Ever since I was a kid, I had a dog around.
Growing up, our dog Cindy was everything to my from my first word to my protector. Uncommonly intelligent for a dog, she was my parents furry baby before they had me- their slightly less furry baby.
My life until I moved to university, was never without a dog and I always knew that some day, I would want a dog of my own.
I never envisioned my life as an adult without a dog and then, as I became and adult, I wasn’t sure how one would factor in.
Last year, I had decided I would keep watch for an elderly dog sometime in the next five years and adopt them. Give them a few last good years of life.
Of course, very little ever goes as planned.
This year has been hard for me. I’ve struggled more than is usual with my depression and taking care of myself became a gargantuan task. I was also lonely. Now, it’s important to note that these are not good reasons to get a dog, and they are not the reasons I got a dog, but they are reasons I factored into deciding to get one.
I’m self aware enough to know that I will take care of others before myself, animals included. I had no concerns about taking care of a pet, I knew that I could fiscally afford it, the only question was did I want to?
I’m slightly ahead of myself. See, when I first saw my dog he was nothing more than a picture on a friend’s Facebook post.
A puppy, he belonged to the co-worker of a friend of mine. He was half Pug and half Japonese Chin (which I had not heard of), and he needed a good home. I fell in love at first sight. On impulse (which as a non-impulsive person for the most part is rare) I sent a message.
The rest of the details don’t matter to me as much as the end result which is that I got the best puppy in the world.
This is Dougal when I first got him. Originally named Link, he was just five months old when I got him. I fell in love with him and his temperament the moment I met him.
He didn’t respond to the name Link at all, so I renamed him Dougal after Father Dougal from Father Ted. I feel they bear a striking resemblance
Now, as much as I knew what I was getting into, getting Dougal was overwhelming at first. I felt guilty for not being around as much as I felt I should, I wondered if I’d been selfish in adopting him when he could have gone to a home that might have given him more freedom, and he was in fully crazy puppy mode and I just wasn’t quite sure if I was going to be good enough to handle it.
But bit by bit, it got easier every day. Having Dougal to take care of, forced me to take care of myself in times when I wouldn’t have otherwise. He made and still makes me feel less alone, and he introduced me into a community of great dog-owners who I’m glad to count among my friends.
A lot has changed since the day I got him in March.
It’s been a hard year and I’m not sure I could have gotten through it without Doogs (which is one of his many nicknames. Dad calls him the Dooginator). He’s my cuddle buddy, my reason to get up in the morning instead of sleeping in, my foot warmer as I’m writing this, and my best friend.
Dougal is the friendliest little dog in the world. He greets everyone he meets with enthusiastic love, he has the swaggering confidence of a big dog, and he loves nothing more than to leap into your lap and accept lavish affection no matter who you are. There just aren’t enough words to express how much joy he spreads around.
Now, originally I was going to post this last Thursday but I figured I’d wait till today because today Dougal turned 1 year old. He’s come a long way since I got him. He’s no longer crated, he’s WAY better at coming when he’s called, and he hasn’t chewed anything I own in I don’t know how long. I’m very proud of him.
Happy Birthday, Dougal. You’re
a good the best boy.
I wonder if you know that you are not a thing I am seeing.
You are to me, what you became;
an accumulation of conversations at parties,
breathless laughter and words of encouragement,
wrapped in the warm glow of a vintage home videos-
the kind where all the sound is just a little bit boxy
and the images are clear yet just grainy enough to make you believe
that for one moment
you knew things were exactly that beautiful when they were happening.
You’ve become a Velveteen Rabbit,
you can’t be unmade.
You are a million moments,
memories of who we were
before we became who we are
and promises of who we might yet be.
I’m so glad we grabbed that time
and had the sense to revel in our greedy grasp of it.
Our gluttony was no sin,
it was a blessing.
Wherever that next road goes,
whatever might be at the end of it,
know that I fully intend to follow some day
if only so I can grasp your hand
and gleefully whisper
“Let’s go again,”
I don’t think I’m particularly good at poetry, but here’s yet another poem because it’s one of the only ways I can convey love that doesn’t involve baked goods.
Well, it’s that time of year again.
The time of year where people panic over what to get their significant other, or post about how in love they are that you want to vomit on them so they’ll feel how you feel, and single folk are given advice on how to be not single or how to have a great Valentines Day even though they are alone and will probably die alone (WE ALL DIE ALONE).
Personally, I have far more exciting things going on this weekend than Valentines. A friend is coming in from out of town, we’re going to see a Simpsons themed burlesque show, there will be food. It’s gonna be great.
I am kind of an expert at being single on Valentines Day. Not to brag, but I’ve been single every Valentines Day of my life. Yeah. I’m kind of a big deal. So I thought I’d provide you with a guide on how to have a great Valentines Day if you’re a newb at being all alone, forever.
10 Tips on Being Single On Valentines Day From an Expert
- MAKE A PLAN OF ATTACK
First of all, take a moment to be thankful that you’re under no societal pressure to assign significance to a day that has the initials of venereal disease.
While this poster is HILARIOUS, it’s wrong. There is a medicine for regret, it’s called alcohol.(Please note: That was a joke. Don’t self medicate with booze.)
Anyway, most people you know are going to have plans on the 14th, so you can either make plans with other single people or decide to spend the day solo but you should try and figure out what you’re doing that day because if you see all the posts of friends doing things on social media, you might get bummed out because you didn’t do a thing. So do a thing. Doesn’t matter what, just decide ahead of time and look forward to it. In the words of Parks and Rec TREAT YO SELF.
For example, maybe make a detailed outline of where all the couples are likely to be congregated and make a detailed plan of how to make them feel the same disappointment and pain you feel inside.
- DON’T BUY CANDY, YOU CHUMP.
I mean, if you really want it, I guess, but you and I both know that shit is going on sale the second it’s the 15th. I suggest saving a little money aside to pillage the sales on the 15th and making it into its own day of celebration.
If you’re going to, for the sake of irony, choose to buy candy to oh, let’s say, throw at people in love- you’re going to want to stick to cheap candy. Cinnamon hearts or jellybeans are ideal.
- INVEST IN COVERT CLOTHING
You’re single. It’s Valentines Day. Maybe there’s an ex you want to avoid, maybe you just don’t want to have to deal with people, maybe you want to be able to hide/be harder to find for when you traverse the city whipping jellybeans or small pebbles at couples in love because HOW DARE THEY?! I don’t know. I’m just saying, black is very slimming and makes it harder to find you when you’re hiding in an alley after you whip a cinnamon heart at the wrong person.
- GET CREATIVE
You’ll feel accomplished and have a lot of fun if you set yourself to doing something creative and fun. Maybe make up your own theme tune to sing to yourself as you drench happy couples in balloons full of tapioca pudding. Maybe wear a Go-Pro camera so you can edit together your day’s exploits with a triumphant victory theme of some kind. The 1812 Overture is a good one. Maybe make a mask to protect your identity in case your clothing isn’t covert enough.
- TRY SOMETHING NEW
You know what? It’s Valentines Day. Love is in the air. Anything can happen. Maybe you try to put yourself out there. Maybe it’s time to stop attacking people’s happiness and try to find your own. I recommend putting on something nice, say a good suit or a wedding dress, and loudly declaring your undying love to people you think are cute. It doesn’t matter if they’re in a relationship already because you are taking a chance on love and the both of you could be happy. It’s crazy, but it’s just so crazy it just might work. (It probably won’t).
- SEND OUT YOUR MESSAGE TO THE UNIVERSE
You aren’t really forthright about your feelings are you? No, you were going to just stay in and watch Netflix in your underpants but the world would just pass you by like that. No, you need to start putting out your message. You make sure the universe knows what you want. I suggest standing on a busy street corner and yell-sing the lyrics to “Lovefool” by the Cardigans. What could be more clear than yelling LOVE ME, LOVE ME, SAY THAT YOU LOVE ME?
- DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING
You love dancing and it isn’t fair that you have no one to dance with, but you don’t NEED someone else to dance with. Just go ahead and dance. Dance like no one is watching, but make sure EVERYONE is watching because dancing is a sexy language in much of the animal kingdom and maybe that will work for you.
Damn. Those moves, though!
- LOVE YOURSELF
They say you can’t love anyone until you love yourself. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean, know what I mean? *awkwardly stares at you unblinking*
*whispers* Love yourself. *more intense and awkward staring*
- PREPARE FOR NEXT VALENTINES DAY
So, maybe you don’t like being alone on Valentines Day. Spend this time to make sure you won’t be alone EVER AGAIN. Freshen up your sewing skills or sign up for a night class so you can sew yourself to the person you love. If you’re literally joined at the hip, they’ll have to be with you.
- DO LITERALLY WHATEVER, EXCEPT THE OTHER ITEMS ON THIS LIST
When it comes down to it, Valentines Day is just a day. It has whatever meaning you assign to it. Who cares if you’re single? You’re great. You don’t need to be in a relationship for some greeting-card holiday to be happy. You can just be happy with yourself. So do something that makes you happy…unless it’s anything I’ve put on this list anywhere that is not in this paragraph.
Actually, you can do #8 all you want. I know they said when you were a kid you’d go blind, but there’s laser surgery now and science is always coming up with stuff, so don’t worry about it….I mean, I feel kind of awkward telling you to masturbate but it’s not the worst advice *shrug*. It’s just weird cause my Mum reads my blog.
Happy Valentines Day.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my occasional hobby of reading vintage romance comics and advice columns, it’s that romance has always been awful. Which is slightly reassuring because I sometimes think it’s a recent problem. Turns out, nope, humans are just absolute shit at romance and love and always have been bad at it.
Everything is awful. YAY.
I can’t help but think if we combined some of our old fashioned romantic sensibilities with our new understandings of sexuality, the importance of consent, and a more evolved understanding of the female as a human rather than as a plastic dress-up doll, we could end up with something actually useful.
To test out this theory, I found and article written by Diane Mason in which we are given some classic Date Tips and have revised it to be a little more modern, without losing it’s classic charm. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you:
“How to Get That Second Date”
You’ve finally had a date with your dream person, and now you’re sitting near the phone waiting for them to call…well, you’re also watching Netflix in your pajamas and eating popcorn, but if they call, that’s great too. Only silence- and the sound of Orange is the New Black-greets you and you question yourself, “What did I do wrong? Why doesn’t he/she/they like me?….should I put more butter on this popcorn? I mean….it’s ok but it’s a little dry. You know what, I’ll just get another Diet Coke.”
Good call on the Diet Coke. As for why your romantic interest hasn’t called you, there may be many reasons, but the biggest reason may be that they didn’t feel comfortable with you. There were long stretches of silence and the whole evening bogged down into a flat soggy pancake. I know. I was there. I was in the bushes monitoring you, but it was for your own good, so DEAL WITH IT.
Now the next time you get a first date and really want another, here are a few tips for you. Be sweet from the moment they enter your home. I suggest dusting a little icing sugar over your skin if you need additional help. Let your romantic partner talk to your parents and add to the conversation- it doesn’t matter that you don’t live at home and that you haven’t even gone out yet. Skype or call your parents and insist that they speak to each other. Don’t argue with Mother, Dad or the kids. If you draw attention to the random children in your home, your romantic interest might start to panic for some reason and frankly, they’ll like you better if you don’t argue. Remember, they have a family too. That’s not a related to the don’t argue thing, you just need to remember that.
To keep the evening lively and to keep your romantic interest happy and comfortable, it’s up to you to get the conversation started. If you don’t, you’re going to die alone and deserve it. The best way is to start with a question. The more you know about your potential partner’s weaknesses, the more power you have. When you’re alone, tell them when you noticed them first. If possible remark about what they were wearing at the time. [Please Note: The previous two sentences are verbatim. VERBATIM from the original.] This will flatter your romantic interest. Your follow up is, “When was the first time you noticed me?” Now they’ll talk and before long you’ll be reminiscing happily…or you’ll be noticing a light sheen of panic sweat on their face. Ignore it, you’ve got this!
When that topic is exhausted, speak about some mutual friend. If you don’t have a mutual friend, simply make conversation about people you noticed on their Facebook wall and pretend that you know them. Make sure you pretend you’ve only ‘seen them around’ as this will draw less suspicion. Never be a gossip, just question all of your romantic interests opinions on different people they know. Another good starter is the movies. Ask them who their favourite star is and what pictures they’be seen lately. This last can go on for a long time, if you’re both interested in movies or if they won’t shut the hell up about movies.
Dogs are a wonderful topic-or any pets for that matter. Ask your soon-to-be-lover about their pets, then discuss feeding, cute tricks they do, etc. Again, the more personal information you can glean from these conversations, the more power in the relationship you will have.
If your date is the serious type, open a conversation with some news that has appeared lately. (You might look one up before he comes because we both know that you get all your news from Twitter and Buzzfeed. Maybe actually educate yourself for once you pathetic mass of particles). This will open a wonderful avenue of talk. You won’t have to be brilliant. Just listen to them, because the more you talk, the more likely they are to realize that you just read a bunch of Wikipedia articles and don’t actually know what the hell you’re talking about.
As a last warning, never open a conversation with a question that requires only a “yes” or “no.” It will be over before you start. There is nothing more repulsive to another human being than to ask a yes or no question and besides, what have I told you about getting as much information from the other person as you can? KNOWLEDGE IS POWER….I mean. If you know their mother’s maiden name and you didn’t screw the pet questions, you can probably at least hack into their Paypal and go shopping.
If you readers have any date tips, send them to me. I’ll be glad to publish them. Because clearly, Diane and I don’t know what the f#@k we’re doing.
-Diane Mason and CoffeeKris
DISCLAIMER: Please for the love of all that is good, DO NOT ACTUALLY TAKE THIS HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE ADVICE. THIS ADVICE IS MEANT FOR HUMOUR PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY OR RECTALLY.
I don’t know if it’s because I was an only child or because I’m a kind of crazy that has, thus far, gone undetected by people with enough power to put me away for it, but I have a pretty vivid imagination.
When you’re an only child, a vivid imagination is great…if somewhat disconcerting to your parents when combined with a deep love of learning.
Me as a small child: *crying* MOMMY, MOMMY! I CAN’T GET MY BARBIE’S HEAD TO GO BACK ON!
Mum: * hugs me and takes the decapitated doll* What happened?
Me as a small child: *sniffles* I was playing French Revolution and *hiccoughs* she was Marie Antoinette, because she’s my favourite, *sob* but after she got her head chopped off, I couldn’t get it to go back on!
Well, at least no one could say my recreation lacked verisimilitude.
Fun Fact: My Mum, being the industrious lady she is, hot glued my Barbie’s head to her neck to fix her. She was slightly shorter than before and couldn’t turn her head anymore, but I still loved her best. I just pretended she had been in a car accident and they’d had to put steel rods in her neck and that was why she couldn’t turn it.
I was a normal child.
My point is, I had a pretty good grasp on non-reality. (Still do!)
My imagination got me through a lot of boring times as the only kid on acres of nothing but farmland and it got me through some rough patches during the years where I didn’t feel like I had any real friends. Of course, imagination is a double edged sword. It also made the rough patches rougher than they had to be sometimes. You don’t get dreams without nightmares being a possibility.
Recently, a friend of mine complimented me by telling me I was really witty. I was super flattered, but it also got me thinking about why I’m always thinking of some funny spin to put on things. I think what it comes down to is a weird mixture of things but the biggest motivator is a love.
In my family, we show each other we love one another by being utterly ridiculous. Fun is our love language…which now that I think of it might explain why I have an insanely hard time dating because if you can’t make me laugh, it’s practically impossible for me to remain interested. Especially now that I have Netflix.
But back to my point, being imaginative and crazy is how we tell one another we appreciate each other and because of that, I tend to just automatically try to connect with people that way. For example, here is an example of a recent conversation with my Mum:
Mum: Well, I’m going to let you go, I’ve run out of things to say.
Me: Oh, I see how it is. Keep me on the phone until YOU run out of things. Doesn’t matter what IIIIIIIIII have going on. SELFISH!
Mum: *laughs* I thought you said everything you had to say!
Me: I DID, but I’m not done talking to you yet.
Mum: But I have to go, I’m tired!
Me: I don’t care, I’m not done yet!
Mum: Well, do you have anything else to say?
Mum: *amused yet exasperated sigh* Well then I’m going to go, I’m tired!
Me: Fiiiiiiiiiiiiine. I see how it is. Bye, Mum. Love you.
Mum: Love you, too. Bye.
Me: Goodbye forever!
Mum: WHAT?! *surprised laugh*
Me: Just in case. Just in case!
Mum: *makes a fond, yet disgruntled noise and hangs up*
Sometimes Mommy chants the words “I love my family, I love my family.” That’s how you know she really means it.
The above conversation is utterly ridiculous and full of nonsense, but that’s how my folks and I talk to each other. We tease, we mock insult, we say things like: “If you do that, Mum’s going to kill you and hire Michael Flatly to Riverdance on your grave and I will join in, not because I don’t love you, but because that music is like an infectious disease, but for dancing.”
Anyway, after having that conversation with my Mum the other night, I started to think back on the compliment my friend had given me and about where it came from. Then, this evening, while I was doing laundry and pretending to be a spy, I started thinking about imagination. More on the imagination thing in a bit, but first, let me explain the laundry thing:
Ever since I moved into my new apartment, I have to go next door and down into the basement to do laundry (it’s fine, I have a key, it’s what I’m supposed to do) but the only working key I have is for the front door of the building. This means, when I do laundry, I have to go up a flight of stairs, go down a hallway, go down three flights of stairs, around a corner, and do my laundry. Now, I hate laundry, I find it super boring, but the first time I made this laundry trip, it was also super creepy. I have a vivid imagination and going down into a dark corner of a basement of a building I’m not familiar with brings out every horror movie memory I have. So to make the job more entertaining and less frightening, I’ve started playing a game where I pretend to be a spy and try to get in and out of the building as quietly as I can and try to avoid being seen by anyone. Sometimes, I even hum my own theme tune.
I’m a totally normal adult.
So, this evening, as I was thinking about what my friend had said and the way my folks and I talk to one another, and the weird things I do to entertain myself, I started wondering…do other people do this? Because, frankly, if they don’t….I’m not sure how they live their lives.
What’s the point of living if it isn’t fun? I mean, there’s always going to be situations and times where you can’t make things fun, but if you work at enjoying yourself and let that imaginative (admittedly, slightly morbid) little kid out every once and awhile, even the stupidest things can become enjoyable and entertaining.
Not only did I do my laundry this evening, I saved the world from imaginary neo-Natzis.
What did YOU do today?