Volunteer Shift Notes

Again, much to do, so I must be quick.  Also very distracted by Jack Bear.  Anyway, a few notes from my volunteer shift this morning:

– I wasn’t sure how long I’d last because I didn’t get much sleep last night, but I did okay.  Got there on time and managed to do my full usual shift, despite slowing down a lot as I got hungry

– did not change parrot papers for I think the first time ever, which was disappointing, but still talked to most of them as I worked at other things

– spot-cleaned the usual enclosures and managed to not get bit nor pecked at

– one of the skunks had a seizure while I was in with them, which sucked.  She was back on her feet not long after, but I hated the feeling of helplessness because all we can do when that happens is wait.  Bless her little epileptic self.  😕

– I met Edward the micro pig and got to take him out for a walk!!!  So awesome!  He’s super friendly and cute and such a good little guy.  Another volunteer came out with me because she’d been out with him once before and loves him, too, but he was my responsibility today, and I rocked it!  Or rather, Edward rocked it.  He even led us back to the door when he was done and ready to go back in.  So awesome!

Anyway that’s all I feel like saying right now.

More tomorrow, I’m sure


This Day, Though

Ugh this day, man.

I was able to go back to sleep after taking Brody out and feeding everyone this morning.  For, like, an hour.  Still so over-tired.

Managed to get some things done today, though, so there’s that.   Worked out my remaining budget and I think thus far I am on point.  Bought the photo op that’s been tradition for every con we’ve both been at.  It’s been probably four years or so, though.  I hope she still remembers me this time.

We’ll see.

If no further unexpected expenses come up this week (I’m looking at you, emergency dental bill), I should be okay to pick up the last remaining items I most hope to get at Fan Expo over the weekend, and still pay rent.  That list includes the Mark Hamill autograph I’ve been craving most of my life…or at least since I got Carrie Fisher’s auto on the pic of the two of them ten years ago.  I shall shortly turn my attention to being more press-like, and write up a post or two forThe Mind Reels about what to expect from Toronto’s biggest geek show.

Brody and I went around the block today, which we haven’t done in a while.  It was just supposed to be a quick loo break, but he seemed so happy, I decided we may as well just go for it.  He got a bit over-heated, but not too bad at all, and it didn’t take long to cool down again once we got back inside.  So that was nice.  I like hanging with that little guy.

The other big thing I accomplished today was to get the Mind Reels’ Patreon page more or less ready to launch on Thursday September 1st.  I’m pretty pleased with how it’s looking now, too.  I had a couple of ideas yesterday to make it look more how I want it to, and was able to implement most of them today.  I am super excited to launch, but also nervous to see what level of fail I may achieve this time.

I’ll be running a contest for anyone who pledges at or above a certain level each month ($7 to be precise) to see if I can drum up a little incentive early on.  We’ll randomly draw from those Patrons to win a signed script from one of our first 5 radio plays!  Which is kinda cool, I think?  On top of all the regular rewards that come with each pledge tier level?

Anyway, I’m nervous but doing it, anyway.  Www.patreon.com/TheMindReels is where we will be once we launch.  I can’t find a way to set a date and time to activate it, though, so I’ll have to do it manually in the morning when I wake up that day.  It’ll also be my birthday, so I’ll probably remember to do it!  Haha

Tomorrow is a volunteer day, and then I have a few more things on the To Do list to take care of.  Hopefully not too many, though.  I tend to be really sore and exhausted after my shifts.

And I’m already pretty sore and exhausted as it is.

Busy Long Weekend Ahead

Of course, for me, that simply means that there are reasons I’m expected to leave the apartment every day that aren’t work-related…and that sucks. Haha

If I could stay home, I would, most of the time. That’s part of the reason I’m always late for stuff. I have a difficult time leaving if I don’t really have to.

I’m also just kind of a jerk that way, I guess.

I love going home, though, after I’ve been out. I get such sweet greetings from the critters, for starters. And it’s like I can just relax and breathe again, which is nice. Being tense for all the time I spend away from home is exhausting! Haha

I’ve just learned one of my days away is going to be even longer than planned, which stresses me out a bit, but it’s true. It’s only one day. We’ll all get through it. I don’t look forward to all the stuff I’ll have to do between getting back and going to bed, so that won’t really be relaxing and breathing. But it’s only one day.

I can do that.

Speaking of critters, Brody and I did okay last night and this morning. I’m pretty sure some of the pack leader processes are just not going to work for me, but some will. Like, even though I have to struggle to keep Jack Bear out of his face, Brody is back to sitting before he gets treats. I’m trying to be consistent with it because I’m sure he’s wondering where the hell THAT rule came from all of a sudden. But he’d done it before, and he’s a smart guy, so he seems to be picking it back up pretty quickly again now. To me, it was not important to have him do stuff for my entertainment just to earn a reward – he earns them just by being him, as far as I’m concerned. But if it gives his brain a little something extra to do during the day, then it’s good for him, and therefore I am all about it.

The whole going through doors first isn’t exactly practical – my building doors close automatically, for example, and I don’t want to risk getting him stuck in or hit by one. He’s only little, guys! He already gets kicked a lot and stepped on by accident. I see no need to risk getting him bumped around more. My apartment door I’m trying to get us through more or less together. And stairs…just however we can get up and down them without either of us falling.

Walking…supposedly he’s supposed to walk beside or behind me, not in front. So far, he has always walked in front. Sometimes beside. There’s no way I want him walking behind me, though. I can’t keep and eye on him back there, and – to my mind – a walk is our time together. More for him than for me, even, but together nonetheless. Walking behind me is not together, and I’m just…no. Not doing it. I’ve got him walking next to me, more or less consistently, but he’s not always a fan. Plus, I can’t see his cute butt waddle as well as I can when he’s trotting out front. So while I am getting him used to walking next to me most of the time, I don’t think it’s going to be strictly enforced 100% of the time. Once we’re both comfortable with it, then I’ll go back to letting him trot a little bit ahead again. Not pulling, but not right next to me all the time, either.

That’s my plan, anyway. We’ll see how it goes and adjust from there.

Crap I Did Today

Okay, this one is legit going to be really quick, because I’m about to watch the series premiere of The Catch, and I want to pay attention to it.  I’ve been watching TV like a madwoman much of the weekend, and I want to get at least one more in before another work week begins.

Even though this (Easter) is one of my favourite holidays now, I think I did a fairly good job of getting things done, resting, and spending time with friends.  There’s still a pile of things I wish I’d had time to do, but I’m trying to be okay with how my weekend went as a whole.

Today eventually got really beautiful outside!  Brody and I went on two longer-than-workday walks, but even combined they weren’t as long as we used to do.  I think he actually got over-heated a bit on the second one, though.  He drank a lot of water when we got back home!  But we also went to Pet Valu, just to visit, and his favourite girl was working, so he was a treat-filled happy puppy!

I got more work done on my super secret project (it won’t be a secret forever, don’t worry), and a bit of felting done, but not as much as I had hoped.  Mended some things, did dishes, made lunches for work for the next 3 days, and had myself kind of a crazy yet delicious lunch, too.  Of course, there are now more dishes to do, but whatever.  I have to tidy up a bit before Tuesday because they are testing fire alarms in my building that day so they will be entering my apartment and it could stand to at least have a broom pushed around…but I’ll do that tomorrow after work.  I’m tired now, and it’s still light out.

I guess the biggest task I suddenly decided to get out of the way today was taxes!  I filed, just before writing this!  I’d planned to do it this weekend, and then by this afternoon, I was, like, “not gonna happen”.  Then I just did them, anyway.

Now I just have to hope there’s no audit.  ‘Cause those are kind of irritating, I find.  I mean, my taxes are pretty straight-forward, but still.  No one enjoys an audit.

Did you ever see that episode of Roseanne when the Connors were getting their taxes ready to file, and every time someone said the word “audit”, that dramatic duh-duh-DUUHHHH chord would play, and each time the characters on screen would notice it more and more.  Cracks me up just thinking about it!

I loved that show.

It’s the main reason why “crap” is one of my favourite words.  I once spent an entire summer watching reruns of Roseanne and writing down every line that included the word “crap”.  It was brilliant!

I should dig up that list again.  So much fun!


So, I’m sitting here felting away like a good little crafter-attempter, and suddenly I realize I haven’t written a blog post yet today.  And now I’m hugely distracted yet again by a puppy dog who wants to play, and at least one kitty who ways to chill in my lap…it the way of my trying to write, naturally.  And my ever-behind PVR-watching, of course!

I think this one will be shorter than most, and that’s okay.  At least I’m writing, and I can always revisit it all in more depth another time.

I went for brunch today.  I think it’s probably my favourite meal ever.  I have a Brunch of Awesome that I make sometimes…usually on a long weekend like this.  I’m not doing it this weekend because a) I knew I was going out today, and b) I’m broke so my breakfast-y meals this weekend consist of toast with brown sugar and cinnamon spread, or blueberry waffles and 100% pure maple syrup.  And blueberries.  Because delicious.

Anyway, I was super late for brunch…again.  I think I’m late for everything but work (most of the time).  Even appointments with doctors and such.  If not late, then cut close.  And I hate it, always being late.  Like, just assume I won’t be on time.  It’s pathetic but true.  I am always late.

What I think I hate more than being late, though, is leaving my apartment.  It’s a constant daily struggle.  I don’t know how to describe it, really.  Part of it is all the preparation involved; trying to remember everything and make sure I’ve got everything.  My brain and I take it to extremes, though, because I try to plan for every possibility.  It’s…insane, really.  You should see all the stuff in my ever-present backpack.  It’s like either I don’t know how to carry only what I’ll need, or I’m too afraid to risk needing something that I left at home.

Or what if something happens at home while I’m out, and I lose something I end up wishing I’d taken with me, instead.

Though there is also the risk of having something with me and losing THAT while I’m out.

I mean, that’s a lot of stress.  Every time I try to leave my safe haven.  It takes a long time.

I think the only reason I can do it for work is because I’ve been doing it for over 15 years.  It’s a routine.  A habit.  I can do it with my eyes closed, kinda.  More or less.  I try to do everything the same each morning, all in the same order.  It’s crazy, but it helps me remember.  More than that, though, it contributes to my sense of safety and control.  It’s all connected.

Even taking Brody out is a thing.  I had to set myself up a routine surrounding that, too.  I even had mini anxiety attacks sometimes when we were out, and kept trying to go when there would be fewer people out.  That didn’t last long and I am more adept at navigating doggie culture than I was, but I think that’s all largely due to Brody himself.  He’s very chill, and some of that has rubbed off.  He teaches me patience, and to slow down, and to acknowledge people in front of me instead of just walking by.  I don’t wear headphones when I’m with him because I’m with him, and want to be in the moment, experience the world around us.  Enjoy our time together.

Plus, I get to pet WAY more doggies than I ever could when I didn’t have a dog with me!  Way less stalker weirdo now.  In appearance, at least.

If I could afford to work from home and just go out to walk Brody, I think I’d end up being a shut-in.  Not because I’m agoraphobic.  I don’t think.  I just don’t like people.

So naturally I live in a city.

It’s easier to be invisible here, though.  For the most part, no one looks at me, or sees me, and that’s how I like it.  I like to have alone time.  I need it.  Most people need social time or they start to get a little stir crazy, but I have always been the complete opposite.  I need time to quiet my mind or I can’t shut out the noise of the outside world vey well at all.  I get overwhelmed.

The thing is, I actually do like going out for brunch and things.  I like Friday Night Date Night.  I like being around people, one on one or in small groups.  Most of the time I still have trouble talking and being present, but I miss it when it’s not there, and look forward to it each and every time.

I just have so much trouble leaving my apartment.  And hate everything in between that and getting to where I want to be.

This wasn’t as short as I thought it would be, after all.


Time To Run


Tonight, Tim and I welcome back the subject of our very first real interview, director/writer Jeremy Lalonde! Our friendship with this incredibly talented and funny guy began after we caught the opening night screening of his first feature film, The Untitled Work Of Paul Sheppard. We’d originally gone as a show of support for a couple of the cast members, but by the time we left, we were both quite in love with the film itself. Tim wrote a glowing review, then contacted the director to see if he would be interested in speaking with us for our podcast. It felt like a Hail Mary at the time, but Jeremy responded with an enthusiastic yes, and before we knew it, we were sitting down with him in a pub and sharing laughs over a couple of pints. I’d say the rest is history, but in fact I think we’re all still writing our histories as we go, so I am super excited to embark on this next chapter with Jer, and see what all he’s got on his plate now!

This episode will mark our second time in the studio this week, as well as our second time in the studio this year. Which is…kind of sad, really. We have periods of frustration every once in awhile, and this is one of those times. We recorded our final episode of 2015 back in December, and it’s still not posted yet – and it’s awesome, so I really hope you guys get to see it! The Mind Reels welcomes Robin Dunne, whom we’d met in the home stretch of our Guinness World Record attempt! It was even more amazing to have him in the studio once we were more awake!

And there are guests we hope to have coming up very soon, but I’m finding it difficult to invite anyone to come in when I have no idea how long it will be before their episode goes up. It’s like we keep taking a step forward – and then a couple back. We just can’t seem to really get going. My level of frustration merely increases with the addition of several ideas that I want to implement, but when we can’t even seem to get a basic foundation going, it’s hard to see any way to build on that.

I feel much the same way about really all of the projects – and ideas for projects – that I have on the go these days. I can’t get anything flowing, it seems. In fact, there are so many now that I can’t even get started, let alone flowing along, that it’s actually kind of depressing sometimes! It’s still really exciting, though, so for the most part, it’s just the frustration that gets to me. I want to run, yet we can barely walk.

The other thing, too, of course, is that it’s all really more than enough for a full time job, if it’s done properly. Merely lining up guests and shooting episodes is just the basics. A lot of work has to go into marketing, and researching and pounding the pavement to keep growing the show and the entire Smithee.TV channel. We have the basics – a social media presence on several platforms, a physical studio to work out of, we even have our own app – but we lack consistency. In programming, in advertising, in finding sponsors, and in remaining a presence online. We need to do all the legwork, and do it all the time. So far it’s all been sporadic at best.

We need to really get known with conventions in the area so that we either have a booth where we can conduct live interviews with the guests on site, and/or get in there moderating celebrity panels more often. We need regular sponsors looking to advertise on the channel. We need the equipment to work properly, and we need to post content on a regular, at least once a day, basis. We also need to promote that content over the course of each day, more than once, so that it turns up in people’s feeds on a regular and consistent basis. We need to be more mobile and have the ability to conduct interviews and shoot episodes on-the-go. We need more new content, and different types of content, to build on top of what we already have on the go.

We need to really pull together and get this team off the ground. Right now we’re just bouncing around a bit, like a balloon that’s losing its helium.

We also need more volunteers to do the off-camera work – switching camera angles and monitoring the sound quality while a show is filming, getting the episodes ready to post, and uploading them to YouTube and iTunes, including proper tags and the like. We need people – everyone, really – promoting the shows online via Twitter, Facebook, etc, all the time, and tagging everything so it turns up in search engines. We need to get people talking, watching, and listening, and then keep them tuning in as we grow. We need to build a real audience, then maintain it, and grow it from there.

All of these things take time, and since we all have full time jobs keeping us busy as it is, it’s pretty much impossible to devote the kind of time required to do all of these things properly.

But I believe it can be done.

Maybe we just need some kind of schedule, wherein everyone gets a bit of the task list to do on certain days and/or times. If we get a few more volunteers to help with some of it, and maybe write up a couple of templates to make some of the written tasks faster and easier (Tim and I have a basic pitch letter that we send to agents and the like when we’re looking into getting new guests – it’s pretty much copy/paste and fill in the blanks), then most of those things would be a 5-10 minute time commitment, instead of longer. They could happen much more regularly, too, which would help boost our presence.

So many quick little things can make all the difference, but we really need to hammer out a basic foundation for the show and the channel first and foremost. Until we can say with at least some certainty that an episode will be up within a specified timeframe, complete with credits, tags and any other pertinent information required by the guest, we’re kind of just treading water. We need to know when we can go live consistently, too, and promote the crap outta that before even beginning to shoot the episode.

We need a plan. We need to be consistent with its implementation. And then we need to market and promote and shout it from the rooftops. Every day. More than once.

I believe it can be done. I believe we can rise up and be amazing.

I believe it’s time to take the first step – and then keep stepping.

I believe – with a little more work on everyone’s part – it can soon be time to run.

Sense of Smell

Super nice out today, so I took Brody for an extra long walk.  He was so happy, trotting along, sniffing everything he could get at.  He was especially glad to not have to wear his coat or boots, I think!

Along the way, we caught the scent of woodsmoke.  A ton of houses in my area have fireplaces, and I think the smell of wood burning might be one of my favourite scents ever.  It’s different from other things burning – like toast – and is instead a warm, comforting scent that, for me, stirs up happy memories.

Are there scented candles that smell like wood-burning stoves or campfires or anything like that?  Because there should be.

Smell is one of our most powerful senses, and yet is quite often overlooked.  It’s linked very strongly to memory, and also to taste, as evidenced when one has a cold, for example.

I remember when I was quitting smoking, I was told I’d develop a greater sense of taste and smell fairly quickly.  Unfortunately for me, it was still kind of spring time, and everything I smelled was bad.  What a waste of a returning scent.

Some smells make me hungry, even if I’ve just eaten.  Bacon, bread baking, vanilla/cookies, pretty much anything on a barbecue.  Vinegar makes me want fries.  I guess in some way the scent of most foods make me hungry, but there are definitely a few that are tough to ignore.

I doubt I can even name the majority of smells that unlock memories for me.  Not all of the memories are good, either.  And some keep changing.  Like lilies will always make me think of Alysia now, if for no other reason than that we all wore them to her celebration of life, and they were everywhere that day.  Wood burning reminds me of being at Grandpa and Grandma’s, mostly.  Pies baking reminds me of my mom baking every weekend when I was young.

See now I want pie.  Where was I?

Certain perfumes and colognes of course.  What was that one all the guys were bathing in back in the 80’s?  Brut?

Some scents I don’t like still hold good memories.  Like, I don’t love the smell of mittens, toques, socks and/or those boot liner things Grandpa used to wear drying – and burning – by the wood stove or the heaters at home, but I do love the memories associated with having played in the snow and finally coming inside, out of breath, our cheeks flushed and our eyes shining with excitement.  I don’t love wet dog smell, but I adore dogs, especially happy ones who’ve just gotten soaked from playing out in the rain or a lake or what-have-you.  I don’t really love the smell of fresh-tilled dirt, but I do sort of love that it smells like life.  And I love the smell of fresh-cut grass, yet not when it gets rained on.  Wet cut grass smells groddy.

Sometimes it goes the other way, too.  I don’t even drink coffee, yet lI love the scent of it percolating.

Naturally, there are also a bazillion smells that I don’t like , nor do I like what caused them, nor do I like memories they may or may not stir up.

For example, liver.  Keep that crud away from me!

As Brody and I walk along, and I watch him sniffing away, I’m simultaneously awed by how much better a dog’s sense of smell is than ours will ever be, and also glad that mine isn’t that good, because there’s a lot of scents I could really do without as it is.  Imagine, though, what it would be like – for our palette to recognize even more flavours, for our memories to be even sharper at the re-introduction of a particular scent even years later.  I wonder if our minds would continue to store all of that information, or if it would let it go again, just as easily as we took it in?

I wonder if Hudson the polar bear would still remember me by my scent, were he to see me now?


Tis The Season

So, I’ve decided to add another category called Rants & Random High Assholiness. Basically a spot for me to vent about…well, it’ll likely be about people most of the time. They’re what makes me angry every day. I’d joked awhile ago about how I wanted to write a guide to help members of the general public be less asshole-y, and while I’m not sure I’ll actually write such a guide, I thought it couldn’t hurt to create a spot where I could dump such random nuggets of wisdom…largely in rant form.

This is my first post in that direction, though it’s not specifically a rant. Just a couple of things I was thinking about on my way to work, and these things have come up in my mind before, so I thought I’d go ahead and drop ’em here for a change. The only real problem today is that I am hugely distracted and busy, so I don’t have much time, but a post is a post is a post, so here goes.

It was a slippery walk to the subway this morning. I fell, but so far today only once. I’m pretty sure the world has a hate on for pedestrians, because nothing is really set up to make our lives at all easier. The roads are clear, but everything gets pushed to the side, to become a swamp of slush and rock salt and mud, which we get to wade through just so we can cross the nice clean street. Then the particularly douchey drivers think it’s hilarious to roll on by as close to the curb as possible so they can spray the swamp slush all over us. Wwalking on a snow-and-slush-covered sidewalk is a workout just to keep from slipping and falling (which I failed at this morning), and then some people all but pave the sidewalk with salt, so everything from the mid-calf down gets destroyed. And since salt just creates more slush (it’s not a substitute for shovelling, people!), it makes everything more slippery and messy than it would have been otherwise, which means that when you finally slip and fall, you can’t just brush that shit off like you can with snow. It stays with you until laundry day.

So my morning started with a slip-and-slide walk on the sidewalk (complete with drain covers and the like, which are extra slippery when wet – not a euphamism), then a wade through a slush swamp to cross the street – carefully avoiding those white lines of doom that get painted on crosswalks to make things even more harrowing – a quick dip in the slush swamp at the other side of the street (get to keep that mess until laundry day), and then a Risky Business-esque shuffle-slide downhill and across some fancy (aka more slippery) sidewalk stones to the intersection outside the subway station.

The subway ride was uneventful but for all the regular noobs who seem to have no idea that there is an acre of space in the middle of the train, as they would prefer to sardine themselves into the doorways, instead. Then, as I was about to board the streetcar to complete the last leg of my journey to work, some tool pulls up in his truck, RIGHT in front of the streetcar door. At a red light. So we had to go around that fool just to get on board.

There are a billion examples of why being a pedestrian is akin to being the lower life-form on the totem pole (anything non-human is, of course, the lowest, as they apparently aren’t even worth stopping for), but winter seems to bring the most of them to the surface.  Pedestrians are out in the elements, drivers are not.  Exercise a little patience once in awhile to be less of a dick.  That goes for any season, really, not just winter.

But speaking of winter, I wonder what it’s like living in places that don’t have as many seasons as we do here in Canada? Like here, everyone measures the turning of the seasons in different ways. Some measure by calendar dates, some via groundhog, some use the weather and/or temperature as an indication of which season it is. And everyone’s IQ drops as soon as there is the slightest hint of precipitation in the air. Long winter, early spring – everyone has their own way of determining what defines a season.

Guys – what does the groundhog do if there are 7 more weeks of winter, instead of 6?

Walking With Brody

Took Brody out for a walk earlier.  The day was calling for rain but it was unseasonably warm out, so I wanted to at least give him a chance of enjoying it a bit before the rain started.  I got us semi-bundled up and we headed out.

I kind of let him choose the direction we went in, because it’s usually just a quick jaunt along one end of our street or the other.  Once he’d decided, though, I felt we could probably get away with cutting across to another block and continue on a route we haven’t taken in quite some time.  I knew he’d like it and have the chance to investigate all the smells along the way.

The thing is, we got going, and the clouds broke apart and floated away.  The sun came out, and it got even warmer.  I ended up taking his jacket off, and decided we should just keep walking.  I think we went further than our usual long route, even!  And he was awesome.  He seemed to be in a great mood, and in no hurry, but not stopping for long at any point.  Just sniffing and peeing and trotting along the way he does.  It was so quiet and relaxing and we met other dogs and people – it was just really really nice.

i even thanked him for it when we were riding back up to the apartment in the elevator!

Obvious harm to our planet’s environment aside, it was really nice to just hang out with the puppy and explore our neighbourhood a bit and not be in any kind of rush, or have a goal in mind.

I’d never have done anything like that before living with a dog.  He has definitely changed my life – and me – in our short time together so far.  I actually have a lot of anxiety in terms of leaving my apartment, let alone interacting with others once I do so.  And in the beginning, if I saw people coming along the sidewalk Brody and I were on, I’d have mini panic attacks and brace for the possibility that I would have to acknowledge them in some way.  It was sometimes a bit better if the other people had dogs, too, but I soon learned you never really know how THAT’S going to go, either, so I started stressing about that, too.

And while Brody hasn’t turned me into a social butterfly who loves going out to roam around, he has made significant changes in how I relate to my immediate world.  For one, I actually know some of my neighbours, both in the building and in the area.  We greet one another whether there are dogs with any of us, or not.  I still have anxiety leaving the apartment and encountering others along the way, but it’s not nearly as bad.  Sometimes I barely even notice it.  Walking with Brody has taught me a new level of patience, both with the speed (or lack thereof) in which we walk, and the number of times we stop, mixed with the duration of those stops.

Brody slows me down and teaches me how to just wander and explore without any goal in mind.  I’m not just going to the store, or the subway to get to work.  On days like today, we go for a walk.  I catch myself taking in the trees and sounds and air around us.  And also taking a crazy number of pictures because I actually live in a pretty nice area, and while Brody doesn’t seem to love the park as much as I do, we both still get a lot of peace from just roaming the quiet little residential streets, as well.

I don’t think I’d ever go out on my own, or anything, but I sure do love going for long lazy walks with this cute silly puppy dog, and that’s a HUGE difference for me!


Learning Brody


When little mister Brody Graham the Yorkie McPuppyFace first came to live with me, we were pretty much strangers to one another. I already loved him because of all I already knew about him from his people. To him, though, I was a virtual stranger. He did let me rub his belly pretty quickly that first night, which was a good thing. Not that he’s particularly choosey when it comes to potential belly rubs, I’ve learned, but still – it felt like a good step.

That first night was pretty riddled with anxiety for me. I’m already not good at adulting, and suddenly I had this sweet little guy – who was not a cat – requiring my care and attention. I was not yet one of his people, and my home was not yet his home. I had no idea how to read him – his moods, or what he wanted or needed. Every time he made a sound at ALL, I assumed he wanted to go outside, so I got up and took him out. Every few hours, pretty much. All night long.

I didn’t know if he would be too sad without his people he’d grown up with. I didn’t know how he’d do in an apartment, if he would bark at people in the hallway or be able to find the pee pad I left out for him when I went to work. I had no idea how he and the cats would do. And it turned out I’d never really walked anyone on a leash before, so basically he and I were all over the place for the first few days.

Lucky for me, Brody is pretty much the greatest dog in the world, and he took on every challenge and change like a champ. He is also very sweet and patient with me, and loves me even when I make mistakes.

Like when I accidentally made him fat and haven’t quite gotten all the weight back off.  Or that I don’t trust either of us to keep him safe if I let him go off-leash (except for when we go to the basement to do laundry together).

And we learn together, all the time.

brody Nov 25 2015

We’ve established some basic routines, despite my ineffectual leadership (I am not a very good Alpha, but I’m doing much better than I was initially), and I really love taking him for walks. I view it as our time together, and I treasure it. Except for when the weather is crappy. Then neither of us enjoys it and we both want to get back inside ASAP. He’s still stubborn sometimes, but we’ve found ways to work with it. At first, every time we went for a walk it was like a constant struggle. A battle of wills. What I liked to call a “directional difference of opinion”.

But something changed as we began to get used to one another. We found a rhythm of sorts – a sense of how to walk together instead of both of us trying to do different things. And I learned to pick my battles. It’s made both of us much more agreeable, really. I realized that I can let him choose when to stop and sniff around when we have more time, because so often on work days we don’t have that luxury and I have to rush him. So to make up for that, I let him slow me down on my days off. He’s taught me patience and makes me leave the apartment and talk to people and stuff. He makes me social. Kinda. More than I was before.

I mean, I see people out with their dogs all the time, and they barely even look at the dog, let alone interact and really be together. The dog seems more like an accessory, or something. Meanwhile, I can barely take my eyes off Brody. Partly to make sure he’s not eating something he shouldn’t, but mostly because he’s so damn cute. People come up to me all the time to meet him and pet him and talk about him. He just gives off this vibe, or something. People and other dogs are just drawn to him naturally, I think. I am in even more awe of him than they are, too, because they don’t know him like I do. I get to live with him and be around him for all his little noises and movements and silly random actions. I get the benefit of understanding that he just makes everything better, automatically. Just by being himself. Other people don’t get to see all that, which makes me lucky. That Brody lets me get to know him more and more each day makes me special.  It makes me part of his pack.


I’ve learned how to hold the leash when I want him to stay more on one side or the other, and if I really want him to walk instead of sit and look around for an undetermined period of time, I’ve learned that I can carry him about 3 steps, and put him back down again, and he’s good to go. I’ve learned his memory is amazing, and his concentration can be very difficult to break if there is a chance treats may be involved.

I’ve learned that he drools like a machine for pineapple, McDonald’s fries, popcorn and pretty much any fruit. He also likes crackers and veggies. And cheese. He and I are both pretty ridiculous for cheese.

I learned to wash his face, especially around his eyes, regularly to prevent build-up of eye goo.  I’ve learned how he likes to be pet, and his favourite cuddling positions. I’ve learned which kind of toys he loves, and how he likes to play. I’ve watched him try to figure out how to play with the cats (who love him, by the way), and they all even try to groom each other from time to time.

I’ve learned what most of his little noises mean, and how to read his various moods. I’ve made up little songs for him – ditties, if you will – and he knows how to calm and cheer me when I am upset.

We’ve learned how to be family, and I couldn’t be more content and grateful and honoured. Well, every day I think I couldn’t possibly be any happier with him or love him more. But then every day I do love him more, so that expression doesn’t really apply here, I guess.

Anyway.  With his fake-looking little button nose and huge dark brown eyes, I think the only thing I really haven’t figured yet is how he deals with his own level of adorableness.

Because I sure as hell can’t.

Brody Nov 8 2015