To laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again

To laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again

I just found out about the Sleeveface blog today, which posts pictures of “one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion”. So of course, I had to give it a shot myself once I got home. Yes, that’s me in the picture above.

Read more after the jump for more pics…
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Funny Gromit Moment

So Gromit heads upstairs and I hear some thumping around. It sounded like an empty cardboard box, which Gromit likes to destroy, so I wasn’t too concerned. But I did go up the stairs to check it out, to make sure he hadn’t gotten into too much mischief, and I was greeted with this:

So of course I was so alarmed with the fate of my beagle and the possibility of suffocation that I grabbed my camera. And took two pictures.

I also really like that once he recognised that he had gotten himself into a situation that he couldn’t get out of himself, he decided to have a seat and maybe think it through. Poor bastard. That box didn’t even have any doggie treats left in it for his troubles.

London Calling

In two and a half hours, we’ll be on our way to the airport on a flight headed to London, England. It is quite exciting (the idea of a vacation, not the impending transcontinental flight). From there, we’ll head to Bath via train, spend a few days there, then back to London for a week there. This is my first time in the UK (not including Heathrow stopovers), so I’m looking forward to it. If any of you have any suggestions of things to do there, leave a comment. I’m sure I’ll be finding my way into an internet cafe or two while there.

I finished up my contract with Shell this morning, so I am no longer contracting with them (and am unemployed… hopefully not for long). It wasn’t always the most challenging or exciting work, but the people were all nice and it was nice to have my first grown up job. The pay was especially nice, affording me the opportunity not only to go on a trip such as this, but also to lease a new car, and buy a house, which in turn lead to us getting our Gromit.

If you’re wondering, Gromit will be staying with our friend Julie for the first part of our trip, playing with her pup Whiskey. Then, she’ll bring him over to our dogwalker friend, who will look after him in her house full of dogs that’s right across the street from his favouritist place in the whole world – the park. It’s possible that he’ll have more fun in the next week and a half than we will.

So that’s all for now, tally ho old chaps and all that.

Gromit’s First Birthday

Sunday was Gromit’s first birthday, so we threw him a party. Now before any of you start, no, I don’t think Gromit realised that it was his birthday, nor do I think he has any concept of what a birthday, or a day, is. If he was cognizant of anything being different yesterday, it was that he got two new toys (well, he has no concept of “two” either, but multiple toys), there were people in the house (Kim’s family and Julie) and dog to play with (Julie’s puppy Whiskey), and he got a different kind of dinner (a cake! In the shape of a bone! Made of liver!).
Birthday boy

The reason to throw a birthday party for you puppy is because A) it’s fun, and B) to create memories for yourself. The sad truth is that Gromit will at best have 16 good years with us, so doing something silly like this creates a fun memory that Kim and I will share our whole lives. Plus, it’s been a significant year with Gromit, who has added a lot of love to our little family, and has grown and changed a lot over the past year. In many ways, the more significant date for us would be November 6, which marks our first year with Gromit (since we didn’t get him til after he was weaned), but celebrating a birthday is more fun. Plus its a nice marker to differentiate from his pure puppy year to his older puppy phase. He’s now more calm, house-trained, and is ready to move on to his dog food (as opposed to puppy food). It’s sometimes hard to believe how far he’s come in his development when I think how a few months ago we lived in constant fear in stepping in puddles and had to put him to bed early to keep him from bouncing off the walls.

It’s not like we went crazy with a party. We did buy him a cake, but it wasn’t expensive, and the concept of a doggie birthday cake was just too funny to pass up. All in all, it was a fun night seeing him play with Whiskey and his new toys, and watching him get frosting all over his face.

If you want to see more pics from the big day, you can do so here:

POST #15: Our Trip to Saskatoon

Last weekend, we were in Saskatoon, visiting my family for my mom’s 60th birthday. We drove up on Thursday night, then drove home Monday night. Not a long trip, but it’s always good to see family.

I’m not from Saskatchewan, and have never lived there. Possibly being the first people ever to do so, my parents moved to Saskatoon 8 years ago from Edmonton (where they lived for two years after spending most of my life in Calgary), and my sister moved with them. I actually did move to Edmonton to live with them for a year (my sister also moved there, prior to that, she and I shared an apartment in Calgary for the year… btw, my sister’s name is Kelly, and she’s three years older than I), but when they announced that they were moving again to Saskatoon (both moves were due to my dad’s job), I decided to move back to Calgary where my friends were and where I’d enjoyed school more (my then-girlfriend had also moved back to Calgary six months earlier as part of a prolonged and painful non-break-up, so that was a factor, even if by then, I had little hope that we were going to reconcile).

For those who don’t know, Saskatoon is the breadbasket part of Canada, mostly consisting of farmland. It has two small cities in Saskatoon and Regina, but their still heavily influenced by the farmer aesthetic of the province. Calgary is the big, scary city to them.

Sadly, this last trip wasn’t as good as visits to my family usually are, partly because it was short, but mostly because my grandma was also visiting. And grandma… is bat-shit crazy. Not in a clinical, sympathetic way, but in an ignorant, self-involved way. She basically annoys everyone, and needs to be the centre of attention at all times. As a result, we didn’t get to spend much that much time with my mom, who spent most of her time entertaining her. Kim even snapped at her near the end of our trip, and Kim doesn’t do that with anyone but me.

The highlight of the trip undoubtedly was Gromit. We took him with us for his first big trip, and everyone loved him a lot (well, not grandma, but who cares?). He was in heaven there, since my parents have air conditioning. He also loved the constant attention he was getting from different people. Him and my dad had lots of fun (we left Gromit with him a couple times to hang out with my sister, and they played and went for walks). He’s a really good traveller too, never complaining while being buckled in the backseat (his harness has a loop that lets us put a seatbelt through it). He mostly napped, but also chewed on a bone filled with rawhide. My dad even arranged it for Gromit to accompany us to dinner at his Country Club, with him hanging out on the balcony outside our private room (I know it sounds like it, but we’re not rich. Dad’s business pays for his membership so he can entertain clients, and his force of personality gets them to do extra things for him). I look forward to bringing Gromit back to Saskatoon sans grandma. It sounds like they miss him.

Here’s a picture of Gromit with his grandparents.

POST #9: Gromit

I briefly mentioned him earlier, so I figured I should elaborate more on who this “Gromit” is for anyone who might be reading me for the first time today (hello monitor John and blackiceburn!). Gromit is our 10-month-old beagle puppy (and, yes, he is named after the plasticine character). Wanna see?

I love him so much. I’ve never had a pet before, but always thought about having a dog. And when I thought about having a dog, I thought about having a beagle. To me, they’re what I think of when I think of “dog”, like the picture you’d use when teaching the word dog to a three-year-old. They’re a mid-size, with floppy ears, and do all the doggie things. Bigger dogs sometimes resemble wolves more than dogs, and little dogs sometimes act more like cats than dogs. Beagles are just right.

So when we bought our own place, one of the primary motivators was so that we could have a dog. We probably rushed into getting one too fast (about a week after we moved in), but I’m happy we did, since it meant we got Gromit. Sure, another beagle would probably exhibit a lot of the same breed-specific behaviours, but I think he’s special in some areas that makes me glad we have him. Primarily, he’s a lot quieter than the average beagle, who are usually very loud howlers. Don’t get me wrong, Gromit can howl with the best of them, but he rarely ever howls or barks in the house. Even amongst other dogs, he’s usually quiet (he generally reserves his howls for nighttime when he first goes out, or when a bike goes by). When we pick him up from daycare, all the other dogs go nuts while our Grommy sits quietly in his crate. Oh, and he always barks when someone comes to the door, cause he’s a good guard dog.

Since I spent most of my life dreaming about what it’d be like to have my own dog, you could understand if the reality was a bit of a letdown. But the truth is that Gromit has pretty much met all my expectations. Sure, he’s a handful at times, but I always knew a puppy would be. But the rewards outweigh the difficulties by far. I love being able to care for another living being who is dependant on me. He’s been a great addition to our family in that respect. I love seeing the complete joy in him when he goes to play at the park. I love seeing his little beagle brain work when he’s trying to figure out how to get another treat. I love when he curls up to sleep with us (when we let him), putting off his desire to pee to meet his desire to assume an honoured place in the pack.

Pretty much, he’s the dog I’ve always dreamt of.

POST #3: Mmmmm… Bacon

One fun outcome of this blogathon is that my wife is making us breakfast for the first time since we’ve moved in, and possibly the first time since last year’s blogathon. Neither of us are morning people (she’s more tired than I am right now, although part of that is probably because she’s not trying to wake up, but rather get through this breakfast commitment she made, then will go back to sleep), so there hasn’t been much cause to make a breakfast more complicated than pouring.

Another reason is that we’re seldom together in the morning, and when we are, we’re on different sides of the sleeping equation. She works nights at a hospital as a nurse (helping deliver babies), so she’s just getting home when I’m getting ready to leave for work (in truth, if I got to work when they’d prefer me to get to work, I’d be leaving before she got home). So she’s just wanting to go to sleep, while I’m rushing out the door. No time for eggs!

Another thing keeping us from eating breakfast is usually Gromit, whose morning routine takes precedence over ours (since ours will rarely result in pee on the floor). Today that’s not the case, since Julie is furthering her support for my efforts (on top of pledging) by puppy-sitting for us. She took him in yesterday afternoon, and will be keeping him until Sunday evening. We were away all of last night, so it was good that he wasn’t trapped at home alone all night (since we’d keep him crated the whole time to prevent him from destroying stuff… and the pee, always the pee). Today, Kim will be sleeping for much of the day since she has to work tonight at 11, and I’ll be too busy posting every 30 minutes to attend to his needs. So we are beagle-free this weekend, which is kinda nice. But I still miss the little guy. He was going to be my fall back option when I couldn’t think of anything to write (I’d be all “I don’t have much to say right now, so let me tell you about the silly way my puppy is behaving right now”).

Ah well, now I’ll just regale you with Gromit stories from the past. Lord knows I never get tired of talking about my pup.

Gromit Graduates!

We finished up Gromit’s Let’s Go training classes last week. Sadly, there was no fun graduation ceremony with caps and gowns, but that’s probably for the best, since Gromit probably would’ve just tried to eat them. But he did get a certificate! We now have to decide how to best display this great honour.
His puppy diploma

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It’s been far too long since I’ve bludgeoned you with Gromit pictures

If you haven’t seen my puppy lately, you’ll be surprised at how big he’s gotten. Sure, he’ll never be as big as other pups, and is generally the smallest puppy at Puppy Playtime or in the park (unless one of those wussy toy dogs is around), but he’s bigger than the last time I put up pictures, so I figured I should show you all. After all, no one is here for the cross-posted reviews.

Lazy Sunday
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The Funnest Ever!

We enrolled Gromit into Bright Puppy classes, which are mostly about socializing him with other pups. Obediance training will come later. Included in his Wednesday night classes is “Puppy Playtime”, an hour on Friday night where you can bring your puppy to come play with all the other puppies without instruction. We took Gromit there last night after he got his shots, and OMG was it ever fun.

There was probably somewhere around 50 puppies or so there, so it was pretty crowded. When you get there, you take your pup’s leash and collar off, and hold him until the organizer says “go play”, then you let your pup go and they intermingle. Humans are to stay off to the side so the puppies can learn how to deal with one another. Gromit is kinda anti-social though, so he’d often sniff around the outside, walking under the chairs and people’s legs. I don’t think it’s so much shyness as it’s indifference. He cares more about smells than dogs, so once he’s done sniffing their bum, he’s no longer interested in the other pup.

Although, it’s possible he just learned this behaviour from us, cause as the puppies are playing, a lot of owners mingle and chat with one another. What do Kim and I do? Stay off to the sides, watching our Grommy.

At different intervals, they tell you to grab your puppy, hold him for a bit, then everyone sets them free again. This keeps them from getting too crazy or anxious. Then they do something even more fun… they tell you to just grab a random puppy! They’ll say something like “grab a black puppy”, and you grab the first black puppy you can, until they’re all grabbed. We got to handle a bunch of puppies! Not just our own! Puppies are so awesome. This helps the pups be more social, and everyone we grabbed was friendly. This is the difference between puppies and cats or even dogs… they like being touched and held, even by strangers.

When the hour was up, we took Gromit home and he slept the rest of the night. What a great night.

The keys get him into his pen

We gave Gromit his new teething keys that his aunt Kelly got him to Christmas. That kept him occupied for a good hour.

We finally took the tree down today.

Here’s a Christmas pic. Luckily, Kim’s hand is protecting my boy’s modesty with his back leg. He’s getting so big!

Old man puppy

His wrinkly face can make him look so old sometimes. I swear, he’s not a senior canine yet.

After the Half

I started my comeback, the score is now 27-23, putting me down by 4. He’s gotten a couple of sacks by the Bears and another PAT, while things started to look bad for me. Marques Colston dropped a TD pass, Tom Brady came up a yard and a half short on a quarterback sneak, and Deuce McAllister was stopped on the goal line twice in a row, followed by an incomplete pass to Colston.

Luckily, Sean Payton has huge, huge balls and went for it on fourth down for the third time in the first half, and the Saints (the football team for New Orleans, not me and my wife) threw a TD to Colston. Somewhere in there Heath Miller scored a one yard TD, which was awesome because I wasn’t going to start him. When I first posted my starters, I put in Bo Scaife in at tight end, but because he’s injured, I reluctantly switched in Miller against the Ravens, figuring that I wouldn’t get any points either way. So… yay!

Throw in a Tom Brady TD pass, and I was down by three. I was in a position to go up by three, but Josh Scobee missed a 53 yard kick, which puts us where we are now.

Oh, and Gromit is going nuts, running back and forth for no reason. Which… is pretty common for him.


My opponent went up to 11 with a Robbie Gould field goal, but then we started our comeback when Marvin Harrison scored a 37 yard TD. It would’ve been more exciting had I gotten the chance to see it, but I had to chase Gromit upstairs, where he proceeded to pee on the living room floor. My bad, I should’ve taken him outside.

He’s in his crate now. That’ll teach him to make me miss a TD!

More Gromit!

Sick of seeing pictures of my puppy? You will be! He’s getting bigger already, but he’s still tiny.
If he looks happy, that's cause we're letting him out of his crate to inflict terror!

My two loves
Last time was pictures from our first day with Gromit, and Kim was taking most of the pictures. That’s why she wasn’t in much of them. But this is her and Gromit enjoying her favourite, “quiet puppy time”. There’s less and less of that as the days go by.
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