Throwback Thursday: Once I Loved a Duke

My love of dogs feels lifelong.

In my lifetime, my family had a Border Collie who I don’t personally remember, but have seen pictures of, named Hook (like the movie). He herded us a bit too much for our young ages (apparently we cried at the nipped heels) so they found another home for him. The next pup we had been a white German Sheppard named Coach (Craig T. Nelson‘s greatest character). I remember bits and pieces, but my main man growing up was my pal Duke.

Duke was a beautiful two-year-old Flat-Coated Retriever (we think) who we adopted from The Animal Guardian Society (TAGS). The organization really wants to make sure that the family and the dog are a good match and within the process there is a two-week

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Duke and I through the years. The bottom photo was taken a couple months before he was put down.

period where the dog can stay at the house. Duke had been living in a small apartment and was kept in a crate for long hours so he thought that our wide backyard was paradise. He ran and ran, I sat on top of out patio table to avoid his speedy laps. When he settled in and I began to fall in love with him our epic friendship began!

I loved him and he loved me. I hugged, kissed, and shared secrets with him. I was also a very sick kid with a lot of physical health problems, he was my cuddle buddy. My mom remembers me falling asleep on him and he’d notice and rest himself to not disturb me. He was far from perfect in his rescue-monkey ways (some bad habits that never really went away), he was some sort of stomach-of-steel-dog who ate crazy things!

Firstly, he loved drinking mom’s cold coffee left in mugs on livingroom tables. Then we get into the stuff that he ate that he was definitely not supposed to: batteries; candles; garbage. One time he got into my brother’s Halloween candy and ate only the red suckers, somehow leaving the sticks and wrappers for us to clean up later.

He was trouble, but he was mostly a happy boy who we all loved so entirely. He put him down when his body began to fail from a type of cancer when I was 13 and I remember missing him so much for so long. I didn’t think that I’d love another dog again, but we all know that didn’t come true.


Thanks for reading this week’s Behind the Throw Back Thursday! What was you first true-dog-love?

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Dog-Mother’s Guilt: A Quick Update

Photo 2017-05-15, 6 34 19 PM.jpgWow. This week has gone by so fast, I have a ton on my plate now that I’ve started my new job. Even though I’ve only worked there for a few days, I’m already feeling like I fit in (clearly a welcoming workplace). I’ve started getting the groove of things and it feels great to contribute to the team effort.

Something that I knew I would have a hard time with when I started working was mother’s guilt from leaving my dog Summit at home during the days. She and I were lucky to have all of the time together that we did; I was unemployed when we adopted her and she had a solid six months of all-love-all-the-time from mom (me). She seems to be doing incredibly well with the new schedule though and I’ve been committing to an after-work routine that I hope helps make the transition easier.

Our days go like this now:
-Wake up between 6:30-7:15am (that’s me, not her…)
-Summit gets out of bed around 7:45am
-I make Summit go outside to go pee
-Summit sleeps on the back porch and sometimes I have to go outside and be a pee-cheerleader (she sleeps in and is used to peeing in the late mornings[10:00-11:00am])
-I finish getting ready, drag out my goodbyes with Sum
-I Leave the driveway at approximately 8:20am
-I head home at 5:00pm and usually get in the door around 5:30pm (not a bad commute at all)
-I immediately get changed into dog park clothes and Summit starts jumping around
-We have tons of fun on a half hour dog walk through the conservation area
-I feed Sum and start making dinner for myself between 6:00-6:30pm
-By 7:30pm we’ve both eaten and I sometimes have some projects I need to work on, but when I’m able to, I like to give super amounts of loving to Summit!

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Look how cute Summit is in the hat they gave me at work!

Earlier this week, I had a moment at my desk that reminded me of how happy I am. My university education actually paid off (it hasn’t been paid off, but it’s officially shown me it’s worth) and I am finally able to do a job that I love in a full-time stable environment! It’s been pretty tiring and I can’t wait until my husband gets home from his month away from work! I look forward to having someone to help cook, clean, and spend time with Sum – plus, you know, I miss him!

I’m looking forward to the long weekend and I’ll definitely write a longer blog for next week! I hope that everyone stays safe and has fun – don’t forget to make time to rest (I always need the reminder so I assume you might as well)!

Thank You for Being a Friend: A Very Late Goodbye to the Golden Girl That Was My Grandmother

NOTE:

Firstly, I was lucky enough to be on The Marilyn Denis Show with one of my best friends a few weeks ago. The two of us are featured for being thrifty university graduates who get spoiled with makeovers! The episode airs tomorrow (Friday April 21st) and I cannot post any behind the scenes pictures until after it airs, but next week’s blog will explain how we got the makeover opportunity (a contest may have been involved), what the process was really like, and of course lots of pictures. Looking forward to sharing it all with you next Thursday on here!

 

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The front and back of the bookmark given out at my grandmother’s Celebration of life.

Until then I thought that I would write a virtual letter to my grandmother. My husband and I are attending a friend’s celebration of life this coming Saturday and I’ve been thinking about the celebration we had for my grandmother approximately a year and a half ago. I was much too emotional to sing or even speak at the event we had and I thought that I’d put those thoughts and feelings down in a blog post. As an atheist, I’m reminded of my grandmother in my thoughts. I don’t believe that she’s with me or watching me, but that her memory lives on in stories and photos which is why this blog post has a lot of meaning to me. If I had been able to bravely speak at my grandmother’s celebration of life (like my mom and my grandmother’s sisters had), this is what I would have said:

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A photo taken of my mother (the child) and my grandmother in the late 1960s.

My grandmother, Heather Campbell, was a beautiful, funny, and fun-loving woman who was born October 16 1945 and died September 7th 2015. Although she passed away just one month shy of her 70th birthday, she had lived a full life. Growing up, I had thought that my grandma was different than those that I heard about and saw on television. She was single, young, and didn’t really cook us meals, she was more like my mom’s best friend who we would share laughs with. We would crack jokes at each others expense and sarcasm was a staple element of our conversations. I only truly appreciated the unique relationship that I had with her when I had gotten older, this is when we often treated each other as equals – she had become my friend as well as my mothers.

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Grandma and my mom just before she was diagnosed with cancer.

I became closer to my grandma after she was diagnosed with colon cancer. At first, I wasn’t entirely sure what to think or what to do until someone had told me that I didn’t want to regret not spending enough time with her. I started visiting her by myself, which I had almost never done before. We always saw my grandma with my mom, but I was going to university and my school was near her apartment so I started touching base with her throughout the week. I would stop by after my morning class and we would watch The Price is Right, play along with the program, and make fun of the contestants. She often made me a sandwich and we would gab like girlfriends until I took the bus home or my mom picked me up.

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Photo of my grandma with my mom and her younger brother in approximately 1970.

When she had gone into the hospital for a long period of time (approximately 120 days), I’d started reading Pride and Prejudice to her, a favourite of mine. She had never read the book and enjoyed being read to, it was a nice change of pace from the few entertainment options that were provided by the hospital. I’d read for a few hours at a time and start to lose my voice, occasionally I’d stop to ask her if she was sleeping, but she rarely was, she would tell me to continue on and I would. I had gotten half way through the book when she had recovered enough to go home. She had fought with her body over a period of four months, a body that had gone through chemo and radiation only to develop a hole in her stomach that required multiple surgeries and months of hospitalization. She had been in there for so long that I didn’t think that she’d be leaving alive, but she did – incredibly she did.

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Some photos from Push for Your Tush 2015.

From there she took day trips with her friends, sisters, and my mom, but mostly she rested and looked forward to my sister’s wedding. A handful of us raised money and walked in the Push for your Tush colon cancer charity event in honour of her and she had such a big smile that day. She then celebrated at my sister’s bridal shower and she smiled her beautiful smile once more. By the time that my sister was getting married, my grandma was quite weak, but excited. Heather, my sister and my grandmother’s namesake, and (my

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A collection of happy photos from my sister’s wedding.

now brother-in-law) David had an intimate wedding of just 45 guests in their backyard and then a reception at a local pub. I really love the photos of my grandmother that day, she was so proud and happy to be able to see one of her grandchildren get married – another check off her list of ‘big-life-moments.’

My Grandma lived only two weeks after my sister’s wedding, she passed with pneumonia in the hospital surrounded by family. She is the first person that I have ever witnessed pass away and it was a difficult process. After the grueling six or seven hours of watching her body finally give up, we all cried and some people talked about that place called heaven. I knew that for me, she was gone, and that this would be the last time I would ever see her. Through tears, I kissed her on the forehead and felt like I would see her tomorrow, because goodbyes rarely feel real at the times that they’re said.

At the end of her life, Heather Campbell was a sister, a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, and more importantly a friend. Her best friends were her family members and there’s something really beautiful about that. I was lucky enough to grow closer to her in the two years that she hadIMG_6076.jpg colon cancer and even though she was in pain, I think that a lot of moments that took place in those two years could have been some of the best in her life. She was loved by many and she knew that. I loved her and she knew that too.

If I could stop by her apartment this afternoon to watch The Price is Right, I would update her on what’s happened in my life. I would tell her that Chris proposed a month after she passed away, that I won the opportunity to pick a wedding dress, that I missed her sitting on the couch as I chose my bridal gown, and that I graduated top of my university class. I would explain to her that I missed her at my

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Grandma and mom in approximately 1967.

bridal showers and that I couldn’t help, but feel jealous that she could attend my sister’s wedding, but not mine. I would tell her that I married the most wonderful man who lets me make fun of Jeopardy contestants and shares our sense of humour. I would tell her that I got to meet Marilyn Denis (who she, my sister and I love) and accidentally made a dark joke that she would have thought was funny, but Marilyn didn’t really get. I would tell her not to feel bad about not being able to be my mom’s best friend anymore, because I’ve taken on that role now and that we talk about her often. I would tell her everything that she’s missed and thank her for everything that she was because she was pretty awesome.

PS. My Grandma was a total Blanche and I’m closer to a Sophia… or maybe it’s the other way around, some days I don’t know.

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Three Female-led Shows I’m Currently Loving on Netflix

 

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Fun Fact: For the first few months in 1966, The Newlywed Game aired in black and white.

My relationship with TV can be defined in two words: lifelong friendship, it’s always been there for me and provides me with an easy escape from reality – it’s also just plain fascinating with never ending new shows to consume. I have always watched a lot of television, I had two older siblings and both of my parents appreciated TV. I watched all kinds of cartoons, sit-coms from the 60s to present day, and my family went through a long-lasting gameshow phase where we watched old episodes of Match Game and The Newlywed Game almost every night. As an adult, I still adore TV and it’s possibly become an even larger part of my life.

 

My husband works overseas for a month at a time so it’s just me, the dog, and the television (a truly happy family). Admittedly, I keep myself quite busy while my husband is away with having friends frequently visit, seeing my family often, and exploring my

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A photo I took while I was creating my Stardew Valley character.

hobbies like writing this blog, but the house does get pretty quiet. I often binge-watch shows while I’m multi-tasking, whether that be applying to jobs, writing this blog, playing with summit, doing Sudoku, or playing the computer game Stardew Valley. Television keeps me company and the character’s voices make the house feel less empty (I absolutely talk and sing to my dog on a regular basis, but she’s not that great of a conversationalist).

 

In the last handful of months, I (with and without my husband) have devoured Life in Pieces, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Penn and Teller: Fool Us, Weeds, That 70’s Show (minus the last few cringe worthy seasons), Garfunkel and Oates, W/Bob and David, Don’t Trust the B**** in Apt 23, Detectorists, No Tomorrow, Pretty Little Liars, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, The Returned, Scream Queens, plus a ton of movies.

So, what am I currently in love with on Netflix? Three main shows: The 100, Heartland, and Jane the Virgin.


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The 100: 2014 – ongoing
Best Features: Dystopic, Great Twists, Strong Female Characters, Great Character Development

I watched the first three seasons of The 100 last year and fell hard. I’m all up for some dystopic teenage fiction, but this show is so much more than that. The age of the main stars in the first season seems unimportant in the larger scheme of things; this is not a teenage soap-opera, it’s a well written science fiction show.

the-100The premise: Earth has been left uninhabitable by a series of nuclear explosions, but before the world was essentially destroyed the human race ascended into space to live together on a massive ship. With limited space and resources on the ship, there were laws instated including: only one child per household, and any committed crime (no matter how little) is punishable by death. The stipulation to this latter law was that if you were under 18 years of age, you would go into prison until you reached the age of majority to then face official judgement. For reasons that you will quickly discover, all of the under-18 prisoners are sent down to Earth and it gets a little ‘co-ed-Lord of the Flies’ (one of my favourite books) before the well written twists come into play.

I strongly recommend this show, they paint a fictional future with a lot of issues, but gender, sexuality, and age don’t seem to be the issues that they are in our reality. The series is still airing and Netflix updates the fourth season with a new 40-minute episode each week.


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Heartland: 2007 – ongoing
Best Features: Canadian, Beautiful Cinematography, Character Development, Grandpa’s Moustache

This show has been on for ten years, it’s been on since 2007 when I was still in high school! I remember seeing commercials for this CBC program when it was first airing on TV, but I paid no attention to it. I started watching it last month after finishing Weeds and wanting to watch something a little more moral. I am an animal lover, but have never been very interested in horses yet I really enjoy Heartland. It is an insanely good background show because it doesn’t have subtitles, it has a moderate pace and is really easy to follow. I actually liked the earlier seasons that get a lot of flack for having lower production budgets, I liked them because of the high school flashbacks I was having with the casts’ wardrobe.

The premise: After the passing of a single mother who lived and worked as a ‘horse whisperer’ at her family’s horse ranch in Alberta, Canada, her 14-year-old daughter is left to cope with her inherited gift to keep the family business afloat. She lives with and has

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If anyone claims that they don’t stare at grandpa Jack’s perfectly combed ‘stache when he’s on the screen they’re lying.

the help of her grandfather (my favourite character), her much older sister who is home from New York, and a young ranch-hand who is hired as a rehabilitation project while on probation.

Heartland really focuses on family, caring about animals, moral work ethics, small-town life, and Canada’s gorgeous scenery. There are minor love triangles, estranged family reunions, and more action than you’d think. Grandpa himself gets into the odd fist fight, the family saves/steals a lot of mistreated horses, and fighting off cattle thieves is surprisingly more common (on the show at least) than I would have originally thought. This is a show you can watch with your family and even my husband has admitted that it’s not as bad as he thought it would be – Grandpa’s rockin’ moustache and tough-teddy-bear personality makes it a hard show not to love! Netflix has nine seasons available, and season ten is currently airing on CBC.


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Jane the Virgin: 2014 – ongoing
Best Features: Hilarious, Ridiculous, Fun Narrator, Twists out the Wazoo, Diverse Cast, Fresh

This is probably my favourite show that is currently airing new episodes. The Mindy Project has kind of fallen by the wayside with some disappointing plot choices and its failure to have characters live up to their originally likable natures. Jane the Virgin has filled the Mindy-Project-sized hole in my heart. This show is delightfully dramatic and constantly makes me laugh. It is witty, quick-paced, diverse, and so incredibly fresh. Jane loves romance stories and is obsessed with telenovelas, Latin soap operas that consist of insane plotlines. The show itself, Jane the Virgin, is a modern American-made telenovela that airs on CW. The show has a fantastic (third person omniscient/commentator) narrator who interjects periodically with helpful reminders or he lets us know how the characters are really feeling. So much happens in each episode that what I am about to tell you is not really a spoiler at all – you find it all out in the first episode!

Jane has been brought up in a household with conflicting views on sex; her single mother had Jane at a young age and exudes sexual promiscuity confidently, while Jane’s grandmother is very religious and has drilled the sanctity of one’s virginity into Jane’s head from a young age. The three jtvpilotwomen live together in the grandmother’s house and Jane is now in her early twenties. Working a waitress job at a fancy hotel while finishing her post secondary education, Jane is in a happy committed relationship and is still waiting for marriage to lose her virginity. Within the first episode, a grave mistake occurs at what is supposed to be a simple appointment with her Gynecologist and this is the point in which her average life is inseminated with outrageous drama.

I fell in love with the show immediately, but if you think that it seems too overdramatic for you, give it a few episodes to see if you get the humour behind it all. Netflix currently has up to the middle of season three available and the new episodes are being released on a weekly basis. (PS. Prepare yourself for a moderate amount of sub-titles that are completely worth the portrayal of the natural flow of conversation in a Spanish-American home environment)


Do you watch any of these shows? What are your opinions on them? Let me know a TV show that you think I might like and I hope you might try watching one of mine.

Valentine’s Day: Cheap Dates and Quality Time

As Valentine’s Day is fast approaching (February 14th is this coming Tuesday), you may still need to come up with an affordable date idea. If we broke the bank to celebrate every holiday throughout the year, we’d be broke ourselves.  

Yes, you can absolutely splurge a little on an expensive dinner out, but if you’re looking to save money this year maybe you can try some of the following five activities:

  1. Instead of spending money on typical Valentine’s products, mutually decide on an at home activity that you could invest in.

16299381_1291067520951162_1872430606541810506_nThis year Chris and I bought a new boardgame that we can play with just two people (up to six) called Pandemic. We had a night recently when we became more familiar with the rules so that we can really enjoy it on Valentine’s Day. Romance can mean different things to different people, and to us in our first year of marriage (third year of living together), our best-friendship is a big part of our love. We embrace our friendship by making sure we will both have fun – we hang out. If you’re on a smaller budget I suggest checking out the games section of Value Village, I’ve found some great games there for under $5.00!

  1. Find a recipe on Pinterest.

the_best_of_dean_martinIf you have the time, cooking together can be a lot of fun. Chris and I often like to put on a playlist that works well with our meal. For example, when we cook pasta I like to put on my Dean Martin album, or sometimes we just put on a 90’s Spotify playlist to sing and dance to. You will either share pride over your delicious meal or laugh at what bad cooks you are which will make for a funny memory – it’s about the quality time you spend together more than it’s about the quality of the food.

  1. Write a love letter.

Chris and I have done this a few times for past Valentine’s Days as well as anniversaries. It costs nothing and makes you feel really good about each other. This is the kind of gift that takes a little thought and effort, but goes a long way. Writing each other letters is also a good practise to keep up healthy communication and remind one another why you’re together. Don’t be afraid to add some humour into it with inside jokes, love letters don’t have to be all serious (they’re meant to make you smile).

  1. Borrow a classic romance movie from the public library.

Sometimes Netflix just doesn’t cut it, especially if you’re like me and have watched basically every romantic comedy on the list. When that happens, you can check out this incredibly useful resource that exists in most cities called the library. You can even put things on hold or find out which branch has which DVD via the good ol’internet – this is better than Blockbuster. My local library carries modern movies as well as many older classics, including a personal favourite: Roman Holiday. Watching a movie on a comfy couch (not necessarily the big one with dust bunnies), having the ability to pause for bathroom breaks, and not paying outrageous prices for snacks are all good reasons to avoid the movie theatre this Valentine’s Day.

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  1. Explore a local art gallery.
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Hand Embroidery I made of the RMG last year.

Want to actually leave the house? Many cities have art galleries with free or donation based admission like The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) in my hometown or the Station Gallery one city over. I strongly encourage people who “don’t do art” to try this date idea, I think you’ll be surprised at how much you might enjoy yourself. Galleries are fantastic places to walk (healthy) and talk (healthy for your relationship). You can see how similar you are or just how much your tastes differ. Chris and I also like to make fun of the odd piece, again an art gallery doesn’t have to be a strictly serious environment – have fun!


These five ideas are simple and affordable, some also allow for comfort which is a huge plus in my books. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about extravagant gifts, it should be about celebrating your love for each other by spending time together and creating positive memories.

Let me know what some of your plans are in the comments!

A Photo Essay: Walking in Oshawa’s Winter Wonderland

collage-1I present you with a brief photo essay:

We love living near the dog park, but we never appreciate it as much as we do after a fresh snowfall. The Oshawa Harmony Valley Dog Park looks surreally beautiful when the trees are dusted with powder and the fields are blanketed in white sheets. I asked Chris to bring his camera for our walk on what was a truly beautiful day.

Summit, our approximately two-year-old Saint Berdoodle, loves running around in the off-leash zones at the park. She’s the first non-black dog that I’ve ever owned and I still haven’t gotten used to having a dog that doesn’t appear to suffer from severe dandruff during snowy days. Her smiles are just as big as my past dog’s though, and I enjoy watching her bounce around in a deer-like manor.

Chris and I put on our big winter boots and almost over dressed as the temperature was surprisingly warm for a snowy day. We trudged along the paths and took a lesser known route by one of the streams. We carefully crossed the ankle-deep water by stepping on dscf9234snow covered rocks (luckily, we didn’t fall in [our mothers would have told us not to do it, but like most adults we make stupid decisions sometimes]). Summit bounded across the newly frozen ice and her back legs broke through a thin patch. She quickly made it to the ‘safety’ of the nearby ground after getting some ice-cold motivation!

Before walking to the open field where Summit likes to play, we stopped to take photos with her by our favourite bridge. The entire walk, including twenty minutes of playtime, lasted for forty minutes and I could feel tiny drops of sweat beneath my scarf. We came home with rosy cheeks, runny noses, and new winter memories.

 

Check out our photos here:

Christmas Tree Trimming: Nostalgic Newlyweds

Decorating the Christmas tree is one of my favourite traditions and I look forward to it every year. Depending on my husband’s overseas work schedule, I have done it both with and without him over the last few years. I’m really lucky that he’s home for the holidays this year so I only had to wait until December 8th to decorate.

I appreciated that Chris wanted to participate in the tree decorating tradition, he seemed just as excited as I was. He made us Old Fashioned’s (we love bourbon) and I put on a Christmas record. A good friend of mine gave img_9725me A Charlie Brown Christmas: Vince Guaraldi Trio on Vinyl as an early birthday present and I’ve listened to it all the way through approximately five times already! For some reason, the slight crackle of vinyl makes me feel cozy, a similar feeling to having fireplace lit in the winter.

As the needle followed the grooves, I took a sip of my drink, and lit a candle that smelt like a balsam fir. It officially sounded, tasted, and smelt like the holidays – I was blissfully happy. We lugged out our fake tree and box of decorations from under the basement staircase and let Summit have a whiff of Christmases-past.

Approximately three Christmases ago, Chris and I purchased our first tree together. We bought a 6ft tall pencil tree, my dad thinks that it looks funny and weird, but we think that it is perfect for us. The small tree fits into our space and is quirky enough to suit our family. That first tree year, we had a Christmas

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Chris standing beside our nearly finished tree this year.

party where we asked our friends to bring us ornaments to decorate our new tree with. We were so happy with the outcome: an eclectic mixture of homemade, outlandish, store-bought, and traditional decorations that contribute to its unconventional nature. Each guest was also given a homemade ornament from Chris and I – a lot of work when you make 43 of them!

Back to 2016: Chris, Summit, and I enjoyed a quiet night of decorating. This is the first year that Chris and I are officially husband and wife for Christmas so I made us a wedding ornament and also a fun Eric Andre themed ornament (tried my hand at wood burning for the first time and loved it). The best thing about having had an ornament party is that every year we are reminded of the friends and family in our lives. Each ornament has a backstory and is associated with a familiar face. Unwrapping each trinket leads to talking about the loved one from which it came and this process really adds to the nostalgia that comes with the tree tradition.

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Top: Our stockings hung with care (temporary stocking until we print a photo of summit). Bottom left: Daq’s stocking. Bottom right: Daq and I at my mom’s in 2012.

Aside from ornaments, we also pulled out our Christmas stockings. I took a minute or two to cry when I held Daq’s old stocking that would now be handed down to Summit. She was a truly wonderful friend who I still miss very much. The mourning process is long and unforgiving, but I was lucky to be a part of Daq’s long and happy life. Chris and I, however, are excited to spoil our new fur-baby this holiday and have been taking her to the now snowy dog park twice a day. Life is all about change and making the best out of what you have – we do our best!

After turning the room lights down, Chris drank some eggnog with bourbon and I had some baileys in my hot chocolate. As if in a film, we excitedly watched snow start to fall out of our back window. We talked about how much we still love our eccentric tree and about the possible future trees we may purchase if we move into a bigger space someday. Isn’t it beautiful that sharing the tree decorating tradition with my husband not only reminds me of happy memories from the past, but also sparks romantic thoughts about the future? It’s who you’re with that matters most; fake or real, the tree itself shouldn’t affect the experience – a reflection of what Christmas is really all about.

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Summit’s Safe Place: One Month Adopted Home Update

Yesterday, Monday December 5th, marked my one month anniversary with our newly adopted dog Summit (See her Instagram account @Summit.the.sweetheart).

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Summit and I on our 2nd day together.

In a previous blog post, I explained the process of grieving my late dog Daq and finding Summit online. To summarize, Summit is a 2-year-old St. Berdoodle (Saint Bernard/Poodle) who was rescued when she was pregnant with 11 puppies. Her rescuers in the US sent her to foster parents who ran a Portuguese Water Dog breeding business and were familiar with handling the impending puppy situation properly. After finding homes for the puppies, the breeder then set out to find a home for mommy-Summit. When I saw her photo online, I had a weird feeling that told me she was right for us and I expressed this in an email.

Like all rescues, Summit has a colourful past that contributes to present issues, but she is the biggest sweetheart. It is believed that she was abused because of her fear of meeting new people. She loves playing with other dogs and has zero anxiety about her furry friends (even when they are strangers).

Summit has come such a long way in a very short time.

photo-2016-12-05-9-54-27-amWhen I first brought Summit home, I was excited, but it was hard because she didn’t trust me enough to let me hug her and cuddle her the way that you want to when you get a new fur-baby. The sweet girl had never gone up and down stairs before so she was limited to staying on the main floor. I decided that I would sleep on the couch that night so that she wouldn’t be alone – I think this really helped our initial bonding.

She seemed to be picking things up really quickly! On the second or third day, she was learning what her dog bed was and even showed interest in wanting to go upstairs with me. One day when I was about to jump in the shower, I saw her little head poke up from the landing! She had come that far, but then immediately forgot how she had gotten up there and couldn’t figure out the rest of the steps (she had this thing where she didn’t understand that she needed to move her back legs). I paused what I was doing and helped show her how to climb up the stairs on four legs (I had been doing this for days like a little animal). I was an extremely proud mama when she made it all the way up and discovered more of the house.

Summit had not only never used stairs at the age of 2, but she had also never seen a TV, nor did she know basic commands like sit, lay down, stay, etc. She was housebroken, but

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Summit watching an animal documentary.

with moving to a new environment she did leave me a couple stinky presents in the house early on. By the end of the first week she had conquered the stairs, was cool with the weird moving pictures in the living room, and had even officially mastered the art of sitting on command!

Week two included visits from more family and friends (lots of practice at meeting new people), but Summit especially loves playing with her friend/my mom’s dog Agent Deeks. These two are so infatuated, they love playing, cuddling, nuzzling, grooming, humping (we continually break them up) – they just can’t get enough of each other. After a week and a half of bonding time, it was hard to let go of my control, but I let her off leash on a woods-walk with mom and Deeks.

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Summit and Agent Deeks.

With her friend at her side it was more likely that she’d stick with him, she did such a good job and had so much fun! By the end of that week she had learned the lay down command and was growing even closer to me.

Week three was fun because Summit and I went on a road trip to see my sister who lives four hours away. My sister has a Bernese Mountain Dog named Dude (brother to Deeks), a German Sheperd named Sidney Prescott, and two cats named Rafi and Taco. Summit was fast friends with her cousins, especially Sidney who seemed to be ecstatic to have a girlfriend since she was always surrounded by males. The dogs had a ton of fun and I can’t wait to see them reunite for the holiday season.

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Summit and her cousins Dude and Sidney.

This last week has been nice, Summit seems completely at home now.

  • photo-2016-11-21-3-00-10-pmShe loves:
  • Looking through the front window
  • Standing on the backyard deck to guard her kingdom
  • Napping on her bed all day
  • Going for walks to Poke-stops
  • Playing with her dollies
  • My made-up songs and dances in the kitchen
  • Cuddling with me in bed
  • Playing with other doggos

This month of so many firsts has been hard work that has already proven to be well worth it and I can’t wait to share more of these experiences with her fur-daddy. Chris has been away for five weeks and is coming home in a couple days – he will finally get to meet the fur-baby that he has grown to love through the constant receival of unfiltered photos and videos each day. I can’t imagine how excited he must be.

We are so lucky that we found a new dog to share our love with and to spoil this Christmas. She still has a lot to learn and so do we as new puppy-parents. She is two, but has so many firsts that dogs her age would normally have already experienced that we are going through puppy stages and also getting used to such a playful girl compared to our gorgeous old 12-year-old labradoodle (we still think about her every day).

Dogs, like people, aren’t perfect and it is often the imperfections that we grow to love most. Do you have a rescue dog and have some helpful anecdotes to share? Let me know and give them a kiss for me!

More Pictures from this past month:

Talking (Quickly) About Gilmore Girls: Reviving Relationships of Old and New

DISCLAIMER: You must read the following blog post twice as fast as other blog posts.

 

tumblr_mf3zy3jtqe1rbumi6I was just hitting double digits when Gilmore Girls first aired in the year 2000. My sister and I watched the show regularly and I found myself looking to Rory as a bit of a teenage role model. She was 16, smart, kind, genuine, and a brunette – all things that I looked for in someone to admire at that age and exactly what I hoped to be at her age. Of course, Rory’s character became less admirable as the seasons went on (her character was pretty annoying sometimes), but I wasn’t any less interested in who she dated as I vicariously lived through her love life.

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Image from season one.

I was eager to rewatch the series when Netflix put Gilmore Girls online. It was funny how different my viewing perspective had become as I was now more interested in Lorelai’s love life (team Max forever) and Rory’s boyfriends seemed a lot less perfect than I had remembered them being. Jess was actually a terrible boyfriend, Dean was a bit obsessive, and Logan, who I used to hate, wasn’t actually that bad of a guy – all conclusions that I never would have come to at the young age that I had originally watched the show. Amazingly, Netflix announced the upcoming Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life mini-series while I was in the middle of the rewatch which made my excitement for the new productions even greater!

 

If you’re also a mega-fan, then you’ve been researching, reading, and watching the Gilmore Girls revival updates like I have been (Check out the subReddit I follow here). Tomorrow, November 25th, the four 90 minute episodes will be released on Netflix and the binging will begin.

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So what do you need to know before midnight tonight?

Luckily one of my good friends Harley Pageot, founder of the independent record label Fallen Love, has documented some of his age calculations that he made during his rewatching process! Here are the ages of some important characters that we hope to see back in Stars Hollow:

Our leading ladies and one cute canine:

  • Lorelei – 48  (will turn 49 in April)
  • Rory – 32
  • Paul Anka – unknown; at least 12 (his breed usually lives 12-15 years)

And what about all the kids that were born in the GG universe?

  • Luke’s daughter April – 23
  • Lane & Zack’s twin sons
    • Steve – 9 (will turn 10 in March)
    • Kwan – 9 (will turn 10 in March)
  • Rory’s dad Chris’ daughter Gigi – 13 (will turn 14 in February)
  • Sookie & Jackson’s:
    • son Davey – 13
    • daughter Martha – 11
    • unnamed third child – 9
  • Luke’s sister & brother-in-law Liz & TJ’s daughter Doula – 10
  • Gil’s daughter and son – 20 and 19

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These ages could be central to new plotlines; I’m really hoping that the show gives us a glimpse of some of the firsts that we got to see with Rory for these youthful characters. Part of the Gilmore Girls charm is the presentation of relatable life experiences through the eyes of different generations. Netflix’s accessibility has already introduced the series to a new younger audience that missed the show originally air on television. I’m hoping that the creators feature a few of these younger characters in their own version of 16-year-old-Rory-like-innocence, experiencing the ups and downs that come with coming of age.

What else do I hope to see?

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Remember this awesome Destiny’s Child video?

 A lot of fans are team Jess, team Dean, or team Logan, but Rory will likely be a reflection of Lorelai in the original first season – single, independent, and strong. #TeamIndependentWoman #TeamDestinysChildSongTitles

I have less specific hopes and a more general desire for the four mini-movies to feel like home. Gilmore Girls always had Stars Hollow at it’s heart of the story and the town felt immersive – who wouldn’t want to imagine living there? The seven seasons allowed us to feel right at home as we became overly familiar with the quirky town residents who seemed lovely on TV, but you’d likely want to kill in real life.

I’d like the new episodes to have a similar feel with Amy Sherman-Palladino’s amazing writing style, use of pop culture references, sense of humour, and warmth that originally drew ten-year-old-Cassy to keep watching each week.

I haven’t set my expectations too high in terms of wanting exact plot outcomes because I know that the creator and writers of the show will provide viewers with what we need: more mother-daughter moments that seem almost too good to be true, romance, character closure, some mistakes, some tears, a lot of hugging, Kirk and Taylor getting on Luke’s nerves, and small town nosy neighbours. We will get answers and like anything in life, not everyone will be pleased, but TV would be boring if we always got what we wanted.

Therefore, my expectations are that Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life will be what us fans need rather than what we want, but maybe…just maybe… it will be both!

gg

 

Snow Time like the Past, Present, and Future: Merry Memories in the Making

People often talk about how they would like to travel south for the winter and escape to a hot paradise, but don’t forget to appreciate your surroundings – especially if snow is involved.

I live in Ontario, Canada and we get a bit of each season around here. I think that getting to experience each weather change is really special, don’t you?

1 hyperdrive edit.jpgThe first snowfall of the season happened on Sunday and it made me so happy. The white flakes fell in a hyperdrive-like fashion as I was driving to visit my mom with Summit, listening to Christmas songs on a few alternating radio stations, and it finally felt like the holidays were close by.

Sometime in the last few years I started thinking about how certain places around the world are always hot or others only ever see snow, but we get both. We get spring, summer, fall, and winter which is really amazing.

I absolutely admit that a complaint or two comes out of my mouth like anyone else when I start to get sick of the heat and humidity or the extreme cold temperatures, but by that time I start to get excited about the next season. I have definitely been without a vehicle in the past, walking in the spring showers, sweaty summers, and windy winter flurries (fall is my favourite and I like to imagine it as close to perfect). The point is that I am lucky enough to be able to appreciate the beauty of the changing weather conditions while having a warm house to come home to and I’m truly grateful for that.

Let’s talk about how amazing snow is.

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Summit exploring the melting snow in our backyard.

Think about people who see it for the first time or how fun it is to watch a puppy playing in a snowy backyard. There is an innocent joy to experiencing the phenomena of snow and I think that we get a little piece of that each year when the first snowfall comes around.

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The late Daq and I a couple of years ago.

The snow also reminds me of my youth, playing hockey, going skating, and laughing while decorating the Christmas tree with my family. I smile as I recall a shaggy looking black labradoodle covered in white flakes, smiling back at me and further enhancing my love for her. It also reminds me of my husband who loves the snow.

If you take a few minutes to think about your own personal positive memories that are surrounded by snow you might not dread it as much this year (until you see your driveway that needs shoveling).

The snow has started melting already, but I look forward to it coming back! I am excited about making new memories this year as a newly married couple with our new fur-baby Summit. The falling snow, like the green buds on the trees in the spring, help measure the time that we spend together. Years from now the snow will continue to trigger happy memories that feature sheets of white and some cute doggy footprints.

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Handmade hat by Black Cabin Salvage Co. and handmade ornaments by Tammy Gay (take the workshop on how to make your own here).

 

Let me know some of your favourite snowy memories!

This coming Thursday I will be writing a pop culture post that is connected to appreciating a good snowfall and I’ll leave you with this quote as a hint as to what it will be about:

“Wait, close your eyes and breathe. I smell snow.”