What Makes a Good Date?

Recently, I bragged about a great date I had been on, and told him, that even if we didn’t “click” and end up “dating” he still got an “A” for the “best executed date I had been on in YEARS.”  So… What made this date so great?

He insisted on picking me up.  When he arrived, he parked, and walked up to get me.  After asking me a few preference questions, he chose the restaurant.  He held the door, told me I look nice, and asked me questions about myself.  He joked with me.  He paid for dinner.  We then went out to meet some of his friends (which I had previously agreed to.) He introduced me to them, and chatted with everyone- while still interacting with me.  He dropped me off, suggested we do it again, and, he texted the next day.

I thought I may have been so blown away because I have been relatively removed and mostly un-enthused about the dating world for a while.  But when I told my girlfriend, she responded: “I like him already. Finally, a guy who gets it! Mama taught him well.”

Neither of us are really what I would call “old fashioned girls” either. So why were we both so impressed by this? Is this “old-fashioned”? We’re in a world that thanks to social media and dating sites we assume we’ve made dating or… mating so convenient, yet ask anyone who has spent much time in that forum and they will tell you it’s anything but.  Where people tend to peruse MATCH and POF like catalogue shopping, swiping left and right based on nothing more than a photo; we’ve become arrogant, judgmental, possibly even entitled.

For me, this guy earned a great deal of respect; by demonstrating that for me and my time.  He showed up fully and made me feel like regardless of outcome; I was worth some effort.

Ladies: How does a guy impress you? What makes a good date? What do you do to be a good date?

Gentlemen: Do you put forth this kind of effort? Why or why not?

Do you treat someone differently if you have previously met them or have mutual friends than you do if you met someone on a dating site? Comment…

WOO-WOO!!!!

id

I was never a popular kid at school… Always kind of a country kid through and through. So a lot of my experiences resulted from having older friends who were nice enough to take me to horse shows and rodeos on the weekends.  I was badass.  Or, probably just a typically slightly rebellious teen girl and a bit of a tease at worst.  Hey- bad decisions lead to good stories.

It was the weekend of Kitchener rodeo- it was just brought to my attention last weekend that the only thing the guys remember is “WOO-WOO” shots.  Everyone was going to party at the stampede coral.  I was sixteen.  I was also lucky enough to have a newly nineteen friend with an extra licence.  Thanks Candace!  At that time, I was dating a bullrider (I know; shocking.) Coincidentally, he had dated Candace prior to me. (Also. Shocking… Sharing is caring.)

When the cops showed up at the bar my attempts to “act normal” apparently failed, and despite not being the youngest one there: I was the target. (a 14 year old roper had the benefit of still being six foot and solid enough to blend in…) My only real recollection of dialogue as the cops asked me to come outside was a somewhat slurred statement about not being drunk and having to barrel race in the morning; neither of which were true by the way.  The poor boyfriend at this point, is not only having his night and woo woo shots interrupted… but he’s also now being forced to call me by his ex-girlfriend’s name in keeping with the story!  They ask me for my home phone number.  Knowing my own mother would be woken up, confused, and eventually pissed (plus and more importantly: blow my cover) I rhyme off Candace’s number.  She is still inside the bar at the time.  Her mom’s boyfriend answers. They tell him they are concerned that the girl with them looks nothing like the photo, and also that though she appears to be about 165cm tall despite the 120 noted on the I.D.  He somehow guessed it was me, and said something like “Oh yeah I’ve been telling her to get that corrected for a long time, and it’s an old picture.”

WOOO!!! Thank you dude I barely know!! Thank you Thank you!

Whoever said “the truth shall set you free”- clearly never spent hours rehearsing someone else’s full name, address and birthday just for the chance to two-step and drink WOO-WOOs with the cowboys.

The Midnight Swim: “Editted” – For Tiny

I’ve often said about travelling that there is something about away from home that changes your mood or outlook and how things just flow differently.  Add a buck and doe for a life long friend, and a bunch of wobbly pops, even your mom can end up on a mechanical bull!

The party ended and we all went home.

Or… maybe we went back to the hotel, and mixed another round of drinks.  My mom headed for her room around 2:30am.  I sat there looking at my friend, feeling totally chilled out (Wisers deluxe style)- and announced:  “I’m not ready for bed yet.” And then… While glancing at the outdoor pool enclosure:   “…That’s a short fence…”

Within minutes, the plan was in place.  I maneuvered a Muskoka chair up close on the inside of the fence for an easier landing.  I announced I was going to get my suit, because getting caught and possibly tossed out of the hotel was a risk I was willing to take; doing so naked; was not.  As I “snuck” into the hotel to change, my mom stirred and opened her eyes.  I held my breath. I was going to get stopped. Or…. At least… delayed.  “What are you doing?” she asked.  I hesitated. I considered lying… then Wiser’s laughed and whispered “we’re sneaking into the pool.”  Her hand came out from the blankets and slaps me a high five.  Yep. That’s my mom.

Off we went. We then had a pre-game pep talk:

“Ok. So. Hop/climb there…”

“Yep.”

“Then We have to move the solar blanket..”

“K… No splashing. And NO giggling.”

(We’re hardened criminals not school children right?!)

“Ok BREAK!”

I ran and grabbed the top of the fence, flung my foot to the top rail, and landed easily in the chair.  We did giggle. We peeled back the solar blanket and slipped into the pool.  It was heavenly! I’ve heard that “the thrill of possibly getting caught makes it better” – I didn’t know they meant 3:00AM swimming.  We stayed in for a few minutes, swimming, in the rain, then snuck back out, replaced the cover and hopped back over the fence… And couldn’t wait to brag at breakfast.

Setting off the Ex’s House Alarm

Perhaps it’s odd that I still have a house key to my ex’s place, and even odder that when he goes on vacation I check on the house, and look after his kids’ hamsters… but he’s a friend, and it’s not really a big deal.  So this past winter when he went to Jamaica, I wished him Bonne Voyage, and didn’t ask for a lot of details – it seemed like a simple gig.

On the first night, I pulled into the driveway, hopped out of my truck and unlocked the back door.  The alarm began to beep, and it was not until I was face to face with the panel, it occurred to me that it has been about a year since I punched in that code, and my mind was completely blank.  I tried one.  The alarm kept beeping. I tried another…still the little red light glared at me threatening.  Sixty seconds of terror… I knew what was about to happen.  I was certain I had the first two digits right, but for the life of me the other two were missing somewhere in the depths of my memory. The alarm began to scream. Poor hamsters were probably wondering what the hell was with all the racket.

My mind is racing, and I am pissed at myself, for not remembering. And not asking!  DAMNIT!  How am I going to explain this?? “Good evening Officer.  It’s cool- this is my ex-boyfriend’s house.”  ??? Yeah. Cuz that sounds awesome.  I rack my brains knowing I can’t call him.  Maybe there is a chance he is on facebook!?  Feverishly I type the first words that come to my mind:  “FUCK!” “I just set off your alarm…I’m retarded. Code!?!?”  … Yeah right. Cuz in Jamaica he’s totally sitting on Facebook.  Who else can I call?? Who would know?  Julie.  Julie “the ex-wife.” Coincidentally I’ve known her longer than I have known him, but this still certainly requires the swallowing of some pride.  I dial her number.  God I’m an idiot.  No answer.  Panic is setting in. I leave a voicemail which I can only assume must have made her laugh a few days later:  “Uh Hey…It’s Courtney, uhm. So I’m at Darren’s and I just set the alarm off because I’m a moron and I forgot the code. Sorry to call – call if you get this. Sorry!! Thanks! Sorry! Bye… Sorry.”  What’s worse is three seconds after I hang up I remember being told that she was going away the same week… So no help coming from that direction.

Minutes are passing and the “what will I say to the cops dialogue” happening in my head is building and sounding worse and worse…  “I’m really sorry, honestly- this is my ex-boyfriend’s house, he’s in Jamaica with his new girlfriend. I called his ex-wife for help.”  Right…Nothing like a stalker seeking an accomplice! “But Sir…I’m here for the hamsters.”  … Right. Bet you are. You like to boil them?

I look at the alarm company sticker on the door.  Anything is worth a try.  I dial the number.  A very chipper lady answers, and knowing how stupid I sound I give it my best.  “Hi.  My name is Courtney.”  I give her the address and try to explain:  “I just set the alarm off at the side door, I know how stupid I’m about to sound, this is my friend’s place- we used to date.  I’m here because he asked me to feed his kids’ hamsters; I thought I remembered the code, but apparently not. I have left him and his ex-wife a message telling them what I have done but his family all live out of town (obviously or he wouldn’t need his ex to house-sit?) and I have no one else to call.  There is silence on the other end of the phone for a minute as she processes (and probably tries to decide how to handle) what I have just said.  She asks me a number of questions about him, his phone number, and birthday; all of which I answer.  The lady now sounds sympathetic, as clearly I am not a burglar; just some chick who is a) Pathetic enough be feeding the ex’s pets while he is in Jamaica with the new woman and b) Dumb enough to set off the alarm and be calling her with this insane story… and she knows my night is about to get worse because although she is compassionate about my situation; she has obligations, and despite my story; no code and no password means she still has to dispatch police… she tells me I can leave or stay, it’s up to me.  I tell her I may as well do what I came to do; so in the event of my arrest, at least the hamsters will have had their dinner.  We hang up.

I walk back into the house, covering my ears.  I close the door behind me, and stare at the alarm pad like the evil enemy it is with its’ little red beedy eyes.  I’m exasperated and defeated.  I raise my hand up to the pad.  I take a deep breath……..

I enter the code successfully as if not a day has passed.  Yep. Seriously.  Three little beeps, the red flashing retreats, and replaced by a solid, happy green, and silence surrounds me. Five minutes later, hamsters have food and fresh water and I have found the wine left for me with the happy little note thanking me for being so helpful.  Man… he’s going to get a laugh out of this one…  I call the alarm company back, and begin re-explaining my story assuming there must be a high number of agents working there.  The lady cuts me off enthusiastically asking:  “Is this Courtney!?!” Yes… “HI it’s Jackie from earlier!! I see that you got the code!!! Good for you!!! I have canceled police dispatch and was going to call you back but I didn’t have your number.  I am so happy you remembered.”  (At least my new ADT friend Jackie is proud of me.) “Have yourself a good night.” (Uh huh. Yeah. Thanks.)

So…What do you do when you feel like a complete ass, and have just narrowly avoided arrest? –   You change your Facebook status… and laugh harder than everyone else.

Gratitude Rant Leads to a Story

I’ve been trying REALLY HARD to shift some focus to some more positive things. Mostly because I can find about a million things or people in a day that drive me around the twist, and if I do focus on them… I’ll just get into this huge downward spiral and feel like $hit.  So I put pen to paper and started thinking what do I like… what do I like… what do I like.. what makes me happy…what makes me relaxed?…

Recently I went to Mexico. It’s our third trip to Puerto Vallarta/Nuevo Vallarta and we were fortunate to have some pretty amazing experiences the first time down and made some friends who we have kept in touch with.  One took us on a personalized tour this year… Happy; when I was touring Bucerias, feeling relaxed, learning about the culture, riding around in the dune buggy learning about the beautiful homes that people had built, the gardens, the pools, the furniture that had hand-picked and brought from Guadalajara.  My feet in the ocean, finding sea glass. Sitting in the private pool with a couple of random guys who owned a beach front condo…and joking around about whether or not they were going to “Roofie” me. Making people laugh, the gold flicker in the sand under the water reflecting from the sun. Playing volleyball, instant connections with people I’d never met before.

I’ve always felt that traveling creates this euphoria and sense of possibility.  It’s the bright blue sky, different style music, foreign languages, new people, the vastness of the ocean and the beach…It’s time to relax, without obligation, time to imagine, getting sucked into a good book, combined perhaps with the pretty amazing feat that we can get into an airplane, rise to the sky, and come out not only at this completely different and foreign place- but also- that the rules about “time” change while we’re in the sky and we can move backwards!? Suddenly silly notions and ideas seem possible.

Our first trip was in April of 2013, and we ended up at the hotel we were at with the people we were with, through what we thought at the time was a complete crisis. My mom and I were flying home a day apart because of how the flights worked… It was kind of a mess.  All week, I begged and pleaded, and called the airline every day to try and bump my flight back by a day.  They would do it; for a fee of $450.

To make me feel worse, there was a guy… he was actually our tour rep, and we had started talking midweek and agreed we should meet and go out on “the town.”  On my final night there, I hadn’t heard from him, and I gave up and went to the disco with mom.  When we returned to our room around 3am, there was a note on the door, which had been there all night, saying he would pick me up at 9pm.  I had totally, unintentionally stood him up.  I felt awful. I explained the next day, but he seemed to be in disbelief that it was just an oversight.  I reluctantly packed up my stuff.  I went to say goodbye, and he wasn’t there.

I hopped in the cab and headed for the airport, pretty bummed out and emotional as all week I had been using my affirmations that my flight would change… Something would give… Surely the universe would help me out… And NOTHING…I was stuck with the same flight, leaving mom in Mexico alone…What was with the secret $#it anyway?!   I arrived at the airport, and said goodbye to Mexico. I walked inside and dug out my documents.  As I wheeled my bag across the floor to the check in, there he was: mr tour guide; coming down the stairs.  He hugged me. He told me he wasn’t mad at me.  He also told me that he had taken the company car and might get in trouble…but that he had to say goodbye and make sure I had his number to chat with him when I got home.  It was like being in a movie!  We said goodbye.. I cried like the goofus girl I am.

I got to the counter and gave the agent my passport and tickets.  She said some things in Spanish, then she disappeared.  She came back.  I gently asked “any chance I can go home tomorrow?”  More muttering in spanish.  A Solid half hour went by.  I had no idea what they were doing.  When three agents finally looked up from talking in front of the screen and someone finally explained it to me: there had been bad weather in Texas and my connection had been cancelled.  I couldn’t go home.  Shock came across my face.  They said I would have to take the next flight, which left about 6 hours from then and was flying into San Francisco.  The reality of the situation hit me when I said (trying to hide my smile) “So I’m delayed and it’s YOUR fault?”  Yes.  I shared with them, that actually I had accommodations for one more night if there was a flight going home the following day.  I was booked in on that flight, and “due to the inconvenience” I was given a $200 voucher for future use, and, they paid for my cab back to the hotel- and to return to the airport the next day.  In short, the airline ended up paying me- to do what I had wanted all along.

I hopped back in the cab and could barely contain my excitement when I leapt from the cab and ran to find my mom (and Alberto (MR TourRep! ) to announce I was staying!!!  Thank you Universe, sorry for doubting you!!  And we ALL…. Got to go out on the town!  We went to the Sunshine Bar…where we met Armando and Lucero who are the ones who took us on the tour and have had us back every year.  A little faith… and things can be better than we imagine.

The Hostage Situation

When my aunt moved away out west, my cousin’s at the time girlfriend became my new coach. She kind of took me under her wing, exchanging lessons and riding time for my helping her out with younger students, and being her stablehand. She had rented a barn just outside of Brantford, and after a few months, things started to go down hill with the Landlord; who also still lived in the house on the property. Those who have any familiarity with “horse people” can vouch this is not a rare occurence.

My friend made the decision to move out and on. At fourteen, I was not privy to exactly what was said or how this all came to pass… But this is my first hand account of the fallout; certainly one for the record books…

At some point the day we were leaving there was a discussion about a hundred dollars that my friend owed the Landlord. Collectively, we had seven or eight horses there at the time, and we were making a couple of trips. We had sent the first load on their way, and we were loading up tack when the Landlord, henceforth referred to as “Nutjob,” came outside to discuss collection of said money. At no point in my recollection, was there an argument about this money, my friend gladly offered to drop it off the next day, or meet up with Nutjob. This seemed to escalate the situation. She then offered to write a cheque, which was immediately refused and seemed to enrage the little beast. She was somewhere just over five foot, probably 115 pounds with graying hair to her hips. Her eyes actually seemed to pop out from her leathery face when she announced “nobody leaves ’til I get my money.” She then proceeded to park her truck across the driveway, and walk into the house, only to return moments later to claim her look-out position on the back porch: holding a shotgun.

So there we were. My mom, my cousin, and our friend, held captive at an old farm by a nutjob with a long gun. Being the 90’s with cell phones being still somewhat rare our connection to the outside world was a rotary dial phone on the wall in the barn. My cousin blew the dust off, and dialed 911. He had gotten as far as telling them she was refusing to let us leave, and that she had a gun when she, having realized he was on the phone, stormed in a ripped it from the wall. Somewhere amid the yelling and threats my cousin decided she likely would not actually shoot him, and risked walking out the driveway hoping to flag down police.

Minutes went by. Then more minutes. Then hours. No return trailer. My cousin had disappeared. I guess we had resolved that something would break eventually… Darkness fell. I had dawned a hoodie when the sun went down. This inspired my comic relief side, and I started re-enacting scenes from Beavis and Butthead Do America. (We all react differently in a crisis situation!)

It was over three hours elapsed time when darkness was broken by flashing lights, and just like in the movies, a voice said “drop the weapon and come out with your hands where we can see them.” Things were a blur for a few minutes as more flashing lights, and uniforms began to appear. As things unfolded, we learned that from the moment the 911 call was placed and it was shared she was armed- actions were put in place; the entire concession was blocked off and the London Swat Team (over an hour away) had been called in to assist. My cousin had been picked up at the road, and had been hidden in the crops of the surrounding fields watching all of us, waiting to move in safely. I bet my Beavis and Butthead “Cornholio” routine was hilarious at two hundred yards through a scope!

Nutbar was arrested. We all gave statements. Mine started with an Officer telling me to repeat verbatim the things she said- and promising I would not get in trouble for swearing. Through this process we also learned she was a former stripper, and fairly well known to police. We moved on and up and luckily never went to Court. I’m not sure if she was actually criminally convicted, but I did run into her “former” husband some years later and learned that he never saw that gun again.

Drunk Dial Victim

I struggled a little to figure out how to start this story as I feel a certain responsibility in this case to protect the identity of those (him?) involved.  It was suggested to me that I should just tell the story and allow the truth publicized to be consequence… But I just can’t do it… So where it seems I am being evasive- it’s only to protect a certain level of anonymity.

Recently I ran into a former acquaintance.  He worked at a business where I frequented and helped me out a number of times.  We did become friends, however, not the type that call each other or spend time visiting without purpose.  We had lost touch about a year ago and I had not seen or heard from him until last weekend.  He has been with “the Girlfriend” for a number of years, but even when I first met him (probably six years back) it always seemed that their relationship was rocky, they were fighting, she was jealous, he was unhappy… I never really questioned or voiced opinion, it just never seemed to be positive, and on the one occasion where we did need to square up some business outside of regular working hours, she made it quite obvious this was an unwelcome intrusion, and I might be a potential threat. It may be worth noting at this point I am not completely positive as I have never asked, but my educated guess would put both of these people minimally at being ten years my seniors, common-law, and at least content to be together for convenience- this “vibe” I immediately got from her seemed childish.  Thus, while I don’t know her well, or have a personal issue with her, upon realizing she was with him on this occasion, I didn’t wish to extend the visit any longer than basic pleasantries for fear of not only my own discomfort, but also his on the drive home.

Later that afternoon, curiosity got the best of me and I sent him a text message asking him if he won at the Casino. He called me.  He apologized for losing touch and told me he had lost my number, and had been dealing with a lot.  He said he had wanted to talk to me.  I brushed it off as no big deal, and told him I hoped I hadn’t come off short earlier but that I just didn’t want things to be uncomfortable as I know “Missy” (name changed.*) can be rather possessive.  “I know.. I know… I know.” He says. Then becomes what I can only describe as cryptic.  “So, yeah, there’s a lot I would like to sit down and discuss with you, and I’ll call you tomorrow from a different number. See ya.”

Tomorrow came and went and probably a few more tomorrows before I even considered that he had never called back.  Until Friday.  I had gone out to see a band and another friend.  It was probably 11:30 the first time my phone rang.  It was loud, and naturally he asked where I was. I told him.  He said he might be coming into town.  I’m wondering if he is bored, or newly single and lonely, or all of the above and I basically tell him to let me know as I might be up for meeting for a drink or a tea. I hang up.  A couple of texts, a couple more calls which I miss because I’m still in a bar and trying to socialize… It’s loud, I’m not paying a lot of attention: I can say a number of things here to excuse my ignorance but at any rate, it’s not until the third time, I run outside, and answer, and it occurs to me:  He’s totally loaded.

I’ve dated, I’ve related, but honestly I don’t have a lot of experience with the drunk dial. I don’t think I’ve ever done it to anyone, and the only recollection I have of it being done to me was hearing the idiotic voicemails the next morning because I didn’t get the call!  Dealing with this is… a new challenge.  I tell him I’m going home, and not to come looking for me, and not to drive.  He tells me three times how much he wants to talk to me, and how much he wants to see me.  I tell him I have to hang up because I’m about to drive.  He asks me what’s going on with me and if I’m “still single.” I try logic (ha which you’re already laughing as you know that doesn’t work.): “You’re hammered and you should hang up, you’re going to regret this conversation in the morning.” “Oh. Uhm. What?! You don’t want to talk to me?”  At this point I decide short, clear, non confrontational words are best: “Call me sober.”  It works! “Ok. Bye.” Click.

… Elapsed time: 4 seconds.  Phone ringing. Should have known that was too easy.  I ignore. I ignore again. I ignore again. I get a text “hey?” I ignore. “Hey! I wanna talk to you.”  I reply: “text me sober. Go to bed.”  “Ok thanks.. Your a very pretty girl 🙂 …” (The funny part here is so far out of everything that has happened the most annoying part for me is the mis-spelling of YOU’RE, but that’s a whole other post.) Next message:  “xoxoxo”  I ignore.  Next message: “Hey…..!” and two more phone calls. Sigh. I write: “Thanks, I’m going to bed. Goodnight.” “Ok sorry…” “You do the same.” …….. “I will…Love you…:o”   OH MY GOD.   I must respond, or be forced to deal with an infinite number of “Sorry” and “hey” messages until I’m lucky enough that he passes out… or turn off my phone and know my voice-mail will be full in the morning. I reply:  “Dude. Go to bed. You’re hammered.”

About five minutes goes by. The phone rings again. FFS. I let it go to voice-mail, where he leaves the most nonchalant message telling me “I’ll be at my buddies place around 9, call me.” Please let that be the end…..   Thankfully it is.

The next morning….

I see his name on my phone, and I make a point of laughing as I answer the phone and say in an intentionally way too cheerful voice “Heeeeeeeyyyyyy, how ya feeling champ?!” I mean, I don’t have to be himey, he’s already handling the consequences with a wicked hang over, feeling totally mortified… and is calling to  apologize profusely for making a royal A$$ of himself. Right? A few groans, and “not so great.” And…  The words I’m expecting don’t come.  In their place, the following:  “I left my phone on the counter, and Missy saw it.”

… That’s it?  REALLY!?!?!?  Really.  At least I don’t have to be concerned about her reading into anything in my responses… #maybethealcoholwasnottheproblem#

 

 

Sabre’s Story

I have always ad a habit of bringing home strays… -I’ll wait here… while the jokes about the less than stellar men I’ve dated die down…- Now that we have that out of the way,  I did mean animals.  It started with Harry the Cat when I was about eight years old, he belonged to a neighbour, but apparently he liked us better.  The neighbours decided to move, and they were worried he would try to cross a busy road to come and see us, so they asked if we would like to keep him.  Harry became part of the family!  A few years later when Harry got sick and “crossed the rainbow bridge” we adopted “Sparkle” from the feral cat colony; also known as my grandmother’s front porch.  She was spun, but mostly love-able! (The cat. My grandmother is just spun.)

Sparkle had just adapted to her queen of the household status when one of mom’s coworkers found a sickly little tabby cat downtown Brantford chasing a girl from the YMCA who had been sharing her donut with him.  He was skinny all over except his bloated belly (you know.. like the little kids on TV who need sponsored.) His eyes were infected and mostly closed, and by the time mom brought him home he had been flea dipped so he had an interesting odour and kind of just felt greasy.  He had come to the right place and “that gross-looking thing” won my heart, became “Gizzmo,” and for less than a dollar a day he was adorable and back to health in no time!

In time, it was time for me to move out on my own, and I couldn’t very well disturb the now King of the household from his throne, but couldn’t imagine not having a fur kid to snuggle up with.  I went to the SPCA: the first time ever I had gone in search of a pet instead of finding one accidentally.  I played with a few cats, but actually had decided today would not be the day as nothing seemed to click.  I turned and began walking towards the door, and as I came by the corner cage, which appeared to be empty, suddenly there was movement from under a box inside, and a striped paw shot out between the bars and smacked me right in the shoulder.  The face attached to this paw stared at me as if to say “you didn’t think you were leaving did you?” His ears were too big for his head, and his sense of entitlement was laughable.  Two boys at a public school had found him and named him “Oreo” but it didn’t seem to fit.  Oreo became Oscar, and still pokes me in the shoulder if I take up more than my fair share of the pillow space.

I’m well used to cats finding me, and fortunately their timing is such that I’ve never had more than two at a time.  I hadn’t really considered the possibility of anything else “finding me” accidentally until one incredibly cold January night in 2011.  We were in a rush, heading for a Buffalo Sabres Game.  I was rushing to feed the horses, and being picked up at the barn.  As I looked down to close and latch the stall door, out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement.  A small furry thing, running across the floor.  Startled is an understatement.  Coon? Skunk? Rabid animal coming to bite me!? I let out a blood curdling scream which, I’m very thankful no one was around to hear.  As I actually turned my head and focused, it wasn’t scary at all.  It was actually adorable.  It was.. a tiny teddy bear? No… A puppy!

Seven weeks old, starved, invested with lice, and well beyond cold made obvious by not only the uncontrollable shivering of her tiny body, but also the frost bite on those poor little wee paws… Another lost soul that knew exactly who to run to for help.  Into my jacket, and us both wrapped in a horse blanket… We went to plead our case to the then “man of the house” and we both already knew she was staying!  To seal the deal though, she sat on his foot and begged.

We had no dog food.  We had no dog crate.  At nearly seven p.m. on a Friday night, we were going to need to be creative, and we definitely were not making it to our hockey game.  We all watched the game on T.V. and decided her name should be Sabre; despite the fact they lost that night.  Thanks to friends and neighbours we managed to get her cleaned up and fed, and made do until morning when the vet was as surprised as we had been about where she had come from, and how she had survived.  Some mysteries will remain a mystery, including her actual breeding.  Speculations have included Sheppard Husky cross, some Terrier, and Wolfhound.  Because of our location being almost on Indian line, and the possibility of her being just about anything including wild I began responding to questions about her breeding by calling her my “Hager-Sweken-Wolf-Hound.”

Another interesting little twist…For those who believe/appreciate this kind of “thing.”

Approximately four months prior to this I had gone to a the psychic fair for fun.  I had lost my friend Kevin very suddenly the previous summer, and the psychic I spoke with actually nailed a few things that I am at a loss to explain.  She went on to say I would never go shopping for a dog one would find me because Kevin would send it.  It seemed to make sense, Kevin liked and always had dogs.  at one point he had three dogs, but his favourite; his best friend in the world was his girl Sable.  I didn’t give a lot of attention to the possibility of a dog being sent by heaven or Kevin. When I walked out of the psychic fair, I didn’t really give it another thought at all actually… Until the first time (and many times there-after) when I meant to call Sabre, and called “Sable” instead.

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What a Winner!

I was eighteen years old. I had my “new” car- which was about ten years old at the time… An electric blue four door Pontiac Sunbird. (Yes,I just dated myself. It was before the “cool” version Sunfire!) It was a beautiful spring day, and I was driving around, playing the music enjoying the drive. As I came past the hospital on King George road and up the hill, I saw him. He was a middle aged man, wearing a Blues Brothers fedora, oversized aviator sunglasses, a full length trench coat, and jeans and runners that looked like they were on the clearance rack from the Salvation Army Store. As if his appearance wasn’t odd enough, he was definitely, absolutely, without a doubt: power-walking. I stared. I snickered. I actually said aloud to myself, laughing: “Wow. This guy is a friggen winner.”

The words had barely grazed my lips when tragedy struck. No accident, although the shock and terror was comparable as I was dumbfounded by the cruel reality of what appear before me. Like staring at optical illusion artwork when the picture suddenly pops out at you… Only it was dizzying and nauseating. The winner was, not only a power walking, trench coat sporting, Salvation Army shopping Blues Brothers wannabe…Much more than that!!!! He was my father.

The Kindergarten Connection

I’m a pretty big believer in something bigger…though I have no idea what it is. Things like quantum physics, universal laws, and strange coincidences interest and intrigue me… Celestine Prophecy, Alchemist, “The Secret” kind of stuff. I figure at very least, being observant and making a stab at being positive can’t actually have any negative effects, and I’ve had some interesting experiences as a result of paying attention to times when I feel the universe is “a step ahead of me.” A couple of weeks ago, I was doing some online learning/activities with self esteem, examining your beliefs, and things that may have impacted both. So I did an online “guided meditation” and the image/incredibly vivid memory that came to me unfolds as follows:

I’m in kindergarten, and a boy in my class (Matthew) was upset about something. (For all I know someone stole his lego…) but he was distraught. The teacher called us all over to sit on the carpet, and little Matt was still upset. I was sitting beside/behind him and felt bad that he was upset. So I took my little five year old hand, and rubbed his back to help him feel better. (What a compassionate child!) Anyone who remembers public school can probably guess what happened to me from there. “Courtney and Matthew sitting in a tree” etc. I got teased… A lot. And from that moment forward, I guess I just decided it was easier not to be OVERLY nice to anyone… “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Fast forward back to present day (for simplicity sake lets say twenty years later.) I’m working out in the gym, and this guy I’m sure I have never seen before, two consecutive days almost walks into me and says “hey hows it goin?” I smile and say hi, and go back to what I’m doing. On the third day, I’m peddling the bike, and this guy has a ten minute conversation with someone right in front of me. It’s at that point I actually look at him, and start to sense some vague familiarity… a little… and then more… Until I randomly just yell “Hey! Come here.” He does. I hesitate slightly with a raised eyebrow and I ask: “Are you Matt?” He laughs, and confirms! He knew who I was but was fairly sure I hadn’t made the connection… Of course I hadn’t: we haven’t seen each other since fourth grade!!! Nonetheless.. There he is. The Kindergarten Back Rub Boy in the flesh!

Post Script: We chatted. We became Facebook friends. He made a comment about how I wasn’t overly friendly in school, and it was at that point that I took the risk… and told him the story. I let him know that if he thought I was insane and didn’t want to talk anymore, that I understood, and that it had been fun nonetheless. To my surprise, he actually was understanding, and fairly amused by this. He told me he didn’t think I was nuts, unless of course my next confession was that I have a voodoo shrine with a picture of his five year old self somewhere in my home. It turns out, he’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Jokes began to fly, and when I finally announced that I had to sign off and go to sleep, he replied: “Hey- make sure you blow out the candles on my shrine… it’s a fire hazard.” I laughed, hard. Then replied “All done. I’ll put your school picture under my pillow and see you in my dreams.” He told me not to worry about crumpling it because his mom could probably hook me up with some replacements. The guy is a hoot!

A few days later, and the day before my birthday, my mom and I were standing in a store talking to another friend of ours. By now, I had told basically everyone I know this story, including the two of them. Who should walk in? Matt, of course. Who I proudly introduced as “The Kindergarten Back Rub Boy.” Good thing he’s a great sport!!!

No. Really. Good thing. Not only did he laugh it off, -along with my jokes about his stalking me- but later that night, when we ran into him at a restaurant, and my mother walked over to converse with him as if he’s been part of our family for this entire twenty years… He didn’t even get weirded out. Or… at least he was discreet enough not to show it!

Tonight, I was working out at the gym. Working away in my fave neon green shirt that my mom gave me from a fundraiser… I step off my machine between sets, and see Matt. As we make eye contact it’s instantly obvious on both of our faces as we realize it: of all the colours, in all of the palettes in all of the world, coincidentally, today, we’ve both chosen to dawn t-shirts in the loudest neon green known to man. I couldn’t have matched him better if I actually WAS hiding in the bushes with binoculars when he packed his gym bag. I grin, say hello and simply call it like it is “ok. This is just getting creepy at this point.” It’s truly a missed opportunity that I failed to ask if he was also wearing black lace panties!

Where will my Kindergarten connection surface next… ?!