Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Travel Blog

Pheww, I made it back alive and sane. Panama City to Savannah to Home is a long drive, but it wasn't so bad. I mostly slept. And read. And stared out the window as I tend to do.

As I've mentioned, I've been consumed the last little while with getting my new website up and running, and it's pretty much there. I'm sure I"ll be tinkering with it for months to come, because there will always be something I want to change, but here it is:


Let me know what you think!

I'll probably be concentrating mostly on that blog for the next couple of weeks until I get a routine straightened out, so ole Lost in Thought might be looking a bit neglected. Such is life.

And that is all! I hope everybody is having the same lovely weather that I came home to today. Spring has sprung and the snow is effin gone! (For now...Lord knows there will be some sort of freak April snowstorm that happens just to bug everybody and remind us that we do indeed live in Canada)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ocean phlegm and other oddities

So we are leaving Florida soon, and I'm totally cool with that. I'm over the spring breakers yelling at all hours of the night, stepping over vomit on the beach, and being hooted at everytime I walk anywhere. God I'm old.

I've spent most of my time here working away on my new website. I'll post the link up soon if any of ya'll are interested. I'm finding it to be a frustrating process, but my comprehension of HTML has improved a smidgen. I'm still messing about with colours and whatnot, and annnyways.

I'm driving back to Canada with my parents, and I really don't know how to feel about this. Dreadful? Nostalgic? Excited? Time will tell. I went on a shit load of road trips when I was younger, so this brings to mind those days of yore, when I almost always had a great time. However, 20+ hours in the car? That'll be interesting.

We will be in Savannah on Saturday and I cannot even wait. I've been wanting to check out Savannah for a long time now.

I was going through my pictures that I have taken so far, and to be perfectly honest...there's not a whole lot to take pictures of here, so I have about 100 pictures of sunsets, which are nice and all but look more or less the same. Anyway! I've parred down the pictures to just these few.

It's weird,I've seen deer at home, in fact we have a plethora of then. Why then, was I entirely obsessed with capturing photos of deer in St. Andrews State Park? I have no idea. Wildlife in other places always seems so much cooler than wildlife in your hometown. I also took about 20 pictures of a duck before I was like, "what am I doing???"

I thought this Pelican was cool. These we don't have at home, so I'm allowed to take 20 pictures of it.

This breakfast caused me to never want to eat pancakes again in my entire life. Ever. For some reason, whenever I see something made with pecans, I immediately have to order it. So I ordered "pecan pancakes", which was fine and all, until she brought them to me. There were three pancakes that covered the entire plate, and I wanted to vom as soon as I saw them. I could barely eat one, let alone three. When the waitress came to collect the plates at the end of breakfast, she was like, "I guess next time you'll have to order a short stack honey!". I was like, a) there will be no next time, and b) I didn't even know that was an option, thank you for mentioning that while I was ordering. Never again.

I stared at this jellyfish for a long time before I realized what it was. At first I was like, what is this? Ocean phlegm? Then I got closer and you could see through its body. Still, gross creature. They look so cool whilst in the water, but on dry land? yukkk.

Sunset #1

Sunset #2

And there you have it! Two weeks worth of pictures! I'm off to tackle the wonderful world of websites again!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Has made my vacation 150% better than it would it been had I never seen it. I pretty much really hate McDonalds...but this commerical makes me hysterically laugh for a long time. And then I sing the song alll day. Never in my life would I actually eat that fish, but I highly admire the effort.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Random Notes from a warmer climate...

Oh crikey, I'm getting so behind on reading everybody's blogs. I'm trying.

I recently got hired as the local expert for Niagara for Planet Eye Traveler, and it's awesome, but also time consuming. I've also been busy applying for other jobs because I need to find some way to support myself upon my return home. I"m hoping to find something part time and not horrible. Preferably something that doesn't involve sitting for 8 hours a day.

I have a ton of Florida pictures to put up here, but I will have to do it later as we are leaving soon to check out some ghetto garage sales and then go on an airboat ride through a swamp. The boat is called the "Wild Thang". Yesssss!

I've changed my mind about Florida/Beach vacations. I used to be very leery because I'm kind of a jumpy person and I need to be doing something at all times, but I've learned to slow it down a bit here, and it's kind of nice. At home I usually am always stressing about something, but I haven't felt that familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach since being here, and I will love Florida forever for that!

I am endlessly entertained at sitting and watching the ocean. This may make me sound like a complete old lady, but I could seriously stare at it for hours. I am determined to spot a whale or a dolphin. And the sound of the waves? I adore it. The other day I was walking the beach and I saw a jellyfish. It was so cool. And disgusting looking.

Yesterday we went to the loudest bar in existence and I tried oysters. They were always something I thought I would hate as I am not one for really chewy food, but shockingly, I liked them! There are oyster bars all over the place here! And the parking lots are just covered in empty oyster shells. When I first saw that, it made me gag a little bit, because ewww, but I suppose it's better than just throwing them out.

We sat on the beach yesterday for an hour and I ended up with the mother of all burns on my legs. It's weird...when I was a kid, I simply turned brown. Not now though. I should know this by now...I am pale as can be, so I have no idea why I thought I would get this beautiful tan. I am currently lobster red. And I rubbed my forehead when suntan lotion, but only in one part apparently, so I have a giant spot on my face that is white, and the rest is red. It's a nice look!

I also signed up for MatadorU...finally! And I'm the process of setting up an actual travel blog. I am stuck on the name. I stink at coming up with clever names for things. It's the part I dread most whenever I write a blog post/article or whatever.

The accents down here are so cool. Except! I can never understand what people are saying. I love Southern drawls, but I cannot even tell you the number of times a person has been talking to me and I just stare at them blankly, repeating, "pardon?", about three or four times before they inevitably give up, or someone I'm with translates for me. Mostly it's the old men I can't understand, and let me tell you, there's a lot of them here. Everybody is super friendly though; I have had numerous strangers put their arm around me and pat me on the back. It's so jolly here.

ohh and apparently we are leaving RIGHT now...I will catch up with everyone soon!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Annnd I"m here.

Woah. Yesterday was one of the longest travel days eva! It's kind of hilarious now that I've actually slept...but I didn't think we would make it. Plus...you know how the day before travelling always turns into the longest time ever? Like the time seems to slow down considerably? Ahhh yes, I usually love the nervous anticipation of knowing I"m going somewhere, but yesterday was a bit much. And it wasn't even like we had to sleep at the airport or anything, which I would be really unimpressed with.

We got up at 3am to leave for the airport...we were supposed to fly from Buffalo to Atlanta, and from Atlanta to Pensacola. But Atlanta got a "snow storm", so all flights to Atlanta were cancelled. So for whatever reason, they rerouted our flights so we would now be going from Buffalo to Chicago, from Chicago to Atlanta, and from Atlanta to Pensacola. We sat in the Chicago airport from 3 hours and in the Atlanta airport from 5 hours. It was a lot of sitting. And a lot of eating airport food. I bought several coffees, all which cost me about 5 bucks. Anyway, it wasn't horrible, but I'm just glad to actually be here! The sun is shining today, and although it looks like it might be a little cool....we are right by the ocean and sand and there is no snow!

Also...when we actually got to Atlanta there was not even any snow accumulation on the ground...it was raining. I guess it may have been snowing earlier in the day, but the way everybody was talking I was expecting a total blizzard!

Well, I'm going out in search of hot beach boys that aren't senior citizens! Tomorrow I'll do a post on skeet shooting which I finally got to try and which I highly recommend to everybody! So. much. fun.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My last day...

and it's odd, I feel kind of...sad. I guess that is to be expected when any era of your life ends. I've been at this job longer than I've ever been at any job, and I must admit that it has gotten real cozy. So cozy in fact that if I didn't shake myself and move on, I probably would have fallen into some kind of boredom induced coma.

The people that I work with are super and nice and have just been so very lovely for the whole time I've been here, but the work itself? I really need to do something that is not only more challenging, but something that I'm a little more passionate about.

I will not miss the mailman though. No person in the history of my entire life has ever annoyed me as much as that guy. He is seriously ridiculous, and I cannot handle him. Everytime I see him, I am left with a feeling of rage that doesn't go away for about 15 minutes. Even just writing about him makes me agitated. annnnd breathe.

So as much as this is needed, a little bit of fear is creeping in, because what if I fail miserably? I'm totally happy about this decision, but the looming future is a little stressful is all. That being said...I'm totally excited!!!

So I'm off to see my dog buds soon, then I'm going skiing tomorrow, then I'm leaving for Florida on Monday night. Florida will basically be a working vacation, and honestly, work will probably be necessary to fill the time. Because I'm not entirely sure what there is to do in Florida beside sit on the beach for extended periods of time. Which is fine...I'll just be doing that like a total nerd with my laptop. As long as there is no snow, I will be happy as can be.

Annnd, I will be able to start actually posting more regularly. Change...it's a comin.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crazy Dog Lady Strikes Again...

Hey, if anybody is interested in reading another article I wrote on Canine Profiling, specifically the issue that happened in Brampton with those two dogs being taken away, you can check it out here.

haha, I never get tired of talking about it! And honestly, it's because people still respond in such a ridiculous manner. In one discussion, a guy compared pitbulls to raccoons and was like, "if you think pitbulls can be trained not to be aggressive, let's see you train a raccoon!". And I was like, a) what the hell do raccoons have to do with anything? b) that doesn't even make sense, why would I ever want to train a raccoon, they are creepy and c) you're an idiot.

I think in a lot of cases I'm just preaching to the choir, but I always hope there is that one person out there reading it who just thinks, "huh, I never thought of it like that".

You just never know I suppose.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The things you find the basement...

Okay, so I've mentioned before that I'm selling a whole bunch of random stuff in order to make some money for a travel writing course. And I'm pretty much there...but I'm totally going to keep selling stuff as long as I can find it because it's hilarious, and the people that have been coming to buy my stuff are interesting, and there is nothing I like better than interesting people.

Anyway, I was in the basement and I came across a giant tote that I hadn't looked through yet. In addition to Beanie Babies, Berenstein Bear books, and a Rosie O'Donnell barbie doll, it also included this:

My Michelle Tanner doll. That talks. Creeped out yet? Do you like the dent in her forehead? Unfortunately, she doesn't speak anymore. I even changed the battery and was going to take a video of her speaking because it used to be so hilarious and robotic, but no such luck.

Phrases that I remember her saying include:
"Don't call me squirt!"
"My name is Michelle"
"No way Jose"
"You got it duuude"

I have no idea why I kept this doll. And now I have no idea what to do with it. I don't really want it, but I also don't really want to throw it out. I'm pretty sure if I put her in the garbage can she will come to life at night and stab me in my sleep.

"My name is Michelle, bitch!!"

Soo yeah, now she's just sitting on the couch staring at me.

Ummm anybody want a disturbing and mute doll?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Two more weeks, two more weeks...

Two more weeks of this, two more weeks. I cannot wait to be outta here.

I just took a walk to go grab something from the storage area and it is snowing like mad, but wet snow that blows diagonally, so it ends up directly in your face. I decided to stop and get a coffee on my way and a cute boy smiled at me and held the door at the store and it was pretty much the highlight of my day so far. Anyways...I eventually get back to the office and go to the washroom, and heidi ho, my makeup is running all over my face and I looked like I had been punched in both eyes, and I most certainly looked that way when I was in the coffee shop. FML. Anyone know of a good waterproof mascara? Clearly I need to stop cheaping out and buying the $5 stuff.

This weekend was so much fun.

We went to see the movie Valentine's Day and it was at this old school theatre that I loved. The people selling tickets were in actual booths and there was a "refreshment centre". And a preview for Sex and the City 2 came on before the movie...I cannot even wait. They appear to be in Egypt or something which seems odd, but I don't even care because I just miss that show. Valentine's Day was...meh. Way too many characters and different story lines for my liking. Plus, I had to pee so badly for the last half hour that I could not even concentrate. In retrospect, I probably should have just went to the washroom, but I have a thing about not missing any parts of movies. I hate being confused then having to ask people what I missed. I really don't want to be that person.

The drive home through the snowy steep mountains was hella scary, but I white knuckled my way through it. The roads are pitch black, and I couldn't turn on my brights because it just reflected the snow, so I couldn't see any potential deer eyes, and oh my god it was scary.

I found this game at Target called Quelf. I gotta say, it is the most hilarious board game I have ever played and was quite possibly the best $25 I have ever spent. It is seriously the most random thing in the world. And it is the best game ever to play when you are drunk. You basically pick up a card and have to do whatever it says or take the penalty. It's a little bit Girl Talk and a little bit Dweebs, Geeks and Weirdos (ummm was anyone else obsessed with that game??) We sang drunk renditions of kumbaya, take me out to the ball game and for one turn I had to make a halloween mask out of household materials and wear it for the entire game. And the cards always say, "you have to do this without laughing", which really, is kind of impossible. Stacey picked up a card at one point that said something like, "pretend you are a singing, rhyming prison guard, who has no lips, has his knees stuck together, and who is covered in maple syrup and feathers. You must make up a rhyming song about how you got that way". I almost peed my pants. Oh man.

Tubing was good times, and nobody broke themselves. It was flipping cold though. Apparently you are supposed to wear goggles while tubing? Who knew??

One night at around midnight, I got a sudden urge to go play in the snow, and two of my friends were like, 'ummm no", but luckily Sarah came out with me. We did some snow angels, and then made a pretty sweet snow carving. Well, as sweet as it can get when you've drank several bottles of rye/vodka.

All in all a great weekend! It made having to come back here even harder, but I just need to keep repeating-two more weeks, two more weeks.

Tonight, I'm off to the t.dot for a reading. Chuck Thompson, whom I have a huge crush on, and who is one of my favourite travel writers ever, will be reading along with some other authors. Here's hoping I can come up with a coherent sentence to say to him! And also that it stops snowing so we don't need to drive through a blizzard to get there!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ahhh Weekend Away

I don't know if it has come through in my blogs, but I"m a leeetle stressed at the moment. Stressed in a good way if that makes any sense at all.

I'm going away with the girls this weekend up to Ellicottville, New York. It's only like two hours away, but it feels like a million miles and I can't wait.

We go every year, and it essentially involves hanging out in our pajamas, a whole lot of drinking and ridiculous drinking games, watching random 80s movies such as The Karate Kid and that's about it. Actually, last year we tried snowboarding, which let me tell you, was interesting. And by interesting, I mean incredibly painful.

There is also a place to go tubing which is just the about the most fun thing ever. You get towed up the hill on a pulley, and then race your friends down a huge ice hill. The potential for injury is high, but the potential for awesomeness is even higher.

ALSO, also, right next to where we stay there is a pub. The grossest, most rednecky pub you can imagine. Like, there is no way in hell you would ever use the washroom there or god forbid eat anything from the kitchen. Even the mixed drinks are questionable. The pub parking lot is usually full of trucks with gun racks. There is a huge sign out front that says "Welcome Hunters".

We stick out like sore thumbs, despite the fact that we in no way look spectacular.

But you know what? The people are nice. Except that one time we almost got our asses kicked by a skanky girl and her huge boyfriend. Apparently we "looked" at her boyfriend wrong, and one of my friends almost got a high kick to the face. Seriously, the girls boot was literally an inch away. After that happened we had some other lady create a distraction by waving her arms all wildly and we hightailed it outta there. I only win hypothetical fights. I can jab, jab, upper, upper with the best of them, but if someone's actual face was on the recieving end I would likely cry.

K, I so need to see if I can find a picture of the pub now....

Classy right? I can't wait.

Happy Weekend!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ummm how cool is this?


Okay, I just randomly heard someone in the office mention the piano stairs, then I had to google it. And it is so cool!

Stuff like this makes me almost as happy as flash mobs.

I really, really like the idea of people engaging with their environment. And I really want to walk on that piano staircase.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts

So...I've been having a week. It's basically been a ball of stress.

I gave my notice at my job the other day. I will no longer be employed here as of the end of February. I cannot do it anymore, I just, I can't.

Even the thought of staying until the end of February is enough to get me hyperventilating.

I don't even know how to explain this without sounding like a complete knob.

All I do all damn day is sit at the computer pretending to look busy. I would venture to say that about 1 hour or less of my work day is spent doing actual work. I can almost feel my brain melting. The thought of coming back here day after day after day makes me want to drive far, far away and never come back. It sucks my will to live. I'm not at all trying to be dramatic, that's just exactly what it feels like. I used to think it was the perfect arrangement because I could just write all day. Except that doesn't happen. I start to write and then someone comes up behind me, I have to minimize the screen, then lose my train of though. This happens like 50times a day due to the fact that my desk faces the entire office. It is just not a conducive situation to writing. As a result of this, I just zone out for 8 hours, then go home, then I hate myself because I am being such an unproductive member of society. And so the cycle goes. This job is going nowhere, and it is going there quickly. The last couple weeks, I can't even go home and write after work because the thought of sitting at the computer for any more time makes me want to go insane. As you would imagine, it's hard to try and be a writer when you spend minimal time writing.

Anyways. So yeah. I hate my job, but now I've quit, and the end of February can't come fast enough. I"m sure many people probably think this is a dumb decision, and maybe it is. But I'm okay with that. I've gone over this and over this in my head, and I'm done. I need to start working on some goals, and nothing is getting accomplished sitting here day after day wishing I was some place else.

So I've been blog absent because my brain is drained.

The highlight of my night last night was watching a documentary on TLC about Conjoined Twins: After the Separation. As interesting as it was, it clearly indicates that I need to get a life. Shake things up.

I'm going away with the girls this weekend, and I cannot even wait. I need to be out of this city, and with my friends and laugh and drink and crawl my way out of this ennui.


Oh, and for anybody who was wondering, those two dogs who were due to be euthanized on Feb 5th are still alive at the moment. The case has blown up, and has now gone to court. It's still not certain if the families are going to get their dogs back. Stupid Ontario government.

So! I am extremely excited about new beginnings at the end of February. I am SO excited to move on and just go for it. I'm sure the rest of this month will fly by (minus the actual daylight hours that just drag by. I can actually hear the minutes ticking one by one). Ahhhh.

Back to regular posting soon when I actually have something interesting to write about!! :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Travel Tuesday-Peace, Love and Paris

"Jim. Jim. Jim. We need to go see Jim now!!" It was becoming a chant, and the rest of us were starting to get a little annoyed. Jess would not give it a rest.

Six of us. Me, Jess, Laura, Lisa, Rob and Asmir. We were leaning against the cool stonework at the bottom of the Arc de Triomphe. It was a boiling hot day in Paris, and the 284 steps to the top of the Arc didn't help with the sweatiness of the situation. Not that the view wasn't worth it; it was.

"Can we go see Jim now?? We've been wandering around Paris all day, seeing nothing but dumb tourist stuff!!” Jess was verging on whiny.

"Okay, okay, we'll go!" I said. Anything to get her to stop talking. I kind of agreed, because as great as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre was, sometimes you just want to get down deep into a city and away from the masses. Okay, that's a lie; I thought the Louvre was boring. We ran through the museum like we were in the Da Vinci Code, and we were still in there too long. And the Mona Lisa? It's cool and all, but it’s not worth getting elbowed repeatedly in the ribs for as crowds of tourists jostle for the perfect photo. You know what? It looks exactly like it does in pictures, and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the real and a copy. But hey, but I'm not an art connoisseur by any means, so take from that what you will.

"Asmir, you going to come with?" Lisa inquired. We all turned to look at the new friend we had made in front of Notre Dame that very morning.

"Oh. Of course!” He had wandered up to us as we all gathered in front of the giant church to stare, and he had stuck to us like glue ever since.

"Okay, we'll go. But first, I need to fix my pants somehow, they are driving me crazy." Laura gestured down to one leg of her khaki pants which now had a long flap of fabric dragging on the ground. "I have no idea how this even happened".

"Don't worry, I fix", Asmir crouched down and grabbed the hanging fabric in his hand. "Ready? One, two, riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip, oops!" Laura's pants now had a huge tear going from her ankle to just past her knee. We all started cracking up, as Asmir hurried to remedy the situation by tying a haphazard knot so the tear didn't get any bigger.

"Okay then. Thanks!” Laura chirped. Laura was the nicest person on the planet. Always eternally optimistic about anything and everything. "One, two, ooooops" would soon make our way into every conversation we had.

Rob whipped out his guide to the Metro, and we planned our route to our destination: Pere LaChaise in the East end of Paris. Jess was practically jumping up and down by the time we emerged from the Metro station across the street from the cemetery.

We entered from the main gate and didn't bother getting a map. At this point, I think we all thought Jess would be divinely led to Jim's grave. No. The moment you walk into the cemetery, Paris changes. Row upon row of flower covered graves, with row upon row of trees lining the paths, make it a beautiful albeit confusing place to find your way around in. The trees created a shady canopy, blocking us from the summertime heat. It was silent, it was still and it was eerie. We slowed down; heck, even Jess slowed down. We stopped and looked at all the different graves, venturing inside some of the large dark tombs. None of us really knew anything about the cemetery, beyond the fact that it held the body of Jim Morrison, Jess's idol. The cemetery is one of the most popular places to visit in Paris, but as we walked in and out and around the worn paths, we barely saw anyone. It was an environment that forced you to stop and reflect on where you were. We couldn't rush in any direction, because no matter what, we were going to get lost. Better to just wander.

We stumbled upon Jim's grave mostly by accident; we rounded a corner and saw a small group of people in the distance.

Jess let out a happy squeal, yelled, "that's Jim!!!", and took off running, her sandals slapping the ground as she went. The rest of us took our time wandering up to the group, none of us being overly concerned with seeing Jim's resting place. That was Jess's thing. We chatted about what we were going to do afterwards: I was planning on doing some window shopping and people watching, Laura and Asmir were heading to an art museum, and Lisa and Rob were going back to the hotel to rest. We caught up to Jess, who was standing just outside the black iron fence that encased Jim's grave. One group of people were singing, and another group of people were passing around a joint.

"I can't believe we are finally here!" Jess was beyond excited. How great does it feel to be with somebody when they cross something off their life goal list? Pretty damn great.

We all got to chatting with two hippie esque Australian boys. One had long dreads, and the other a long pony tail. They were lounging on the ground by the grave, passing a bottle of red wine back and forth.

"Drink?” one of them nodded at me. I grabbed the bottle and took a swig, passing it to Jess, who also took a big drink. The cheap red wine made its way around the circle, ending with Lisa who gave it back to the dreadlocked Australian. We all turned to stare in silence at the grave of the rocker. Jess slipped off a ring she had been wearing for the entire trip, and threw it over the fence. It landed on Jim's grave with a clink.

"I've been waiting to do that for so long!".

We were all silent for a couple moments longer, linked by wine, pot smoke, peace, love and rock and roll.

Soon after, we said our goodbyes to our Australian friends and made our way back through the winding lanes of the cemetery.

"Okay," Rob said as we walked, "that was cool!"

"I told you!” Jess replied, grinning. "This was way better than any dumb church or museum!!"

And she was right, it totally was.

We found the exit, and stepped out onto the sun scorched pavement, horns blaring, people jostling. With one glance back into the cemetery, we exchanged “byes” and “see ya laters”, then all went our separate ways.

This is one of my favourite days of travelling ever. I almost can't describe how it makes me feel without getting ridiculously sappy, but in that moment, I felt really connected to the people I was with, despite how different we all were. That is one of my favourite things about travelling, because in a moment like that the world shrinks a little bit, and makes you question why people just can't get along. There is almost always common ground somewhere, be it a love of red wine, a love of a dead stoner rocker, or just the knowledge that the moment you are in is special, and will never, ever happen to you again. I tried to make this story as non cheesy as I could, but seen as I feel cheesy and nostalgic about the whole day, it's hard. But, I just, I loved that day and I loved those people, and even though I'm 99% sure I'll never see any of them again, I still feel connected because we were all there living in that moment.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My one dog post per week....

I don't want to harp on this and drive you all crazy, but I am sunk down deep in pitbulls and breed bans, and the more I get into it, the more I just want to freak out. Because this is what happens:

From the Brampton Guardian:
Rambo on death row as city, owners battle over breeding
Friday January 29 2010
Rambo wasn't hurting anyone.
No one had complained about the young dog, he hadn't escaped 75-year-old Maria Gaspar's Vodden Street yard, and he had never bitten anyone.

But Rambo and his sister, Brittany, are on death row at the City of Brampton's Animal Shelter right now while their owners are embroiled in a battle to get their beloved pets back before they are euthanized. The deadline- Feb. 5.

Both dogs were seized from separate homes on Jan. 13 by city animal control officials who said they believed the dogs to be pitbulls.

Their owners say that's not true, and both say they have proof from veterinarians tracing their backgrounds as boxers/American bulldogs.

The city's veterinarian has a conflicting opinion, according to a letter sent to the Branco family, who own Brittany.

Gaspar is heartbroken. The senior citizen can't understand why Rambo was seized. She said the confusing part is, the city has licensed Rambo as a boxer/American bulldog cross for the past two years. His vaccination certificate from North Town Veterinary Hospital classifies his breed as a boxer cross. And, no one who has seen the dog has ever thought he was a pitbull, according to the distraught Gaspar.

The city told Gaspar that no one had complained about Rambo. He had not escaped the back yard. If anything, he made passersby laugh the way he would jump up onto the roof of his dog house to look over the fence, she said.

But it was that quirky little habit that led to him being removed from his home and held by the city under threat of euthanasia.

A passing animal control officer spotted Rambo on his perch in December, looking over the six-foot fence, and told Maria Gaspar she had to move the doghouse because Rambo could escape. Gaspar agreed, but then the issue of Rambo's breed came up. She was told to get a letter from her veterinarian attesting to the dog's breed, and to have him neutered. Gaspar said she got the required letter, and an estimate for neutering, and gave both to the city.

In response, the city sent a letter telling Gaspar there is no completed certificate from a veterinarian, and that "Rambo has been confirmed to be a pitbull by his parentage as well as the characteristics as defined in the City of Brampton Dog By-law..."

The bylaw defines a pitbull as a pitbull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire bull terrier, American pitbull terrier, or "a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to those dogs."

"It's not, it's not pitbull," said Gaspar emphatically, struggling for the English words to describe her upset. She can't talk about Rambo without crying.

"This problem is like a son problem," she said, emphasizing how important Rambo is to her. "Now, I no have dog, I no have money, I no have nothing... It's not fair."

They can't fight the city because her family doesn't have any money for a lawyer, she said, but Rui Branco is taking on the fight for both dogs.

His family owns Brittany, and they are in a similar predicament. Like Rambo, there were no complaints or allegations of biting against Brittany. The licence for Brittany's father, Tyson, was due for renewal, and an animal control officer went to the Branco's house to collect the $20. She was told Tyson was given away to a friend, but that's when the issue of Brittany's lineage arouse, according to Branco.

He has hired a lawyer who is preparing to file a motion in court to get the dogs back.

"This is an injustice," Branco said, pointing out how ironic it is that he will not only have to pay a lawyer to fight for his family's dog, but, as a resident of Brampton, he will also contribute to the cost of defending the city.

Tyson, also Rambo's father, was also licensed by the city at one time, although Branco said the family did not realize the city had classified him as a pitbull, especially since he was born in December 2005, one full month after the grace period for owning a pitbull. If he was a pitbull, Branco said, the city should not have issued a licence to him at all. But, he says, the real mistake was labeling him a pitbull in the first place.

He has the microchip paperwork for Tyson, and a veterinarian's letter, stating, "He is in my opinion a healthy and well-socialized pet and is a cross between an American Bulldog and a Boxer."

A second veterinarian, Dr. David Kirkham of the Cheltenham Veterinary Centre, has added a letter stating Brittany's mother, Jersey, is "unquestionably a purebred boxer."

"I don't understand why they are fighting me so hard on this," he said. "Brittany doesn't look anything like a pitbull."

The Branco's said the city did not have a warrant to seize Brittany when they arrived on Jan. 13, and Rui's brother, John, confronted the city worker, who then called for backup. Several police officers and other city animal control officials arrived, and, ultimately, the dog was handed over. However, the Branco's argue they were intimidated into willingly turning over their pet and feel proper procedure (a warrant) was not followed.

For their part, the city is considering four charges against the Branco family- owning a pitbull born after Nov. 29, 2005 in relation to Brittany and in relation to Tyson, failing to licence a pitbull, transferring a pitbull without consent of the poundkeeper and permitting a pitbull to breed.

The Gaspar family faces one charge of owning a pitbull.

This just really breaks my heart. I honestly have no words. It needs to stop and it needs to stop soon.

I hope this thing causes a shit storm for the City of Brampton/Brampton Animal Services, because they deserve it. This is not acceptable.

annnnd breathe.

I'll be back next with a non dog related post! :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesdays Random Thoughts.

I am sucking royally at this blogging thing lately...I mean I have lots of stuff to write about, but I've been thinking a lot about the direction of the blog and yada yada. I think it needs a more focused theme, because it is just so hodge podge at the moment. This is basically as far as I've gotten with this line of thought. Just putting it out there. I also want to change the look of it, but I have zero graphic design skills and a low comprehension of html and all that jazz. I know how to bold things, link things, annnd that's pretty much where the knowledge ends.

Anyway! There is a lot of exciting things coming up this year...I'm hoping to start Matador's Travel Writing Program in March, when I'll have much more free time. My quest to sell random shit and then use the money to pay for this course is working out nicely. I have big time love for the powers of Kijiji.

Florida is happening in about a month, as is Savannah, Georgia. I have a wee obsession with all things Southern, especially the accents, so I am excited about this. I've mentioned before that I am a total history geek, and Savannah is perfect for this. I've reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil to prepare.

You have no idea how excited I am for Dogtown in May. Like, everytime I think about it, I want to jump around. Jump up jump up and get down. I cannot even emphasize how much I cannot wait for that trip.

Pitbulls have taken over my life and my brain space for the past several days, and whether anything will come of it or not will remain to be seen, but I'll tell you one thing, it sure has been enlightening, and I am becoming increasingly frustrated with politicians.

I was at an editorial board meeting last night, which essentially was two old guys talking about history and their newspaper reading routine. I shit you not, one guy spent 10 minutes like, "well, I read the Washington Post in the morning while I"m drinking coffee and eating bran, and then come lunch time, I read the jdkafjdf". I hate when people talk just to hear their own voice and are not aware of the fact that the people they are talking to are not at all listening. Then we went around the table and we had to say what we would like to see more of in the paper. Fine. One guy went on for a long time about the need for more historical stories and he backed up this argument with numerous documents he had printed about...honestly, I don't even know. I enjoy history just as much as the next guy (really), but this man reminds me of my asshole grade 6 teacher, and that's all I can think about when he talks.
Anyways., it gets to my turn and I say, "oh more stuff about events going on in the area. And of course it would be great if you guys could cover the animals at the shelter more". And that's not just crazy dog lady talking! Ole Charlie was at the shelter for two years, he had one article in the paper and within days, he had several people wanting to adopt him. The newspaper can be a powerful medium. I really don't think it's a dumb request. One story a month about an animal that is in need of a home? Seems reasonable. So we get back to the guy who resembles my asshole teacher, and he looks at me, and is like, "oh yeah, I agree with you. More cats and dogs. And maybe more stories on the wild turkey in the North end". Please look up sarcasm in the dictionary, and you will find that precise statement written there. I really, I just really strongly dislike this man. Strong dislike. Even if you think it's a dumb idea, and hey, maybe it is, keep it to yourself! Okay, I just needed to get that out there.

I am going to try and get my blogging act together, I'm just really struggling with the direction. I just need to make it through the month of Feb, because there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Tomorrow night I am going to see Little House on the Prairie: The Musical. My aunt got free tickets. The potential this play has to be bad seems quite high. But it does star Melissa Gilbert as Ma...apparently she was in the original series as...a daughter? I never watched Little House on the Prairie, so I have no idea what it was even about. In my mind it equals Dr. Quinn Medicine Women + The Waltons. No idea where that mental image came from because I never watched either of those shows, but I suppose it seems fitting enough. Show=Children wearing bonnets skipping through fields while horses pull bales of hay past them. Musical=children wearing bonnets skipping through fields singing while horses pull bales of hay past them...while singing. Actually I hope that is exactly what it is. If the play involves a singing horse, I'll consider it an A++.

Anyhoo, this is a sad excuse for a blog post that is basically me rambling about nothing. Though I do enjoy a good ramble, it makes me happy.

That is all.

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Furry Friday Request

Phew, this week has been...busy!

The shelter last night was fun, the weather was actually fairly warm, so it was even more enjoyable. Annnd, a lot of dogs have gotten adopted, so that is good. For the last several weeks, the adoption side has been full (30ish dogs), but we were down to half that amount last night.

I don't have any pictures...it was so icy last night that I had to keep my hands available for any sudden crash landings.

I've gotten a fairly good response from my pitbull article from a couple of weeks ago, and now I have found myself on a bit of a quest. I've tried contacting my local MPP Jim Bradley, to discuss the matter, but he has not responded. I've heard from some other people that said they have also tried contacting him to no avail. I find this really annoying. I mean, he is a politician, a provincial politician, a large part of his job is representing the people in his riding. So like, respond dude, it's your job.

Not much annoys me, I'm a fairly easy going individual, but I have to say, this whole thing has gotten me pissed. This pissed off feeling has been exacerbated by the fact that this guy who represents our community in parliament is ignoring me. It is frustrating.

The more I read about the pibull ban, the more I realize just how ridiculous the whole thing is.

I thought maybe I could get the shelter's backing on this, but surprise surprise, that doesn't seem to be happening, which really only adds to the frustration, because I really think it's something that they should be supporting and educating people about.

So, my goal for the next couple of weeks is to organize a letter writing campaign to a Mr. Jim Bradley, in an attempt to a) get him to support Bill 222 (the Bill that, if passed will reverse the pitbull ban in Ontario), and b) educate him. My thought is, if he truly understands the issue, then there is no way he can continue to support the ban. It just wouldn't make any sense.

I am leery of politicians. I have found many of the ones I have encountered a little too big for their britches, and really, being completely ignored by King Bradley isn't doing much to quash that opinion.

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this.

Anyone out there want to send a letter?? I realize most of you don't live in Niagara or Ontario, but the fact of the matter is, it all helps. The more people who write from different cities, the more this guy will have to rethink his decision.

I will have prewritten letters done up if that makes it any easier. I'm going to do up a letter template for pitbull owners, one for concerned Niagara residents, and one for concerned residents of elsewhere.

Ideally, this would be a snail mail letter as opposed to email, but email is fine too. My only concern with email is that they are easy to delete. Multiple letters coming in every day...not so easy to ignore.

When this is all said and done, and the letter writing is underway, I am going to request an actual face to face meeting with this dude, and present him with the fattest of information packages, one which details why exactly breed bans don't work, and why he should support Bill 222.

Honestly, I won't stop badgering him (in the politest way possible), until he sees the light on this. Maybe it won't be as difficult as I think, or maybe it will...either way, I'm putting my faith in the hope that common sense will prevail.

I've seen this law rip too many people apart, and I've seen more perfectly wonderful dogs be euthanized then I ever cared too.

My buds at the shelter mean the world to me, they really do. They never fail to brighten my life on a weekly basis, and I just, I need to do something, you know? It hurts my heart that someone can look at Brooklyn or Carleigh and think they are killing machines. I literally cannot wrap my head around this prejudice.

I always feel like I'm walking the fine line of becoming a crazy dog lady, you know, the one who cares a little too much. I think I'm okay with that now, I can live with that moniker. And hey, this crazy dog lady, she's aiming for you Mr. Bradley. Your prejudices and your uninformed decisions? Going down, one little letter at a time.

Soooo, if you want to help, if you get as fired up about this stuff as I do, or if you just want to know what the hell I'm talking about: email me!

Happy Weekend Ya'll!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Travel Tuesday-A brief German tour

Sorry, I've been slightly MIA. I've been consumed with thoughts of Haiti and consumed with thoughts of Pitbulls. My brain has been full.

Anyway! I've been meaning to put up some pretty pictures for a while, and now seems like an opportune time as I don't have a travel narrative in me today. So today I present to you, a photo tour of a very pretty part of my favourite country in the world-Germany.

My ancestors were from Germany, and I've felt a pull towards the country for a while, so I finally got my butt over there this spring. I had been before, on a Contiki tour, but that was filled with Jagermeister and beer and to be perfectly honest that is all I remember from the German portion of the trip. That and buying new Birkenstocks and watching the Glockenspeil like, "this is it??? Really???". Anyway, this spring I went back, alone, and I fell deeply, deeply in love. My travels went through the Bavarian part of Germany, and I didn't even cover it all by any means.

When I arrived at the Munich airport, I was so very proud of myself because I found the train to get into the city, and I got off at the correct stop. When I walked up from the subway stop, this was my view. Directly after this, I proceeded to walk through the streets of Munich for about two hours, pulling behind me the heaviest luggage known to man. Around and around I wandering, stopping in several stores and being like, "ummm where the feck do I go??? Danke, danke!!". I asked cabs, I asked in other hotels, and after several hours I was running on no sleep, and on the complete verge of tears. I opted to stop dead in the middle of the pedestrian area on a random street and kind of spin in bewilderment. Shortly after this, a kindly German man came up to me and pointed me in the right direction.

That giant billboard of a green hand was basically the saving grace of my day. I thought I had arrived at the correct hotel (note-hotel names are kind of similar in Munich), so I walked in, plopped down my stuff, and was like, "phewww, it took me forever to find you!", then the guy was like, "you are at the wrong hotel". Never have I wanted to cry like a small child having a tantrum more than at that moment. But he took me outside, pointed to the hand billboard, and was like, "walk towards that". Which I did, and I eventually found my hotel. All was well.

I am a huge history nerd, so the fact that Hitler used to rally his troops in this very square got me very excited. I spend a good while hanging out on those steps.

Hansel and Gretlish, right?

Another history nerd moment. This is a memorial to the White Rose Movement, which was a group of young adults who tried to organize an uprising against Hitler. Eventually they were caught and executed. But holy crap, if you interested in Germany history at all, check out the movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days. These kids are my absolute heros. I can't imagine being that brave.

Have you ever gotten that email with all the pictures of the most beautiful places on earth, and you are kind of like, oh my god, if I could only go there, and then one day you find yourself up on a mountain top all by yourself, taking in just the most beautiful view, wondering how you got so lucky? Yeah.

This is my hotel room in the teeny tiny town of Berchtesgaden. I LOVED this little place. When I saw my hotel room, I may have jumped up and down a bit, for there was a window seat and a balcony, two of my absolute favourite things. I was in Berchtesgaden for about 4 days, and believe me, I spent incountable hours on that seat, reading and just looking at the mountains.

When I finally got brave enough to go to an actual restaurant by myself, this is what I got. Story for another day.

How quaint!

Is anybody obsessed with the Amazing Race like I am? Then you might recognize this!!

This is in Berchtesgaden National Park. It was at approximentaly at this point in the hike that I was up on a high path with no guardrail and had to change my batteries in the camera. A German lady came up behind me and started getting positively mad that I was going to fall off the cliff. I pretending I didn't understand because I sure wasn't hiking down without getting a picture of this. Just...wow.

This is a battery operated boat, it moves very slow and makes no noise. You just glid peacefully through the water. The coolest thing was when the boat stopped and the driver got out and played the trumpet. The lake is surrounded by mountains, and the sound just bounced off and echoed.

Eagles Nest! More history nerd moments!

WWII Bunkers with D-Day graffiti.

This was my last day in Berchtesgaden. I was chilling on my balcony when this random parade went by.

Sorry this wasn't more detailed, I have to keep minimizing the window to ensure no one notices what I'm doing. I'm a good employee.

And that's the German portion of my trip! I have about 1 billion pictures, but I tried to par it down for you. Hope you liked it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Random Wednesday Thoughts

-Okay, I've noticed a disturbing trend lately, and it is causing me to freak the eff out. I am in no way prepared for this. You see, lately, I've noticed an influx of grey hair. Maybe influx isn't quite the right word, but I've noticed, well, noticeable grey hair. I am in no way old enough for this to be happening! I mentioned this to my cousin who is a nurse, and she was all glib, "oh, mid 20s is when a lot of people start going grey!" I don't think so Tim. Does anyone else have this issue? Is this perhaps a sign that I need to not be such a spaz/worrywart? I got nothing.

-I was watching American Idol last night, and I have to say, I felt like a complete asshole. I never realized how cruel it was before. Everybody's always like, "oh my gosh, the people that try out for these shows need better friends, because nobody told them they suck!". I used to agree with this state of mind, but I got to thinking this morning. I know there are some people that go on there and want to be on tv, and don't really care if they make an ass out of themselves, and that's fine, and maybe in that case we are laughing with them. But there are those people that really, really think they are great. It's their dream, it's their life. Maybe the friends of these people don't tell them they suck, because who wants to be the person who crushes a friends dream? Best to leave that to the professionals. What if the person really, truly thought American Idol was their shot, and one of their friends was like, "dude, you suck ass. Seriously. This dream you have...it's going nowhere". It's hard all around. Anyway, I can't watch this show anymore, because I inevitably find myself laughing when people suck, and that makes me feel like a huge douche canoe.

-There was an article in the paper today about a man that got mauled by his pet tiger in Ontario somewhere. And while that in and of itself is not really funny, because you know, death, is it really shocking? Is it not just a teensy bit ironic? Like what other outcome was there to this situation? Why do you have pet lions, pet tigers and pet cougars you keep in a barn? Why? To top it all off, the article had quite possible the best picture I have seen in a newspaper in a while. Now would have been a good time to put said photo, but I can't find it anywhere. It was basically a photo of a cop standing by his car, and in the background of the photo is a large barn, and in the window of the barn, is a HUGE Siberian Tiger, glaring at the camera. Photographic gold. It's a lot less entertaining when I describe it. Anyway, I think you need to be seriously unbalanced to somehow decide that it would be a great idea to set up a makeshift Tiger enclosure in your backyard. If the Hangover has taught us anything, it's that this will never turn out well.

-I had a phone interview for a writing job last night, which when I think of it now, is kind of weird. Never in my life have I had an interview for a writing job...usually I just send my portfolio + query and hope for the best. I don't know if I ever mentioned this, but I hate talking on the phone, a lot. I don't mind quick phone calls that serve a purpose, but I hate droning on and on, and having to come up with things to say. There is always awkward pauses. Anyways. I can do perfectly fine in in person interviews, and actually usually come off much more competent than I may actually be, but on the phone, I found myself ending sentences with "soooo yeah." Oh my god. I am usually a fairly awkward person, but during that phone interview, I turned into the most awkward person alive. I don't even know what I was saying half the time. Needless to say, my hopes aren't high. I know I could do the job perfectly fine, exceedingly well even, but my sounding like a complete dork might have sealed the deal with a resounding "not so much".

That is all. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Travel Tuesday-Ontario Edition

If I was organized about things, I would surely have these ready a couple of days in advance instead of just writing them on Tuesday. I mean, that way, I could actually edit them and what not. That will be my goal for next week.

In unrelated, yet related news, I have made it one of my goals of January 2010 to declutter my life. I have so much stuff, and I need...not to. So, I've decided I am going to gather all the stuff I no longer have any use for, sell it on Ebay or Kijiji, and then hopefully make enough money to pay for Matador U Travel Writing Program. This seems like the perfect solution because I have no extra money at this point to pay for it, and all this stuff is just sitting around anyway. We'll see how it goes. So far, I've made $10. So just $340 more. I'm giving myself until the end of Feb.

Anyway! Today's Travel story takes place in my university town, London, Ontario.

The Boler Bump

We both got on the elevator with all our ski gear. We had decided to take the bus to the ski hill because it seemed like a direct route, and neither one of us had a car. It didn’t occur to us at the time that this would perhaps be a hassle both for us and the other people on the bus. People cursed at us as we got on and jostled for space with our bags and skis; and then they all stared at us like we were completely crazy.

After about a 15 minute ride downtown, it turned out we had to transfer buses. We hopped off and trudged over to where the connecting bus was supposed to come. We waited, and waited, and waited. Our eyelashes began to freeze as our eyes watered from the wind, and we became increasingly irritated.

“Do you think the bus is ever going to come?” We whined and freezed and whined and freezed. Just as we were contemplating giving up and taking the bus back home, a lady in a sedan pulled up.

“You girls going skiing?” We stared at her and then stared at our skis. Clearly we were.

“Boler Mountain’s quite a bus ride from here…I’ll give you a ride!”

We hesitated for perhaps 10 seconds before we agreed that this would be a great idea. We followed the lady to her car, and helped her as she packed our skis and bags into the truck. We looked at each other once before getting in the car, as if to say, “well, she very well could be taking us out to the woods to hack us to bits, but at this point, it beats standing in the cold”. She drove us all the way out to Boler Mountain, which indeed would have been an eternally long bus ride. She dropped us off and we thanked her profusely, and then went to get our lift tickets. It was at this point we realized we had just travelled a total of what added up to several hours to come skiing at a place where there was one chair lift and something that barely passed as a mountain. We stared at the hill in disappointment for a while, but we went to ski and that was exactly what we were going to do.

We rode the chair lift up and skied down the hill in about 20 seconds. We repeated this about 10 times before deciding to head in for dinner. As we sat in the cafeteria style room with our french fries and hamburgers, a girl with long blond hair came up to us.

“Are you Megan and Kaitlyn?” she inquired.

“Yes…” Kaitlyn replied, “Ummmm, how do you know?”

“My mom told me!” she chirped, “she said she had given two girls a ride to the ski hill and I just figured it was you! I work here!”

Apparently for some reason we didn’t know, we stood out.

“Oh, well it was so nice of your mom to drive us!! We probably still would have been waiting at the bus stop if she hadn’t!” I smiled at her.

She smiled back, said “nice to meet you”, and was on her way.

“Wow”, Kaitlyn said, “that was random”.

We finished our dinner and went out for a couple more rides up and down the ski lift, before deciding to call it a night. There was only one bus back to town and we sure didn’t want to miss it. We packed up all our gear and headed over to the bus stop. It was frigid out. An hour later, the bus came. We made it downtown to catch our connecting bus, and were standing awkwardly with our skis, leaning against the bus shelter. A man wandered up to us, looking slightly…tattered.

“You guys just go skiing?” he said, slurring slightly. “Where abouts did you go?”

We told him about Boler Bump, and it was at this point that things went slightly downhill. All of a sudden, he was shouting at the top of his lungs,

“I USED TO DO THAT SHIT!! I had money once! Do you think I’ve always been like this, do you??? I used to do that shit! I did!!”

Kait and I stared wearily/fearfully at each other as he continued on his tirade. People passed by in the street and shot us looks that said, “we feel for you, but at no point will we be intervening in this situation.”

As the man continued to yell and get increasingly in our face, we both were just kind of frozen onto the sidewalk. We had our skis leaning on the bus shelter, so it wasn’t easy to just walk away. We shrugged at him. Eventually his yelling turned to disgusted muttering and he walked away from us.

“Wow”, Kaitlyn said, “Just wow…this day is ridiculous!”

We had just started to laugh it off, when we noticed the man was rounding the corner and now coming back towards us. We looked at each other, grabbed our skis and took off across the street for the safer pastures of McDonalds.

“Hey!!!” he shouted after us, “heyyyyyy!!!”.

Clearly we ignored him and huddled down inside the entrance to the fast food restaurant.

“Should we maybe call the cops?” Kaitlyn said, picking up the receiver of a pay phone.

“I dunno”, I said, as I peered out the window at him. “Maybe we should just get on a bus and get the hell out of here.”

We stayed in the alcove until a bus came, and then ran across the street to hop on. Never in my life have I been more thankful to get on public transportation. We sunk down into the plastic seats, and took up two more with all our ski gear. We finally made it back to our residence safe and sound.

That was the first and last time we skied the Boler Bump, but to this day, it remains the most random day of my life.


Okay, so it doesn't take place in the most exotic of locations, but thinking of that day now makes me crack up. It was just a series of one random event after another. One of those things that is hilarious now, but was really not so funny as it was happening. Ohhh boy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Furry Friday-Pupperonis

Only one more week of adorable, adorable puppies, because they are now all adopted (yay!!), and I cannot spend my Thursday nights squishing them any longer.

Maybe I got overly attached, but aren't these some of the cutest darn puppies you have ever seen?

Now their mommy just needs to get adopted!

Also...I have exciting dog related news guys. Guess where I'm going in May? Kanab, Utah, the home of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Holy shit ya'll. My fellow dog walking friend and I have been talking about going forever, and we are finally doing it. Plane tickets booked, hotel reserved and everything. Oh. my. lord. I have been wanting to do this for so long. There is a good chance that I will go to Best Friends and decide to just live there. I'll meet a nice Mormon boy and his other wives and I will be the best of friends. It could happen!

Dogtown!!! Add that to the absolutely insanely beautiful National Parks Utah has...I cannot even wait.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Article on Pitbull Ban

Hey guys...

If anyone is interested in the plight of Pitbulls in Ontario, my article is in the paper today. This is a matter that is very near and dear to my heart!

Be back tomorrow with an actual post! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Travel Tuesday- Joyce Speedy, what a gal.

The plane touched down at London’s Heathrow airport, early, about 8 in the morning. I got up out of my seat and stretched my body after a long plane ride. I grabbed my overhead luggage, and bid a quick farewell to my annoying seatmate, who thankfully I would never have to see again.

I stepped off the plane and just took it all in. I was here, in England, all by myself. I could hardly believe it. Shortly after that, the elation wore off, and sheer terror set in. My mind became of jumble of anxious thoughts.

What am I doing? Why did I come here by myself? I don’t know anybody! What if I get lost? What if I get homesick? What if, what if, what if? I continued to curse my decision to travel solo, all the way through security and baggage claim. I was living my dream, but I had no idea it was going to be so scary.

I was going to be staying with a friend of a friend, a woman whom I had never met before. I had no idea what she looked like, and had only talked to her on the phone once. This experience was entirely new for me. As I dragged myself sleepily through the long hallway, and down into the greeting area, I scanned the crowd for Joyce, and spotted her almost immediately, as she was standing there smiling, holding a cardboard sign with my name on it. She was about 75 years old, and I immediately liked her, even though I hadn’t officially met her yet.

My luggage trailed behind me as I made my way over to her. I was scared, I missed my parents, I missed my friends, but there I was.

“Hi, I’m Megan!” I smiled as I held out my hand.

“Well nice to finally meet you Megan, would you like a cup of tea?” was her immediate reply.

As a person who never turns down tea or coffee, I agreed, and we made our way over to the airport diner.

“You must be exhausted after your plane ride! You sit here, and I’ll grab us some tea”. She shuffled her way up to the counter to place the order, and was soon back with two steaming cups of tea. I thanked her profusely and slid down in my chair. My body was tired.

“Well”, she started, “I think we should hop on the train, go back to Reading, unload all your stuff, then we’ll do some sightseeing!”

I sat there wondering how this woman could possibly have so much energy when all I wanted to do was sleep, but I liked her plan and we decided to spend the day in Windsor. We took the train there, and spent the day touring Windsor Castle, eating scones and clotted crème and getting to know each other.

As it turns out, Joyce had travelled all over the world by herself, and she still took a trip whenever she had the time. Back in her flat, her fridge was covered, absolutely covered, in magnets from all the places she had travelled too. There was hardly a spot of white left on her fridge. Well, I thought to myself when she told me of her travels, her flight in a Concorde jet and her hikes across Thailand, if she can do it, so can I. Here she was, my travel mentor, all wrapped up in a little old English lady package. I thanked fate for bringing us together.

We spent the next several days touring around London, and she never let me pay for a thing. I tried to pay for her dinner once, but she wasn’t having it. She started to call me her travel good luck charm, because we saw things together she had never seen in her life. The opening of parliament happened to be on the day we visited Buckingham Palace, and we got to see the Queen. A boat was passing through the Thames while we visited the Tower of London, and we got to see the Tower Bridge open. She was telling her friends about our adventures for weeks!

It was soon time for me to leave with a tour group and take a whirlwind trip around Europe. She made me promise to call her when I got back to London so she could come to the airport with me. She dropped me off at my hotel and was then on her way. As soon as she walked away, that familiar feeling of homesickness started to crush me, and I missed her terribly. She was one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life, and it felt like I had known her forever.

My tour of Europe went by in a flash, and I came back to London with new friends and tons of new stories. I rang up Joyce to tell her I had returned safely, and we made plans for her to meet me at the hotel the next day.

The next morning, me, my new friend Jess, and my old friend Joyce set off for the airport. I made the mistake of eyeing two stuffed bears that were dressed up as an English cop and guard respectively, and before I knew it she had bought them for me. They still are sitting prominently on my bookshelf, and every time I look at them, I am reminded of her, and of my first solo trip.

Soon I was back in Canada, and had resumed my normal, “boring” life. Joyce and I wrote to each other, and I began to think of her as my surrogate grandmother.

Four years after my initial trip to Europe, Joyce came over to Canada to visit. She stayed with a friend, but I went over to visit often. I took her out for Chinese and Thai food, and showed her around my hometown. I was so excited to show her the same kind of hospitality she had shown me. She was here for about a month, then she went back home to England.

A couple years after that (and countless letters in between), I found out that Joyce was sick, and she was not going to be getting better. She had no children, but tons of friends, so she was well taken care of. Joyce died last year after getting diagnosed with cancer, and there is no doubt in my mind she went flying straight up to heaven.

Joyce was one of those life changing people for me. She was a kind soul, and you couldn’t help but like her. She had a total lust for life, and it was contagious. She fed my love of travel, and she encouraged it.

It is because of her that I know I can go anywhere by myself, and be alright while I am there. I don’t think I ever thanked her for giving me that confidence. If I didn’t have her as a role model, I wouldn’t have seen half the things I have seen in my life. She remains a wonder to me, and I will always think of her as the person who almost literally gave me wings.

So now my fridge is slowly starting to become cluttered with magnets of all the places I have been, things I have seen, adventures I have had. It is my little shrine to her, my jet-setting grandma.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hold on, one more time with feeling

I was thinking the other day about fun and anticipation. I was thinking about when I was younger and I just had a really fun day, I would lie in bed that night and just be so sad that the day was over, but at the same time be filled with this complete happiness, because I just had the funnest day ever! I was thinking about how it has been a while since I sat in bed and felt that sad happiness. I mean, I've had fun days, amazing days, but I can't recall a day in recent history where I was just heartbroken it was over. Then maybe I thought, it was just a kid thing, feelings were more intense then. When you are a kid, it feels like the whole world just revolves around you sometimes.

Anyway, I got to work this morning, dreading, just dreading, and I had the strangest feeling once I got here and sat down. It wasn't sad-happy, but it was extreme excitement, that started in my stomach and was wanting to wiggle it's way out of my mouth in the form of a shriek.

I don't even know what I'm so excited for, I just know that feeling it made me happy.

Anyway, I'm not even sure if I explained that in any kind of way that made sense.

I like 2010 so far.

I'll give you some examples of why this year has rocked so far. For weeks now, I've been wanting to watch the movie "Love Actually". I hadn't seen it in forever, and I am in a Hugh Grant phase. When I went to get it at the video store, it was out. So I was sitting there one night thinking to myself, wouldn't it be grand if Love Actually was on tv? And I shit you not, I looked at the tv guide, and there is was, that very night, Love Actually, 9pm on the WTN. HUH!

Then today, as I was walking into work through piles of slushy snow, I very nearly wiped out on the sidewalk in front of a line of cars. Not only did I not wipe out, but I didn't even spill my coffee, which would have pissed me right off. Then, as I was rounding corner, laughing to myself about what a spaz I am, a woman walked by me and gave me the strangest look ever, probably because I was laughing to myself, but the funnier thing was, she looked just like Cloris Leachman ala Prancer. Crazy, awesome. Cloris Leachman! I just right now decided that come hell or high water, I'm going to find myself a t-shirt with Cloris Leachman's face on it.

THEN! I get to work, and after exchanging pleasantries with the boss about how the holidays were, she sat down, face very serious, and was like, "Sorry to tell you this, but we need to cut back your hours." She then apologized for like 10 minutes. All I wanted to do was burst out laughing, because that is amazing. I really could not have planned this better myself. So now I'll have Friday's off to work on writing and whatnot, and that excites me greatly!!

Anyway, we are only 4 days in, and I'm loving it.

My article about Pitbulls is going to be in the paper tomorrow, and I'll link it here if anybody is interested (I'm not actually a crazy dog lady, I just seem that way sometimes).

I'm applying to be a Local Expert with Nile Guides, and so far I've done these:
Best of Niagara
Winter in Niagara

So there's that.

As I mentioned, I've been watching lots of Party of Five lately. I never realized before how annoying Claudia is. I don't think a tv character has ever annoyed me that much, like, I almost want to fast forward through her whiny scenes. I don't know if this was just the way the character was written, or if the actress is just actually that irritating, but GAH.


You know what else has randomly happened in 2010? I bought the new Chuck Thompson book as I mentioned, and I also mentioned that I had been to a reading of his before. I checked out the Harbourfront Reading Series page, and low and behold, who is headlining this years Travel Writer's night? Chuck Thompson! You better believe I'll be dragging one of my friends to that. The tickets are only $8. Best deal ever. Last year, Augusten Burroughs was there, and I freaking missed it, and I've been kicking myself ever since.

I'm working on a travel story for tomorrow about my dear friend Joyce, but I'm not sure it will be done in time. I want it to be good, because she was such a good person. So if that doesn't get finished, I might just do a post/pictures on my favourite cities in Europe. We'll see how tonight goes.

Happy Monday! I've missed rambling in here...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Regrouping. I hate titles....I'm just going to start putting random things...

Wow...so, that was quite an absence. I have no excuse really. I had 11 days off of work, and I spent it far away from the computer. It's been an awesome holiday though! Christmas! Food! Skiing! Not injuring myself while skiing!

I've read a lot, watched tons of movies, and did a lot of hanging out. I am really not looking forward to going back to work on Monday.

I can't believe it's 2010. Like, where did the last year even go? Where did the last decade go? I feel so old.

I've spent the last couple of days watching lots of Party of Five (umm I totally forgot I had season two on dvd, until one of my friends mentioned season three, and I was like...hey, wait a minute!). I also recently downloaded the Super Nintendo Versions of Super Mario World and Donkey Kong Country onto my Wii. This was the best and worst idea ever. Best because those games rocked! And worst because now a scary amount of time during my day is spent throwing barrels at cartoon alligators. Oh nostalgia.

2009 rocked my socks, and I'm uber excited for 2010. I have no idea what is in store, but I just can't wait to find out! Hopefully it will involve lots of travelling! I have no solid plans except for a trip to Florida.

I'll be back to regular posting next week. For the next couple of days I'm just going to continue slothing it around.

In unrelated news...some awesome books I have read lately if anyone is looking for some to add to a 'must read' list:

Geek Love--has anyone read this? Shit is messed up, but I thought it was great. I appreciate authors who have such wacked imaginations. I envy them.

Book of Negros--this book is amazing. Amazing. I highly recommend everyone read this book.

I just got the new Chuck Thompson book today...he's one of my favourite travel writers, and I got to meet him last year at a reading, and I acted like a total awkward dork. haha. oh my.

Alright, I'm off to beat the Donut Plains. See you here next week friends!
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