Thursday, July 25, 2013


Have you ever heard a word, maybe a word you hadn't heard in a while and thought to yourself, "hey, I like that word!"

Every once in a while, this happens to me.  It happened today.  That word is vexatious.  Vexatious is my word of the day.  I will attempt to work it into conversation if possible, for the rest of the day.

Just to explain, the meaning of the word really doesn't come into it when I find a word I like.  For me, I think it more about how the word sounds or looks that does it for me.

Funny thing is that the word "vexatious" is completely contrary to what I'm presently thinking about.  At the moment, I'm thinking about how happy I am that I supported the Polyphonic Spree in their kickstarter project for their new album.  As a backer, I got a pre-release download of their new album, "Yes, It's True" the other day.  I have been listening to it at work, off and on for two days now.

It's a great album, a solid collection of wonderful songs and not one in the bunch that you'd go "meh!" and skip over.  If you are looking for a happy, upbeat, awesome soundtrack for your summer, go over to their website: for more information about the record, the band, and how you buy their stuff (either locally or online).  The album is officially out on August 6 and I can totally vouch for it's general wonderfulness.

The Polyphonic Spree - "You Don't Know Me" (Lyrics Video) from Good Records Recordings on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

summer thoughts

Just some random thoughts on a Wednesday:

1. Regarding the weather: there is really no pleasing me. First it was too wet and now it's too humid. Does being Canadian give me a license to whine about the weather?

2. Laughter is the best medicine: because so much of what I am reading in the news lately is breaking my heart (trains exploding, flooding, random horrible acts of animal cruelty, children dying after eating their lunch at school, etc.), I've been listening to a lot of funny stuff to try to distract myself and create some balance. As you know, I'm a regular listener of Marc Maron's WTF podcast. Thanks to my brother, I have started listening to BTW with Jeff Garlin (thanks Patrick!!). In between, small doses of the Lonely Island and some 70's cheese, are helping to lighten the mood.

3. No Gleeks in our house: Am I the only person on the planet who had no idea who that dead Glee guy was? On Sunday, when I saw his name trending higher on Google News than Trayvon Martin, I thought he must have been someone important. When I read one of the articles, I quickly realized how wrong I was.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

This is a public service announcement (without guitars)

UPDATE (July 17):  The story I mentioned in this post, via the folks at Birch Haven, was actually the same story which was picked up in the news about the W-Mart in Kemptville (I have never heard Kemptville referred to as "K-Town" - a common nickname for Kingston).  You can read more about the story here.

Have you ever sat in a parked car, on a hot day, with the window opened a crack?  If you haven’t, you should  try it.  It does not feel good.  Actually, it feels horrible and very quickly, you’ll find that you are feeling very ill.

Image courtesy of the Manitoba Pug Rescue.

Every summer, unfortunately, my Facebook feed and inbox fill up with stories about dogs that are left in cars while their guardians are shopping, eating, etc.  More often than not, the stories have a tragic ending.  The poor dog has died from heat exhaustion.  Occasionally, the dog survives but only after having endured what I can only imagine is a horrible, painful, experience.

Whenever we are out doing errands, I’m always keeping my eye out for dogs stuck in closed cars.  I have the police and animal control numbers in my phone.  I would have no problem calling in help or breaking a window to help a dog in distress.  I was really upset to read about an incident which happened in my hometown this week.

From the folks at Birch Haven Rescue and Rehabilitation Services (BHRR), a wonderful local rescue specializing in giant canine breeds and equines:
Very disappointed in Wal-Mart in K-town and four of their staff including a supervisor.  PLUS, the owner of a dog.

They saw nothing wrong in this Newf (possibly x) locked in a truck with the windows barely half open in 26 degree weather before the humidex!

Well, I did and as they would not call the police or ensure the dog was safe, I and Sean did.

One of their staff told me 'oh, the owner says he will be right back' and that 'the windows are partly open, he is fine.'

Another staff member said 'we got in trouble last time we called the police, so you have to.'

The owner said 'he is fine, the windows are down.'

The supervisor said 'we monitor the time for clear distress and if need be, call the police.'

I said to the Supervisor, If you wait until the dog is showing clear distress and you then call and then leave it up to the police to get the dog out, the poor dog is not going to have a good chance....

The dog was in the vehicle to no less than 20 minutes (from another Customer who was also watching who heard me talking to other staff - from where I noticed it was not yet ten minutes - I had my timer going on my phone) and I tried to educate on heat safety and your pet and no one cared.....NOT one!

The dog is fine.....this time....thanks to Sean & I.

Police made aware and they also have his license plate and I shall escalate with Wal-Mart as this protocol they have is going to kill lives. Police supported the breaking of windows and any means to get the dog out. Thumbs up to them!

Please please everyone, leave your pets at home......not in the vehicle.

We take our dogs to the park, to the vet, to the groomers, etc. but we would never leave them the car (no matter what the weather), unsupervised.  If we are going somewhere that the dogs can’t go to, we leave them at home or we don’t go.  This seems like a simple concept to me. 

I would encourage all pet owners to do the same.  If you can’t stay with them in the car to monitor them (or to keep the air conditioning running), leave them behind.  You’ll be happier, they’ll be happier, and no one has to die.

In case you missed it, here is a link to a video which was produced last year by Dr Ernie Ward.   You can see exactly how hot it gets inside a car, and how fast it happens.  You may be surprised.

Monday, July 08, 2013


Originally uploaded by Julep67
Much like many folks across the continent are, we’re having a heatwave here. Actually, it’s more like a humidity wave. The air is thick and smelly. The sun is really hot. The combination of the two sends me diving for shade or an air conditioned room. Kind of sad when you think about how much we look forward to the summer.

Not sure what I was thinking but I decided that I’d try to get back into doing some baking. I used to bake all the time (although not that much during the summer) and have missed it a bit. Actually seeing what goes into stuff is a big part of my motivation. I can control the contents and the results are normally much better than store bought. The first thing I did over the weekend was bake bread. Not so much of a kitchen heater because I have a bread machine. I hadn’t use my machine in a while. In the old house, I didn’t have room to keep it out in the kitchen so I didn’t think about it much. The new kitchen has a perfect, visible, spot to store it in. I made some onion bread and it turned out well. It would have been tough to have wrecked it though.

In an attempt to make something “summery” and to try a new recipe, I baked a peach cobbler. Southern Peach Cobbler to be precise. I’m not posting a photo of it because it wasn’t the most photogenic dessert I’d ever made. It tasted okay but I’m not sure I’d make it again. If I decide to try it, I’ll probably put a lot more peaches in it. It wasn’t as peachy as I would have liked. The topping was interesting, like a sweet biscuit. This recipe was most like peaches and dumplings I suppose. I served it with some vanilla frozen yogurt. It was a bit summery but I think I’ll hold off again until the local peaches are around. It wasn’t a complete disaster but I don’t think it was good enough to justify heating up the kitchen on a summer day for.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Accidental Gardener

Summer Flowers
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Our flower garden continues to surprise me.

When we first viewed this house, in November, we really didn’t pay any attention at all to the front yard if I’m honest. Our main concern was how to finish off the fencing in the back yard for the dogs.

Moving in January like we did, the first few months we were in the house, the front yard was completely covered in snow. I could tell that flower gardens did exist in the front because there were spindly bits of small bushes poking through the snow but it wasn’t really possible to figure out what was happening.

Earlier in the spring, while Mark and our friend Andy were installing the permanent fence at the top of the yard (we had installed some inexpensive snow fence during a freak mild snap which happened 2 days before we moved in), the front garden started to reveal itself.

Because had such a snowy, cold winter, the tulips and daffs were late in coming. We were pretty impressed when we saw them start to bloom. Neither of us is great at gardening but we enjoy a pretty blossom as much as the next person. As the weeks passed, more things were popping out and I could sort of figure out what some things were. Thankfully, my mum is a wonderful gardener and she’s been able to help me formally identify things.
Fortunately for me, the woman we bought the house from really seemed to know what she was doing in terms of how to plant perennials. I have not planted any annuals and there has been constant colour, in the numerous flower beds on our front yard. From what I can see, we should have things which will continue to bloom well into the autumn. We’re doing our best to keep up with some basic weeding but with everything else we need to do this year, I can honestly say that while we are enjoying the parade of mystery flowers, it’ll be a year or two before I can give it any proper attention.

I will, however, stop and smell the roses, poppies and peonies as they come and have been taking a few photos here and there. This garden is something I would have never done myself but I must admit, even in it’s semi-neglected state, it is pretty.