Fun-Sized Halloween Snack

Well here we are again people, another Halloween. And since we’ve been on the fringe of Sandy all week, it’s basically a huge pile of crap outside. Not so great for all those trick-or-treaters and their hapless parents. So I’ve decided to provide you with a little Halloween treat! Just a very small something to make you smile…

Yeah, I got a Harvey a costume this year. I know they usually make these things with dogs in mind. But I don’t have a dog. I have an adorable little cat who will pose for all of my demented photo shoots.

He didn’t seem impressed at first, I’ll admit. But then I think he started to like it.

I think he almost preferred wearing the costume in reverse!

I know this doesn’t nearly make up for the shitty weather you’ll have to endure going door to door tonight, but I do hope this at least makes you smile. It’s certainly brightened my day!

I’ve Been Drunk Since I Left…

The air is crisp, leaves are finally showing their true colours, and most of the faces you pass on the street are awash in a very becoming pink flush. Thanksgiving (Canadian, naturally) heralds the most glorious three weeks of fall. The remaining weeks of October between Thanksgiving and Halloween are the absolute best of the season. The weather is perfection, with the leaves still in transition. Come November they’ll be sad shells of their former selves, stripped bare of their colourful adornments. During these weeks you can still have a miraculously warm and sunny day, eschewing the coat for a light sweater.And what better way to enjoy fall’s hot little strut through October than a gloriously long Thanksgiving weekend!

I was very clever this year, I decided to take the Friday before the long weekend off. Four days to celebrate Thanksgiving? That’s right, I already live a life of extraordinary excess, and for people like me the holidays are the best time for excess. You’re allowed to drink as much as you want. You can shovel copious amounts of food down your gullet and still be the most suave person at the party. If you don’t over indulge enough people think there’s something wrong with you! What’s not to like about that?

I spent pretty much the whole weekend hammered. Now before you start sending me links to the AA website, remember that thing about excess and the holidays, okay? It’s allowed, if not encouraged! So cool your jets people, I know my rights. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Friday:

D and I headed down to Fynn of Temple to party with some peeps in honour of Alexander Keith’s birthday. Which is funny, because earlier this week a dude at my work came back from lunch with a little promotional flier. When I asked what it was he said “Ah, just some bar party for Keith’s birthday”, and I shit you not my response was “Oh right! That’s October 5th, it’s soon”. I’ve never felt more alcoholic in all my life after the look of astonishment he gave me. But to be fair, as a student, Keith’s birthday was always a big deal at the bars. So it’s kind of tattooed on my brain.

We got to the bar for 5:30pm, and since D and I had a late lunch we weren’t hungry. Just really thirsty! I actually lapped D in my beer consumption. I was fucking tanked! And the ridiculously drunk texts to Joce-force and the Magpie are evidence of that… By 9:30pm I was so drunk we had to leave the bar. But not before loading my purse with sweet Keith’s swag!

I love free shit!

Yep, we got these amazing ceramic Keith’s pint glasses and two free t-shirts! At the bar the gray mug looked green and the brown mug looked red, so I was kind of annoyed when I saw their true colours at home, but then again can’t really complain when it was free.

Saturday:

I was passed out by 11:00pm on Friday night, but it felt like 3:00am because of how drunk I was. So when I woke up at 4:57am Saturday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, I was only slightly bedraggled from the shenanigans of the night before. It worked out well though because D and I were leaving early to head up north to my mom’s place with Mar and Neill. By 8:15am the four of us were out the door and on our way. After a lengthy subway/bus/other bus commute we were at mom’s by 11:00am. Which was the perfect time to start dipping into my mom’s lethal party punch!

First drink of the holidays…

It’s always laced with a motley mix of whatever booze my mom happens to have at hand while concocting. She also throws in a bunch of fruit for good measure, alongside cranberry juice, orange juice and ginger ale. And this year she made some nice little flower ice cubes, for extra class! Taste-wise, it’s like if a mimosa had sex with a T-mick of vodka, that’s the best way to describe it.

Between drinks we played with our beloved pets, caught up with family, and ate the greatest meal of all time:

Bree!

chillin’ with nana

don’t worry, that’s steam. Mom wasn’t smoking while cooking

Then after dinner we kept right on drinking as we laughed hysterically over board games. There was some excellent movie trivia this year playing Pass the Popcorn. Some sweet call-outs playing Catchphrase, and as always some really hilarious dyslexia playing Smartmouth. Then everyone turned in early, and I stayed up watching some horribly awful movie with my mom where this demon old lady called people foul, sweary names and climbed the ceiling of a diner with her neck cranked backwards. Yeah, it was fucked. But I was drunk enough not to care.

Sunday:

Thanksgiving number two was the next day at my dad’s place. We got there early to help with the prep, and of course, to drink. Dad got me a 6-pack and made sure I was drinking steady all day long. There were three totally delicious rabbits roasting in the woodstove and basically a planet of a turkey. It was a little on the small size actually, at 28 pounds, but it still looked massive to me. Every year my dad goes on a hunt for the biggest possible turkey he can find. One year, we did one pushing 40 pounds and that was insanity.

It was a gorgeous day. I got to spend a lot of time outside enjoying the weather. The guys played horseshoes and I took a long walk around the property enjoying the nature, and taking quirky photos.

casually changing tree

game of champions

the very sturdy toadstool

our vast empire

After getting appropriately buzzed and filling ourselves to maximum capacity with dinner and dessert, Thanksgiving 2 wound down.

Monday:

I’m in hangover hell! Total write-off day of doing anything and everything by the most ineffectual means. It was a couch-grazing, moaning, temple rubbing kind of day. Time to recuperate after three days of pushing it to the limit.

It was an amazing holiday weekend. Lots to celebrate and lots to be thankful for. This year, I am most thankful for having a job that doesn’t keep me awake at night with worry and strife. This is the first Thanksgiving I’ve truly been able to enjoy since joining the workforce a couple of years ago.

Oh, and I’m thankful for beer, naturally. Can’t get through the holidays without it!

Laaaaaid back

Last weekend was a long weekend of excellence in laid back groovin’ for me. It started off a little rough you know, with a wicked bad hangover on Friday. Thursday night was a company bowling outing that turned into one too many drinks at the bar and maniacal karaoke superstardom. It was really fun though, reminded me of the good old university days. Drunk like no tomorrow, dodging sketchy/sweaty randoms, and laughing til it hurt. I got home at about 3am and slept for 4 hours before hauling my ass into work Friday morning. My boss didn’t come in that day, opting for an extra-long cottage weekend, so needless to say I didn’t lift a goddamn finger all day. I basically sat at my desk moaning in agony until 3:30pm when the next most senior person in charge told us all to go home. Score!

One thing I did do at work though was discover a magical hillbilly version of Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice. I know, right? Fucking amazing! Theme song for the weekend, woot woot!

D and I planned to get out of the city and dog/house sit for my aunt and uncle. It was caribana weekend in the city and I had been advised by my fellow Torontonians to get out-of-town if possible. So we packed up our shit, and ran for the hills.

That’s right bitches, for three glorious days D and I would be mad chillin’ poolside with a sweet partaaaay palace at our disposal. The only thing that sucked? Most peeps already had long weekend plans and were out-of-town. So D and I had to pull off some pretty solid partying mostly on our own. We got there in the afternoon on Saturday and it was boiling hot out. First thing on the agenda: swimming! With a healthy dose of sunblock so as not to scorch my delicate and pale complexion I leapt straight off the deep end without looking back.

Saturday nobody was around so D and I had to do the partaaay palace justice. We grabbed some beers and stoogies and lit up on the porch. Ahhhhh! Well on our way to laaaaaaid back perfection:

The next morning we hit up D’s all-time favourite place for breakfast, Bayview Diner. And it is most assuredly the breakfast of all laid-back champions!

Those little home fries/tater-tots are the best fucking things that have ever happened to breakfast. They’re crispy and fluffy at the same time and sprinkled in a tasty spice. Mmmmm mmm, that’s good eats!

Another day of glorious poolside lounging, walking the dog, and kicking it casual. We also had a chance to rock the barbecue for some excellent dinner. We don’t have a barbecue at our apartment so this was something we had to take advantage of. Grilled salmon and veggies anyone?

Don’t let the picture fool you, this salmon was grilled to perfect. A beautiful pink colour, so flaky and tender. Simply put, it was mouth-watering brilliance!

Sunday night was when we were able to assemble a few members of the crew for some drinking. We turned up the beats, tossed back the drinks, and revelled in the fact that we didn’t have to go to work on Monday! Poor Duke though, he was quite tuckered out by it all:

It may not seem like much, but I consider it a smashing success in long weekend relaxing, partying, eating, and playing with our four-legged friend. And for your listening pleasure dear readers, I present you with the sweet cover jam that inspired it all:

Actually, for my country-loving hillbilly fams who may not be familiar with Snoop, you’ll probably actually love this song.

You’re welcome!

Last Page

I spend a lot of free time reading, which has always been one of my favourite things. But with so much going on lately, I haven’t had as much time for reading as I’d like. This is why it took me about four months to finish 11/22/63 by Stephen King. In true King fashion, the book is enormous. It’s an 800+ page behemoth that worked ardently at turning me into a hunchback every time it was deposited into my backpack. I seriously started to feel that if this book was to become part of my daily arsenal then maybe I was going to need a back brace.

This is the book in my hand. It’s a hard cover, which puts it at about 2.5 to 3 lbs by my rough, and probably very wrong estimate.

And this is the book dwarfing my 14lb cat. He’s not impressed by the size of it either.

When I started this book in January, I was still at my old job. I was working 11 hour days because of the bus strike. The YRT went on strike mid-October 2011 and didn’t come back to service until February 2012, which is beyond ridiculous. I would have to get a ride into work at 630am every morning, and work until 6pm when my boyfriend was able to come get me. He would drop me off at the office, drive to the train station and commute downtown for his job in the morning. Then after the commute home in the evening, he would hop in the car and pick me up from work. This absurd arrangement persisted for about three months and was taking quite the toll on both of us.

The days were impossibly long, and I started out thinking that it was a good thing to work longer hours because I was so busy. But of course, after 3 months of working like this it got old. In January, when I got fed up with the ridiculous hours and realized that nobody was taking notice anyways, I thought “fuck it” and I started leaving when my 8 hours was up. I’d walk to the local coffee shop and enjoy my book for an hour or so every night. My boyfriend would meet me there instead of the office, and it felt good to have a little me time to unwind every night.

The thing is, I need at least 30 minutes after work to unwind by myself and I wasn’t getting that initially. I’d work right up until 6pm and still have a hard time pulling away from the desk after 3 extra hours per workday. When it was time to go home, I’d get in the car at the absolute peak of stressfulness. I was wound so tightly that the smallest provocation would unleash all the rage accrued throughout the day that I had taken great pains to internalize.

My boyfriend was a total basket of stress at this point in the day too. He’d spend an hour on the train, surrounded by a bunch of smelly, annoying fuck-tard commuters (by the way, I can call them that because I did a brief stint commuting on the train so I know what really goes down on those things) and then he’d have to race to the car, tear out of the parking lot ahead of everyone else, and fight the masses of rush hour traffic to get to my office.

At the end of the workday when our stresses were combined, we were a powder keg ready to blow. And trust me, there were some spectacular blow outs! Instead of two mature young professionals, two starved wild dogs out for blood were getting into the car every night.

Plus, as soon as you’ve finished work and you’re all wired with stress, should the first interaction you have be with your significant other? No it should not. If you have unresolved stresses you should have the opportunity to take them out on innocent bystanders instead. Rip the server a new one for getting your order wrong, tell some douche in the elevator to shut the fuck up and quit humming that shit in your ear, or flip off that dickbag driver cutting suddenly in front of you. I’m a firm believer in venting before going home. If you’re pissed off let it out on someone who doesn’t matter, or some inanimate object even. I am partial pushing the elevator buttons really hard and slamming desk drawers shut. Letting it out in these ways means that there’s a smaller chance of that crap coming home with me.

After a particularly scarring battle royale on the car ride home one night, I decided for the sake of my health, my sanity, and my relationship that I needed to start leaving at the right time even if I couldn’t get home quite yet. So I’d take my book and enjoy some me time at the end of the day. When it was time to go home, I’d get in the car much more my normal self and I’d be able to listen sympathetically to my poor boyfriend instead of exacerbating his stress by adding all of my own to the mix.

Eventually the bus strike ended and I got to commute to and from work like a normal human being. However, this slowed down my reading time a lot. It took me forever to finish this book, even though it was really quite riveting.

I was nearing the end around 10:30 one night and it was getting so good that I decided to stay up until I was finished. I only had another 75 pages or so to go, so why not? I dug deep into my reserves of wakefulness and kept going. When I finally got to the last page it was 12:45am and my eyes were getting heavy but my heart was getting lighter.

It’s a very strange sensation to finish a book when you’ve invested so much time. If it was enjoyable, there’s a small feeling of disappointment that there isn’t more to look forward to. If it was terrible, there’s a sense of accomplishment for sticking it out to the end. But if it’s really good… there’s this bizarre feeling euphoria coupled with a harsh comedown. I was buzzing with excitement when my eyes swept over the last word on the very last page. The good feeling of finishing a book was magnified tenfold on this one because of how long it took, how incredible the story was, and how reaching the end of this book so closely paralleled the end of my woes with the transit strike, and my life at the time.

I consider finishing this book a tremendous success for me. Finishing a book may be a small joy for some, but finally closing this one is definitely the brightest spot in my week. I’ve heard that some people will read the last page of a book first, just to know what they’re getting into. That’s pure craziness! The best part of a book is building to the end and being totally surprised, or having your predictions validated.

Or sometimes, that last page might just be the thing you need to help you to realize how far you’ve come from beginning to end.

R.I.P. Goobie

I know it’s been a while since my last post, and I actually had something different planned for this week. But events have transpired, and I have something more important to discuss this week. So the carefully plotted post for this week will be shuffled to next instead.

Our beloved family cat, Magoo a.k.a Goobie had to be put down today. Goobie was 20 years old, and I will be turning 25 next month. For those of you who may not be too keen on math, and this includes me, this means that Goobie has been a part of my life for 20 years, since I was 4. Pretty much as long as I’ve been able to retain memories, Goobie has been there.

Our family wanted a pet, and we had first tried a dog. A shih tzu named Higgins. I know the name of this breed literally sounds like you’re saying “shit zoo”, and that’s exactly what Higgins was. This dog shit on everything! Everything but the grass outdoors that is. He shit on the carpets, on the kitchen floor, on his blanket, in our beds, and once he even shit in my sister’s dollhouse. My mom couldn’t take it, so she gave him away.

My parents then decided that a cat might be the better option for them. Goobie was born on September 22nd 1991 and he had two brothers, Morris and Mitzi. My parents having had three very rambunctious daughters, decided to get all three cats so each girl would have her own to care for. Looking back now, it was quite the charming childhood we had back in the early 90’s. Maybe that’s why I’m such a 90’s-aholic. Getting the three cats was intended to prevent fighting and jealousy over just one cat.

Goobie belonged to my older sister Marion, Morris belonged to me, and Mitzi belonged to my little sister Erika. All was well and wonderful in our house now that we had pets to cherish. And cherish our pets we did! We played with the cats for hours, napped with them, dressed them in doll clothing, dutifully fed them every night, and were very liberal with affectionate scratches behind the ears.

That is until the dreaded flea outbreak of 1993. Morris and Mitzi were horribly allergic to the flea medication and had to be put down after only a very short time in our household. It was our first significant pet loss, and it stuck with us a long time. But, we still had Goobie.

Goobie became the epitome of a perfect pet. He waited patiently for us to get home from school every afternoon in the front hallway. He loved snuggling in our laps for hours on end, and sitting calmly for marathon brushing sessions. He had a beautiful, full, fluffy black coat and loved having his belly rubbed. This is our Goobie:

Our lives became quite tumultuous during the years that followed. My parents divorced, we moved in with my nana for a while. Then my mom met my stepdad, moved in with him, got pregnant and had my little brother. Shortly after another little sister followed. Throughout all of these rapid changes in our childhood, Goobie was the one constant.

Goobie was always there to snuggle at night, and play with during the day. He was always charming, patient, and affectionate. We then added another cat to the household, Cody, and Goobie was not a fan. He was very stand-offish, but never went out of his way to hurt Cody or challenge him. Probably because Cody weighs about 23 pounds and Goobie only 15. Eventually Goobie learned to “like” Cody. And by “like” I mean they would have secret snuggle naps, and if you walked in on them Goobie would abruptly distance himself so as to maintain his aloof, uncaring attitude towards Cody.

Goobie had a very special bond with Marion, but in 2004 she moved away to university, and in 2005 I moved out as well to attend the same university. This was a very stressful time for Goobie because everyone else in the house lavished all of their attention on Cody. As soon as Marion was able to, she moved Goobie in with her to finish out her last two years at school. Marion and I were always close so I visited often and maintained my love for the cherished childhood cat. Marion then moved to Toronto with her boyfriend and they took Goobie with them. She called this the “kitty retirement” phase of his life.

As the years went by Goobie got older and older. The running joke was that he would live to set the world record for oldest cat. He was always very charming, but as he aged he got more and more bitchy. He also got very ragged looking. This is Goobie just relaxing one afternoon on Marion’s bed:

He started to be outright demanding of people’s attention. He would howl in the middle of the night and keep everyone awake. I’ve crashed at my sister’s place a bunch and witnessed it many times with mild amusement. He certainly had a distinct personality and was known for comic timing. Sometimes when people he didn’t know well would try to pet him he would sort of limbo his butt out of their reach and walk away. When he was dosing off, he would sit on the couch and put his face straight down. We called this Goobie’s “power down” mode.

Because of how long Goobie had been in my life, and how resilient he was, I never entertained the notion that we might actually lose Goobie one day. I just always took for granted that he would be around forever just because he always had been before. In my mind, there was nothing Goobie couldn’t overcome.

About a week ago my sister mentioned to me that Goobie took a really bad turn. She mentioned that he may need to be put down. I went to her place that weekend and spent time with Goobie just in case it would be the last time I saw him. Turns out it was the last time I saw him. I’m grateful that I got to pet him one last time and tell him how much he meant to me for all those years. He was a damn good cat. Last summer my boyfriend Darren and I adopted our kitten Harvey. If Harvey turns out to be half the pet that Goobie was then I will be very lucky.

For many of us, the best part of our day is coming home to our pets. I look forward to coming home every night and getting snuggles and affectionate head butts from Harvey. Hearing his happy purring when I get home from a terrible day at work is the gentle reminder I need to keep my head held high and keep on trucking. A pet’s unconditional acceptance and understanding is a true blessing. I hope that you, dear readers, are just as blessed by your own pets as I was by having Goobie in my life.

Thank you Goobie. Thank you for all the nights of snuggles, all the hours of playfulness, all the hilarious antics, and all of the comfort you brought during difficult times. Thank you for all the years of servitude as an outstanding pet and friend. I consider myself truly blessed to have had such an amazing pet impact my life for the past 20 years. You have been dearly cherished and will now be dearly missed.

Rest in peace old friend.