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A Perfect 10!

Today, my boy, Henry, turned 10.   For his birthday, he was gifted with this year’s first real sprinkling of snow, a new bone, and the annual five minutes of humiliation (the time it takes to get the hats on, light the candles, and take some pictures).

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The birthday boy. While I do detect a hint of shame in his demeanor, I’m willing to live with the guilt because he’s too damned cute. Turns out the cat does not like peanut butter… but, he did try to make off with the bone….

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Such focus! (And yes, the floors need refinishing. Until such a time, however, I’m just going to call this look, “It’s not as bad as… a Medieval barn.”)

 

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Apple and peanut butter to celebrate his big day. The natural peanut butter is very runny compared to the ones with sugars. (NB: never give your dogs peanut butter with the artificial sweetener, xylitol…)

 

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A dog and his bone – simple contentment.

 

 

No doubt, this is one of the countless reasons I’m single… but, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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The Ugly Baby…

Today, I finally confessed to the director of a particular project that I thought his project was a fucking nightmare.

Me: Eric, I don’t know how to say this… I know this project is your ‘baby’… and we’re not supposed to hate babies… but I really, really hate your baby….

Eric:  Oh.  Yeah… it’s kind of like Rosemary’s Baby….rosemary'sbaby

Me: Yeah….

Eric: … Or more like a Frankenstein baby….

Me: EXACTLY!  The body parts are everywhere….

 

I hate that baby.  I hate that baby so much that I’m looking for another job.  

Eric:  What can we do to change this?

Me: Find someone else to take care of the baby….

Eric is an incredibly nice fella, he really is.  He’s the nicest lawyer you could ever meet. Which is why I feel so guilty about saying that I fucking hate his baby and I want to get as far away from it as possible.  It’s a fucking ugly baby…

Happy Howlowe’en…

After many years of saying I should make costumes for the quadrupeeps, I finally did.  At least for one of them.  

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The chocolate chips are crocheted and sewn on.

Since Sasha was a pup, I thought about how cute it’d be to make her a Hershey bar costume.  A Chocolate Lab as a chocolate bar – how perfect is that?!?!  I kept putting if off.  But her recent health issues reminded me of her impending mortality (more on that in a future post), and that spurred me to action.  Except that the fabric store downtown closed (*groan*), so I’d have to haul ass to a really lame part of town to get some silver fabric to make the foil wrapper.  You can’t do a dog costume half-assed.  Therefore,  I had to use what I had at hand.  Next idea:  a chocolate chip cookie.  With her gorgeous little head as one of the chocolate chips!  

 

Naturally, I had no intention of parading her around town like that – I’m silly, but I’m not retarded.  Besides, the last thing I want is for strangers to stop and talk to me after yet another day spent explaining shit to people that they’ll forget tomorrow and have to come back to me about next week.  And, it turns out, quality canvas and pillow stuffing can end up being rather heavy for an elderly dog to cart about….  

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I’m pretty sure she’d pee on my pillow in retaliation, if she could jump up on the bed… 

The good thing about this rather large and cumbersome ‘costume’ is that it can double as a pillow for the dogs’ heads, or as a snuggler for the cat. It’s kind of a win-win. 

And what did I dress up as today?  I’m glad you asked.  I dressed up as someone who loves her fucking job so much that she wants to die at her desk at 90 instead of winning the lottery and moving into a lighthouse near the ocean – any ocean.  That’s a costume that required a fucking load of effort today, amigos. 

So tonight, it’s sangria and the fear of tomorrow… and, for entertainment, What We Do in the Shadows or Young Frankenstein….

Dog Days of September

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“… should we stay, or should we go now?” The leaves don’t know what to do.

As we near the last few days of September, we also reach the last few hours of what has been an unseasonably sweltering month. Having a heat with humidex value of about 38 degrees celcius has not only the trees confused (to leaf,or not to leaf – that is the question?!?), but it also has my cardigans wondering why I’ve been ignoring them. The thunderstorm this evening should shake Mother Nature back to her senses and return us to our regular 16-23 temps.

 

 

 

While we didn’t have  ‘real’ dog days of summer since it pretty much rained most of July and August, the past several months have had my actual doggies on my mind more than usual.

On June 1, I brought my lil’ Hershey’s Kiss, Sasha, to the vet for her annual vaccines. It was a strange evening at the clinic: it was bustling with people and pets, the vet was late on account of having to assist with an emergency paw amputation, and then there were the orphaned groundhog babies (about 5 weeks old) that were brought in by a rescue service. When they asked me if I wanted to see something really cute, I couldn’t resist… and then, when the vet tried to get me to bring them home with me and care for them until they were a bit older, it took every ounce of willpower to stand firm and say no and return to the raison d’etre of my visit – vaccines. In all the years I’ve had her, Sasha has never once had a reaction to any type of vaccine. This changed.

About half an hour after returning from the clinic, I poured a glass of vino tinto and started preparing supper. Sip sip sip. Suddenly, I noticed her pacing back and forth, like she couldn’t get comfortable. Sip sip. Then she started panting. Sip? Then her forehead transformed into what I can only describe as the forehead of a furry baby dragon – in retrospect, very cute, but at that time, a waving flag that got me tossing the wine in the sink, giving her two Benadryl, and dialling for a cab to take us to (since my clinic was closed by then) the emergency hospital.

It took us about half an hour to get there, but it seemed to be so much longer. When we arrived, I explained all the details to the front desk assistant and he said someone would take care of her right away. By the time they called her over for a weighing, the wine + empty stomach combo was starting to hit me. I was feeling like such a horrible parent that I leaned over to the vet tech and fessed up: “I kinda had some wine before I got here; I wasn’t expecting anything bad to happen since she’s never had a reaction before.” She just kind of smiled at me, in that way that says, “I sure as shit could use a glass of wine right about now, too….” They took her back to see the doctor and then he called me in to see him. He said they gave her a shot of cortisone and wanted to observe her for a while before releasing her. That’s when he shared some interesting information about vaccines. Apparently, given that she was 13, there really was no reason to vaccinate her at all – by that time in her life, she would have acquired enough antibodies to keep her safe for the rest of her days. Also, the more vaccines they get, the more susceptible they are to having a reaction – so he wasn’t surprised that she had never had a reaction before. And then he said something about how, when we vaccinate animals, we don’t give them boosters, we give them the actual vaccine every time – because boosters would be too expensive. This is what causes the problems. At least, that’s what I understood at 11:30 pm, on an empty stomach marinated in Apothic Red, after translating that in my brain from French to English. The end result: no more vaccines for my chocolate chip.

Now, that’s not to say that I’m against vaccines now. BUT, it did prompt me to do some research. And it turns out that: 1) if leptospirosis and rabies are combined, that can cause problems; better to have them a week apart; 2) there’s an annual rabies shot, and there’s a three-year rabies shot; the three-year rabies shot is the one with the higher chances of having a reaction, and it also happens to be the one that my vet uses.

Then it was Henry’s turn. He’s at the age where they recommend doing a geriatric blood profile. Done. Turns out the boy has a thyroid problem. When the vet called me at the office and said that he was probably feeling depressed and lethargic. A sad thought entered my mind: oh no… he’s not clingy because he loves me, he’s clingy because he’s depressed.

So we started him on some thyroid medication. And it turns out that he really does just love me tons. BUT, it turns out that he’s more vocal now. He makes the most adorable sounds when he rushes me to feed him and he basically tells me when he thinks it’s time for us to go to bed.

I wish that could be the end of my ‘trifurcta’ of veterinary experiences this summer, but no.

About a month ago, I took the pups out for their evening walk, and, when they got back in, noticed that there were several drops of blood on the floor by the water bowl. I called each kid over, checked their paws, their gums, the roof of their mouths (sticks can get stuck there) and their gums. Nothing. But when I ran a clean paper towel in their mouth, Sasha’s came back slightly pink. So something was up with her.

I practically put my entire hand down her throat to see if something had gotten stuck at the back of her throat, but I couldn’t feel anything. Then, when she coughed, bits of blood came out. Off to the vet clinic we went.

The vet on-call gave her the once over and told me that he could do x-rays, but that he thought that maybe we could wait and just keep an eye on her overnight. If she was still coughing up blood the next day, x-rays would be the way to go. She was coughing up blood the next morning. I texted my boss and colleague to let them know what was going on and that I would probably not be in at all that day. I make no demands at my office, so when it comes to taking care of my pets, it’s what I’m doing.

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Groggy and droopy-eyed – coming to after her xrays.

The sedative they gave her made her vomit – so I took the opportunity to check for blood. None. That meant that it had to be coming from her lungs. The vet gave her half the dose of what she should take, but it knocked her out completely. As she was recovering and was able to wobble around a bit, I thought it might be good for her to stretch her legs. That’s when the blood started dripping out of her nose. So we set her on the table to have her head/sinuses x-rayed – since they were busy cutting the cojones off of a cat (see below), I donned a lead vest and assisted the vet tech in holding baby girl still.

 

 

 

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Cat Balls and Coffee: you can’t make this shit up. Turns out protocols for male cats are way lax – male dogs, and female cats and dogs, require sterile environments and actual surgery… with male cats, a small cut and tying up whatever those balls were attached to in a knot is all it takes.

 

The following day, I got a call from the vet with the x-ray results, and he asked me: do you or any of your neighbours use rat poison? Except that in French, the words for poison and fish are very similar. So I heard: Do you or any of your neighbours use raw fish? Which doesn’t make sense since the word for ‘raw’ in French is ‘cru’ – but I digress. Damned bilingualism!

Once I copped on, the first thought was: is there a blood test and how fast can we get this get done? Turns out that the rat poison that is often used is an anti-coagulant, and there are anticoagulation tests. Let me just say this here: while I’m not a fan of street/sewer rats and I would lose my shit if ever confronted by one, having ANY animal bleed out is a cruelty beyond any redemption. I can’t fathom how anyone could think that a slow death by hemorrhaging is okay for anything that has a pulse.

I was told to wait and check her gums for paleness and/or petechiae. Wait? What??? Why are we going to WAIT? Apparently, they can easily and quickly remedy the situation with Vitamin K. So, given that he did go to school for this, I trusted him. I picked up a prescription for prednisone and she was better with about two days. Definitely not poison.

The follow-up x-rays were taken last week and the results were mixed – while there was far less inflammation, there did seem to be fluid in her lungs. And I can hear it sometimes when she’s walking – it’s like when someone has a bit of a cold and their breathing sounds a bit ‘wet’. So, tomorrow morning, I’m bringing her in for an ultrasound, and they’ll remove the excess fluid with a needle or whatever and send it off for testing. I’m hoping that it’ll just be a bacterial infection and a week on antibiotics will have her right as rain again. Because the alternative, cancer, is not something I want to think about.

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Totally Eclipsed…

As I sit at my desk, forced to listen to my boss and co-worker (not because I want to, but because they’re so fucking loud that their booming voices infiltrate your very own stream of consciousness to the point that you sometimes end up typing what they’re saying), I’m impatiently awaiting the effects of the diazepam so that I can stop cursing  the architects  for not having installed operable windows that people could jump out of.

It wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t so intolerably annoying in the way they throw their weight around because of a stupid job title, and then sit on pressing issues until the last minute and have a freak-out.  Except it’s not ‘big fun to be had by anyone’…

 

If this office were the Titanic, I’d feel like the deckhand trying to tell the Captain that there was an iceberg just ahead… but he and his navigator would be too fucking distracted by the sound of their own voice to listen.

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So while the shit repeatedly hits the iceberg, so to speak, all I can do is sit back and watch it melt into a watered down, but nevertheless noxious, cesspool that is my 9-5, Monday through Friday, existence.   And when this happens, their indecisiveness, inaction, and lack of common sense will end up being my problem in one way or another… because shit trickles downstream.

 

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Are you all being retards again? That’s okay…, because I have a prescription that makes all of this seem very, very funny.

But I’m going to catalogue these instances of condescension in my brain for future reference… because if my solutions to problems are dismissed as silly when they affect the little people, then why would anyone be interested in any ideas I might have that would save their sorry arses from being at the receiving end of the sewer sludge?   I’ll be like, I’m so sorry, I don’t have an opinion.  I’m just the ‘secretary’….

 

 

 

 

 

But despite the fact that it’s Monday, and I’m already feeling like a lobotomy might not be the worst thing in the world, I can always count on music to lift my spirits in one way or another – there really IS a song for everything!  And for today in particular, here are two that are perfectly fitting:

  1. There’s a New Moon… on Monday – seriously, how perfect is this song for every single Monday that has a new moon?!?!?  I’ve had this song in my head since this morning….

(I love these ’80s songs… the lyrics make little sense and the videos make even less sense)

2) There’s a Total Eclipse of the Sun… although it doesn’t seem to be making much of an impact at 45.5017° N, 73.5673° W.   And while not quite the same as having your retinas destroyed by the sun, Bonnie Tyler came very close to singeing her moral fiber as the seductive mistress of a school of hormonal, gymnastically gifted boys.  Another video that makes me miss the nonsensical, overly romanticized ’80s….

 

 

I’m a Loser, Baby… #765,986 in a Never-Ending Series…

Dear Friends, Strangers of the Internet:

 

While walking the pups by the tennis courts after work just now, this guy in a wheelchair almost ran us over.  Henry’s afraid of all kinds of wheels (bikes, skateboards, scooters, and apparently, wheelchairs) so when he visibly pulled away from the guy, he asked me if Henry had something against handicapped people.  At first I was like, no no no, it’s just the chair, on account of the wheels.  “And what about that one?” he pointed to Sasha.  No, she’s cool with everything and everyone.  Sasha sashayed over to him and started licking him.  “Her breath really stinks!  Does she eat shit?”  he asked.  What?  “Does.  She.  Eat.  Shit?”  Uhm… she hasn’t done that in a while, I said.  “Oh… well they do that, you know?” he said.  Yes, I said, I know.

He asked for their names and I told him.  “You gave them human names… do you have actual children?” he asked.  No.  “Oh,” he said, “do you live with someone?”  Not anymore, I said.  “Well, single women who don’t have children usually give human names to their dogs to make up for the fact that they don’t have real children….”  I’m sure someone’s doing a psychological study about that right now, I said.  “Well, whatever… have a nice evening,” he said as he rolled away.  You, too, I said.

And as I turned around to gather the leashes to continue my walk, there was a man on the other side of the fence, in one of the courts, and he said, “Hi.”  Completely stunned, I managed a surprised, “Hi.”  “Sorry you saw that,” he said, as he was folding his pants, “…my striptease just now….”  I was at a loss for words… first the wheelchair bound guy with the subtle mental challenges talking about dog poop, then this really cute guy at the tennis courts… the juxtaposition was too great.   I was caught off guard.  Cute guys never talk to me.  So all my brain could muster was, “well, at least I didn’t have to pay…”  And he gave me a weird look.

And THAT dear friends, strangers of the internet, is why I am still single.  Because not only was that a thoroughly lame response, but it made me sound like I pay men to take their clothes off…. *sigh*

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Mortal Coil

 

On Saturday night, I took my friend Lily out for drinks at a speakeasy-type cocktail bar downtown to celebrate her birthday, which I missed by a week.  Lily is the one with class in our friendship, so she had Chardonnay; in the spirit of the place, I veered away from my usual beer, and ordered an Americano and some Negronis.  Yes, ‘some.’  It should be noted that I feel awkward ordering Negronis on account of the racist-sounding name – it makes it even more uncomfortable when the lady you’re ordering your drinks from is black.  So I often call them Negrinos –  and, if corrected, I just nod ‘yes’.   Incidentally, the name comes from the Negroni family in early 1900s Italy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negroni) and has nothing to do with racism or slavery or anything of the sort.  That said, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s cringe-worthy and just feels plain disrespectful.  

'Malavita' Premiere At Europacorp Cinemas

When your friend looks like this, you will always be ‘the ugly one’

Lily is a stunner – she looks like a petite Michelle Pfeiffer.  I’ve never, ever seen this woman look like shit – even when she feels like shit, she never looks like shit.  I, on the other hand, have a tendency to look like shit, and look like I feel like shit, even when I feel fine.  She’s smart and stylish and is very much a lady.  She can swear, but she does so in a very ladylike way; when I swear, it’s like I just spent a month of hard labour on board the SS Schweatyballs.  She also looks younger than me, despite being 14 years older.  What makes Lily even more amazing is that she is probably the sweetest person I know – she never judges, doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, is not at all snotty, and sees the good in others.   So, beautiful on the outside AND the inside.  She’s a perfect example of when people say, ‘women want to be like her, men want to be with her.’   

We were chatting away when this super drunk Russian man, who was sitting at the next table, drove two young guys off of the terrasse with his constant questions about what they do for a living, asking what a ‘network’ was, etc….  When they left, he started talking to the universe at large.  Then he started on us.  

He said that Lily was a “Jewish person trying to look English” and that I looked Russian and that I should go home to Siberia.  He was close – I’m half Slavic.  He went on and on and it was really distracting – I had petty shit to discuss like what haircut would camouflage my double chin.   So I finally told him, “How’s about you shut the fuck up?” Temporarily stunned, he then went on about  Lily looking like a Jew tryin’ to be ‘English’ and me needing to get my Russian ass back home.  “I AM home!” I said.  He finally went inside the bar, started to argue with the barmaid about the bill, and basically dared her to call the police… so she did.  

They showed up almost an hour later… despite station 20 literally being around the corner.  He sobered up really quickly when he saw them – I imagine that when you come from a country where the police can make you disappear like you never existed in the first place, you shut up and agree to whatever they say.   I feel like the police should have drove him home or called him a cab or something – he was a complete danger to himself at that point.   But they sent him off on his own.  For all we know, he might have gotten into his car.  Or fallen asleep in one of the many filthy alleys somewhere and got mugged. It was sad, really.  Annoying at first, but then quite sad – maybe he was just yelling at us what ignorant Canadians have been yelling at him.   

It was during our conversation that night, that I learned that a woman I used to work with, Sunny, who’s a friend of Lily’s, has pancreatic cancer.  She’s only 47.  I remember her as being chatty and cheerful and very easy-going.   She’s been in a happy relationship for almost 20 years, I think, and she would have made an amazing mother had she been able to have children.  She comes from a loving Italian family that gets together to make their own sausages and wine.  I never once saw her lose her shit and get mad.  Ever.  Not even inside her head.  She’s just a sweet and honest person who likes to have a good laugh.   At least, she used to.  

Just about everyone knows that pancreatic cancer is the most lethal,  with an extremely high mortality rate.  By the time doctors notice it, it’s already too late.   Lily’s brother-in-law is a surgeon in the US, so she sent him the test results to get a second opinion – he said that, according to what he saw, Sunny might have two years to live.  But doctors tend to be hopeful – they have to be, don’t they?  How could they deal with all that they see otherwise?    

Two years.  Can you imagine what it must be like having an expiration date on your life? When my father was dying with cancer, I remember holding his hand and just looking at it, knowing that, one day, there would be no life in it anymore, that it would be cold.  I’m not afraid of dying, but I don’t want to die just yet- I have too much that I want to do and see and feel.  I feel like there’s something left for me, but I don’t quite know what.    I would rather be taken by surprise.  Which means that I really need to get my shit together, have a Will and Mandate drawn up, konmari the fuck out of my house, etc….
So while walking the dogs yesterday morning, a little worse for the wear after those drinks the night before, I had mortality on my mind.  And I thought about how we spend so much time on petty things that, at the end of the day, mean NOTHING.  Am I really wanting to lose those 30 pounds to make me happy, or to make me more ‘acceptable’ to others?  Why am I so preoccupied with what I do wrong, and ignore all the things that I do right?   

So I look at my hands right now, knowing that they’ll eventually be cold and lifeless.  They’re imperfect.  Older.  Sort of chubby.  They’ve written exams and essays,  fed and pet animals, poured wine and wiped tears.   They held the hand of a dying father and a dead mother… and one day, maybe, someone will hold my hand and think, ‘at one time, this hand had life in it.’   I’m just hoping that it’s not the coroner.

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