Claire Martin

The Taste of Home – by Claire Martin

I have just come back from a fabulous holiday, back home, in Jolly ‘ol Blighty.

I was primarily there to see family and friends, but I also managed to sneak in a fair few hours eating and drinking in great British pubs.

The pub culture in England is (‘scuse the pun) bar none! From a grubby “local” to a 16th century thatched tavern, taking an hour a day to sit in a pub is as requisite for a visitor as having an expresso in Italy or a patisserie in Paris.

For me, there is in fact, something almost sensual about the scent of an English pub. It is truly heavenly.

But enough of these wistful musings! Here’s my rant:

Food in England has improved immensely since I left! Pub grub has gone from being greasy egg and chips chased down with a warm and murky brown bitter, to roasted pigeon in a whiskey cream sauce, followed with a bowl of wild berry and brandy trifle – smothered in single or double cream. YUM!

Now for those of you that don’t know – cream in England is as heavenly and as unique as the pub culture itself! High in fat, double cream boasts a 48% fat content, while single cream is 22%. And we simply cannot get anything like it in Canada.

I’m not sure what is going – some websites tell me it’s to do with the pasteurization laws in Canada, some sites tell me to buy clotted cream.

For the record – clotted cream (although now widely available) at 55% fat does not work for baking nor (more importantly) making a proper Irish coffee – it curdles as soon as it hits the hot alcoholised liquid.

Since emigrating in the 1980’s I have learned to live without Persil detergent (now here, but with a devastatingly different smell), Fudge fingers (also available here now, though usually slightly older than their packaged “due-by” date), Tetley’s (sorry, other brands just don’t cut it), and real scotch eggs.

Sadly there are some products that appear to have eluded the “we-can-get-anything-anywhere” shipping industry, and as an ex-pat with a barely sated yearning for real double cream, I am imploring other ex-pats to help me out!

Where or how do I get real cream in Canada??

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Jody Vance

Marissa Shen – by Jody Vance

 

Marissa Shen — Photo of her (left) and day of disappearance (right)

With news cycles making us all feel as though we are caught under waves in a storm surge surf it’s a tough time to focus on what is happening here, in our backyard.

One thing consuming my quiet moments, like so many parents, is the tragic story of Marissa Shen’s murder.

I’m twisted in knots over the tragic taking of an innocent girl’s life in my exceptionally safe city.  In a time where we are inundated with stories of politics, terror and random acts of violence world-wide — this one hurts…extra.

Every single day we parents force ourselves to let our kids broaden boundaries, trust we’ve taught them enough, at least, to stay out of harms way in the world.

My boy is still young enough that letting him walk out the door with a curfew, and little else information-wise, isn’t my reality – yet.

This 13 year old girl, a girl well beyond the age of babysitting and pondering a future in junior high school in September, was free ranging in daylight hours when the unthinkable happened.

Details continue to be exceptionally sketchy with regard how she met her fate — however — having the RCMP, VPD and Homicide Investigators asking the public “to be vigilant” should be beyond frightening for citizens.

I’m in news … and unnerved.

Since her murder I’ve not let the kids in my care out of my sight, not even for a minute.  I won’t, until this homicide is solved.  It’s going against everything I’ve learned from the likes of Lenore Skenazy (read her) who’ve said, a million times how these events are like lightening strikes in how rare they are.  Rare….but real.

Many of my vintage were Tweens when Clifford Robert Olson was on the prowl…. I remember the calls to “be vigilant”.

Is there a predator on the loose in Metro Vancouver?  Is there someone who’s preying on young girls, boys, adults?  It’s tough to not assume so, with no suspect – or even “person of interest”- announced.

The obsession with world news (US Politics) is seeing this story fade from the headlines….it can’t and shouldn’t, until solved.

WE need to be diligent, WE need to help authorities figure out the timeline of her movements prior to her death.  We need to keep this story alive so that we can help bring the person, or people, responsible for this tragedy to justice.

Please consider sharing this post so that anyone with the slightest bit of intel might communicate with IHIT to share any information.  The tip line is: 1-877-551-4448.  Anonymous tips to Crimestoppers.

For more on the humanity side of this tragedy….read what her brother said this about his sister’s death ….. tragic.

 

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Dini Petty

Footwear Flip Flop – by Dini Petty

Getty Images: Chris Hackett

 

I’ll never wear flip flops again
I owned one pair of flip flops, dark blue rubber ones with an orthotic support base that I wore for relatively short periods of time when I went swimming, my favourite exercise. But last winter while visiting my daughter Sam in La Quinta, California I ordered a pair of orthotically supported flip flops for summer wear. They arrived the day after I left so a friend visiting Sam brought them to Toronto early summer of this year and I began wearing them daily.
I spend a lot of time at my computer and when the aches and pain in my ankles, knees and thighs started I thought;
” I’m sitting too much.”
So I would get every ten- fifteen minutes and stretch and walk about. But to no avail, things got worse the pain increased to the point that my hips, knees and ankles ached constantly and eventually the little voice in my head screamed ” Go see Ian Murray!”
Core Strength is where Ian works his magic. He’s been working in the field of athletic therapy and high level sports medicine and rehabilitation for 15 years. He was a senior tour therapist with Cirque du Soleil for 10 years has completed numerous courses in the field of osteopathy, various manual therapy techniques, as well as emergency medicine and trauma courses; Ian specializes in Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) , myofascial and muscle energy techniques, strain/counter strain and various deep tissue techniques to help reduce pain and restore movement. I refer to Ian as ” The Wizard” and by the time I got to see him the pain was severe.
Each session begins with Ian watching you walk, observing how you move and where your body is out of balance. Then it’s on the table and he works his wonders. I happen to carry my flip flops into the room with me and when finished our session, Ian said; ” You’ve got to stop wearing flip flops. They caused the problem.”
What are you talking about Ian, flip flops caused all this pain?
Then he explained that flip flops were contributing to my issues because I was gripping too hard with my toes and the open heel wasn’t stable enough for me, making my knees and hips painful, but something with a heel strap should help that.
After one session with the Wizard the pain was gone, completely ( this is why I call him the Wizard). I diligently did the simple exercises Ian taught me and have never worn flip flops again because they don’t make flip flops with heel straps.
Now when I see someone walking with some difficulty or an odd gait, who appears to be in pain and their wearing flip flops, I resist the urge to run up to them and tell them my story but if you have ankle, knee, hips problems – take heed.
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Jay DeMerit

Creating Captains of Life – by Jay DeMerit

I may have spent 11 years in professional soccer locker rooms – but for the 23 years before then, I was a landscaper, house painter, and school cleaner. I was a basketball player, a wrestler, a track athlete, and a football player. I was a bartender, a traveller, and a university graduate in Industrial Design. Through 7 of my 11 years pro, I was chosen by my team to be the Captain. I got to Captain a team in the Premier League; the biggest soccer league in the world. I got to be the first signing and Captain of a new MLS franchise.

Was it because of all of those years I played on the top academy team or youth National team? No – I never even tried out for them. Was it because I ate, slept, and breathed the sport, or that that the time spent training on the soccer field far outweighed that of studying or just being a kid, having fun with my friends? Definitely not.

I believe Captains are chosen for two main reasons: their ability to lead (both on and off the field), and their ability to relate – to relate to teammates, to administrators, and especially the fans.

​Right now, we live in a world where athletes are signing professional contracts from the age of 10. Early specialization in all walks of youth development has become so normal that if kids show signs of talent, they get put on a fast track to that special academy Mom & Dad will have to take two mortgages out to afford and those things called school, other sports, hobbies, or friends are sacrificed in order for them to “make it”.

Modern day sport curriculums are based on how to become the next Messi or Lebron, the .001%. Imagine being told & believing your whole life that you are the 0.001%., and that all you need to do is focus on that one sport and the world will be yours. This is what every coach wants from each of their athletes to get the most out of them for the team. But what about for each of those athletes? Are we creating one-dimensional athletes whose ability & life skill levels are being way overshadowed by their confidence levels?

Now imagine , shortly after turning 18, that academy or college coach telling you that you are not actually good enough or that your most recent injury is just too devastating to ever expect to be back to full health again. For whatever reason, Lebron and Messi are no longer in your future. The crazy thing is, that this is what happens to 98% of young athletes. 98%. The small percentage will play through college or even enjoy a successful pro career before being faced with this reality.

What happened to all of those formative years during which development in other areas that could have led these kids down a new – and exciting – path more seamlessly? Was anyone asking them questions about their future skills or interests? Was anyone challenging their mindsets to be more than just athletes?

This is an argument for the development of a well-rounded individual, who has the ability to transfer all of the incredibly valuable lessons he or she has learned from sport – because those are not to be undermined – into a successful, fulfilling career and life beyond sport

The real concern as the once very popular “athlete” tries to identify new skills, a new identity, and a new life is that mental health issues start to creep in. That once all-important confidence level is at an all-time low, and they realize that the one thing that they have been told defines them for 18 or even 22 – years has been taken away from them. I’ve been witness to this way too many times, and I have had too many hard conversations with young athletes to not feel compelled to do something about it. Based on my experience, I feel like I have a responsibility to do something about it. One of my main reasons being when in 2011, the soccer community raised $223,000 on Kickstarter in 73 days to turn my rare path of becoming pro into a documentary film called Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story. These are people that I had never met before, raising that amount of money on my behalf. It was very empowering, and really gave me the inspiration to share my story.

​Last year I started Rise & Shine: Captains Camps. Soccer camps with a strong emphasis on all-round personal development; a curriculum carefully engineered to help kids identify other strengths and passions, to step out of their comfort zones and generate breakthrough thought patterns to equip them with the tools they’ll need to rise and shine within their soccer careers and far beyond. It’s a curriculum established to build on all of these concepts and to then cultivate a pass-it-on mentality through leadership training.

Boys & girls from the ages of 13-18 come to our Rise & Shine Retreat, where my wife (2010 Olympic Gold Medallist Ashleigh McIvor) and I live in the mountains of Pemberton, BC. They stay in really cool timber-framed outfitter tents onsite. For four days, we train on-field with coaches who have all played pro, but we also train with mentors who are ‘pro’ at something else. Doctors, entrepreneurs, Olympians, and many more successful, happy leaders within their own fields come up to the camp and share their stories of professional success, talk about their leading lives, and how they got there. Oh yeah, and we go for hikes to lakes to play raft wars and we also roast marshmallows over bonfires. Because you know, kids… I believe learning is a communal. Let’s be inclusive, let’s be well-rounded, let’s be relatable and learn through experience. Let’s create more captains of life, not just of sport.

How I know Jody, by Jay:

“Jody and I met after talking Whitecaps and life on Breakfast Television when I moved to Vancouver. Sharing a love for sports, community engagement, real people, and real issues, we continue to try to fly the flags of what is “good” in our world.”

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Charlotte Phillips

“Are you my mother?” – by Charlotte Phillips

Some people may remember this wonderful little beginner reading book by P.D. Eastman, edited in 1960 by Dr. Seuss. A little bird hatches while his mother is off getting food and before she can return, the baby sets off in search of his mother. He has no idea what she looks like so he asks several animals along the way, “Are you my mother?” This book popped into my memory today as I sat thinking about my own mother. We’ve been spending a lot of time together over the past few years and lately there has been a shift in who we both are. There are times when we don’t recognize each other.

Age related dementia is a strange beast. It is a gradual loss of the ability to think and remember. But it is different for everyone. The degree of loss and the psychological reaction to the loss are like endlessly changing weather patterns one can never truly adjust to.

Dementia affects the sufferer and the caregiver in strangely similar ways.

As the daily care and comfort of our mom is in my hands these days, the struggles she faces at her advanced age, both physically and mentally, are front and centre in my life, too. My ability to think and remember what’s really important in the grand scheme of things is something I struggle with.

My 94-year-old mom’s stage of dementia is not a constant or predictable one. She is in a transition phase. Where half of the time she is sharp and witty and in the moment. She engages in intelligent conversation and digs up nuggets of childhood stories that are full of detail and colour. The other half of the time, she can’t hold a thought, asks the same question 5 times in the span of one hour, is very confused and frightened by the confusion, and seems lost, actually depressed. She is strangely aware of the disconnects and often says, “Charlotte, I’m losing it.” There are times when one visit with Mom has both versions of her switching back and forth. Like a child playing with a light switch, you can only endure it for a short time.

This long weekend filled with 150th Birthday celebrations of Canada, seemed like a shifting moment in my life. It was the first time in 8 years, that my mom and I were not celebrating Canada Day together.

Canada Day ranks higher in Mom’s life than any other special occasion. She used to organize city celebrations back in her civic politician days in Saskatchewan. Although as a Newfoundlander, she voted against joining Canada in 1949, she eventually became one of its most patriotic citizens and devoted her life to making our country better.

I made sure her red blouse and white pants were hanging together in the middle of her clothes closet before I left for my weekend at my cottage. I felt bad about leaving her behind and a bit angry with myself for feeling bad. While I celebrated in the sunshine with a raucous crowd on Salt Spring Island, I knew my mom was alone, maybe watching the rainy festivities in Ottawa on her TV. I wondered if this would be the last Canada Day she’d be truly aware of. I think this way about a lot of special days Mom has always enjoyed in her long and eventful life. It’s sometimes hard to be present in my own life when I fret about hers.

Last week, I drove Mom out to the Drivers Licensing Centre in a nearby suburb to apply for a new BC ID photo card for her. I had not noticed that her current card had expired almost two years ago. As someone who no longer drives, this card is proof of her identity and is rather important for legal, financial and flight purposes. Her passport expired last year and as her health is such that out of country travel is not in the cards, we never bothered to renew her Canadian passport.

This particular day, the irony of our task was something we laughed about even though we were not quite on the same page. “Mom, isn’t it funny that you have no valid government issued identification proving you exist?” She laughed and then asked if I was renewing my card, too. Like it was a membership in something we both believed in and doing so was showing our support.

When she stood to have her photo taken by the government employee, she kept smiling like most people do for the camera. Even though the clerk asked her gently not to smile, Mom could not comprehend the request. I thought, in the grand scheme of things, anyone holding up the card to check her identity in person with the photo on the card, would see a striking resemblance because, for the most part, Mom is always smiling.

As the coming year unfolds, I know I’ll be quietly asking the question, “Are you my mother?” This kind of dementia slowly takes ones identity away. There is no before and after, only a fluid, unpredictable in-between time. I guess living in the moment will have to be suspended sometimes. I will remember our Mom the way she used to be and treat her with dignity and respect. In the meantime, I will try to keep smiling, myself and to always be, “her baby”.

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Claire Martin

365 Day Lessons – by Claire Martin

This month last year I was diagnosed with melanoma. It was NOT how I expected to go through my 50th year, and it managed to lay waste to me and my normally busy life for the ensuing 4 months.

That said – this is 2017 – and so far (fingers and eyes crossed) – I’ve made it clear through my anniversary doctors appointment with a clean bill of health. 4 more of these yearly visits and I will be considered “cancer free”.

It’s amazing what life can throw at you. And it’s even more amazing when the light at the end of the “dark tunnel” appears bigger than the dark space itself, and you find yourself finally looking to the future without so much fear.

The BEST THING about a rogue (and thank God, fleeting) cancer diagnosis is the outlook you have afterwards.

I discovered hoards of old and new friends that came to lift me through the ordeal.
Like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes last year.

And I decided to follow through on as many of my hospital-bed promises-to-self that I could:

1. Lighten up – life is to be enjoyed.
2. Love and laugh – 100% more than ever before.
3. Enjoy life – even the crappy, boring bits.
4. Move – check, check (my God that’s another story I need to write!)
5. Pay it forward.

 

Number 5 is the tough one. So far I’ve volunteered at Lions Gate Hospital, and I’ve reached out to a few people going through similar health issues to offer help and advice on a 1-1 level.

But we started #mybackyard as a safe place for our community to share stories and ideas – so I’m asking the community now, what else can I do?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Claire

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Leesa Butler

In Defence of Multitasking – by Leesa Butler

 

Reuters Image

Recently an Australian Greens party senator, Larissa Waters, became the first woman to breastfeed her daughter while giving a speech in Australian Parliament. (This is the same woman who made headlines breastfeeding while on the floor last month.) It’s an amazing spectacle, not because of the politics of breastfeeding in public, but because it exemplifies the beauty – and necessity – of multitasking.

Search the word and you’ll find plenty of articles downplaying multitasking. Their research findings will tell you that trying to complete too many tasks at once will cloud your mind, and you’ll end up being less productive. Instead we end up distracted, unable to dedicate ample time to any single task.

Meh, I’m not so sure.

I’m all for mental clarity and concentration. But why throw the baby out with the bath water? Multitasking has its advantages. No one just does laundry. We toss clothes in the washer and tackle one to many things in between loads. I can’t think of a single dinner I’ve cooked where I didn’t multitask. While chicken is cooking, I’m preparing the vegetables AND making a salad AND pouring the wine. (OK, I confess, the wine gets poured first.) If I didn’t multitask my meal, I wouldn’t eat for hours and everything would be cold. 

In work, multitasking helps me complete tasks I consider mundane – balancing a spreadsheet, filing receipts – while keeping my interest piqued on other matters – bookmarking articles to read later, browsing social media. I’ve identified those tasks that bore me, and specifically multitask through them.

It’s not THAT you multi-task, it’s knowing what you can multitask and what you can’t.

I cannot write or prepare a pitch with the distraction of my in box or Twitter. I need to concentrate. Some things demand such focus I can’t even listen to music. But I know what those are, and plan time for them within my day. I also know to schedule these highly focused tasks when my creativity and energy are at their peak, but that’s another blog post.

Time can be an ally, or an enemy. ~ Zig Ziglar

My friend’s father retired at 53. He’d run a multi-million dollar company for years, days packed with meetings, lunches and well, work. He went from doing ten or 20 things at once to doing nothing. Within a couple of months he felt his mental capacity failing. He’d forget the simplest things. His perceived lack of mental capacity worried him to the point he called on a specialist to ensure he wasn’t suffering from dementia. 

He wasn’t. But his brain did miss multitasking. He was advised to add more structure and routine to his day. Without pressing matters to juggle throughout the day, his brain matter was bored. Maybe multitasking helps keep our cylinders firing.  

Quit counting time and start making time count. 

Productivity is not a one size fits all solution. Some of us live by to do lists. Some don’t. Some of us multitask Some don’t. It’s important to understand how you work best, and be mindful of what needs your undivided attention. 

Just don’t tell a mom she shouldn’t multitask.

about Leesa:  Leesa Butler is a marketing consultant in Toronto and lifestyle blogger at the F-List (www.f-list.ca). Leesa and Jody met 15 years ago and have been sharing drinks, laughs and advice in backyards ever since.

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Lynn Colliar

Growing up Teagan – by Lynn Colliar

To all those who mean well, but sound mean…
My beautiful girl is turning 6 in a few weeks. She is off the charts in height and weight – she’s also a great conversationalist… so many people make the honest mistake of thinking she’s older than she is.

 

She’s been in the 99th percentile since her first year… back then it was only me who had to explain her age compared to her size.

 

One example stands out to me, and i’m sure you’ll understand why.

 

It was a beautiful spring day – we were at the park with lots of other littles running around. The moms were standing off to one side when my 18 month old ran over to me and gabbed something only I could understand, we both laughed and she ran back to the slide… one mom gave me a “knowing” look and said – yes, out loud – “That’s what happens when you have children when you’re older.”

 

I was so shocked at the inference I’m sure my jaw dropped. I said “she’s 18 months old… and who cares if she’s 3 – you don’t say things like that to anyone!”

 

We left the park.

 

Now Teagan is getting it first hand… most comments are coming from the right place, wanting to say something kind – but not realizing for her little brain to hear over and over again “you’re so big” “it must be hard to be so tall” “no one’s going to push you around” “you must be the biggest kid in kindergarten” “are you bigger than all the boys?”…. it starts to stick.

 

She asked me the other day if she’s always going to be a giant. If everyone is always going to tell her “she’s so tall” like she didn’t already know that… my almost 6 year old is already aware she is somehow “different”. Her chin wobbled as her eyes pleaded for me to tell her she was going to be “average”.

 

She’s been trying to conquer the monkey bars at school. It’s tough when you weigh 60lbs and you can only get 2 rungs along before you fall. And your 40lb friends are hand over hand scampering across.

 

But she is tenacious. She isn’t giving up. In a week she’s managed to get to 4 rungs… the end goal is in sight.

 

She’s so proud of being almost there. My tall, strong girl.

 

So, if you see her on the monkey bars, sweaty-headed trying time and again to do them, please – feel free to encourage her.  She loves talking to people – so please chat with her – but remember, their wee brains are sponges and your words will stick with her.

 

 

She hears the same comment over and over… and no one is saying it to the kid beside her.
I’m tall. Glenn is tall. It’s a no-brainer T will be tall.  But we want her to be proud of her height. To own it. Not to feel it’s something “different” that she should be ashamed of.

 

Now go, my monkey, go.

 

UPDATE:

monkey achieved her goal yesterday!!!! That’s one tenacious girl  see video here:

IMG_1733

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Guest Contributor, Justin "Drex" Wilcomes

“Oh Andy” – by Justin “Drex” Wilcomes

 

“Oh Andy”, I find myself saying that about 100 times a day with my new-ish furry friend. You know what i’m talking about? When you open your door to a new family pet, it’s fair to say that in the first few months you are generally always amused, shocked, alarmed or sometimes downright disgusted by some of things you learn your furbaby can do. For instance, Andy’s favourite food seems to be his Step-Brother Rocco’s vomit. Classy.

How did I end up opening my door (and ¾ of my bed) to a 7lb animal? Well I wish it was the world’s most interesting story. I’ll save that for his step-brother Rocco, and another time, that’s more of a war story. Andy’s is pretty common unfortunately. A well intentioned family got him as a puppy for their daughter, the relationship broke down, and it became obvious to them that he would not get the attention he deserved, so he wasn’t always placed in the best situations for the first year of his life. So my radio colleague Claire (who is one of the best dog mamma’s I’ve ever met) kinda took Andy under her wing and looked out for him, lots of sleepovers with her two girl puppies, tummy rubs, walks, you know the drill. But he ultimately needed a forever home.
I was turning into a bit of a couch potato, I’m in a relationship, but (at the time) we lived apart because we love(d) our own space. So I would come home to an empty house, which is never fun after talking about politics, world & local news on the radio – for four hours a day. I had been thinking about rescuing an animal that needed a forever home. It was most likely going to be a cat, as I’ve always been a cat guy (even as a kid). We had both dogs and cats but I always hung with the latter, for whatever reason.. Even when I first moved to Canada 8 years ago I was a volunteer kitten wrangler for one of the local rescue societies here in British Columbia.

So, I had been thinking about it for a long time, I’d watched my partner go through the same thing for over a year, visiting the BCSPCA every couple of weekends, to meet candidates, and see if there was a connection with one of the many adorable and forever home worthy furry friends. It took months for him to meet Rocco. By chance I saw a photo of Andy on Claire’s Instagram, I asked her about him, and found out that he might be looking for a new home. I said “ME” on the spot.

That weekend I met him, he didn’t like me at first – he barked then walked away – but as I do with all animals (even Racoons) I thought he was adorable. Then it fell through, the family had changed their mind. I lamented about what could have been, and got back on with it.

Three weeks pass and I find out, they’re ready to give him up… again. Claire asked if I could come by and get him that weekend, I said yes, walked back to my office, immediately turned around went back to the studio and shouted “Today!” at Claire, that very afternoon my new doggy daddy life started.

Honestly I didn’t even know where to start!

My partner Brian took the lead, we went to Tisol, got him good food, got him new toys, new leather collar, new leather leash, new bedding.

Everything, spoilt him rotten.

I even got the jumbo peanut butter tub knowing that there would be peanut butter stuffed KONG’s on the menu from time to time, It was something I had loved watching Andy’s step-brother Rocco lose his mind over. Who ever knew that a hilariously shaped piece of silicone stuffed with peanut butter would keep a dog occupied for a considerable amount of time?

So, about Andy. Andy is…. well… ON. He’s got more energy that a kid that’s only been eating sugar at the midway. He’s always ready to play, and always ready to roughhouse. He thinks he the biggest dog in the room. (don’t they all?) But he’s more than happy to chill on the couch with me while we watch Colbert.

I made all the mistakes in the first few days, I let him sleep on the bed, i didn’t take him out right away first thing in the morning, i picked him up when he started barking at dogs, you know…. all the mistakes.

We’re on the right track now. He has a trainer named Hayley who teaches him and me how to be better at all things dog, plus she also doubles as his doggy daycare. She usually has anywhere between 3 and 8 dogs a day that she and her crew look after, from other Chihuahua’s to cattle dogs, pit bulls, you name it she has them all and they go for huge forest hikes up in the north shore mountains of Vancouver during the day which is better that sitting in a house all day.

What’s fascinating about Andy is that there wasn’t much structure the first year of his life, so when I got him just before his 1st birthday it was obvious he didn’t even understand “SIT” so we literally had to start at the beginning, and as you know if you’re reading this… It will take time.

In the meantime, I think my radio station CKNW should switch out the green shag pile rug in the producers pit as Andy thought it was grass, and well…you know.

Another thing I discovered tonight, while writing fun things about Andy as he stares at me from the couch he’s still bashful after he was spoken to about stealing my dinner.

On the way home from the radio station tonight I picked up my favourite meal, a rotisserie chicken, I get the leg and thigh…(my favorite part). I make the mistake of getting up from the table, for 30 seconds, to grab a glass of water and while in the kitchen I hear an almighty crash of cutlery….and the scrambling footsteps of a dog being spooked while standing on hardwood floors… (like Scooby & Shaggy when they’d get scared by a ghost). Ya. Like that.

I dunno, I’m still new to this. I might be bad at it, I’ll make a heap more mistakes, but he’s awesome, and I’ve had no end to the offers for people to dog sit him.

How can you not? Looks at that face!

Zoinks!

Here are a few extras, just because….

Jody and I met via Twitter, of all things.  I invited her to come and fill-in on CKNW — and now she does, a lot.  So….if you don’t like it, blame me. (written by Jody)

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Jody Vance

Working with Friends – by Jody Vance

Larry Hennessey

Me and Drex with a couple of political guests. (FTR, Drex is standing on books to be this tall.)

Working with friends can be tricky.

Over my years in broadcast I’ve been lucky enough to make life-long friends through work: Sarah Daniels, Claire Martin, Jim Van Horne, Alison Redmond, Becky Posh, Theresa Warburton, Daren Millard, Kevin Quinn, Jamie Campbell, Joe Leary, Cynthia Ott, Kathy Woodgate, Mike Hennigar, Patrick Zulinov, Cheryl Loveseth, Lucia Polifroni, Allison Cooper, Dean Bender, Richard Garner….god, the list is (thankfully) endless.  I could go on and on….but that’s not the point here.

The point today is, that for all of the friends I’ve met – and made – through work, I’ve also lost a great one.  It was so sad and shockingly painful.  The red flag went up our very first shift, I thought he was just having a bad day.  He wasn’t. I went into our gig, that would take us from “friends” to “co-workers”,  thinking it was the perfect storm of magic – it wasn’t.  Sure, we made the on air product work, but behind the scenes it was brutal.  Brutal. It’s a long story, suffice to say: our friendship was irreparably broken.

The person you know as your friend can often be wearing a completely different persona at work.  It was, and is, a very painful truth.

To say I’ve been gun-shy about working with my friends since is an understatement.  Nothing is “worth” losing a friend. Nothing.

In the past two weeks, I’ve jumped back into the friend/work pool.  (I must qualify that both friends that I’ve paired up with on radio, recently, weren’t as woven into my world as my lost one) It was with a good dose of nervousness that I dove in.

First at Roundhouse Radio — I was invited to fill in on the afternoon drive show, solo.  I wondered aloud to the boss there “if I might invite someone to join me”. Enter Larry Hennessey (who you have read here) — a pro’s pro, kind doesn’t begin to describe Larry.  We had never worked together on air before, and yet, after four days of togetherness it was clear that we could jive.  The shorthand came quickly, the respect and support was pure.  Time flew by and we were both sad to see our fill-in stint end. We loved it.

As the newly anointed “Pirate of Radio” in Vancouver — with zero time between — the following week off I went to my “other” day-job, filling in on CKNW.  I am thrilled to say that I get lots of shifts at The Top Dog, I love it.  Last week I had a chance to join Justin Wilcomes (Drex) to fill in for Lynda Steele on their outstanding Afternoon Drive show. Now, Drex and I had never met when he texted me, via twitter of all things, 18 months ago to see if I might like to “do radio”.  (It’s his fault that I’m AT CKNW.)  It wasn’t until this past Monday that we actually shared the airwaves.  Drex is a beast of a broadcaster, there is very little he won’t say – or do – in the name of great radio.  He’s driven and funny, kind and tough, all wrapped into one package.  We, too, saw time fly while on air.  I’m very excited to wake up tomorrow for more.

Life throws you curve balls, and sometimes the disappointments of a bad pitch can keep you up at night — as is the case with my lost friend — but the great moments of magic do heal you.

I’ve learned these past two weeks that every experience is unique.  You can’t paint it all with the same broad stroking brush.  Live.  Learn. Embrace.

You’ve likely noticed I’ve not named my lost friend, that is out of respect.  He knows who he is and I hope he knows that I love and miss him.  The interesting part of losing a friend, after trying to take a walk on the work-side, is that if given the choice — 100% of the time you’d save the friendship if given the luxury of hindsight.

Too late now for regrets. I’ve replaced that hollow place with a fortunate feeling, one that has me lucky to know that one can find fun when working with friends.

Thank you Larry and Drex — Lynda: You are up next…and I can’t wait!

 

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