Hope (12/24/2000 - 04/12/2014)

Hope (12/24/2000 – 04/12/2014)

Two weeks ago we put our beloved Husky-German Shepherd dog, Hope, down. I know that most dog owners will make this claim about their dog, but she truly was the greatest dog ever. Even friends with their own wonderful dogs would argue she was the best. She rarely barked, when she did we all looked at her in confusion about the sound coming from her mouth. She never hurt anyone or anything, one time she was being attacked by a pit bull while we were walking and she just stood there, waiting for the other dog to lose interest and go away. Although we’ve known for a few months it was coming, it has taken awhile to process.

I remember the first day I met her. She was my brother’s dog and he was moving back to BC after spending a few years living in New Brunswick. They flew in from NB and my brother had her in a travelling cage, one which would later become her “house” where she got sent to on the rare occasion she was bad, when she was let out after the long flight she warmed up to each member of my family right away. We took her out to our truck and she jumped into the back like a pro, something she could do without even lowering the flatbed gate.

Having wanted a dog for years I was so excited to take her for a walk around our neighbourhood that evening. Being the responsible new dog owner I took baggies with me to clean up anything she wanted to leave along the way, something I was dreading and didn’t know how I would handle when the time came. I quickly learned that she doesn’t do that, she would never poop anywhere aside from her own backyard. Even when we went camping she wouldn’t poop for the first couple of days until it became absolutely necessary. She never did it within view of people. She was a lady after all.

We became walking buddies right away. We’d wander for hours and only once did she poop on our jaunts. I remember it clearly, we both looked at each other wondering what the hell just happened. I’m sure she was embarrassed that she would do something so horrible in public and I was embarrassed because I had nothing to clean it up with. So we walked away like nothing had happened.

It was in an abandoned lot, so I don’t feel too bad.

As she got older our walks became shorter. She’d still get really excited every time anyone said the W word, but her age would show when she got home. In pain and unable to do much for the rest of the day.

Aside from walks, Hope had three loves: chasing the ball, treats and my dad.

She had multiple balls hidden around the backyard, when she wanted to play she’d drop it at your feet and run after it after you threw it. Jumping so high to catch it, we’d worry she was going to land wrong and break her legs. She would follow my dad around as he cut the grass and drop the ball along his path, waiting for him to kick it and then bring it back to him. She was his shadow. And although she was technically my brother’s dog, she became my parents when my brother moved again and couldn’t take her with him. She remained loyal to Dave whenever he’d visit, but she understood my dad was the boss. She loved all of us unconditionally, but she listened to and wanted to please my dad the most.

hope and dad

This photo perfectly represents my dad and Hope. We were camping and he was going to the washroom across from our site, she was walking along behind him but knew she wasn’t allowed to leave the site. So when she got to the edge, she sat there and remained there until she saw him reemerge from the bathroom. At that point jumping to her feet and dancing around in circles, excited about the return of her best friend.

Hope gave everyone unconditional love. She loved everyone and you could see that she knew when something bad was happening or you were sad, because she would always come over to you and try to make it better. One of the things that sticks out in my mind the most about her is when I was at my parent’s house watching Toy Story 3 alone with her. The end, the scene with the toys in the incinerator and they all grab hands, just killed me. I was ugly crying, actually sobbing, and Hope looked at me from over at her blanket, concerned. Then stood up and came over and started to lick my hand, then did my most favourite thing in the world where she would snuggle up under my hand trying to get me to pet her. She was there for me and everyone else when we were sick, sad or just needed a friend. She couldn’t say anything but you knew she knew and understood. And loved you no matter what.

When my dad injured himself last December and was off work after knee surgery for a couple of months she would lick his surgery scars all the time. She would see him limping around and grabbing his knee in pain, would then limp over to him herself (with her bad hips and all) and “kiss” his scars better. Without prompting.

At one point, while camping with my brother, she was sprayed by a skunk. A smell that didn’t wash out for about a month. She earned the name Stinky from me, one that stuck with her because of the skunk incident as well as her bad breathe. This nickname then gave birth to multiple other nicknames: Stinks, Stinkenbaum (what I was told by my translate app was Stinky in German) as well as Hoffen, which was German for Hope (she was half German Shepherd, I figured she understood).

In the past couple of years she was no longer able to jump for the ball, even stairs were hard for her. While younger she’d run up and down the porch stares hundreds of times a day to chase the ball or to run after some squirrels that happened to be close to the yard. During a visit to the vet last fall he made it clear to us that she was older, 97 in human years, and wouldn’t have much longer.

We agonized for months about when we would know. While she couldn’t go for long walks anymore and stairs were a problem, she was still smiling and happy to see everyone. When I’d visit my parents she’d always be like her old self, my mom would remark that she would be hiding it from me and that it was not like this at all when I wasn’t around. It was just like her to look out for others, selflessly. Because of this I always joked that she was the reincarnation of my maternal grandmother. They had similar eyes and personality, Hope came into our lives a few years after she passed.

We decided to go to the vets on a Saturday afternoon so we could all be there, well my parents and I, my brother is not living in town and wouldn’t be able to be back for months. I went out to my parents in the morning and we spent most of the sunny Spring day with Hope. Each of us looking for distractions, but wanting to soak up every moment with her. Finally, an hour before it was time to go to the vet, the three of us sat on the front porch as she sat on the grass. We cried and she looked around the yard. I’m sure she knew what was happening and was just surveying her land.

All day we had been giving her treats and food. She was so well fed that last week. But when we got to the vet’s office and I gave her one last treat, one of her favourites, she just dropped it to the ground. When I tried again she dropped it again. It was like her way of saying she was done.

On April 12, 2014 at 3:37pm my baby girl and one of my best friends was put to rest. She was smiling her trademark smile until the very end. It was important to us to all be there, even though each one of us was in our own personal hell, I’m sure. She was there for us through so much and we needed to be there for her. I stroked her fur and reminder her how we loved her, that she was the best dog ever and irreplaceable. The life left her beautiful blue eyes and I knew she was gone before the vet could even tell us. She passed and we spent another few moments in the room alone with her. I rubbed her soft ears for the last time, gave her a kiss and whispered that I loved her.

I know I will never be able to replace her, but I would want to get another dog in the future. My parents refuse, saying that they would never find one as good as her and they couldn’t go through that again at the end. While I think this is true, because the end was truly painful and one of the worst experiences ever, I wouldn’t want to deny myself the pure and unconditional love that dogs give.

Hope passed away on a Saturday, by Monday I had already done this as a tribute to my girl:


It says hope and Love, on my ankle to remember my walking buddy.

Hope smile


English really is my first language

English is my first and only (fluent) language. You wouldn’t know it if you listened to me speak sometimes. Here’s a few things I’ve eff’d up lately:

– I called my toes “feet fingers”

– I told someone I was going to punch them with my foot…. aka “kick”


I googled “foot punch” and this is what came up

– your ankle is apparently your “foot wrist”

– I ran for my ringing phone after painting my toenails and yelled “crap! I wrecked my toe makeup!” (apparently I have problems with feet related things)

– “build a cake” which I believe is the complicated way to “bake a cake”

– I’ve completely forgotten my left and right. This hasn’t happened while giving someone directions in a car (recently, at least)

– Couldn’t remember the word candle so I called it a “burny thing”

It may be important to know that while I’m not an ESL student (although my parents were… hmmm), I used to teach ESL. It’s probably good that I got out of the business.

I’m an adult

Today I was talking to a friend about how I recently finished my probation period at work and now have extended medical.

Like most people, I’ve taken the opportunity to take advantage of everything I can, including some things that I may have neglected during my unemployed (read: broke) period. Namely dental and eye care.

Here’s how I explained how I booked these doctor’s appointments to a friend:

“I made my optometrist appointment for a week and a half from now. I’ll wear my glasses every day until then so any gross stuff lingering on my eyes from my contacts will be gone by then. My dentist appointment is a month away, this way I can start flossing from now until then and fool them into thinking I’m a super-vigilant flosser.”

Please do not question this logic. It makes perfect sense in my brain. And I have proof from my last visit with the dentist that this works.

As for the idea that maybe I should just keep flossing after the visit, past experience tells me that this is not likely to happen.

Tales of a nail biter

This week I read that nail biting is considered compulsive grooming, a psychological disorder similar to OCD and is being added to the next American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

I’ve been a nail biter for as long as I can remember. Until my early twenties I was always biting my short little finger nails until they bled and were a pain to touch, but I just could not stop. It wasn’t until I started painting my nails all the time that I was able to stop the habit. I have a obsession with my nails being perfect, chips were avoided and thus my nails went unbitten. Don’t get me wrong I’d pick up the habit again from time to time, especially during stressful times like exam time in university or when work got particularly stressful.

This year I’ve relapsed once. It was a (drunken) night out with friends and I started picking at a hangnail. Which led to me picking at my now chipped nail polish, because I’d rather pick it off then deal with a small chip (hmmm… maybe that ocd label does fit me?). I then bit off all my nails. The hangnail became bloody and within a few days it was obviously infected. I’ve had gross cuticles before, but not like this…

Yes, I named him.

Gross right? Sorry but I felt the visual was needed and if you’re gross like me you can click on the photo to make it larger (I took multiple pictures to remind me to leave my cuticles alone but honestly it’s not helping). That’s Barney the Barnacle. He was on my thumb for over two weeks. He was painful and woke me up at night. I eventually went to the doctor and had to take antibiotics 4 times a day and soak him twice daily for 20 minutes in salt water.

Lesson: Don’t bite your nails or cuticles.

But do I think this is a psychological disorder? Eh.

Part of me loved bringing this up to my parents who loved to slap my hands out of my mouth as a child. I still hear them saying “get your fingers out of your mouth” any time I have my hand near my face. So telling them that it was a psychological disorder gave me a bit of satisfaction, regardless of whether I believe it or not.

I don’t know if it’s a compulsive thing for me though. The habit of biting isn’t  because my nails are too long, or because they hurt me when I’m scratching an itch. I prefer them shorter because I have a fear of pinching my eye when removing my contact lenses. Still, I’d rather file them rather than bite them.

I do know that I bite out of stress or nervousness, and that there makes me think it is more than simply a bad habit. I think of it more like an addiction. One that will always be a part of me and something that needs to be held at bay but will never be beaten.

I guess it’s a good thing I have an extensive nail polish collection and love creating new nail art. If that’s the only way to keep my nail biting at bay, I guess I can live my life with pretty nails.

Thoughts? Do you think nail biting is more than a bad habit… addiction… worthy of a place in the DSM?

25 things

I wrote one of those 25 things about me lists in the past, so why not do another (I’m bored)

  1. I make a mean spaghetti carbonara
  2. Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite wine
  3. Litchi and litchi flavored anything are my favorite foods/drinks/flavors
  4. I love the autumn. The crisp weather, sweaters and boot make it my favorite season.
  5. Cheesy pop music is the best way to brighten a bad day. Favorite 80’s song is Toto’s Africa.
  6. I love a man in a suit and with a sense of style. An ill-fitting suit is horrible. Tailors are your friends
  7. I get positively giddy about learning. I start school again on Tuesday and I’m about as excited as Lindsay Lohan is when faced with a Scarface-sized pile of cocaine (I’m about to be sued)
  8. If you use improper grammar or obviously don’t proofread your work, it shows you don’t care. I can’t be bothered to read your blog or tweets.
  9. I hate goatees. I’ll go to battle for the beard (great men wore beards) and will find a mustache humorous (as long as you’re not a hipster), but goatee’s show laziness. It’s like you started shaving and got tired
  10. I hate small talk and being asked too many questions
  11. I prefer other people to drive, I like sitting in the passenger seat and playing dj
  12. I’d rather let someone read my diary (if I had one) then let them go through my iPod (I may have stole this from a tweet but I can’t remember who)
  13. I’m a phone snob. I don’t get why you’d have any other smartphone but an iPhone and I look down on people with Blackberries (why? WHY?!?!)
  14. I’ve never had a cavity
  15. I feel happiest when hanging out with my good friends
  16. I’m growing tired of social media. Facebook, Pintrest, Tumblr, Twitter. I want to keep my Twitter and dump the rest (I actually don’t have a Tumblr) but keep them because I don’t want to lose touch with people
  17. I think a handwritten letter or thank you card is extremely important and touching in this day of email and word processing
  18. People who don’t drink coffee in the morning freak me out (full disclosure, neither of my parents and most of my close friends don’t and I don’t get it)
  19. I sigh a lot. When my head hits the pillow at night I unconsciously let out a huge sigh
  20. When I’m looking intently at something I always cock my head to the right side. I’m doing it right now.
  21. I want to steal cute dogs I see on the street when their owners are inside the store. The only thing stopping me is my fear that someone will do this to me with my dog
  22. I hate when people buy their favorite team jersey’s and put their name on the back. Let the dream go
  23. I got my drivers license on my brother’s 19th birthday. I immediately became his designated driver and he became my alcohol buyer
  24. I was a really shy child, hard to believe but I was
  25. I’m allergic to codeine, cats and curry

My Wii is a man

Last weekend my dad asked if my Wii was a boy or girl. It all made sense in the context of our conversation, at least I think it did.  I replied that it was a guy, with certainty. But honestly I wasn’t certain until this Monday.

I like using Wii Fit when I don’t get a chance to work out, I also like being told by a gaming system that I have horrible balance. Really, it tells me that I’ve got no sense of balance and that I probably fall a lot when walking. This past Monday and I started doing the fitness test, in which it weighs you and gives you some balance games to tell you how off kilter you are.

In recent weeks I’ve been doing pretty good and losing some weight (I lost two pounds over Christmas! How this happened, I’m not sure because there wasn’t a carb or glass of wine that I didn’t enjoy). And while I like using it, especially for tracking, there are still problems with the wii, specifically that it makes you set goals and if you hit the goals too soon it tells you that you’re losing weight too fast. If you’re not hitting them it picks on you. Basically you cannot gain any kind of ego with the Wii, it will always bring you down.

After my fitness test this week it chided me for gaining some weight and then it asked what I’ve been doing wrong. It gives you a list of things that could have gone wrong and you have to choose one, most of those options include various mistakes involving food, like eating late at night or making poor food choices. You select one and it tells you what to do to change that.

Here’s the give away that the Wii is a man- they don’t give women the most obvious reason for weight gain… hormonal water weight! I know it’s a game and it doesn’t actually care, there aren’t people actually monitoring who is gaining or losing what, but I want it to know that during certain times of the month I’m going to be a little bloated. In fact, it should congratulate me for even working out when I’m dealing with cramps and lying on the couch is much more enticing.

Any wii that is a woman would understand that! A girl would understand that bloating is allowed and wouldn’t taunt me for gaining weight in such a fragile state.

I’m wondering if there’s any way to bring it back and get a girl wii? I could use a little coddling sometimes, I just don’t think that this guy gets me.

Inside the actors studio

If I were on the show Inside the Actors Studio there are the questions they’d ask and the answers I’d give. It’s the closest thing I’ll ever get to being an actor.

1. What is your favorite word?
Discombobulated. Say it, it’s fun.

2. What is your least favorite word?
Phlegm. It’s not fun to say, think of or to bring up.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Intelligence. An open mind. Sarcasm. Nice arms.

4. What turns you off?
Arrogance. Entitlement. Goatees.

5. What is your favorite curse word?

6. What sound or noise do you love?
Nature: rain, running rivers or waves on a lake, birds.

7. What sound or noise do you hate?
Yelling or needless raising of voices (which covers most yelling), especially that filled with hatred and anger.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
In a perfect world I’d be making a living writing.

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Fishing boat captain.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
I’m sorry.