Harv Dreams of Bubbles

My sister and brother-in-law just adopted two kittens. Super cute, great personalities. We went to see them a few weeks ago and as we were playing with them, my sister commented that one cat seems to be more of a “mouser” and the other a “birder” while describing their styles of play.

I hadn’t really thought about Harv in either of those terms before. And as it turns out, he’s neither. He’s a bubbler!

I was about to start washing some dishes the other night and so I squirted some dish soap into the sink. As I did so, several tiny bubbles floated out of the nozzle, immediately catching Harv’s attention. He went nuts!

After he popped all of the bubbles he sat there looking at me expectantly, wanting more. I obliged. He went nuts again. Meowing crazily, tracking the bubbles across the kitchen as they floated perilously close to his swatting range. I was amazed. I kept making bubbles for him to chase and he loved it.

Then D came along and told me I was wasting dish soap, so I stopped and finally got started on the dishes. But Harv didn’t want to stop. He kept meowing and brushing up against my leg all cute, trying to get some bubble action going again. I decided that this was a hobby worth pursuing for him so the next day I went to the store and bought actual bubbles. With the little plastic wand and everything. I thought he might enjoy the challenge of larger bubbles.

It was tremendously fun!

bubbling

moar bubbles

Especially after I started blowing them in front of a fan and letting them really whip around the apartment. That made him insane!

on the nose

preying

Harv loves tracking the bubbles and then getting as close to them as he possibly can before they burst. Classic bubbler, that cat of mine.

It’s like crack for him, he wants to chase bubbles every night now. He’s hooked. Just look at his face when I got the bubble bottle out:

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Look at it:

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LOOK AT IT FOR ALL ETERNITY:

bubble obsessed

That photo is just dying to be made into a meme. Even the strongest of all catnip couldn’t compete with bubbles for this cat’s attention. It’s all bubbles all the time around here now. And I’m an enabler.

Harvey’s Birthday

Harvey is my special little guy. Coming home to him is always the best part of my day. I get home and no matter what time it is, he races to the door to greet me. He weaves his chubby little body impatiently between my legs, oftentimes tripping me inadvertently as I try to get through the front door and kick off my shoes, because he just can’t wait one damn second for my loving attention. He demands that I crouch down and lower my face to his so he can “kiss” me hello by rubbing his nose up against mine. It’s our routine, it happens every night without fail.

D graciously lets Harv have the first round of kisses and affection every night when I get home. He knows how much I cherish those fleeting lovey dovey Harvey moments, because they don’t last long. Soon after he’s gotten his nightly greeting, he’s all rambunctious and hyper, practically bouncing off the walls. And once he switches to play mode you can’t get anywhere near him without being swatted in the face. Harv gives love on his own terms, and you take what you can get without any ifs or buts about it. So D steps aside, selflessly, and lets Harv get what he wants of my affection first. He’s amazing like that.

It’s been like this for three wonderful years now. Today is Harvey’s third birthday. I can’t even believe how fast the time goes. It feels like it was only yesterday that we brought him into our home and opened our hearts to him. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done, adopting him. Pets bring a special kind of happiness into our lives, a happiness that I can’t live without. The first year that D and I lived together we had no pet. It was sad, for me. I didn’t really realize what was missing at first, but I knew that something was wrong with our situation. Something was off, I felt sad often but nothing was really the matter with me.

Sometimes, we’d be sitting there at night, just watching T.V., and I’d suddenly feel an overwhelming ache. A gaping hole in my heart and the pain of it, so suddenly unbearable, I couldn’t make sense of. And then one day it dawned on me. I needed a pet. I needed something furry to love. There was always a cat or two roaming around in the house I grew up in. Fuzzy friends to play with and adore. I missed that. I missed the soft sound of kibbles being crunched in the next room over. I missed that pins and needles feeling felt in my legs while reading and cuddling a cat in my lap for hours on end. I even missed the constant assault of fur upon my clothing. I’d gladly spend a fortune on lint rollers for the love of a good pet.

So we made my universe right again when we adopted Harv. Because he means so much to me, and because I might be a touch mental, I spoiled Harv a bit for his birthday this year. He’s my special little guy and I dote on him so.

First up on the kitty birthday docket, a bath. We plunked him into the tub and scrubbed him up real good. He smells like a goddamned springtime bouquet now.

Next, an extravagance. A brand new kitty palace for my darling prince.

new kitty palace

harv's new digs

new toy fun

D thought I was being excessive. Harv already has a carpeted platform that he loves to play on and sleep in. But it’s not enough. Nothing will ever be enough for my precious Harvey. So more carpeted cat palaces it is! I’ll fill the whole frigging apartment with them if I have to, just to make Harv happy.

Then, we bought him a fancy can of wet food for dinner. The vet says that he’s a tad too fat so he’s been eating diet food for the past eight months, but we figured it being his birthday and all he was entitled to a diet cheat. We purposefully tried to buy the most expensive can we could find. $2.69 is as high-end as it gets for cats, I guess, because that was the priciest tin we could find. Harv lapped up every bite with the greedy enthusiasm you’d expect from someone who is cheating on their diet. Money well spent.

So maybe I spoiled him for his birthday this year. And maybe that seems crazy to you, but I don’t give a shit. Really, it’s the least I can do. Harvey totally changed our lives. He filled a hole in my heart, and he made us into a family.

our family

little harv and i

I owe him a hell of a lot more than $2.69.

Smashing Through Sick Days

I called in sick to work today. Tossed and turned all night. My nose unrelentingly stuffed up and my throat an inferno of suffering, I knew a good night’s sleep was just outside of my weakening grasp. When I looked over at the clock on my nightstand and saw that I was only 45 minutes away from having to get up and start another Monday morning, I heaved a sigh of infinite misery.

Fuck that shit, man. I couldn’t really afford a day off, having too many critical projects on the go right now. But I also couldn’t face the day feeling like I was. Worried that I might’ve been stricken with the dreaded strep throat, I’ve always been prone to it, I decided that it would be best to stay home. Sometimes you just have to lay low for a while, so I phoned it in on the day and called in sick. I blew my nose until it was raw, a futile effort, but I had to try. Then I took some cold pills and actually managed to sleep for a few hours.

Luckily for me though, no strep after all. Just a bastard of a cold. I’ll kick it in a few days I’m sure, I’m already starting to feel better after a day of rest. But while we’re on the subject, I do have some tried and true methods for minimizing my discomfort when I’m sick.

1. Chicken Noodle Soup is a Necessity

chicken noodle

That’s an easy one, we all know it. When your tummy starts to rumble, you have to get yourself a big delicious bowl of soup. It is the number one sick day food. Don’t skimp on the crackers, either. They’re an integral part of the magic.

2. Waste Good Brain Cells on as Much Daytime T.V. as You Want

Peruse that tube, man. For as long as you want. You’re not going anywhere today, not feeling like you are. And nobody else is home to judge you for the poor viewing choices you might make. Talk shows, game shows, soaps. Take your pick! You could kick it classic with some Price Is Right for an hour. Then watch some turd do a jaunty “I’m not the daddy!” dance on Maury to lift your spirits. Maybe you’re dying to find out if blah blah is still in a coma on Days of Our Lives. Doesn’t matter, just make sure you watch a bunch of crap while laying on the couch. It helps.

3. Snuggle Up

Speaking of lying on the couch watching crappy shows, there is someone you can share that time with who understands. Someone who appreciates a day spent lying around the house.

Harvey nap

I pulled that blanket out of the dryer and Harvey jumped right into without a second thought. He laid there on the couch with me for three hours straight. Didn’t move an inch. It was an absolute dream. Pets are loaded with incredible healing powers. Everyone knows that. Looking over at his happy little blanket hogging face every now and again did me a world of good.

4. Splish Splash

When you’ve seen all that the tube has to offer and your eyes need a rest, hop in the tub. It’s the relaxation of the couch combined with the pride to be had in bathing yourself, you can’t lose! You’re not totally useless, you’re just sick. If you can find within yourself the energy to turn on a tap and take off your clothes, then you should definitely get into the tub. And put some bubbles in it while you’re at it. When was the last time you got to enjoy a long soak in the tub? You may as well go it whole hog. The hot water and steam will loosen up that giant wad of phlegm locked in your chest. No pictures for this one though, sorry perves.

5. Drink Everything in Sight

You need fluids. Everyone says so. I can’t remember why you’re supposed to have so much fluid up in you when you’re sick, but it feels good. If you get an inexplicable craving for root beer, just go with it. Maybe you favour a soothing cup of tea. Brew it. Or maybe chocolate milk is the angle you’re working. Chug it straight from the carton. That’s also the best way to stake your claim on the remainder of the chocolate milk. Sip it right out of the carton with your disgusting, germ-riddled mouth. Good, you own it all now. And if you’re not sure what it is you need, just get one of everything. It works for me.

lots o drinks

Hoodwink the common cold by using these tricks. And when in doubt, pop some more cold pills.

My throat is still feeling rough, and my nose is only slightly less cloggy. But I do feel better. I don’t consider it a day well spent, but I did try to make the most of it. Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m confident that I’ll be able to attack it with at least 70% of my usual vigour.

Couple more cold pills ought to do it.

Balancing Act

I have got an absolute fuck-load of stuff going on in my life right now, and unfortunately it’s been getting in the way of my beloved blogging time. I only managed to write one post during February. One paltry post! That is unacceptable. If it weren’t for a couple of timely re-blogs, my blog might have slipped into a coma altogether and I’d be having a very difficult discussion with its doctor on the pros/cons of pulling the plug. But I’m still here, and I’m still trying to have it all.

It’s hard though, you know? I’m consumed by work, clocking around 50 hours on a good week, that is, when my workload isn’t paralyzing. I’m trying to plan my dream wedding, but keep getting thwarted by craziness and heartbreak. I just got some devastating news yesterday that derailed my whole weekend, and I spent all of Saturday night sobbing instead of relaxing, which I clearly need more of. I’m trying to maintain a semblance of a social life. I just renewed my dusty old gym membership so I can get all svelte and stunning in the hope that I don’t look like a sack of oranges for sale on the side of the freeway while wearing my wedding dress. And I’m trying to save some of my time for D, too. So he doesn’t feel like he’s getting hitched to the invisible woman. I gotta save some of my time for blogging, but at this point it’s cutting into the few hours I have left, hours that should be saved for sleep. But that doesn’t seem to matter anyways, because I just wind up spending a third of the allotted sleeping hours laying awake and thinking about all of this shit.

Deep breaths, girl. You’re starting to get carried away. That’s better.

To be fair though, I did waste an exorbitant amount of free time watching all of Parks and Recreation on Netflix because another part of the problem is that work is so draining right now that it’s difficult for me to do more than stare at the TV and drool when I get home. My brain is so overloaded, it might implode.

Even though I wasn’t able to post much last month, there were some bright spots to be had. I may seem a tad ranty and distraught now, but I did manage to find some fun and count a few blessings.

I got to catch up with my homies for a good, old-fashioned bust up at the local bar. We tried to go to two other bars first though, before we were finally let into The Rose and Crown. The first place we tried to go, we were rejected by the bouncer because “there’s too many jeans”. That is exactly how he put it.  Apparently, we’re all out of the sartorial loop. Screw that guy though, you’re supposed to wear jeans to the bar. He’s clearly an idiot on a power trip.

My drinking buddies

My drinking buddies

That’s not a very good picture of us, but this one of my buddy Clark bumping into the disco ball because he is ridiculously tall is pretty great.

disco ball

Disco Party Clark

I slipped and fell drunkenly in the street on the walk home, though. I ripped my new dress and messed up my foot something awful. Pulled some bullshit little ligament that I didn’t even know existed. But sometimes, you’ve just gotta get drunk and fall down. As long as you don’t go to sleep in the street, it’s all good.

Valentine’s Day was pretty great, too. I usually don’t care for it, but I think D recognized an opportunity for us to just forget everything for a couple of hours and spend some time together. He surprised me with roses when I got home from work, which never fails to impress me. Harvey was also impressed.

My other Valentine

My other Valentine

We had an incredible dinner at this Thai place in our neighbourhood. I felt special and loved. D is a marvel and I’m a lucky girl. Even though he just came in and interrupted my writing to tell me that we only have two packets of instant gravy and they are both mis-matched, one brown and one chicken, which for some reason sparked a bout of snippy bickering. But I digress.

I also ate the gooiest, most outrageously cheesy sandwich of all time. Another resounding pizza grilled-cheese success!

Another one for the history books.

Another one for the history books.

We’ve switched breads in our household. We’re now eating a kind called “Ancient Grains” instead of that bleached atrocity that I used to love, white as the driven snow Wonderbread. It wasn’t as cataclysmic a change as I had anticipated. The ancient grains bread is actually quite delicious.

My friend The Magpie had a baby. She’s away from work on her maternity leave, which sucks. But she’s living her dreams, so that totally outweighs any of the sucking. I can’t wait to meet her new little friend, although in a weird way, I feel like I already know her. I spent the bulk of The Magpie’s pregnancy calling her bump Scooter and encouraging her to stay in there a while longer.

So even though I haven’t had much time for blogging, I’m still out there trying to wedge awesome things into my hectic life wherever they will fit. No matter how insane it all feels at times, I haven’t been completely stripped of my positivity.

Everything does feel like such a disaster right now, yes. But these are all things that I wanted, I asked for this. Well, with the exception of the unstoppable flood of sobs that started yesterday and seem to have no end, obviously. But anyways… I guess I’m just going to have to find some balance. Is that why people do yoga? Seems like a lot of useless rolling around on the floor in spandex to me, but maybe I’m not looking at from the right angle.

All I know is that right now I have a whole bunch of feelings that I need to go and eat. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter, I’ll eat them. All feelings are ripe for the gobbling right now. So it’s a good thing I was able to spare 15 minutes of my time today for my good friend, Pillsbury.

Red velvet white chocolate chip cookies, I need you now more than ever.

Red velvet white chocolate chip cookies, I need you now more than ever.

Chunky Monkey

Poor Harvey. We took him to the vet this weekend for a couple of shots, but that wasn’t the worst of his problems…

The doctor said that he’s too chubby and has to go on a diet. Being of the curvier variety myself, I feel for the poor little guy.

This was our first meeting with the new vet and we loved her. Her face lit up when she first saw Harvey, she remarked on how handsome he is numerous times, and she gave him lots of affectionate pets throughout his examination. So clearly she’s very caring and really does love animals, which is important to us. We liked his previous vet in Richmond Hill too, more specifically we liked one of the two doctors working at that practice. The doctor we actually did like was nice, but her bedside manner was much more reserved than the one we just visited. The other doctor at the old vet was a total dick. D hated him almost instantly upon meeting him. He was unfriendly and unkind, not giving a single fuck about anything. He handled Harvey too roughly and barely gave us the time of day when we had questions about Harv’s overall health. Not the kind of person that I want to rely on for my cat’s care. One visit to him was more than enough. Whenever we made appointments for Harv after that one horrendous visit with Doctor Doom, we’d make sure that he would be seeing the doctor we actually liked. It was quite the hassle given their varied work schedules. Needless to say, I was quite selective in picking out Harvey’s new doctor in Toronto. We didn’t want to find ourselves in the same situation.

We were very pleasantly surprised. Like I said, the new doctor was outgoing, friendly, and showed extraordinary care to an animal she was only just meeting for the first time. A total slam dunk.  However, there is that whole diet thing to consider… Poor Harvey. He was called “chunky monkey” no less than 15 times during his visit. I know he’s got a small frame that has filled out generously since we first brought him home. But I didn’t think we’d have to resort to a diet!

The kibble he likes to eat is labelled “weight control”, and he doesn’t eat a single scrap of people food. But he is a bit of a pig for wet food. And as the vet said, the fancy feast he hungers for is equivalent to feeding him pizza for dinner every night. Like a really cheesy, deep-dish, grease ball of a pizza. Oh man, that sounds so fucking awesome. I can’t take that away from him, can I? I love my little Harv as is and I don’t want to deprive him of anything he may want. I mean, it’s not like he’s obese. He just has some extra chub to love, right?

Maybe we need a second opinion. What do you think, reader?

Figure 1: lounging on the bed last Sunday

Getting some evening sun last week

Figure 2: getting some evening sun last week

Figure 3: watching some T.V.

Figure 3: watching some T.V.

Figure 4: hanging out with his friend

Figure 4: hanging out with his best friend

Figure 5: napping alongside me while I read

Figure 5: napping alongside me while I read

Figure 6: joining us for dinner

Figure 6: joining us for dinner (but just for company, not for eating any of our food)

Figure 7: snuggling with D

Figure 7: snuggling with D

Figure 8: greeting me when I get home

Figure 8: greeting me when I get home

Is my darling Harvey a chunky monkey or just a naturally curvy cutie? As long as he’s healthy, I don’t really care how big he is. D and I will love him no matter what. Either way, we can all agree that he’s got a very happy life. And he clearly doesn’t give a damn how he looks. He’d probably be just as happy at ten pounds as he would be at thirty. But that’s because he doesn’t understand the negative impacts a life of excess can have. Which is where I come in…

Perfectly happy as is

Perfectly happy as is

His health and well-being are totally on me. And I don’t want to fuck this up. I want him to keep having a happy life, so I guess that means doing whatever it takes to keep him healthy. If feeding him junky wet food for dinner puts my standard of care in a similar class as that of the douche-bag vet in Richmond Hill, then I need to change that. Because I am nothing like that jerk when it comes to caring for the pets I love. Our new vet is right. She has a great big caring heart, and she’s right. She fell in love with Harv as soon as she laid eyes on him, so I know she wouldn’t steer us wrong.

I’m going to go ahead with the diet because I trust and respect her opinion. And because I want this wacky little kitty to stick around for a very long time.

To Market, To Market

Rolled out of bed at the ungodly hour of 9am on Saturday morning. Slogged my way to the kitchen for a cold, placating glass of milk. Rubbed the sleep out of my eyes as I sat down next to D on the couch, and groaned for good measure.

Approaching with caution, D said that it was a nice day. Sunny and warm out. I grunted my acknowledgement of that statement. He let me wake up a bit more before he added that it would be a great day to go to the St. Lawrence Market.

The last vestiges of grumpiness wearing away, I let that idea sink in. Yeah, it did seem like a good idea. Going to the St. Lawrence Market is one of those oh-so-Toronto things that we’d been meaning to do for a while now. Ever since we moved to the city in the spring of 2012 actually. Fucking slackers, we are.

Well, slackers no more I decided. So we got our shit together and made our way down to the market. Just a quick subway ride to King station followed by a happy little stroll down Wellington Street and we were there.

It was glorious!

st lawrence market

The St. Lawrence Market, established in 1803, is one of Toronto’s most beloved landmarks. It’s friggen’ historic!

st lawrence again

Known for the farmer’s markets, antiques, restaurants, local arts and crafts. The market is truly something special. We started our journey inside, perusing the foodstuffs of the upper level. I was expecting aisles and aisles of easily assembled stations for hawking ones wares. I didn’t realize that there would be actual establishments within. With their elaborate signage, all of these places contribute heartily to the unique atmosphere of the market.

carousel bakery

pizza and pasta

With every turn of the corner something more and more delicious to see. Our mouths were positively watering. It’s a wonder I didn’t wind up with a river of drool down the front of my shirt.

meats!

pastries

produce

From the finest in meats, pastries, and produce to delicious eats that even a frugal gal of my ilk can afford. What a steal on sausages!

sausages

And everyone is so friendly. You get a big happy smile from the vendors at every station, and some casual chatter. Or maybe that’s just how it was for me because I was sporting a delightedly insane bulge in my eyes and a big goofy grin. I was so happy and walking around the market was so wonderful, I couldn’t contain my glee. It was awesome and special. Yeah, thinking back they probably all thought that I was pretty special myself…

us at market

After we’d seen all there was to see inside, we made our way outside and across the street to see what the outdoor vendors had to offer.

outdoors

sunflowers

I saw the bunches of sunflowers for sale and I just had to have them!

my flowers

They were fitting, the best thing I could possibly get to commemorate my first market going experience. Sunny and bright, and so perfectly indicative of the morning we shared at the market.

I trimmed and arranged them once we got home, humming and smiling to myself in the kitchen, with Harvey squawking curiously at my feet. It’s not often that I bring fresh flowers into our home. Lazy and careless, I much prefer the amount of maintenance that comes with having fake flowers. Their shelf-life ain’t nothing to sneeze at either. I find watching fresh flowers die slowly before me over the course of a few days kind of depressing. I’m not much for watching life-forces wane. But sunflowers are hearty, easily outlasting the daintiest of flowers, so taking a chance on them this time around doesn’t feel quite so melancholy.

And Harvey was quite fond of them as well…

harvey and the sunflowers

harv and flowers

smitten kitten

Yes, I would say that this little kitten of ours was quite taken with the sunflowers. Smitten, you might say. A smitten kitten.

How I put off going to the St. Lawrence Market this long I’ll never know. But now that I’ve had a taste I will definitely be back for more…

I’ll go for the charm, and stay for the dirt cheap sausages.

Harv’s Greatest Hits

I got the crazy cat gene from my dad’s family. They’re all nuts about cats. So, you’ve been sufficiently warned. I am a bit of a crazy cat lady. This post reflects my indulgence of the gene.

Happy 2nd Birthday Harvey!

My darling little Harv turns two years old today. And based on the astute calculations of a cat age calculator that I found online, he’s now the equivalent of a 25-year-old human. Right on buddy!

We got Harvey in June 2011, he was just a couple of months old. Looking back, its unreal how tiny he was! D and I had been together for a while and something was missing. I’ve always had pets in my house growing up. When I moved out, striking out on my own for the first real time since university, our family cat Chubby Cody had to stay behind with my mom. He wasn’t my cat to move. And my apartment hadn’t come with any free pets, so I had to go without for a little while. It felt weird not having a furry little buddy around the house. After a while, once we’d settled in, I started to feel that it was time. Time for a new little buddy to love. I told D that I needed a pet and we started our search.

It wasn’t long before we found him. Adopting Harvey is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. When I picked him up for the first time and he snuggled his tiny little kitten head into my shoulder I knew we were meant to be. Instantaneous love.

Since the internet is strictly fuelled by cute cat pictures these days, I thought I would celebrate Harvey’s spectacular life thus far by counting down his greatest hits in napping. It’s just my way of giving back. You’re welcome internet.

Hold onto your donuts people, it’s about to get crazy cute up in this bitch!

HARVEY’S GREATEST HITS: NAPPING EDITION

10) Cat on a sill

Our old apartment had wide window sills, perfect for cat naps! A young Harv, getting his beauty rest on. You’ve gotta hand it to him, he’s got great potential.

window ledge

9) The Fancy Man

Sometimes Harv likes to put airs on. The airs of a sophisticated and refined house cat. He’ll sit with his paw draped leisurely across his manly chest. It is an optimal napping position to showcase his little cat boobies. Exquisite!

fancy cat

8) Classic Couch Surfing

Here again we see a young Harvey demonstrating his remarkable napping prowess. This was before his aforementioned boobies came in.

harvey nap

7) Nest of Blankets

Harv loves to burrow himself deep within the blankets on our bed. This is a particularly desirable napping space when the bed is being made. As the sheets are lifted, being positioned on the bed mid-air, Harv likes to dive under them. Making himself look as cute as possible, ingratiating himself in your heart, to ensure that he isn’t ousted from what is sure to be a supremely comfortable nap.

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6) Cruisin’ in the Catmobile

Best purchase ever. It paid itself off hand-over-fist in cat joy within hours of bringing it home. Harv loves to nap in what has come to be known as The Catmobile. It’s his own private penthouse of cat nap heaven!

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5) Soaking up the Sun

Surely you’ve all realized by now that cats are solar-powered? They need to soak up as much sunlight as possible during the day so that they are adequately prepared for their nighttime adventures. You know, like howling at the front door until it feels like your ear buds are bleeding. Or unceremoniously knocking those sanctimonious houseplants off their pedestals when they least expect it.

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4) Table Dancing

Harvey is not allowed on the coffee table or the dinner table. That was a difficult battle though. Many vigorous and discouraging spurts of the water bottle helped us secure our ground. We fought long and hard to win that one. Sadly, our victory cost us the side table.

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3) Lovin’ D

Harv loves to sleep with D. His favourite thing is to curl up around D’s head and briefly lick his hair before retiring to kitty sleepland for the night. He’s been doing this ever since we brought him home. He’s incorrigible! And precious.

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2) Straight-laced

We have a nice couch, but we’ve kept my old futon from my university days too. For the occasional use when someone sleeps over. Harvey, however, sees the futon in another light. It’s his and it serves him tirelessly. Its been enlisted to serve a higher purpose now. Higher than even drunken sleepovers. Its calling now is to provide Harvey with a superlative place for napping at all times. And it hasn’t failed him yet.

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1) Bliss Catsonified!

Well I couldn’t very well say personified now could I? So Catsonified it is. Ah, wait. Let’s try this again… Purrsonified! Nailed it. This is my most favourite picture of Harvey to date. And as such, it has reigned supreme as the desktop wallpaper ever since it was snapped. He truly is the happiest little kitten in the world in this picture. The very epitome of bliss. That is one nap that’s been done some serious justice!

best nap

Once again, you’re very welcome internet. This should provide you with sufficient sustenance for this week. And I think it’s earned me a week without any of those frustrating mac rainbow wheels, yes? Come on, hook a girl up.

Happy Birthday to the cutest little snuggle munch that ever lived. You’re totally rad Harv, I dig your style.

More Presents!

So, even though I was able to haggle an early gift exchange out of D, there were still gifts that I had to wait for. And I guess maybe the waiting can be worth it. But it really doesn’t feel quite as good as frantically ripping the wrapping paper off of everything in sight.

The Magpie and I did our exchange on Thursday the 20th since I’d booked Friday off from work. She probably shouldn’t have put all of the gifts she got me directly in front of me on my desk as soon as she came into the office. Especially if she was hoping to wait for our exchange to go down later in the day. I can’t be sitting there all day with beautifully wrapped gifts staring me in the face.

There was this large cylinder. I grabbed it and shook it right away. It emitted the most delightful sound when shook! My first thought was a jar of marbles. That would be so rad! I shook it a bit more and told the Magpie I would just open this one. I had to know what it was. One present would be okay, right?

I was a little off my game on the first guess though. It wasn’t marbles…

IT’S A BIG FAT JAR OF CANDY!!!!!!

Candy!

And all the favourites were there! Nibs, Sour Patch Kids, Skittles, M&Ms, Swedish Berries, and Watermelon Slices. Oh fuck yeah, the whole gang is together and headed to a V.I.P. partaaay in my tummy. Whew, now that I’d opened one we could move on with our day. Or could we? Maybe just one more? That’s the slippery slope we took that wound up with me opening a bunch of presents before 9:30am on Thursday.

I like to guess what I think things are before I open them. And I’m pretty good at it too, much to the gift-givers chagrin. Next on the docket was a pretty obvious one. Another mixed CD!

Mixed CD

So now the Magpie is up 2 CDs to none on me. I guess I’d better get to work. Everyone knows that the Gods of Great Tunes aren’t very forgiving when it comes to one-sided mixed CD exchanges.

Then we had something that felt suspiciously like an ashtray. I don’t smoke, but I would have dug that. There’s a kind of inside joke we have going about ashtrays. But I missed the mark on this one. It was actually a set of cute little serving dishes!

football

I’m a football girl, so this is awesome. These guys will come in handy for our annual Chinese Food Extravaganza Superbowl Feast! Good hustle guys, I see a lot of potential here.

The next one was another easy one to guess. Rectangular, about a half-inch thick, little bit of bend to it. A book!

Scott Pilgrim

Nice! The first Scott Pilgrim. I’ve seen the movie, but I haven’t read the graphic novels yet. The Magpie thought this would be especially good since it’s all set in Toronto. I really dig this gift.

Next, there was a rectangular box. It was surprisingly lightweight. I was about to rip it open when The Magpie asked me for my guess. I shook it a bit, and thought.

“Ah, it’s gotta be a scarf!” I declared. “You’re such a bitch,” she laughed at me.

scarf

Yep, that’s me. Some might say it’s a bitchy thing, to guess the gifts and ruin the surprise for myself. But I like being an almost immaculate gift guesser. It’s taken me a long time to hone this skill of mine. Anyways, what you’re seeing here is a beautiful scarf from some swanky french shop on Queen. And it looks divine with the coat I bought this winter. But there were a couple of other things in the box. A Lush bath bar, that I don’t have a picture of.

And, a sweet little notebook.

notebook

In which I shall jot all of my darkest secrets, wildest dreams, and maybe some grocery lists.

Of my haul from The Magpie, I saved the best for last. She’s such a great crafter! She has ideas and designs. Things she carefully plans. Things that she can see clearly in her mind, and bring to life with her deft little fingers.

She also made me hold off on opening this one. I had to open it last. If it’s worth it to wait for anything, it’s this. This is something I would wait a lifetime for if I had to. I wouldn’t want to, but I’d do it. Things like this are one in a hundred billion.

magnets

These are one-of-a-kind, handmade Archie magnets. She clipped out images from an Archie comic and glued them onto dominoes and glass stones. How fucking awesome is that? It’s the most goddamn awesome thing ever! I was so happy when I opened these. And my happiness was threefold:

1) I love magnets. They’re kind of a hobby of mine, that is, if magnets can be considered a hobby.

2) I love Archie. I used to shake my parents down for Archie comics anytime we were at the grocery store. Well, sometimes I shook them down for candy too.

3) Homemade gifts really are the best. Someone put their time and their kind thoughts for you into making something they knew you would love. And that’s just awesome.

We had a great exchange, The Magpie and I. Even though I tore into everything pretty early. I got a mega-normous sugar rush from eating candy all day, and had fun chillin’ with the co-workers on my last day at the office before the holiday break. But before I knew it, it was time to head home. There were more gifts to open at home, and I could hear them calling to me.

Christmas morning at my mom’s house didn’t start as early as it used to. When I was younger, before I discovered beer, I would be up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning. Rousing all family members from their warm and comfortable beds because I just couldn’t wait to get things started. I’d be up around 5:00am, and have everyone else sufficiently awake by 6:00am to commence gift opening. Everyone else would still be rubbing the sleep from their eyes as I’d excitedly thrust presents upon them.

This year was a little different though. Everyone had the luxury of sleeping in until 8:30am. And I myself was excited, although much more subdued. Mom’s punch and lack of sleep probably had something to do with that.

puppy

What I lacked in excitement though, Bree more than made up for. She was running around, all weirded out by the tree and the gifts. Wanting to play and wanting attention. She put the pep back in everyone’s step.

Two of my most notable gifts this year were of the practical and homemade variety.

First, a new toaster!

toaster

YES! We needed this so bad. We had a shitty fucking little two slicer that took about fifteen minutes to lightly brown whatever you put in it. It was an absolute nightmare in the morning before work. I do not like doing shifts on the toaster when I’m rushing to get ready in the morning. The new toaster is a badass. Just look at it. You can toast four things at once! And it doesn’t even break a sweat. It just toasts it up all nice in a flash. No stamping your foot impatiently on the kitchen floor necessary. Ain’t no thang. You go badass toaster!

My mom also made us a sweet new blanket. And she got us throw pillows to match. She’s pretty nifty when it comes to crochet.

harv and b;anket

It’s red, my favourite colour, with some cream trim. I know you can’t see it that well in this picture. And that’s because Harvey has claimed the new blanket for himself. I tried to move him, but look at that face! I just didn’t have the heart to disturb him. Instead I creeped up and stole a picture of him while napping. This just proves again that homemade gifts really are the best.

That’s a wrap on Christmas 2012. Now all that’s left to do is clink our glasses and welcome the new year.

The Potential Apocalypse

If the world really does come crumbling down around us tomorrow, I could die happy.

Perfectly content with all that I am and all that I have. And I do have a lot. I’m rich, truly rich in a way that transcends anything of monetary or material value.

I’m madly in love with the sweetest, most wonderful guy. He truly is the perfect person for me. And we are a rad couple!

Dballs and Smash

I have such a saucy little kitty, who makes me smile the second I step through the front door.

Harv

I have loving and supportive family, people who mean the world to me. They might make me crazy sometimes, but that’s what it’s all about. And I know I make them crazy too.

family

I have the craziest, most badass best friends. I’m grinning like a moron just thinking about them and their precious little faces!

retro prom

buddies

Somehow, I don’t dare question it, the universe also gave me another extra special person. As if I didn’t have enough greatness in my life, I was also given an incredible co-worker. A co-worker turned mentor. A mentor who then became a very dear friend. A best friend. A kindred spirit in this life.

the magpie

I get to live in the best city! Oh Toronto, I really have fallen head over heels for you these past eight months!

Toronto

I have relationships and people who I live for every day. People that I cherish, respect, admire, and adore. I have a great job, great co-workers, and a great boss. I have hobbies that fulfill me. Dreams and goals that inspire me, they push me to keep moving forward. I have ideas and plans, hopes and ambitions.

I can do whatever I want to do. I get to call the shots in this life of mine. I am completely content. I could not possibly ask for or expect anything else from life. It’s already given me so much more than I ever felt or knew I could have. I could not possibly want for more.

If this little apocalypse thing wants to happen, then that’s okay with me. I’ll die happy, knowing I had it all. It could all be bullshit though, and most likely is. That unsettling thought that it could come true, that the world could suddenly stop spinning, is something that I’m thankful for. It gives you the opportunity to think about what really matters in life. What really matters to you? What is it that you get up for every morning? What are the things that make your life worth living?

I know what I’m living for.

Gordon

The electronic gurgle emitted from the computer as it accepts the disc and pulls it within is a nod of great appreciation. It loves this album too, I think. Or perhaps I’m just projecting my profound love for Gordon upon it. That’s the most likely scenario, but I don’t really give a damn. I know I can rip the disc to the computer, I’ve ripped many others. But there’s something in the act of putting the disc in, and hearing that gurgle of agreement from the computer that I don’t want to lose. It’s become something of a ritual to savour that fleeting moment before the first strains of “Hello City” begin to float gloriously out of the speakers and dance their way to my greedy ears.

I instinctively clear my throat and wet my lips. I know I’m going to sing every last lyric on that album right along with the band. Without fail, every time. It doesn’t matter that I can’t carry a tune, don’t have the right pitch, or don’t even really know what the difference between those two things is. My love for the music makes my cruddy warbling beautiful. That’s the power that the music we love wields.

I don’t have as much free time as I used to for listening to music. Time to absorb an entire album’s worth of music into the very core of my being. Because that was exactly what I did when I first purchased Gordon. I was young, I didn’t have a job or anywhere to be. I could sit in my room for hours, listening to music, shut off from the world. Sometimes I was singing into a hairbrush mic, or inventing terrible new dance moves. Sometimes I was contemplating the meaning and majesty of the lyrics. Sometimes I was wallowing. In happy times Gordon is my laughter, my fun, my delight. In sad times Gordon is my remedy, my escape, my solace. That’s the way it’s been, and the way it always will be with me and Gordon.

For the whole 59.1 minutes of greatness that this album generously bestows upon me, I am euphoric. And, I am thankful for the creative efforts of the Barenaked Ladies. This album reaches me on a level that no other ever will.

I’ve already admitted that my musical capabilities are limited. I’ve never been able to play an instrument competently in my life. I sat through 7th grade music whispering into my baritone so as not to expose my inability to read scales. Then I did the exact same thing through 8th grade with the trumpet, because it was more inconspicuous with 7 other trumpeters in the class and an entire row of eager clarinet people, whatever they’re called, to shield me. Clarineters? Clarinetees? Clarinetoes? That third option just feels right… Either way, this gross ineptitude as a musician doesn’t mean that my capacity to appreciate music is nil.

Music is made to be heard after all. And when I’m listening to Gordon I know I’m hearing genius. From the start of the album to the very finish I’m taken on a roller coaster ride through the swift and often jarring mood changes of the album. Soaring from zany heights of silliness and spectacle one minute, only to plummet to staggering depths of morose reflection the next. It’s just, so stunning to me!

This post is easily taking me quadruple the normal amount of time to write. As I write, I’m listening to Gordon, naturally. As I’m listening to it, I’m getting so caught up in it that I stop writing for lengthy periods of time because it just takes over. No matter how many times I hear it, it’s still powerful enough to invade my mind and ensnare my heart at any given note.

Furthermore, I know it’s a great album for a fact. My die-hard metalhead, musically inclined boyfriend D never had a problem with me putting Gordon, or any Barenaked Ladies album for that matter, on in the car. I daresay he even enjoys it. His much more musically refined ear recognizes that these are some damn good musicians at work, even though the music they make is the complete opposite style and genre of his liking. That’s the mark of a remarkable group or artist: to dispel of any genre prejudices the listener may have through the masterful arrangement of notes, and lyrics. And the Barenaked Ladies are undoubtedly masters in this craft.

Bow down and worship at the altar of Gordon.


Most of my appreciation for Gordon comes from my love of the written word. In particular, I’m a poetry enthusiast. Songs bear an uncanny resemblance to poetry, do they not? And as we all know, poetry is where the written word goes when it wants to party. So songs are where the written word takes itself for the mind-bendingly insane after party. And they party all through the night at, you guessed it, Gordon. I’ll show you!

Gordon: Smash’s Lyrical Highlights

3. Grade 9

Favourite lyrics: Got into the classroom and my knowledge was gone / Guess I should have studied instead of watching Wrath of Khan

4. Brian Wilson

Favourite lyrics: Call it impulsive, call it compulsive, call it insane; / But when I’m surrounded I just can’t stop

6. Wrap Your Arms Around Me

Favourite lyrics: I regret every time I raised my voice / And it wouldn’t be that bright of me to say I had no choice / I can kiss your eyes your hair your neck / Until we forget

(that’s a particularly good one to belt out with Steven Page in eyes closed fervour!)

7. What a Good Boy

This is my all-time favourite song.

Favourite lyrics: I wake up scared, I wake up strange / I wake up wondering if anything in my life is ever going to change / I wake up scared, I wake up strange / and everything around me stays the same

and…

I couldn’t tell you that you were right / so instead I looked in the mirror, / watched TV, laid awake all night

AND…

Afraid of change, afraid of staying the same / When temptation calls, we just look away

11. New Kid (On The Block)

Favourite Lyric: I can stay up all night. I can have a blast / I can breakdance, I can fight, I can kick your sorry ass. / I’m a New Kid on the Block

12. Blame It On Me

Favourite lyrics: You think you’re so smart, but I’ve seen you naked / and I’ll probably see you naked again

and…

Yes dear, I love you / But sometimes I think that love’s not enough for you / So you want to play mind games, / well that’s fine, go ahead, la la la I can’t hear you

GAH! It’s just so awesome! Are you starting to feel the awesome now too?

If all of that isn’t enough to prove how much I cherish this fucking album, then maybe this will do the trick:

Gordon the Hamster

I will win you with cuteness. This was my pet hamster, Gordon. Named so expressly because of the album. He was a short-lived homage to the album, but a really frickin’ cute one!

My point? Oh, was I going to be getting to that sometime soon? Yes!

My point, after all of that, is that Gordon is a fucking masterpiece. In my eyes, nay, in my ears. And while you might not share my love for this album (though you really should, it’s great), I do hope you feel this way about any other album or song, capable of inciting your passions in a similarly obsessive and frenzied manner. Music helps us, heals us, speaks to us, inspires us, and changes us. In this busy, bustling existence of ours, we may not always have time to just listen to music and truly appreciate the impact its had on us. I’m not talking about listening with your ears, as familiar songs loop continuously on your iPod throughout the day. I’m talking about listening with your mind and with your heart.

I’m happy. I had the luxury of time this weekend. Time to catch up with my old friend Gordon. I’ve had an insane last couple of weeks at work, so I needed something to help me float back into my happy place.

And when the last track faded out for the umpteenth time, I still got goosebumps.