

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I received Bunny as a Christmas present when like 3 or 4 years old, from my Grampa on my mom’s side1. Which makes Bunny like 29 years old. Her ears, nose and dress are all torn to shreds, but I still love her.

This is Froggy:

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Froggy was a gift from my Aunt Wendy and Uncle Harry2 when I was about 6 months old. I was born with developmental dysplasia3 and, as an infant, I had to have surgery, then spend some time in a cast called a “frog leg cast” because, well, it held my legs in a frog leg configuration which apparently is what is required for the hip joint to heal properly after that surgery. Hence, the stuffed frog.

This is Puppy:

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He’s a Pound Puppy that I got for Christmas one year when I was a kid. I originally named him Prince, and he has a little dogtag with that printed on it as proof, but I ended up just referring to him as “Puppy.” Well, in truth, it was my Cabbage Patch Kids that referred to him as Puppy, not me, because, you know, my CPKs had a mind of their own.

This is Pavelle:

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She’s a pink kitten. I got her in high school from the man who would later become my ex-husband4 and I named her Pavelle after the man who would later become an ex-Canuck, Pavel Bure.

This is Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber:

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I found Bob in a grocery store in Hamilton back when I used to live there. As a vegetarian, how could I pass up an adorable little tomato like that? I would later discover that Bob is actually a frontveggie5 for a Christian animated series6. But not until after I had also acquired Larry the Cucumber. Bob seemed like he needed a friend, what with being a vegetable in a family full of animals, so on a subsequent trip to the same grocery store in Hamilton, the name of which I am desperately trying to remember with no luck7, I picked up Larry. But, by the time I found out about their work in the frontveggie-for-Christian-animated-series field, they had already been exposed to my heathen family of unoriginally named animals. They are now fallen vegetables.

My third and final grocery store adoption was Jordan the Penguin:

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I found Jordan sitting in the freezer case, in amongst the frozen juices, in a grocery store in Burnaby. I think someone saw him sitting in the pile of penguins that I would later see in another part of the grocery store and thought it would be funny to put the little guy, with his little toque, into the freezer case. He just looked so cute and so cold that I knew I needed to take him home, where the rest of the animals and vegetables in my ever growing family could keep him warm. Oh yes, his name was from a very short-lived character on the Young & the Restless – a punk kid who was selling ecstasy to the teenagers of Genoa City and was killed off once his storyline had come to completion. And he always wore a touque.

Another case of me being suckered in by a stuffed animal that looked extra cute by virtue of it being placed in the wrong department in a store is my pillow-shaped-like-a-rhinoceros, Paradox:

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I was walking through Zellers having a conversation about paradoxes and I saw this little guy sitting in the picture frame department. He looked so alone that I just had to buy him and I named him Paradox before I even got to the checkout line.

In my previous apartment, my landlords owned a dog named Inti. He was a super friendly yellow Labrador Retriever and he spent most of the day out in the backyard while his owners were at work. Which meant that when I came home from school, Inti would be waiting in the backyard to greet me. I’d usually bring him inside with me and we’d take a nap on the couch until the landlords got home, at which point he’d go batshit insane with excitement, jumping about two feet in the air by my front door to tell me to let him out so he could go upstairs8. Since I was too poor to have my own real live dog, I got a stuffed one that looked a lot like Inti. He ended up named Monty because when I first moved into that apartment I was telling my mom about the dog and when I said his name was “Inti” she said, “What? Monty?”

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This is Fuzzy Bear:

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Fuzzy was given to me by my former mother-in-law (back when she was my then-MIL), as she had about a million of these bears at the time.  With Fuzzy I went back to my inabilty-to-come-up-with-a-decent-name roots.

Sam (short for Sample9) was a Christmas present I received while in grad school:

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I’m pretty sure that there is a law that all rat researchers must possess at least one cute stuffed rat to make us feel guilty.  One of my other rat researcher friends has a stuffed Ratatoulle.

I also have this white rat but, sadly, she doesn’t have a name. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to provide suggestions! Oh wait, I’ve got one! Her name will be Samantha:

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Cold virus, Ebola virus, and Flu virus were given to me by my sister. Because she is awesome!

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They are from the Giant Microbes collection10. I one brought these guys to a science event for kids where we had microscopes that the kids could use to look at all sorts of fun things on slides.  I figured that a few stuffed viruses would make the display table a bit more fun.  One kid took some playdough they’d made at one of the craft-type tables and made their very own Ebola virus. Another kid looked at me and said, with a totally straight face, “Viruses don’t have eyes.”

Later on, Giant Microbes added body cells to their collection and I got Neuron, which I discovered at the San Francisco airport.  I bought one for me and one for Tod:

Aren’t they cute together?

When I graduated with my Ph.D., my parents gave me this guy:

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I named him Dr. Stephen J. Toope, the Elephant after the then-new president of UBC.  Who is not an elephant.

Knowing of my fondness for the sasquatch from the mysterious forests of Canada, Kalev gave me Quatchi for Christmas one year:

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That year I also gave a Quatchi to my neice!

This little cutie was a gift from Tod:

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We were chain smoking the first four (or was it five?) seasons of Lost at the time, so I named him Mr. Eko.

Another gift from Tod is Santo from the Chateau Frontenac, which he brought back from a recent trip to Quebec:

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You can actually borrow the real Santo if you are a guest at the hotel!

1I was about to write “Grampa {mom’s maiden name}, which is how I always referred to him, but then realized that {mom’s maiden name} is often used as a password and I wouldn’t want y’all to be able to log into my important accounts, such as the Canucks Inside Edge fan club site or ClubZone.com
2OK, so this is a total tangent – when I was little, all my aunts and uncles on my dad’s side of the family (the side we saw all the time) were married except for my dad’s youngest sister (Wendy) and youngest brother (Harry). Uncle Greg was married to Aunt Dale, Aunt Gwen was married to Uncle Dennis, etc. And since everyone else was paired up, my sister and I thought for a long time that Aunt Wendy and Uncle Harry were married to each other, rather than being brother and sister. They were the only adults who weren’t paired up at family functions and one was a girl and one was a boy – it made perfect sense to us. We figured it out eventually and it wasn’t until years later that we clued into how twisted that was!
3a.k.a. congenital dislocated hip
4For the record, I’ve totally stolen this joke from Tod.
5I didn’t make that word up. Seriously, that’s what he was called on Wikipedia.
6Which is why my sister refers to them as “religi-tables.”
7It wasn’t A&P or Loblaws, which were the two main grocery stores in Ontario. It was in the same shopping complex at “The Barn,” which was where I used to buy my produce. How I can remember all that, but not the name of the actual store, I’ll never know.
8That dog was totally using me.
9“Sample” was a euphemism we used in the lab, because it was much nicer than saying “kill.”
10OMG, I just Googled them to put that link and discovered that they now have a stuffed SWINE FLU!

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