Richard Turns Two

By , March 14, 2018 11:22 am

It was exactly one year ago yesterday that Richard Parker joined us. Here we are again at the cottage with snow blustering around.

How has Richard changed?

He is definitely calmer. He was a ball of energy a year ago. He absolutely could not sit still except when he was sleeping. In the first few months of his arrival, none of us not got a lot of sleep. His most high-energy time of day was night, unfortunately for us and for Bailey. Richard seemed to think that Bailey existed to torture. He ran him up and down the stairs, into corners. It was sincerely hard to deal with. Though Val dealt with most of it, being the night-owl that he is, I often got up screaming at Richard to leave my poor frail Bailey alone! To no avail.

Richard is still very sweet. When he first arrived, he would often cuddle up and snooze with us. Though he’s older and more mature now (ha ha), he still loves a good cuddle. Especially, it seems, in the morning when I’m trying to put on my makeup. Just as I’m about to place a little wand close to my eyes he expects to be picked up and hugged. Yes, I have poked myself in the eye a few times.

Richard is still food crazy but he can be controlled now. If left to his own devices he would still eat everyone else’s food. If we left bread out on the counter, he would guzzle it. Sometimes now, especially at the cottage where he is generally calmer, he will sit and watch the other cats eating without making a move. At home, he still has to go for “timeouts” in the powder room to allow them to finish their meals in peace.

Most of all he’s a good boy – funny and charming, crazy and endearing. He’s a big ball full of personality. We’re all used to him in a good way.

But no more. We are full! We also need to sleep at night and not to worry about disasters every time we hear a noise!

Here are some of his greatest moments. All photos courtesy of Val Dodge.

Dec. 2017: Chair as jungle gym. He also does somersaults on the banister.


Jan. 2018: In the recycling bin. If he’s not in it he’s trying to lick all the cans in it.


March 2018: In a coveted bag. We always cut the handles so he doesn’t strangle himself.


Watching a squirrel take a nap outside the loft window.


RP and Val – friends forever.


Feb. 2018: Getting into trouble on the ‘jungle gym’ AKA the clothes dryer at the cottage.


March 2018: We’re so proud he loves laundry so much.


He also loves stairs. We’re less proud of this since we live in a four-storey house with several long drops from open stairs!

My Tessa and Scott

By , March 14, 2018 10:36 am

Toronto Star


They seem to belong to the world now. That’s what the Olympics do.

Though they had a following around the world well before the 2018 Olympics, they are now of the world, of the pop culture world that cares more for their ‘relationship story’ than for their skating skills. Shipping? Fan fiction? Tabloid headlines? These are not the things for my Tessa and Scott.

As a longtime devotee of ice dancing I care most for Tessa and Scott’s skating skills, even as much as I love them as characters. To me, they move like no one else. And they move as one. I don’t think there’s any other ice dance team that skates as closely together. Again I say, as one. They never have to reach for each other. Other teams approach this, such as the French, though it’s not my preferred version of close – it’s cool, not sensual.

Perhaps it’s best to define closeness with its opposite – the Russians, Bobrova and Soloviev. They are always reaching, scratching. Though I actually like their “loss of sight” free dance (it took a while for me to be able to say that), I feel it is made worse by their somewhat chaotic skating skills.

Hubbell and Donohue approach the ‘simmering’ look of closeness. But to me it’s more of a look. Tessa and Scott don’t just look that way. It’s a skill honed over two decades to get that organic way of moving together. As a Canadian I feel that Weaver and Poje come very close to skating as one. For some reason the judges do not think on the same level. I cannot explain that, nor can any commentator I’ve ever heard.

I will see all of my favourite Canadian skaters (plus Javier Fernandez, apparently) at Stars on Ice in May. What I absolutely love most about it is seeing their passion for skating on their faces, up close and personal.






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