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 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.

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'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..., 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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