My Week 231: A Tribute To A Lovely Floof

Sunshine kitty.

I’ve written a lot over the years about Raven, our little Persian cat. Unfortunately, she passed away last week at the age of 14. I went back over some old blogs and found this one, and I’ve revised it a little as a tribute to her. She was lovely and sweet, a bit of a diva, and we loved her very much..

June 6, 2015

I got home on Friday afternoon and Raven was sitting in the living room. She had her back to me, and refused to look at me.

Me: What’s wrong? I haven’t seen you all week and this is how you greet me?
Raven: I read your last blog.
Me: So? Didn’t you think it was funny?
Raven: Funny? FUNNY!? That’s the 4th time you’ve written extensively about that oaf Titus. You know what I get? POO. Every goddamn time, you talk about my poo. I’m fed up with it.
Me: Well, you poo a LOT. But I take your point.

So I feel compelled to write a little something about Raven. Which is hard, because, aside from the pooing and her keen literary analysis skills, like most older cats, she doesn’t actually do much (sorry, Raven, but you know it’s true. For example, you just spent 11 hours lying on the back of the chair in the living room). But she DOES have some tricks and little quirks that endear her to us:

She comes when you call her. Most of the time. Other times, she just looks at you like, “What?”

She will meow at you until you follow her, then she will lead you to the bathroom and let you know what she needs with a series of glances. The other day, she beckoned me forth, and when we arrived, she sat down in front of the litter box. She looked at me, then looked at the box dolefully. I looked at her. Then she looked at the box again and I realized it needed to be cleaned. Which I did, resulting in her promptly using it again WHILE I WAS IN THE ROOM. No sense of dignity, that one. She also does the same thing when her water or food bowl need to be replenished.

She will jump up onto your lap if you pat your knee, then jump down when you stand up. You don’t even have to say anything—she just GETS the force of gravity.

She likes to play this game where, when you walk behind her, she starts to run away from you like she thinks you’re chasing her. Even when you say, “I’m not chasing you—calm down!”, she still keeps playing.

She waits until you stand up from your chair then jumps into the warm spot. Then when you try to sit back down, she won’t move. You pretty much have to sit AROUND her, or perch on the edge of the seat to avoid squashing her, and then she taps you on the back so that you’ll reach around and pet her. In the winter, she likes to crawl under the covers, squeeze up right against you, and fall asleep purring, which is very soothing.

She refuses to go outside. You know how some cats lurk by the door and try to dart out any chance they get? Not Raven. Once, she accidentally wandered out onto the front porch when the door was left open. When I saw her, she was just sitting there looking confused and scared. Then she saw me and ran back INTO the house. Yep, definitely not a nature lover.

When I come home at the end of the week, the second she hears my voice, she starts meowing from wherever she is in the house, and runs to greet me. Then she stops just outside the kitchen to avoid being trampled by Titus, who is also very excited and most likely yelling, “This is the best day EVER!”, and she waits for me to pick her up and cuddle her.

I think her best trick, though, is that when she’s really happy to see you, not only does she purr, but she leans up and gives you little kisses on your face. I don’t mean licking—I mean little pecks with her muzzle that let you know that she loves you. And we love you too, you crazy, poopy cat.

RIP Raven. We’ll miss you.

Full coat, but she preferred being clipped.

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My Week 230: Gaffes and Guffaws

Gaffes

So if you know me at all, you’ll know I’m prone to gaffes, blunders, faux pas—whatever you’d like to call it, I regularly have super-embarrassing moments either of my own making or someone else’s. This week was no different.

1) On Monday, I was in a meeting. We were having a discussion, and towards the end, just to emphasize my own position, I made a statement in which I somehow used the word ‘penis’. I can’t give you a lot of context because I work for a secret agency and this was something that would be considered part of the secret, but rest assured, it wasn’t particularly necessary for me to have used that particular word IN that context. Anyhow, I realized to my horror that I had just said the word ‘penis’. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that word; in fact, I have an absolutely adorable video of my son at two years old, running around the house naked and yelling, “Look at my penis!!” which I will for sure be showing at his wedding. But it’s just that I was in mixed company, and it was a rather high level meeting. So I did what any normal person would do—I said, “Wow, I’m so sorry—I can’t believe I just said ‘penis’!” Because if saying it once is bad, saying it twice will make a situation infinitely better. One of my male colleagues said, “That’s OK—I’d stopped recording” and I was like “You were RECORDING?!” because then I had to think, ‘My god, what else did I say?’ The meeting was pretty much over by then, so I stood up and turned to ostensibly stare out the window, but the truth was that I was trying not to laugh in that hysterical way that people laugh when they’re hoping they don’t get fired for saying ‘penis’ in a meeting. Twice.

2) On Tuesday, I went out for a little retail therapy. There’s a tiny store across the corner from work that sells really cool clothes—I don’t know what it’s called, but I just refer to it as “the store at the bottom of the escalator” and everyone always says “Oh yeah—I know that place.” I went in and found a few things that I liked and went into the change room. The change room is actually a tiny, triangular closet and the mirror is on the OUTSIDE of the door, so you have to put the clothes on, then go out and see what they look like. So I struggled to get all my winter clothes off, and then struggled to put on pants and a top, and then opened the door and almost hit a woman who was literally just standing there. So I said, “Excuse me” so I could look in the mirror. It was hard to see myself with her blocking my view, but I caught a glimpse and I looked ok. Then I said, “What do you think?” hoping that she would take the hint and realize I was trying on clothes, and she looked at me and answered, “Meh.” MEH?! What the f*ck, lady?! So I said, “You don’t think this looks ok?” and she looked me up and down, shrugged, and said, “No, not really.” And I was like, ‘Screw you!’ (in my head, because she was bigger than me), and I bought the outfit anyway. Then I wore it to work the next day, and when I went to the bathroom and caught sight of myself in the mirror, I realized she was right.

3) I pretty much completely forgot Valentine’s Day. I went home on the train a day early because I was working off-site on Friday, and Ken picked me up from the train station. We both said “Happy Valentine’s Day” to each other and I thought that was the end of it. Then I walked in the house and there was a huge bouquet of flowers, a card, and gifts waiting for me. And I didn’t even have the wherewithal to say “Oh damn—I forgot your card and present in Toronto!” Ken looked at me expectantly, and all I could do is sigh and say, “I’ll make dinner.” Luckily, the local grocery store still had cards the next day, because nothing says ‘I love you’ like a belated Valentine’s day card. But I do love you, Ken, even if I get sidetracked and forget important occasions like Valentine’s Day, birthdays, the fourteenth anniversary of the day we met, the seventeenth anniversary of our first date, and whatnot, because you’re awesome at remembering for both of us.

4) I got an email from one of our senior execs while I was off-site yesterday, and I was doing something else on my laptop, so I used my phone to reply. When I signed off, my phone autocorrected my name so that it said, “Thanks, Suzo.” I hit send before I realized it, but now I’m hoping that he thought I did it on purpose and that he starts a trend by referring to me as Suzo all the time, which is much cooler than ‘the weirdo who says penis a lot’.

Guffaws

Here are three things that made me laugh insanely:

Terrifyingly realistic for a zombie baby.

1) This ad was posted on our local Buy and Sell page. Take a moment and do what I did. Look at the picture and description and think about ALL the babies you’ve ever known, and consider the great discrepancy between the ad and reality. This is the kind of doll that lives under your bed and crawls out at night to chew your arm off. The only detail I’m interested in is “Does it eat brains?” I mean, what kind of life are you living if you think THAT is a life-like representation of a small child?!

2) Ken and I were in an antique mall a while ago, and I saw this suitcase. “Have Wang, will travel”, am I right? Am I juvenile? Obvs.

Sounds like a fun time.

 

3) In the same antique mall, I saw this old box. I started laughing and said to Ken, “Cold punched nuts? That is indeed a special screw—that’s some real S and M sh*t right there!” and I kept snickering like a twelve year-old and the people wandering behind us with a small child probably wondered how I manage to hold down a job. I wonder that sometimes too. Penis.

 

 

 

 

My Week 229: Facebook Doesn’t Know Me At All

I’ve been really sick this week, so here’s something from a few years ago that still applies today—I hope you enjoy it!

Have you noticed the increasing proliferation of bizarre Facebook quizzes that purport to identify different aspects of your personality with absolute accuracy? While they are, for the most part, as generic as horoscopes in telling you about what kind of person you are, they are getting more and more desperate for new topics as they attempt to mine your data. At first, it was TV shows or films, like “Which Game of Thrones Character Are You?” or “Which Bond Girl Are You Most Like?” Respectively, I got Arya Stark, and Xenia Onatopp, former Soviet fighter pilot and top assassin. This was very disappointing—I really wanted Daenerys Targaryen, Mother Of F*cking Dragons instead of a whiny little kid who makes lists about who she wants to kill instead of getting revenge by setting people on fire or getting her badass husband to pour molten gold on her enemies’ heads. Also, I would have preferred Kissy Suzuki, the badass Ninja Bond Girl. Still, it was better than some of the other choices, for example Chew Mee, Holly Goodhead, Plenty O’Toole, or Pussy Galore. Seriously, am I the only one who thinks that female characters in James Bond movies are named by giggly 12 year-old boys?

“Hey Danny, why don’t we name the new Bond Girl ‘Perky McBoobs’?”
“Oh my God, dude–hee hee hee–that’s AWESOME!!”
“And we’ll call the new Bond Villain ‘Dick Wanker!”
“SHHH! Here comes my mom!” 

But now these quizzes run the gamut from the strange to the ridiculous. I’ve been doing them for a while, and I’ve reached the following conclusion: Facebook doesn’t know me at all. In the last few weeks, I’ve been told that my age is 20, that I will have a baby in the very near future (much to Ken’s and my collective shock), that if I was an element, I would be hydrogen, and that my favourite food is ice cream. Let me just clarify—I’m more than double that age, the only “baby” I currently want comes from either Tiffany’s or the Humane Society, I am PALLADIUM, thank you very much, and I hate ice cream with a passion. I don’t want to embark on a rant, but why the hell would I want to eat something so cold that I can’t taste it? How can Facebook claim to know me if it doesn’t realize my favourite food is steak wrapped in bacon?! Which, to anyone who is not a vegetarian, is known as ‘Nature’s Perfect Food’? And now, I’m totally distracted by the thought of bacon-wrapped steak, and will have to put writing this criticism of Facebook quizzes on hold while I go to the grocery store. Well played, Facebook.

Ok, I’m back. To continue, not only are these quizzes seldom accurate, the path to arriving at a conclusion has become so random and convoluted that I swear Facebook is just making this sh*t up. Case in point: I recently took a Facebook quiz called “Which Philosopher Are You?” It sounded a little more up-scale than “Which Kardashian Sister Are You?”, so I thought I’d give it a whirl:

Question 1: “What is the most overrated virtue?” Ok, well this sounded somewhat philosophical. There were several options, including Honesty, Faith, and Courage, but I went with Chastity on the grounds that IT’S STUPID. That, friends, is an example of empirical reasoning, which is what all great philosophers are good at.

Question 2: “Pick a Desperate Housewife.” I had NO idea who any of these women were. Would a philosopher actually watch this dreck in the first place? Again, I used my powers of mad logic, and chose a woman whose name began with ‘A’, because ‘A’ is the first letter of the alphabet. And the cool thing was that her last name began with ‘B’. Angie Bolen. A totally logical choice, even if I had no f*cking clue who she was.

Question 3: “Vegetarians are….” There were several choices, mostly negative, like ‘Missing out’, ‘Annoying’, or ‘More moral than you’. I chose ‘Probably right’; the fact is, I would BE a vegetarian if it wasn’t for the whole ‘steak wrapped in bacon’ thing, which I just can’t let go of.

Question 4: “Pick a condiment.” I was torn between soya sauce and salsa, but I went with soya sauce, because if these questions have ANY bearing on what philosopher I’m most like, I’d rather be Confucius than Gongora–I’ve seen too many sci-fi movies to not believe that comets are harbingers of doom.

Question 5: “Worst thing you’ve ever done?” I wasn’t copping to anything except Gotten Drunk or Stolen Sweets. I picked stealing candy, because aren’t ALL philosophers alcoholics? Drunkenness will not define my philosophy. I stand by that statement. Also, once when I was 4, I took a piece of bubble gum from the variety store. My mom found out and made me go back and apologize to the store owner. It was so mortifying that I pretty much avoided anything illegal from that point on. In fact, I once got caught going through a red light and went to court just so I could tell the judge I was sorry. She reduced my fine—I call that karma. There I go, being all philosophy-ish again.

Question 6: “Pick a teen drama.” The only one on the list that I’d ever seen was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Maybe this was setting me up to be Vlad the Impaler or something. Was he a philosopher? I’m sure he had a reason why he impaled all those people. Or maybe not. Sometimes philosophy is so f*cking enigmatic.

Question 7: “Your ideal Saturday night?” I was too distracted at this point by Facebook’s sidebar headline: “Miley Cyrus wore a prosthetic penis on stage last night”, so I randomly picked cooking. I hope to hell Julia Child was NOT a philosopher.

Question 8: “Which European city would you live in?” My first reaction was ‘Why isn’t Glasgow on this list?! WTF is up with that?’ Scotland had to have at least ONE philosopher, so I googled it. There was a list, but I didn’t recognize any of the names. Then I saw a picture of Steve Carrell (the American actor) next to someone named Michael Scot, and got suspicious that the Scottish philosopher site was also run by Facebook.

Question 9: “You promised to hang out with your Grandmother tomorrow. What do you do?” Some of the options were ‘Cook for her and her friends’, ‘Cancel at the last minute’, or ‘Grin and bear it’. Well, my grandmother passed away a couple of decades ago, so I chose ‘Look forward to catching up’.

Question 10: “Right now I am….” At this point, I had no idea how any of these random and absurd questions could lead to any particular philosopher except for Jean-Paul Sartre, so I chose ‘Confused’.

The program calculated my responses and came up with this: “You got: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Although you believe in individual freedom, you think that social contracts are necessary in order to allow society to function in a rational, non-impulsive way.” Close enough, Facebook, and in true philosophical fashion, I have logically concluded that it was my choice of Angie Bolen that led to this revelation.

I still had a little time to kill so I did the next quiz on the page which was “What Fossil Are You?” I went through the series of questions: Pick a vacation plan (visit a castle), pick a pattern (psychedelic), pick a moment from Drakes’ Hotline Bling video (WTF? Random.), pick a Greek goddess (Athena), pick outdated 90s slang (Aight), pick a moustache (Old-timey Western Saloon Keeper), pick a geologic time period (Ordivician, because it sounds Illuminati-ish and cool). I got this:

“You are just like an ammonite! These awesome looking sea-critters were everywhere back in the day, but not much is known about their behavior. Like them, you are elegant as fuck, but also seductively mysterious. People have been known to frame ammonites’ likeness on the walls of their majestic mansions and palatial villas and the same will be certainly be said of you one day.”

“Elegant as fuck” and totally philosophical? OK, maybe Facebook knows me better than I thought….

(Ken commented that he was confused by the fact that I normally put an asterisk in the middle of a swear word to keep this site a little more PG 13, but I used the F word twice at the end without an asterisk. I reminded him that they were direct f*cking quotes, so it was OK.)

 

My Week 228: Dishing It Out

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks and I know I have a lot of catching up to do, mainly because I got tagged for a couple of things by some blogger pals. I try hard to keep track but I only post once a week, so sometimes I have to go a ways back to remember what I’m supposed to be doing, and I only respond to these things if a) the questions are interesting or b) I can just make sh*t up. I don’t have an “award-free blog” which I recently learned is a thing, and frankly it befuddles me. It’s like celebrating Christmas but telling people “don’t buy me any damn presents” or being the Jehovah’s Witness of blogging (and in a strange twist of fate, they actually just came to my door right now to battle for my immortal soul, as they do fairly regularly. I won, as I also regularly do, but they took a moment to remind me that Jehovah loves me anyway, which is an award in and of itself, am I right?). Anyway, I guess some people have their own agenda or whatnot, and blog awards interfere with that, but me, I’m always looking for a topic that I can turn into something mydangblogggy, and just have a good time with it. Now, I’m not fishing for any more nominations—I’ve been tagged in a few awards already and it’s just the nicest thing imaginable to me that someone cared enough about my writing to do that, especially since I know that I’ll never get a Pulitzer or even a White Pine Award (that’s an Ontario thing) but goddammit, I’ve been nommed for the “Made My Dish Award” and I’m super-pumped. This award was totally invented by my friend Cecelia at Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks because I made dinner using one of her recipes, and it was delicious (I used gluten-free pasta but don’t tell her because I don’t want to give this award back). So now I have to answer her three questions, and they’re very good ones:

Unwrapped? Hard pass.

1) When you leave a restaurant, do you look for a bowl or mints or candies?

I might look for them, but I would NEVER touch them. Have you never seen those exposés where they take a blacklight and shine it on the candy bowl? There’s enough feces on those fruit drops to give you a nice healthy dose of dysentery. It’s a sad fact that a lot of people don’t wash their hands after they use the bathroom on the grounds that “I never actually touched anything” but YOU DID, BOB. And then Bob touches the candies with his poopy hands and it becomes a dish of norovirus-covered nougat. I have a strict policy to never deliberately ingest anything that is offered to me in an unwrapped state (see below for details). I also sanitize the handles of shopping carts, as well as the headrest and tray of my airplane seat. I recently watched a documentary about airline cleanliness, and it was a shock that not only are airplanes hotbeds of bacteria, but that the headrest is the dirtiest part of the plane. Who knew?

2) What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I assume that means “on purpose” because I have eaten a lot of stuff I never intended to. In fact, the other day, I was walking downtown and it was really windy. In Toronto in the wintertime, they lay down salt on the sidewalks so heavily that it’s literally inches thick, but people walk on it and crush it until it’s as fine as sand and intermingled with dirt and other unsavoury elements. So there I was, walking along and talking to Ken on the phone:

Me: So I’m taking the 4:35 train on—oh my god!!!
Ken: What’s wrong?!
Me: The wind just gusted and blew sidewalk salt into my mouth! Argh!
Ken: Eww.
Me (spitting): It’s stuck to my lip gloss! Oh my god, it’s from the SIDEWALK. People PEE ON THE SIDEWALK!  I’m going to get so sick!

And I did. I just spent the last week on antibiotics, and I don’t know if it was the dirty sidewalk salt, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

3) What is a candy that should be invented/sold?

If there was a candy that tasted like a good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, I would be happy, although I know you can get ice wine chocolate, so maybe it’s already been invented. I used to really like salted chocolate but right now, that’s giving me terrible flashbacks.

And as you know, if you answer any or all of these three questions in the comments, you can also claim a “Made My Dish Award”, the dish in question being a blog.

Also, I was tagged by my pal and fellow Canuck (with an abiding love of Denmark), Cyranny of Cyranny’s Cove for the Solidarity Blogger award, so thank you for that. There’s only one thing I have to do for this, and that is to talk about what solidarity in blogging means to me. So I’ll get serious for a moment and say that if it wasn’t for this wonderful blogging community, I would never visit other countries, try great recipes, learn about art and graffiti, read incredible poetry, listen to great music, laugh (especially at the adventures of Alistair and Alexis), cry, commiserate, rejoice, grieve, think deeply about important topics, and mostly try to bring a little levity to YOUR world.

Synergy:

Ken and I have been married so long that sometimes we don’t have actual conversations. We just KNOW.

Me: That.
Ken: Yes.
Me: I know, right?
Ken: Uh huh.

The other night, we were driving home, and we passed a sh*tload of pylons:

Me: What?
Ken: Couldn’t get a building permit.
Me: Parking lot then.
Ken: Mmm.
Me: That fire.
Ken: Yeah.

The one thing we DON’T have synergy with, though, is music. Especially when we’re driving and Ken has control of the radio.

Me: What IS that? Is that a documentary? Like, on the radio? NO.
Ken: She’s an author. It’s interesting.
Me: She’s crying because she got divorced and her mom won’t forgive her. Her mom needs to be more supportive and you need to find something else to listen to…OK, I’m not 60—try again…this sounds like elevator music…Disco is DEAD, Ken…not COUNTRY!…put on Virgin Radio…you just switched the channel from one commercial to another…go back—that was Nirvana…yes, I know you hate that Calvin Harris song, but I like it—don’t be so judge-y.

We usually just end up compromising on the Comedy Channel:

Ken: Is that?
Me: Yeah. I love him.
Ken: That one joke.
Me: I know, right?

And just this morning:

Ken: The doorbell rang?
Me: Yup.
Ken: Jehovah loves you.
Me: Obvs.

Synergy.