Happy Birthday, Canadian TV!

This week kind of sort of marks the 65th birthday of Canadian television. There were experimental broadcasts years before then and if you lived in the right place and had a big enough antenna you could pull in some American stations, but until September 6th, 1952, Canada had no actual broadcast television of its own.

It was on that day that CBFT, more commonly known as CBC Montreal, signed on. It was followed two days later by CBC Toronto A.K.A. CBLT. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

On September 6, 1952, CBC TV debuted in Montreal on CBFT. At 4 p.m., viewers tuned in and watched the movie Aladdin and his Lamp, followed by a cartoon, and then a French film, a news review and a bilingual variety show.
Two days later, CBC TV debuted in Toronto. Seconds before the cameras went live, a technician removed and cleaned the CBC logo slide. Producer Murray Chercover shouted at the technician, “Don’t do that!” and the rattled crew member placed the slide back in upside down as the network took to the airwaves. “I can’t remember what we did, or if we shot the poor guy responsible,” Norman Jewison, then a 25-year-old floor director, later recalled.

Say what you want about the CBC, but you’ll never convince me that Canada would be better off without it than it has been with it. You simply won’t find a more reliable, consistent source for news, sports, music and comedy in this country.

Happy 40th Birthday, Q107

I just learned something that blew my mind a little bit.

If you’re like me, knowing what you know about Toronto’s best rock Q107 which turned 40 years old yesterday, you would probably guess that the first song the station ever played would be something by Rush or the Who or Neil Young or the Stones or Zeppelin or Sabbath. But no. That honour goes to, of all things, “Hard Rock Town” by Murray McLauchlan.

I won’t bash the choice since it’s a decent song and it wound up being appropriate, but seriously, I could have sat here guessing songs all day long and not come up with that.

If you want to hear what things sounded like on May 22nd, 1977, Toronto Mike has some audio.

Man, station launches used to be a whole lot more understated than they’ve become today.

The Tanser Bear Birthday Bash!

It’s almost Tansy’s birthday. The beast turns 5 on Tuesday. Can you believe it? I can’t, and I know it to be a fact. Since I have missed all the other anniversaries this year, it’s time to have a giant Shmans chatter fest. Goddamnit, her life needs to be documented too, even if it has to come in giant inundations.

Poor Shmans has been dealing with my go-rounds with the captain, and I think they have left their mark. For one thing, for a while, she was not a fan of scooching into bathroom stalls. It was almost like she was afraid of the door. I can only theorize that in my haste to get the hell in there, get her in there, lock the door and get to business, I must have unintentionally had a few close calls where I almost got her stuck in the door. She’s good stuff, and still goes in there, but I had to be a little more conscious of where all our limbs and parts are when closing the door. The funny part about this is she doesn’t make nearly as much of a fuss about getting into cars, and she has good reason to fight that one. Strange beasty.

We have two more songs to add to the Tans goes nuts soundtrack. When she retires, I may have to make a CD of her favourite songs. We might have enough by then. Now it’s S.O.B.

and Unchained Melody.

I’m less sure about Unchained Melody, but I know S.O.B. does it consistently. I can’t figure out what makes a song good to her. I heard this song,

which to me sounds similar to S.O.B., but Shmans couldn’t care less.

This year has been quite the year of odd veterinary issues for the bear. You’d never know it, but she’s been making us scratch our heads for quite some time. For example, suddenly, in the winter, she lost a patch of hair on one of her back paws. My coworkers blamed it on the boots I put on those feet, but I would think she would have lost it on both paws if that was the case. The vets didn’t think so, but as a precaution, I used only Pawz on her for the rest of the winter. We have no idea why it disappeared, but it appears to be back.

Then, one day, I noticed her cyst that felt hard suddenly felt soft and fleshy. It reminded me of a zit that was ready to pop. I guess I was right, because the next day, while I was at work, it burst, and random ooze was coming out of it. Um, sorry for the graphic description.

Without thinking, I called the vet and told them what was up. Of course, their first question was “what colour is it?” A fine, sensible question…that I couldn’t answer. The first words out of my mouth were “I don’t think it’s blood…I sniffed the ooze and it didn’t smell like blood.” Wow, disgusting much?

There’s nothing like walking into a casual meeting and selecting a colleague that might be ok with answering a question as nasty as “Excuse me, what colour is this ooze coming out of my dog?” But that’s exactly what I did. Thankfully the answer was a good one, “yellowish whitish.” Ah, pus! I had it checked out in a couple days, but all was good.

But the weirdest issue we had was one that appeared a smidge before her cyst burst. One day, without provocation, she took off across the office like an out of control freight train. Shocked, I got her leashed up and I sat down to work. Not 5 minutes later, “Yee yee yee!” Realizing she might have to go fertilize the snowy lawn, we made for the exit…and when I say we made for the exit, I mean I think we nearly mowed down 8 people to get there. Sorry, folks. When we got out there, good lord the…output was no good, and not easy to pick up.

This didn’t stop, so I took her to the vet. They first gave her some antibiotics and treated it as a one-off, but as soon as the antibiotics wore off, we were back to the nasty poops again. We eventually figured out, after trying all sorts of antibiotics and probiotics, and running a whole, heh heh, butt-load of tests, that she had become allergic to lamb. Now that she’s switched to salmon, after a little delay while everything wore off, things are back to normal. I’m glad we didn’t have to resort to a prescription food.

It is here that I’d like to call myself a dumbass. Remember when I mentioned those treats that didn’t agree with her? Remember when I said I would scan bags of treats before putting them in the pouch in case they didn’t agree? Well I didn’t follow my own advice, and guess what? Treats from the latest bag I gave her set off anger within her. But because I was stupid and didn’t scan them, I’ll never know what was in them so I can figure it out. But I gave her those treats at the worst time…2 weeks after the last antibiotics were given. So I thought we were headed for another round of detective work in doggie doodoo land. But thankfully, after not feeding her any treats, miraculously, everything went back to normal.

To her credit, she had not a single accident. That could not have been easy for her. Tans, you rock.

Another small oddity I noticed since about April is her face is itchier. Before April, if she has to wear her gentle leader, when I take it off, she rubs her face. Now, she doesn’t even have to wear it for her to start grinding her face on things.

I’m happy that through all of this, she still has no grey hair. Trix had some grey at 3 years old. I haven’t heard one comment about Tans having any grey. I hope that means that the beast will stay young-looking even when she’s old. I’ll never know if Trix’s early greys had to do with stress, but it makes me wonder sometimes.

She’s had enough changes to make some hair turn grey. Between the constantly-changing bus stops due to construction, needing to change entrances because of rennovations around the building, and my desk changing locations, her little brain keeps getting work. The desk location change made some of my hair turn grey, that’s for sure. But before I mastered it, she had it figured out. This became clear one night when I went to get her food. In my old spot, I didn’t have to go far to the water cooler to put water on her food and then come back, so I’d just leave her on her mat. But I couldn’t do that here. Well, once we got the food all ready, Tans took a shortcut I didn’t understand…and, hey! We were back at my desk! That’s when I knew that she had it figured out. From time to time, colleagues said she looked frustrated when I didn’t know where to go and she did. Somebody described the look on her face as, “What in god’s name does this woman want?”

Why does this always happen to me? When we lived in Guelph, they replaced our telephone shower head, you know, convenient for bathing dogs, with a straight shower head. That made me have to find a groomer. I was lucky enough to find a place where I could bathe her myself for a reduced rate. When we moved here, we noticed we had a telephone shower, yea! Then, when our tub broke and they replaced the shower head, what did they do? Stuck a standard shower head in. We’re going to have to see if we can change it back, but in the event that we can’t, I am looking for options.

I never want to have to leave her at the groomers for hours, for so, so many reasons. There’s the obvious, my schedule isn’t full of flexibility…and I don’t relish walking around with my cane for hours just so the groomer can go “la-dee-da, taking my time grooming your dog.” But there are other less obvious ones. I’m pretty protective of her, since she’s more than just a pet…so leaving her in some rando’s care doesn’t really thrill me.

Tans got to do something Trix never did. We went to a Blue Jays game. Here’s a tip: If you’re going to take your guide dog to a Blue Jays game, make sure you request an accessible seat. Things are much more roomy, the chairs are movable, and the food folks actually ask you what you want, so you have a shot of getting some food during the game. Tans seemed to be relaxed, although I noticed her head swivelling around a lot.

I feel bad. Ever since the captain, I’ve been less good about taking Tans to the park. I’m going to try to do better this year. She deserves all the sniffy time we can give her.

Here’s another small brag I feel like documenting. One day when I thought our one relieving spot had melted enough to use, I discovered too late that I was wrong. There I was, teetering on a steep slope of ice. If I fell, I would land in the parking lot, and it was dark and I might not be seen. Tans let me edge forward, and dig my heels into the slushier bits of ice to give myself a bit of security. Then, and only then, did she jump off the curb and bring me with her. How she knew to do that, I’ll never know, but man was I proud of her.

I don’t know if I ever mentioned Lucky by name, but he was one of the dogs in this building. He would always walk next to Tans, never bug her, but definitely express that he was a fan of hers. I learned that he was 17, and wondered how long he would have. Well, before he made it to 18, he passed away. I never thought I’d miss some random fellow dog in the building, but I was sad to hear that he was gone.

I do have to say that most of the dog-owners in this building keep good control of their dogs. Man, does that make life better for us. I’ve had a few dogs growl and snarl at us, but no incidents like those in the Mylo days.

Before I wrap up this monster of a post, I have to mention a couple of Tans’s quirks. I have no idea why, but the act of doing laundry seems to stress Tans out. As soon as the cart comes out and gets filled with clothes, she starts chasing us around, being super excitable, and occasionally, leaping on one of us. I wonder, does it resemble packing in her little canine brain? Is it just that I’m zipping around more than usual, so she feels like she has to be vigilant? Whatever it is, it’s definitely a thing.

While we’re talking about her jumpiness, in the sense of being super alert, I’ve noticed that since we have a few loud neighbours and neighbours that just come by and knock on our door randomly, if one of us is not home, she’s a lot more keyed into noises outside the apartment door, and will run to the door at the slightest noise. It’s kind of cute…I just hope she’s not stressing out.

That’s about it for *this* post. I really hope you’re not bored. That was quite the Shmans deluge.

A Beastly Post

Brad sent this in. I’m so glad he did. I can’t really tell Trixie stories because I don’t see her every day. It’s so nice to have a few more, and this one has pics! Woo! So in honour of Trix’s recently-passed 11th birthday, here’s Brad. Oh, and here’s the post about the nail disaster.

It’s been quite a spell since you fine Vomiteers were blessed with any sort of Trixie update, and, before I fall asleep, I’m going to get this written, thereby rectifying the previously mentioned lacking of such a post.

The big black beast turned eleven last Saturday, the ninth of April. I have to admit that it went by relatively unobserved due to the fact that I had to work for upwards of ten hours, then go out of town to a friend’s buck and doe, however, tomorrow, or today depending on when this is posted, we are going to celebrate properly with a trip to Trix’s favourite two places, Global Pet Foods, and Dairee Delite.

I’m not sure if Carin mentioned Trix’s problem last Fall. Her nails started sort of chipping off, and were very soft and caused her some discomfort. It turns out she has something called Lupoid onychodystrophy, which is similar to Lupus in humans. It took some time, but we’ve got it under control now. The vet actually had to pull three of her worst nails out. They have since grown back and look pretty good. The treatment is fairly simple, a lot of fish oil, a supplement I was giving her anyway, as well as Vitamin E. She is completely back to normal now, hour walks and off-leash trail hikes and all.

Last Fall, right before the Nail disaster, Petsmart had dog beds on sale, and I got Trix two of the memory foam ones that are supposed to be good for older dogs. She absolutely loves the things. There’s one in my room where she generally sleeps at night, and one in the livingroom where she spends the day. There are pictures of her on the livingroom one near my fireplace.

Trix enjoying her new memory foam bed
Nobody can say Trix isn’t well-cared-for

There are also some pictures of her while we’re hiking. There’s one of her in a field of long grass roaming around,
Trix in long grass
Sniff sniff sniff…
as well as a couple of her charging up and down a hill in the snow. Trixie running down a hill from behind
Trixie running down a hill towards Brad.
Ooo this is so much fun…got any treats?

We actually got sort of lost early last Fall and wound up doing an almost seven hour hike. We left the house around twelve thirty, and didn’t make it back until after seven thirty. We both slept well that night.

I think that covers most of the Trixie adventures.
Happy belated birthday Trixie! Enjoy your ice cream and Global treats.

It’s Canada Day. How’d We Get Here?

Soundtrack time.

Yup, it’s Canada Day. Where is this year going? I hope people are finding fun things to do somewhere, just enjoying the day off. I’m probably going to be spending some time outside if the weather decides to be good. I’m just glad to be doing what I want to do.

Not a whole bunch is new, but that’s probably good. I did get to see the wee nephew a week and a half or so ago. He’s cute, and I think he’s thinking about teething…he sure loved trying to chew on our hands. He also thought the sight of Tansy running in the backyard with their wee little dog was hilarious. I love how babies giggle with everything they’ve got, and it doesn’t matter how many times they see the same thing, it’s just as funny.

It’s pretty official. I’m going to the guide dog reunion. I haven’t been to one of these things in 7 years, and I thought it would be a good idea to go on a little trip and make sure that I know how to handle all things post-captain in a setting that isn’t work-related, plus it would be fun to see some people. At least one of my Tansy classmates will be there. But lord it’s expensive. I nearly fell over when I paid for the flight. Oh well, at least I have a big amount of travel points to put towards it. And at least I’m sharing a room with other people, so that’ll help with costs.

I guess that’s about it for now. I hope everyone has a good one, and Trix doesn’t have another fireworks-induced meltdown. At least now, she has a relatively sound-proof basement where she can go take shelter.

Thanks for reading our stuff. I hope, over the next few days, to get a bunch of things up that I’ve wanted to post for a long long time. We’ll see what I can pull off.

Have a good Canada Day, everybody.

Believe It Or Not, Tansy Is Four Years Old.

I can hardly believe it, but Tansy, affectionately nicknamed “the bear”, turned 4 today. She’s 4. Woe. I would like time to slow down, please.

She’s still doing awesome, and I think we managed to knock off all the extra unwanted hound pounds. She looks good, and seems perfectly healthy. I don’t think I have been at the vet’s nearly as often as I had to be with the Trixter.

I have misplaced her favourite cuz ball…or maybe she misplaced it. I haven’t seen it for a week. I hope I find it again, I like watching her growl at it. I bought her a squeaky frog to replace it, and though she likes it, she doesn’t growl at it. And god can that thing make noise. I don’t know how it seems more irritating than the cuz, but good god. Squeaky squeaky squeaky squeeeeeak! Well at least she enjoys it.

This LRT construction, although it’s driving me nuts, doesn’t seem to phase tans. She doesn’t seem to mind that we have to go to another bus stop, or do other dumb things. Or maybe she just blows off more steam with her squeaky squeaky squeakies.

I’ve noticed another pattern she picked up on. When we pay for a meal, she knows the next step is usually getting up to go, so she springs up from calmly lying down. But what is it about paying that she always notices? The only thing I’ve figured out is usually, after we pay, with a debit or credit card, a receipt prints. So, she’s learned that when the receipt rips off, we usually get up and go. Good god she’s good at patterns.

I don’t really have that many other Tansy tidbits. She had a bit of a quiet birthday today, although she did get more tripe, even if I was afraid I would harf while trying to handle it. Yesterday we got a nice long walk in, too bad we both got supremely drenched. At least it ended with a trip to the pet store, new dog food, and that oh so enjoyable squeaky frog of hers.

Happy birthday Shmans the bear. I hope you roar through life and stay as full of happy craziness as you are now.

Happy Many Dog Anniversaries

This time of year marks a lot of significant guide dog anniversaries. April 6 was the day Tansy and I graduated as a team, and April 7 was the day we came home. This means Tansy has lived with us for 2 years now. April 9 is Trixie’s birthday, and this year she turned 10. Finally, April 14 was the day Trixie and I graduated as a team 8 years ago, and April 15 was the day we came home. Woe. So since I don’t have great heaps to say about each dog, I thought I’d talk about both of them in one post.

We have two more songs I think we can add to the list that Tansy loves, although we haven’t played them a second time to confirm it. There’s Time After Time when covered by Matchbox Twenty,

And The Flame by Cheap Trick.

Hmm, well “The Flame” is playing right now and she’s snoozing right through it, so maybe it isn’t a thing. But one time, when it was playing, she ran from where she was sleeping, licked the heck out of me, and then ran back and forth, back and forth, first between Steve and I and then up and down the hall.

But she did start running when “Time After Time” was on. Let’s see what that does.

Nothing. Well, I’ll still blame my crappy laptop speakers unless we play it again and she does nothing. At any rate, it was hilarious. Tansy, you are fascinating.

And apparently Tansy finds me fascinating too, or at least if anything changes about me. A couple of weeks ago, I had a couple of my wisdom teeth out. It came up as a bit of a surprise. I got a new dentist, and he said a couple of my wisdom teeth were coming in at screwy angles, and there would come a time when they would cause problems for my other teeth. So I went ahead and got a consultation and they said “how about next week?” N-n-n-next w-w-w-week? After I got regular colour to go back into my face, I said yes.

I had no idea how much misery I would be in, or how much of a basketcase I would be after they were done with me, so I left Tans at home. She was none too pleased with Steve and I walking out and leaving her behind, but I think she was ok with a little Easy 101 music to keep her company.

When Steve and I got back, she was very excited to see me. When I bent down, where did her nose try to go? Right into my mouth, on the side where they yoinked out the wisdom teeth. Well, that didn’t take long. And the whole time it was heeling, she was fascinated with that side of my face.

I have talked about how much Tansy loves that Cuz ball, how much she growls at it and will go to any lengths to chase it down. But I swear that thing has magical powers. Once it’s in her mouth, she goes insane. She will pick that thing up, snort, and then tear around the house at insane speeds. She’ll also go into places that might be a little scary, like the bathroom right after she’s been bathed, to get it back. It means that much to her. I won’t tempt her by throwing it into the kitchen, but I think she would throw caution to the wind, bound right past that line and scoop up that ball. If it ever dies, I’ll have to replace it immediately.

Speaking of baths, it was about time for another trip into the bathtub last Saturday. As I’ve said before, for the most part, she takes being bathed pretty well, although she expresses her extreme displeasure about it. She will fight going in, even to the point of risking hurting herself, and will try once, really hard, to get out, but after that, she just waits for the misery and indignity to end.

We were trying to figure out how to make getting in easier, especially since that’s when she does the craziest things. We noticed two things. As soon as she sees the towels come out, she knows what’s coming, or thinks she does. Second, she really likes getting picked up and carried around by Steve. We discovered this when we were trying to break her of jumping on us, and we heard that if we sort of held her paws and danced with her or scooped her up, she might not like it and would stop jumping. We found out that the scoop up routine she found to be quite enjoyable, so that wasn’t much of a jumping deterrent.

So, we thought Steve could distract her while I was getting the towels out, and then he could scoop her up, at which point she would go all limp and rag doll-like, and then he would carry her into the bathroom, at which point her ability to do crazy things would go down dramatically.

The distraction part worked perfectly. I got the towels all set up. Then Steve scooped her up, and started walking around the living-room and then slowly made his way back to the bathroom. She didn’t notice at first, and when we got in and closed the door…then she knew. Steve said he almost heard her voice in his head say “You screwed me! I have been betrayed! You bastard!”

We did get her in the tub much easier. Now let’s hope we’ve played enough games of scoop up the dog between now and next bath time so the trick will still work.

I’ve noticed a quirky thing she does only at work. When I feed her in the morning, sometimes she celebrates after. But every time I feed her at work before leaving, if anyone at all looks at her, even in a side-long sort of way, she thinks it’s an invitation to play and comes bounding over. I have no idea why she’s so frisky at the end of the work day. I mean, she just lays around sleeping all day. But she is so so so so happy after that evening meal.

This is going to take some explaining, but oh well. Steve and I are goofy, and say what would be ordinary phrases to each other in song titles from time to time, sometimes to see if the other person will understand the message, sometimes just because we’re weird. For example, instead of saying “I’ll be leaving soon,” we’ll say, “Barenaked Ladies Song”. Why? Because of this song.

Ok so it’s not quite the title, but it’s a big part of the chorus.

So one day, Tans and I were approaching an escalator. We found it, I put my hand on the railing, and stupidly said “Alan Doyle Song!” then laughed and said “Let’s go.” You know, because of this song.

Oh dear. I know Tansy’s good at mind-reading, but she’s not that good. I think I’m expecting a little too much there. Although I think if I worked hard enough, I’d have her knowing that whistling bit meant “Let’s go.”

I think those are all the Tansy updates, now for the few Trixie ones. The main thing is that Trixie is doing just awesome, enjoying herself and expressing her feelings and wants quite clearly. But one thing that isn’t so clear is her vision. That is definitely an issue, I wasn’t out of my mind back when it started showing itself in 2012. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, she’s pretty much blind, I think. Also, we think she has cataracts in addition to what was going on with the retina. Sometimes she has a hard time finding a treat hidden in someone’s hand. One day last summer, Brad was walking her down the sidewalk, and she crashed right into a great big chair. Another time, when we were all there for a party, we had patio tables out and drinks on them. Tansy and Trix were running around, having a super good time. As they played, they came closer and closer to us. Steve started to wonder if maybe he should pick up his drink. He didn’t finish the thought before A dog slammed into the table, tipping Steve’s drink right into his shoe. At first I thought it was Tansy, since sometimes when she gets going, she loses awareness of what’s close to her, but people told me that it was Trix. And, there stood Trix, bewildered, as if to say, “How did that get there?” The other time I wondered how much she could see was when she was over at our house at New Years and we were showing Brad this bath-hating dog.

As the video was playing, all of a sudden Trix let out this low, rumbling growl. It was as if she couldn’t be sure if that dog was actually hear or just in a recording. I know she always used to respond to recordings of dogs, but this felt like she honestly couldn’t be sure if we had a little dog somewhere, and if we did, she wanted to let that dog know she wasn’t up for any crazy stuff.

And poor old Trix growls more than I ever saw her do while she was working. don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen her growl before when she was unnerved by a couple of dogs’ rough play, but now, if Tansy gets her cornered, she will quietly growl at Tans to let her know she’s not down with this at all. Is that dog speak for “Get off my lawn, you bastards!”?

Trix has become quite the food thief in her old age. Steve already mentioned her brazen theft of a piece of dessert pizza. That same time she was visiting, before Steve, Brad and I were about to set off to the mall leaving Trix alone, Brad noticed there was a bunch of chocolate we got from Christmas that was at nose level and wondered if Trix would stay out of it when we were gone. For safety’s sake, we moved it all over to another spot and put it in a bag. I know Trix was very easily tempted by food, but wow, she gives in much easier now. But hey, she’s 10, she’s earned it.

I have mentioned this before, but I have reason to mention it again. If I have a dream about a tragedy befalling a guide dog, the one suffering the tragedy is always Trix. I’ve only had one bad guide dog dream involving Tansy, and it wasn’t that tragic. Oh wait…I did have that one where she was stolen from me, but still I have a lot less of those. But yet again, I had a dream where I was neglecting a dog, and Trix was the neglected one.

The dream started off with Brad saying he had to leave Trix with us for a week or so, for some reason. He brought food and everything. Suddenly, a couple of days later, we asked each other who has been feeding Trixie, and we both think the other is doing it. We stopped,looked over, and noticed Trixie,, withering away in the corner, and I started crying uncontrollably. In Trix fashion, she tried to console me, which only made me cry harder…at which point I woke up and realized that Trixie would never, in a million years, let that happen…ever. But seriously, why is Trix always the one I mess up?

One last thing that I think deserves a note: A few months ago, I heard through the grape vine that there was another Trixie going through formal guide dog training. Another Trixie? Really? That’s just wrong. This one, apparently, was yellow. But she didn’t have what it takes, for whatever reason, and didn’t make it through. I was almost relieved. A selfish part of me didn’t want to see Trixie replaced so soon.

And that’s about it I think. I hope I have many more years to tell both Trixie and Tansy stories. I still can’t get over the fact that Trix is 10. She’s definitely an old dog now…although she’s still pretty young at heart, for the most part. Just don’t make her play with any little yippy yappy dogs.

Merry Christmas And All That Stuff

Since I’m’ posting this today, this song makes a good soundtrack.

Yeah, it’s December 23 and I don’t know where the time has gone. Somehow, despite my battles with the captain, I still managed to get my Christmas shopping done, although it was a little closer to the wire than I would have liked…and the one gift Steve ordered that hasn’t shown up, curse store who cannot be named yet, he ordered nice and early. It’s all their sloppy fault that it’s not here yet.

One thing that’s weird this year is the lobby of our apartment building doesn’t have the usual singing tree. I can’t decide if I miss it or if I’m glad it’s gone. It was our saving grace our first December, and last year it was a reminder of how far we’d come, but now, would I just get annoyed by the repeated melodies?

Going through the malls, I noticed something weird. Are Santas not allowed to ring their bells and go “Ho ho ho!” any more? I can’t count the number of bits of directions I got that said “Go around Santa and the store is right there.” That’s great, except Santa’s not making any noise! I swear I have passed his area many times and had no idea he was there. The same at the other mall. I know where Santa’s at, and I never hear a sound. Are all the santas just sad or hung over, or are they under orders to not make any noise? I’ve heard about this Sensitive Santa initiative, but I don’t think this is what this is. Can somebody tell me why Santa isn’t ringing his bells and announcing himself anymore?

Man, Tansy is a trooper through the mall zombies. That’s what I call the Christmas shoppers who are staring down at their lists, only thinking of their next destination, and not watching where they’re going. They come from every angle and run every direction. Tansy walks, stops, waits for the path to clear, then goes, then stops, every now and then she nudges one of them when she can’t see a way around them.

One guy really illustrated to me that he was in Christmas zombie mode. I asked him where a certain store was, and without a moment’s hesitation, he responded “No I don’t, but there’s a mall map right there.” I first thought he was going to go look, but then I realized he was directing *me* to consult the map. I stood, mouth agape, and then asked someone else. I wonder how long it was before he realized that he just directed a blind person to look at a map.

I can’t really say this year’s Christmas shopping had a theme like the last couple of years, and maybe that’s a good thing. I guess the only theme was I went from 0 ideas to a whole bunch, to the point where Steve’s probably going to laugh when we exchange gifts tomorrow. I guess the only theme, predictably enough, is I can’t keep a damn secret. Steve knows what all of his main presents are because I can’t keep a secret or lie, so if he asked me point blank if something came from insert store name here, I would just say yes. Yup, I suck.

We exchange gifts here tomorrow, then head to Toronto to see the rest of my family. Yup, I’m stealing Steve this year. It’s so nice to be able to spend Christmas together.

But I hope I didn’t make his birthday suck. We went out the day before to this pasta place downtown that I keep raving about. He agrees with me, so this is good. But we did that the day before, and then didn’t manage to open his presents until the day after. How lame is that. But at least he got lots of phone calls, emails, texts and tweets on his actual birthday.

We did manage to squeak in some Christmas fun with Steve’s family on Sunday, and we got lots of cool stuff. I also got to see Steve’s sister’s house for the first time.

On top of that, I got my Trix fix! I haven’t seen her since August. She still looks awesome. I finally got to give her a few pets, and she gave me a slow lap to the face. She’s definitely getting more reserved…or I’ve just gone way down in the pecking order. Anyway, it was good to see her. I have some Trix pics that I want to put up, so I’ll probably be able to write even more about her then. She even made it into a calendar that’s being sold to raise money for the Farley Foundation. Aww Trix, you continue to be a star even in your old age.

It was weird buying Trix Christmas presents because, in her old age, she has decided that if she can’t devour it, it’s no fun at all. On her last birthday, I bought her a duck toy. She loved toy ducks when she was younger. Not so much anymore. So it’s things that can be chomped or nothing.

But I think my best Christmas present I’ve gotten so far is I due believe I’m winning the battle against Captain Nameless Illness…who, judging from the success of the prescription I’m taking, I think has a name now. I will reveal the captain’s name soon, I think, but the most important thing is it doesn’t rule my life any more. I’m headed back to work in January, even if I start off with a lighter schedule. But I’m headed back! Yes!

I hope everybody has a super holiday, and an even better 2015. This year hasn’t been very kind to me, in fact I feel like, between the horrible winter, the gallbladder surgery and the captain, it has been stolen from me. It had a couple of high points, namely my brother’s wedding and Steve’s sister’s wedding, the second of which I still haven’t written about, but other than that, holy barrel of suck batman! I don’t know if Tansy will ever forgive me for not giving her the amount of work she signed up for. I asked for the energizer bunny and then I fell over. So far she seemms to be dealing with it pretty well, but sometimes I feel like I’ve cheated her. Hopefully 2015 will let me make up for it. Ready to walk your face off, Tansy?


Happy birthday, Gill!


At three minutes after six this morning I joined a club belonged to many before me, and many yet to come. I hit a milestone birthday, I turned 35. Big deal? To some it’s yuck, but to me it’s not too shabby.

It’s All Greek To Me

To understand this a little better we must travel back to the summer of 1979. Donna Summers sat at the top of the charts, Jr. had yet to be shot on Dallas, and my parents and I took a trip. I don’t remember it, but later my parents presented slide shows of their, and in some respects my Greek adventure. They took the now out of business Ward air, and I provided in flight entertainment. Since there wasn’t the technology to have movies I did the kick shimmy, the mommy feet on the bladder dance, and so much more.

The Day Before I was Born

I was supposed to be born November 4th, but like I do now pre-birth me lacked much of an attention span. On October 23 1979 my mom taught her 5th-graders as usual, went home, had dinner, and settled in for a night of TV and paper grading. She went to bed around eleven, but at eleven-thirty she wasn’t feeling right, and asked my dad to take her to the hospital.

Welcome To The World

It was just over six hours until I entered the world, but something wasn’t right with me. When the doctor in attendance shone the light in my eyes according to my mom I did not respond. Two days after I was sent on to a bigger hospital, and the diagnosis of a vision problem was made.

Scary Weather

My dad at the time ran a business in which he owned six orchards, but on the day I was born a freak blizzard rolled in, and all picking stopped for three days.


So far my friends out there my sister, more about her in future writings, called me up as she was getting ready for work, and if anyone asks, I still don’t feel older.