Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wrapping Up 2013

Notable Events of 2013:

  • February: Diana and I went to Costa Rica
  • February: Diana and I had our 25th anniversary
  • March: Josh and I saw most of the major caves in Virginia together
  • March: I turned 50. 
  • April: My birthday party, delayed a week since my actual birthday conflicted with Easter
  • May: We refinanced the mortgage, which is not something I'm likely to reminisce over but took a lot of attention
  • June: Buffy passed away and we attended her funeral in Montreal
  • July: Gwen arrived from Australia, huzzah!
  • July: tiled the kitchen backsplash, another forgettable item which took much attention at the time
  • August: Josh and Gwen moved to Blacksburg
  • August: Diana turned 65
  • September: I took a vacation to Utah to see national parks, attend SLC ComicCon, and meet people.
  • October: Zoe Mutt diagnosed with cancer
  • November: my grandmother passed away
  • November: spent much time with the Muttling
  • December: Diana got the braces off her teeth after 26 months
  • December: Zoe took her last sleep, with us beside her
  • December: sold the house on Trafalgar Avenue.


On Monday. at the farm, Josh, Diana and I put half of Zoe's ashes on the meadow and stream where she liked to play. Today, Diana and I took the remaining ashes and went to the beach. Zoe would trot down to the edge of the water and if the surf wasn't rough she'd wade in to about knee deep and then plop herself down in the water for a few seconds. So, after we shared some memories, I took off my shoes and waded in about as deep as Zoe would have--the water was quite cold, but I didn't really notice at the time. Then, as three waves came up on the sand and ran back out, I gave her ashes to the water. Then we petted a cute Welsh terrier who came trotting up to us, agreed that we didn't want another dog, no matter how cute, as no one could replace Zoe. We walked up the beach for half an hour and then went home.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Home on the farm

A slow morning with rain all night, but at least not frost. Toronto had an ice storm on Sunday and Willa's farm house is without power, including power for the well. They're having to haul water 20 miles to water the horses, and they're nearly out of firewood. When last we looked, Ontario Hydro said there were over 200,000 people affected in the Toronto area.

In the afternoon, we spread half of Zoe's ashes on the meadow and creek on the farm; in the summer, the grasses and wildflowers are waist high and she would bound across the field and then plunk herself into the creek. Looks like there is a new creek forming, with a tiny rivulet running down a gully so small it looks more like a slightly sunken footpath.

Josh and Gwen decided to maximize the utility of a pair of their Christmas presents, and opened them early. Josh's gift from Gwen was a copy of Fred Jane's wargame rules, best used with another wargamer (ie me) around; Gwen's gift from Josh was a jaffle iron, best used with a fireplace around. Although instead of Jane's, Josh and I played a scenario from Josh's birthday copy of Yaquinto's Ironclads; Gwen made jaffles with salami (not "slimey") and cheese and tomato sauce.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Tree

Every year we get an ornament to reflect something important from the year. So...I managed to find a Playful Black Lab ornament, which is now on the tree.

Monday, December 16, 2013

On This Day

On December 16, 1689, Parliament passed the (English) Bill of Rights.

In 1773, the Sons of Liberty dump crates of tea into Boston Harbor as a protest against unfair taxation.

In 2013. Joshua turned 25. Huzzah!

Saturday, December 14, 2013


CS Lewis says, in Perelandra, that sin not only choosing the bad over the good, but clinging to the lesser good that we have rather than accepting the greater good that God wants to give us.

Since Thanksgiving, Zoe has been lethargic. She's spent most of her time on the couch; her walks have been only to the nearest patch of grass, and she's resisted going any farther. I took her to the beach, and she went maybe 30 yards across the sand and turned back; that was clear sign of trouble, as usually she prances right down to the water. In the last week, she's had trouble climbing up on the couches, or going up and down the stairs, and she lost her balance and fell at least twice. And the cancer was spreading quickly.

We, reluctantly, released the lesser good that we had. I fed Zoe mini-sausages, and dipped my finger into eggnog and put it to her mouth, and she lapped it up eagerly. And then we carried her to the vet, and told them what had to be done. Zoe wasn't nervous at all. The vet put the IV lead into Zoe's leg, and brought her back in to us, and told us we could take as much time as we needed; I said "Two years, please...". We petted her and told her we love her and she is a good girl. I tried to tell her what I'd thought about six weeks ago--"when you wake up you'll be in a sunny meadow, with wildflowers you can bound through, and open lawns where you can run, and streams you can splash in, and other happy dogs you can play with. And not very long from now, we'll come to you and play Peek a Woof with you" --but I choked up and couldn't finish. I kissed her nose and her forehead, and we held her as the vet gave her the sedative, and the second syringe, and she splashed through the waters to the green fields beyond.

(Please don't leave comments. If you've been here, you know).

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Braces Out

Diana's braces come off today, huzzah! She got them in September 2011, so it's been somewhat more than 26 months of the tin grin. They were supposed to come off on the 18th, so getting rid of them today was a happy surprise. "Happy" in a painful way, that is--I gather having the clamps knocked off was an unpleasant half hour. But now, of course, we can have spicy food! (Yes, "braces" means "cuts on the inside of your lips" which makes hot peppers a problem).

Sunday, December 8, 2013

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

"It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas", which means the decoration bins are in the livingroom, strings of lights are snarled on the table, a dozen or so Christmas mugs are on the floor in Josh's room, and there are a few unwrapped presents on the stairs. We took Zoe with us to pick out a tree at Taylor's Hardware; she wasn't enthused about getting out of the car, but once she was out, she trotted around sniffing at things and letting people admire her.

We got the tree into the stand, although not lit and wrapped and decorated and hung.

A couple of days ago it was 76° but this weekend was a lot cooler. Gwen sent pictures of snow and ice in Blacksburg; it didn't get that cold here, but it was certainly wet and chilly. Muttling was shivering at one point; we took her upstairs, put her on the bed, and put the warming blanket over her. When she had to go out, Diana put a green turtleneck on her, which looked properly Christmasy; unfortunately the sleeves wouldn't stay rolled up and kept falling down to cover her paws. I have a couple of vests which should work, though, and it's not like she's going out much anyway. Unfortunately. She's still quite strong--when I want to pull her one way and she's made up her mind not to go, she plants her little 35 pound body and it takes quite a bit of effort to haul her along--but she's just not interested in going out. She's beginning to loose her balance, though; I saw her trying to stand on the hardwood floor, and she sort of stumbled backward until she sat on her rump. Usually she stays curled up on one couch or another; but she can trot right upstairs when she's minded to.

She does like eggnog quite a bit, and I've given her three bowls of it. I've had to dip a finger in and put it to her mouth to get her attention, but once she's got the idea, she laps it all up. She's also eating chicken, usually from our hands.

Other things about the house: I've caulked Josh's shower, and installed a new printer. Our printer scanner no longer scans, since Lexmark never got around to updating the drivers to work with Win7. Since we're sending documents back and forth to Montreal now, we decided to go ahead and get a new printer scanner--this one is an Epson XP 610. XP is always good, right? 1 It prints a lot faster than the Lexmark did, and I've got it set up to print from both computers instead of just Diana's.

1 This is a gamer joke: XP is Experience Points. Ask your local gamer for an explanation.