Something Seems A Little Phishy

It seems like there has been a whole lot of phishing going on lately, and I have gotten a few emails that have given me a scare. Thankfully, after my heart went back into my chest, I realized that no, the CEO of the company I work for would not be emailing me from a sketchy AOL address and land in my junk folder, and if I really had been infected with WannaCry, I would not be able to read this email that is telling me I have WannaCry. But lots of people around me have not been so lucky, and have come close, or have, fallen for a phishing email. I’m sure the day will come when it may happen to me, so I can’t laugh and wonder what’s wrong with them. It’s not like they’re a pack of Sobbing John Rempels here. They are smart people.

Aside: I wonder whatever happened to poor John Rempel. I kind of feel bad for him, since we’ve been making fun of him for almost 10 years. Kind of, but not really if his story is accurate.

It’s true, the assholes who create the phishing emails are getting sneakier and sneakier, and some are doing their research to make the emails they send as convincing as possible, but I think what’s making them so successful is lots of people don’t stop and read. They see something, panic, click the link, and…there goes another one. Or, somebody has really done their homework and sent a message that the person is kind of expecting, but again the person is in a rush, and doesn’t notice that the email is asking them to sign this “mortage” agreement for their new “hosue” and answers…and only then the red flags start to go off

At work, the security folks sent out this video from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure in the UK as part of a campaign to smarten us up about phishing and spear phishing. Basically, phishing is the term for the broad practice of sending out fake emails to lure people into clicking on things or giving out personal info, where spear phishing is a more focused version of phishing where the person doing the phishing has done their homework about their victim and has customized the email to be more convincing.

Unfortunately, the video has scrolling text that I certainly couldn’t get to read. Maybe others will have better luck. But I was lucky enough to be home with my mom, and we watched it together, so I know it’s a good video with good tips in it.

From what I can remember, the video said that everybody knows about the old “congratulations, you have won the lottery” emails, but phishing has gotten more sneaky these days, and you will get emails tailored to you. Because everything is moving so fast and everyone is busy, sometimes we miss those subtle tip-offs that this is a fake and fall for it, allowing scammers to get usernames and passwords or steal money from you. The video detailed 3 commonly-used features of these scams: they create curiosity, have a sense of urgency, and appear to come from people of authority. Basically, the video urged us to slow down and think, check the links and email addresses inside the message, and if you’re still not sure if this is real, go directly to the source of the email rather than clicking on a link in the message or replying to it. I think that was all that was in there…but if someone can capture the text from the video and give it to me to post, that would be absolutely super awesome!

Here is a quick Wired article basically saying the same thing. Aside: Dear Wired: I appreciate that you have a newsletter, but I do not appreciate being unceremoniously thrown into a dialog telling me all about it while I’m reading a story. That makes me not want to sign up for it, even though it might be awesome.

There are a couple of mentions of hovering your mouse over links and email addresses to see where they really go. Luckily there is a way to do it if you don’t use a mouse. Bring focus to the link or email address you want to check by tabbing to it. Then hit your applications key or shift f10 or whatever way you choose to right click on links and copy the link. Then open notepad and paste it in and see what you got. Then you know if the link is really going to your bank or PayPal or whatever. Try it here.
www.paypal.com
Did that link really go where it said it went?

I think we all need to slow down, breathe, and not panic. Nothing is so urgent that it can’t wait 2 extra seconds to process whether this makes sense. Scammers can do their homework, but they’ll always slip up somewhere. Stay away from the phish, everybody.

Love Is A 47-Year-Old Christmas Present

It appears the mystery of the 47-year-old gift has been solved, and it was captured on video!

I guess the articles from last year made their way to Vicki Allen, the ex girlfriend who handed him the gift and dumped him, and they reconnected and decided to open the mystery gift for a charity.

Thank the gods it wasn’t a puppy like I had joked, but a book called “love is”. Apparently it had been so long that even Vicki forgot what was in there.

I’m also relieved that Steve’s prediction of this guy ending up on a show on Investigation Discovery didn’t come true. It appears the guy, his wife and Vicki all became friends.

Well there we go. The story has a happy ending.

The Cat’s Thoughts On Your Christmas Tree

I came across this song the other day, and chuckled. I thought of many cats our family had over the years. Thankfully none of them ruined our Christmas tree or did too much ornament damage, but I think we learned to strategically place breakable ornaments too high for them. Many times, we would come out to the living room and see the cat staring at the tree with a twitching tail.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
how nice my owners thought of me
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
you’re ornaments are hissssssstory
they dangle bright to banish gloom
I’ll smack them clear across the room
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
you’re better than a catnip spree.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
you’re turning slightly brown I see.
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
your water has been drunk by me.
Your skirt has pretty smelly flux,
I’ll use it for my litter box.
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
and then I’ll blame the dog you see.

So, for everyone out there with cats and Christmas trees, enjoy.

Brian? Trauma Centre. Trauma Centre? Brian.

It’s taken us 10 years, but we might finally have an answer to the Brian Persaud question, and I wasn’t even looking for it.

Story time. Years ago, somebody at work told me about Quora.com as a good place to get answers to just about anything. I went there to read people’s suggestions for alternatives to CAPTCHAs, those squiggly lined letters and numbers that show up on websites that you have to solve to prove you’re not a robot. What did I call them back in the day, fucking blasted son of a bitch goddamn piece of shit graphical word verification thingies? Yes, those things. But I started receiving Quora digests, and for reasons I will never understand, they almost immediately started straying away from the technical, and going into things about interpersonal relationships. Then, they started going into medical issues. I have no idea what I did to cause this, I’m sure it’s something I may have done since the rest of my colleagues at work still receive informative posts about app and web development and the like. I do have to say that the answers on Quora are mostly very well-thought out and free of nasty trolls. Now, I almost always receive ones about doctors and hospitals and the like. I got one asking if MRIs are dangerous right before my MRI. Thanks, Quora, and…you’re creeping me out now.

Then, the other day, this thread showed up in my digest. The question? “Is it true all people involved in trauma get a rectal examination in the ER? If so, why?”

And here was the top answer.

We used to do this routinely in major trauma. ‘A finger and a tube in every orifice’ was the unofficial mantra of trauma evaluation, and a rectal exam was part of the secondary survey (the head-to-toe evaluation of a trauma patient, to look for any and all injuries). We even called rectal exams the “[major trauma center] handshake” and I know that phrase was used at at least 2 other major trauma centers (with the correct name substituted in, of course)
Why a rectal exam? First, as a sign of possible bowel injury — blood on rectal exam can be a finding if there is an intestinal injury. More so in penetrating trauma (shootings/stabbings) than blunt trauma (car accidents, falls). Second, as a way of evaluating the spinal cord — the muscles of the rectum are innervated by the lowest parts of the spinal cord.
From some who have asked, there is some debate about the utility of digital rectal examination in the trauma patient – for example, see
http://emsgh.com/wp/wp-content/u…
At the academic trauma center where I work, rectal examinations are still done on patients who meet the criteria for calling in the trauma team. They are also often done on other trauma patients who don’t meet full trauma activation criteria. I cannot comment on whether or not this is still done on all trauma patients at all hospitals, but I know plenty of physicians who no longer routinely perform rectal exams on trauma patients.
I am amazed at the number of views/upvotes this answer has gotten. Who knew rectal exams would be such a popular topic?

It still doesn’t explain why they would sedate him to do the test, unless some of those spinal responses they’re looking for are involuntary, but at least it explains why a bonk on the head might lead to a finger up the other end.

Facebook May Contain: More Stuff I Can Read

I was sort of dragged kicking and screaming into Facebook because I couldn’t get a hold of someone and Facebook was the only way to get updates. Then, of course I ended up staying around. As much as I enjoy getting people’s updates there, I do not enjoy the pages and pages and pages of posts that consist of images of text. If you didn’t know, screen-readers can’t read text if it is just a picture of text. To see if the text you have is an image or not, try and copy and paste it somewhere else. If you can’t, it’s an image of text.

Then Facebook started trying to auto-describe images. But whenever it came across an image of text, it would unhelpfully say “image may contain: text.” So I was still out of the loop on the funny joke or powerful saying or whatever.

But a week or 2 ago, I started noticing that the auto-describer would actually take a crack at recognizing the text! Yes! It isn’t perfect and if it isn’t confident about the output, it still won’t bother, but I can now read more of those snippets that fly around Facebook, and some of them are actually worth it, so for all the people who responded to my complaint about the inability to read those images of text with “Oh well, you’re not missing anything,” you’re not entirely correct.

This isn’t permission to just post images without trying to describe them. You won’t know if Facebook will recognize every image. So if you can take a second to transcribe what’s in the image, that would still be wonderful.

Hopefully I haven’t jinxed it by mentioning it, but for now I’ll enjoy being able to read more posts and not wanting to punch things when I have to scroll past pages of “Image may contain: text”.

Jazzy Want A Firefighter!

Parrots and their way of imitating things always fascinates me. Well, here’s another one, and this one imitated the smoke alarm and brought firefighters to the home.

Damn, that parrot is good. Living with a bird who could do that would have confused the heck out of me, but the way he imitates the phone would have made me wonder if I was having auditory hallucinations or something. Then again, I guess I would know I had an imitating bird in my house but it would have frustrated the heck out of me.

I’m glad the firefighters were good about it.

Don’t You Be Driving, Like Numbnut Jabrone

I almost didn’t post this today because of what day it is, but you know what? Maybe I *should* because of what day it is. After all, the soldier isn’t the one who I want to make fun of here.

Here are some lyrics in case the ones in the video aren’t that good.

A couple of weeks ago, Brad came to see us and hang out. While we were messing around with Spotify, Brad mentioned this song he heard as a kid, something about riding with Private Malone. He said it was a good song but it kind of gave him the creeps. So we loaded it up, and although it certainly gave me goosebumps as intended, and there were some definite creepy elements in it, I have to say that my overarching thought was that the main character in this story came off as a giant asshole!

The story goes that the dude just happens to see an ad for an old Chevy of unknown condition so goes to check it out, and discovers that it is in fact a 66 Corvette. But rather than be honest with the old lady selling it and tell her that this is actually a very valuable car, and she should either relist it appropriately or he can leave this as a down payment and he will come back with the rest and she can hold it until then, he proceeds to rip her off, only paying the bargain price she asked for. He feels a little guilty about it, but not guilty enough to do the right thing. He still doesn’t change his mind when he opens the glove compartment and finds a note from the previous owner of the car saying his name is Private Andrew Malone, he died in the war and now this dude, let’s call him Captain Asshole, just bought his dream car. Nope, he just vroom vroom vrooms off into the night, like the thief that he is.

Captain Asshole proceeds to get the car driving well, except the radio has a bit of a mind of its own, always picking up the oldies station, but other than that, the car drives fine. He drives it all over town having lots of fun and making all the girls oo and aaa at his car. Sometimes, Captain Asshole gets the feeling that if he looks over, he’ll see the ghost of a soldier riding in the passenger’s seat. Maybe he’s looking for the rest of his money?

Then one rainy night, he is driving the car too fast, and he crashes and ruins the car in a fiery mess. He says he doesn’t remember much about that crash. This is probably because he got knocked loopy, but who knows? Considering this is Captain Asshole we’re dealing with, who has no problem ripping off dead soldiers’ families, maybe he was also riding with Captain Morgan.

But ghost Private Malone is a saint, and despite everything, still drags Captain Asshole’s pilfering husk free of the flames…of his all but stolen dream car! That just so happens to be the one thing that our “hero” remembers, as it should be. I hope it haunts him every day…along with Private Malone.

Yup, just call me the song-ruiner.

There’s also what they say is a parody version…

but I think that’s what became of Captain Asshole.

I Got My Head Examined, MRI-style.

We discovered that Spotify has everything when just for fun, we yelled “Hey Google, play the MRI song” and it played this. So…soundtrack?

So a couple Saturdays ago, I had to have an MRI of my brain, specifically to have a good look at my pituitary gland. Don’t worry, I feel fine. The doctor’s trying to rule some things out and this was the easiest way to do it. I had never had an MRI before, and apparently it gave me a lot to think about…so here are my random thoughts in no particular order.

I am relieved to know that I’m not claustrophobic. I was pretty sure I wasn’t, but I haven’t had occasion to find myself squished into an unfathomably-small space…so I was afraid I was going to find out exactly how claustrophobic I was at precisely the wrong time. I am also relieved to know that I don’t have any forgotten metal in me. I was 99.99999 percent sure there was no weird metal in me, but a little voice said “But what if you’ve forgotten something?” I was having visions of that guy with the fir tree in his lung, or the dude who had a nail shaken loose that he didn’t even know was there by an MRI. Sometimes it’s not good to read weird news stories. They tend to bubble to the surface when they shouldn’t. I was super paranoid about making sure I had remembered to take things off that I don’t even think about, like my MedicAlert bracelet. I was afraid I would forget one little thing and boom!

The actual scan itself wasn’t so bad, I had read a whole bunch about what to expect, so none of the grindings and knockings and buzzings and other noises really phased me a ton. They were weird, but they weren’t totally unexpected. But I did spend a bunch of time afraid that the MRI would discover some metal. It took me a good couple of minutes to be convinced that nope, I’m all good.

I remember saying afterwards to my dad that it felt like I was being stuffed into a tiny chamber. His response was funny. “That’s because you were.” Well I’m glad I’m not imagining things.

I didn’t know this, but apparently if you move your eyes during an MRI, it can screw up the scan. That’s a scary thing to know, since my eyes move without provocation because of blindness. Thanks, nystagmus. Thanks a heap. It’s never good when I’m practically in the scanner and they put a cloth over my eyes. I ask what that’s for, getting all kinds of terrible and unwelcome visions ranging from animals being blindfolded on vet shows to that scene from the book “The Girl With All the Gifts” when they’re about to saw into that kid’s brain. The technologist says “Oh it’s to keep your eyes from moving.” When I tell her my eyes move involuntarily, she then says “Well we’ll see how it goes.” Considering how much trouble I had to go through to get this far, I was very worried some jittery eyes would have made me have to start all over again. I clamped my eyes shut tight, all the while feeling them jiggle under the lids. Thankfully, when I called back to check a few days later, my jitterbugging eyes didn’t gum up the works.

I’m sure you’re wondering what I mean by “considering how much trouble I had to go through to get this far.” Well, to make a long story short, I didn’t know they needed to put an IV in so they could shoot me full of contrast dye. The letter I got said they may or may not need to use contrast dye. So, I didn’t drink a bunch of water before because I didn’t want to have the need to pee while stuffed in the grinding and knocking tube of doom, and that was a dumb decision because there is a bathroom in the waiting room in imaging, of course there is, and my veins still suck. You know it’s bad when an emergency room nurse prods about and says “Well, I can’t work with what isn’t there.” They almost sent me home without doing the MRI, but I asked for a big glass of water, chugged it down, and a tech from CT was able to find a vein a bit later and get into it with a baby needle. Yup, a baby needle. My veins are that fiddly. But the time between when they started to get me ready to go in to when they discovered that my veins were little arseholes to when they completed the scan took over 2 hours, but for me it felt way longer. As I sat there wondering what they would have to do to me to get the IV in, having visions of being a toddler and them having to jab an IV into my foot, I felt terrible that I couldn’t tell Steve what was up. My phone was locked away with my clothes and other metal things, and Steve was at home with the Shmans since she is covered in metal things like collar and tags and leash and harness and stuff. I felt like one of those people who cannot be without their phone, but I didn’t want him to think anything catastrophically bad was going on.

I think I made the tech from CT laugh because when she thought she was about to have success, without thinking about it, I started whistling the first few lines of “Extra Ordinary” by “Better Than Ezra.” You know, “I got a little bit of hope, like a soap on a rope…”

Because I started laughing, I had to explain what I was whistling, and she laughed too.

I’m always curious about why they do things they do. I understood the ear protection, the contrast dye, the coil going around my head, but before they put the coil where it goes, they had me wear a little paper hat thing. I have no idea what that does, and have googled it and can’t find its purpose. I joked with Steve that it made me think of a kid’s party hat.


Like I said, squishy places apparently don’t mess me up like the guys in the two MRI songs above. But as I have discovered, my brain gets creative when I’m nervous or scared. Sometimes this creativity is good. But oh, sometimes it’s very very bad. For example, when the MRI is making its grinding noises and some of them sound like someone playing an electric guitar very badly, it is not good and not welcome for my mind to take those noises and make a melody out of them that sounds a little bit like “Terrified” by See Spot Run.

When I listen to that song again, it’s not even close, but when I was in there, my brain was sure that the melody it was creating fit perfectly inside the song…and then followed that up by thinking “‘Terrified’? Really?”

But at least I’m not the only one who tried to construct songs out of the rhythmic sounds of the MRI.

I’m curious if I’m the only one who ever wondered if you could put people in a trance with those rhythmic buzzes. I also couldn’t figure out how in the name of all that’s holy you could ever do functional MRI studies on people, i.e. how you could put them in this buzzing and humming thing and then ask them to do tasks. And what about that study where they got a guy who appeared to be in a vegetative state to watch Hitchcock movies and saw that he actually got scared at the appropriate parts. I guess, if a person is considered comatose, they’re used to going through MRI machines all the time, but for me that night, all I could think about was the buzzing and grinding. Would I be able to focus on anything else?

I never considered that I might have to sneeze when I was in there. But at about mid-way through the scan, I started to feel a really really strong urge to sneeze. Not just a little one, but a huuuuge one. I tried to fight it, really I did. I even tried to breathe the sneeze back in. That worked for a few seconds, but this sneeze would not be denied, so I tried to move as little as possible, but that was one huuuuuuuge sneeeeeze! And it screwed up some of the pictures, but thankfully they could redo that set and I didn’t end up in there for the full 20 ish minutes again.

While I was getting ready to go in there, and when I was in there, I could feel a part of me observing myself and noticing that god, am I ever a giant wuss. If I’ve had a test before, as long as it didn’t suck, I’m not bad. But whenever I need something new, despite my best efforts, I am a loud, obnoxious, nervous, question-asking, information-demanding, scared human being and I don’t like seeing it in myself. I realize that I need to have more empathy for other people who are needing something done and are all nervous, because let’s face it, if I were in their shoes, I would be a giant baby.

All in all, despite what probably looks like a long list of problems, it wasn’t a bad experience, but it has taught me once again that you can never ask enough questions. For example, I never dreamed to ask about the moving eyes. Because I was so worried that they loused up the scan, I called and requested to talk to the team lead a few days later to see if my involuntarily moving eyes loused it up and she said no, the images looked good, my eyes hardly moved, and I should only worry about it if they were doing an MRI on my actual eyes or something. Phew! I asked her if she could tell me when I should expect to need an IV, i.e. when I should chugga lugga some fluids to make my veins a little more cooperative. She said basically, if I’m getting another scan of ye old pituitary gland, I should expect the IV. Ok, also good to know. She told me that I can always ask the scheduling people if my scan requires dye. And I guess if I ever need this again and chugging liquids doesn’t help, I can try to negotiate with the scheduling person to see if I can have it done in the day because the folks on at night don’t know how to deal with people with miserable veins. This was told to me by one of the people trying to get my veins, so I’m not saying this as a criticism of the 3 poor souls who tried and failed…although I will still say the fishing expedition in my arm undertaken by one of them was not appreciated. Ouch youch ooch eech! I know what you were trying to do, but ouch youch ooch eech! I hope you enjoyed my creative language choices I used to try and avoid swearing at you. Also, next time you’re about to spear a blind person with a needle, please warn them first.

So yeah. I’ve now had an MRI. And you all probably think the magnets took my mind and ran off with it. Hopefully, this long and winding description of what I went through can help someone, entertain someone, or both. I’m still waiting to hear from my endocrinologist who ordered it, but since the scan was done a couple of weeks ago, I’m going to assume they didn’t find anything earth-shattering and world-ending. If I happen to need one of these again, I will try to be a much calmer, more prepared patient.

Keeping You In The Shmanda-Loop

You’re probably wondering what the heck’s a Shmandaloop. Well, it’s another nickname for Tansy. Steve came up with it one time when I was booking a Via Rail ticket. They always ask me what the name of the dog is, and in the background, Steve was petting her and said “Shmandaloop. S h m, a n d a, l o o p. Shmandaloop!” It was really hard not to start laughing.

She also gets called Joe with increasing frequency. Why Joe, you say? Well, long story time. Recently, especially when it’s hot, Shmans just flops down where she is and sprawls out. She also seems completely oblivious to people going by, and we’ve both nearly taken a header over her. There’s this sketch by the Vestibules called “Caspar Haboot’s movie music” where the guy sings what’s happening in the plot of a movie. If I could link to it, I would, but it’s impossible to find. At one point, he says something about “Look out, Joe! The fat guy is hiding…” When Tans has decided to lie in one of those awkward places and has tuned us out, when we are trying to avoid her, at the last second, we will sing “Look out, Joe!” at her. Now, we’ve taken to just saying to each other, “Remember that Joe is in the doorway.” or “Don’t move your chair backwards because of Joe.” Yup, we’re weird. But I wonder how long before Shmans starts responding to Joe.

Now that I’ve made you wonder about our sanity with these latest nickname choices, let’s get down to talking about Tansy. Amazingly, it’s only been a couple of months since the last update, but I was amassing quite a collection of notes so I figured I should go for it.

Poor Tansy had a bit of a rough July. We had the bladder infection at the beginning, and then after the antibiotics were done, her poop never went back to its usual solid form. Because I was about to go to Houston for work, I wanted her to be as regular as possible. So, I went to the pet store and got a probiotic. It didn’t take long for the probiotic to be doing its job. But when I got back from Houston, one of my coworkers noticed that there was a spot on Tansy’s face that was considerably lighter and looked like it didn’t have any hair on it. Um, eek? It turned out it was a hot spot, and a sizable one. How I hadn’t noticed, I don’t know, except that the fur is kind of rougher and thinner on the face, so it could hide better. But poor Tans, after getting off the other antibiotics, was given another course of them, plus some steroids to help make the spot less itchy so she would be less tempted to scratchity rubbity root root root at it.

I still don’t quite know what gave her the hot spot. Can probiotics cause hot spots? I did some googling, and it seems that usually they help pooches get over them rather than cause them, but I suppose she could have been allergic to something in the probiotic, and since allergies can cause hot spots, there we go. Or, did she come into contact with something in Houston? I noticed from time to time that she was rubbing her face weirdly when we were out and about and I had to keep making sure she wasn’t up to no good. I guess we’ll never know, but I stopped the probiotic and we started more antibiotics and steroids. When the vet last checked on her at her physical, she said there was a bit of a scab but it was much much better. So unless it comes back, I guess we’re in the clear.

The vet was very speicific that the antibiotics and steroids had to be given after food. They couldn’t be put in her food, I had to give them to her directly. This was the cause of many an amusing adventure, and I discovered that Tansy is more discerning about pills than I thought. She would come to me almost gleefully to get her antibiotics, but as soon as she sniffed or saw those steroid pills, she would run, hide, go quiet, whatever she could do to avoid them. Steve had to team up with me and catch her so I could give them to her. I was worried that she would end up being a pill-spitter, but I don’t think she ever spat them out, thank goodness.

I’m also pretty sure she got all the steroids because she started drinking tons of water and needing to pee more. I was scared that she had another bladder infection, but when she had to pee, she would unleash a river and that doesn’t usually happen with infections, and then I remembered steroids cause thirst and more needs to pee, so it was just the steroids having their side-effects. Thankfully, as the dose got smaller, she didn’t need so many potty breaks.

Then, after things had been normal for a while, her urges to pee went below normal. The first pee in the morning or the last one at night were really slow to happen if at all. This made me worry that there was some kind of blockage. Part of me didn’t think so because she could pee whenever she definitely had to, and if we were more active, she would pee more, but it was still weird. Thankfully, things came back to normal without me going to the vet for no reason.

You might think I’m really jumpy, more than my usual rate of jumpiness, but there is a reason. Before Trix retired, she just kept having medical issues, one after the other. There were bladder infections and increasing numbers of fat lumps and unexplained diarrhea and urgent needs to pee and random skin problems, you name it, Trix had it. And, statistically, Tans’s career is very similar in length to Trix’s. So I can’t help but notice these things.

Because I’m silly, I started calculating some stats. It’s a rough estimate because class time with Tans was shorter than Trix’s, but on August 18, Trix’s and Tans’s careers were the same length. At least I can say their time with me after graduation was exactly the same. On October 13, Tans will have spent the same amount of time home with me as Trix did. Because Tans started working younger than Trix did, this doesn’t mean they’re the same age. Those dates will be October 17 for age when Trix retired and December 12 for when Trix went to her happy retirement life with Brad. So, I’m a little easier to make worry than I usually am. I hope I don’t drive Steve out of his mind. For now, these issues are resolving, and I think I can consider them as one-offs or non-issues in the case of the reduced amount of peeing, but I just keep watching and hoping I catch things before she goes through the amount of agony that Trix did.

Like I said before, she had her annual checkup and they said she looked good. They gave her her Rabies shot and she didn’t have a reaction like that time in 2014. We decided that she should start taking fish oil to help with joint support because I notice she seems a bit uncomfortable and fidgety when she has to be in confined spaces like the floors of cars, and she takes a little bit longer to jump into a car. I don’t know if this is why, but I wondered if she’s calculating how to best do it without hurting herself. Trix started taking fish oil near the end of her career, in her case it was to help with skin issues, but I found that it gave her more energy. I don’t think I wrote this down, but we jokingly said that the fish oil gave her extra life points. I wonder if it will do the same for Shmans, not that she needs them. At first I thought it was doing that, but she seems to have calmed down. But if it helps her joints out, I’m happy to give it to her. I think it must be doing something because she does stay sitting on the bus longer.

It’ll be interesting to see if, when she lies down, we won’t hear so much of a loud thud. Back in August or so, when she would flop down, you would hear a definite thump. Ouch! That can’t be pleasant!

Another sign that Trix and Tans’s careers are about the same length is that their Attorney General’s ID cards both look equally as narled and beaten up. Incidentally, I wish the card’s actually had the dog’s name on them in Braille in case I accidentally mixed them up somehow. It’s unlikely, but it would be nice to check. The braille on one side is stupid. All it says is “Identification card.” Well, duh. That’s obvious by what it feels like. The other side has the number for Ontario Human Rights, so that’s cool. But where it just says Identification Card, the dog’s name would be a heck of a lot more useful, at least in my opinion.

Back in August, we went to my sister’s cottage and her little one, who has always been afraid of Tansy, made more progress. He was running around her when she was loose in the house, and he was out on the deck and she ran past him and he didn’t even care! She had so much fun at the cottage. She snorted and sprinted around the lawn chasing balls, and although she had to spend a lot of time on leash so she didn’t bowl over tiny kidlets, when she got loose, she had a great time. The little tool even stole some roasted marshmallows discarded by the one nephew who wasn’t the biggest fan of them. Shmans, always the opportunist.

I also went to Guelph and saw a lady I haven’t seen in years. I think she has been mentioned, or her dog has, a couple of times back in the Trixie days. It’s been so long since I saw her that Tansy has never met her. Unfortunately, when I did see her again, her guide dog had passed away. She was about Trixie’s age. I know it’s to be expected, but it’s still hard. It was hard when bunches of Trix’s cohort were retiring, but now they’re actually passing away. On top of this lady’s dog passing away, Rosamae left us a few months ago, and before that, Newmar passed away, and that’s just to name a few. Also, Beauty, my room-mate’s dog from the Trixie era, is dealing with cancer. She’s still pretty lively, but the fact is the time is coming. So yeah, lots of dogs around Trix’s age are leaving us.

Back to the subject of our visit, you would never know that Tansy hadn’t met this woman, because I let Tansy out of the harness to meet her, and when I did, Tansy gave her the biggest love fest ever. She must have known she needed it.

While I was in Guelph, I saw my old neighbour and the little guy we nicknamed the huppy. That is no longer an appropriate nickname. The little guy is 9 and talks and tries to solve problems just like his dad. I don’t think he remembers me, and was a little weirded out when I had baby stories about him. He also has a little sister who just turned 5 last week. I had never met her. Um, oops. Hopefully I can see them more now that Wroute is a thing.

I don’t know why, but Tansy has decided that her bed isn’t the best place to sleep. Sometimes she sleeps on the floor next to it, or on the floor by the side of our bed. Who knows why. She usually only does this for part of the night and then goes back to bed. Also, for a while during the night, she would stay put in her bed and not bound out unceremoniously to meet Steve, but recently she has started that up again. Thankfully he has already been up each time she did it, but still. Shmans, you keep me guessing.

At work, sometimes she gets lazy and tries to mindlessly follow coworkers. This is probably somewhat to be expected as she gets older, but it makes me nervous. It also makes me nervous when she just can’t control herself and darts out of my office area to meet a dog as they go by. I always worried if the first sign of her edging towards retirement would be her impulse control going bye-bye. But for now, I’m just going to think she’s having a frisky moment because it’s not happening all the time.

The last thing I have to talk about is funny, but would be funnier if I had a picture. In a previous update, I mentioned a colleague bringing his dog in, and she and Tansy trying to figure out how much interaction they can have. Well, this dog has figured out that I have treats and will try to steal them. She will also stick her head in the harness when I’m looking for Tansy. It’s a good thing she’s really fluffy and yellow, for starters. The guy always jokes that before she wants to work for me, she had better find out about what benefits I offer. Some day, I will get photographic evidence because it’s too funny.

And that’s about it. Tansy can amass quite the list of updates. Hope you enjoyed the ride.

Anony-Something

Like I’ve said before, our house is bugged, so this shouldn’t surprise us. We were having breakfast and “The House” was on, and they had a clip of Trump butchering the word “anonymous”.

Immediately, Steve said that somebody should set that butchery to the tune of that muppets song, you know, this one.

I thought it was a great idea and was going to make it. Then Steve wondered if somebody already had, and…

Yup! So, thanks, YouTube person, for saving me a ton of work. But you probably won’t remain…anomma…nomomma…amo…you know the word I’m going for…