Murph Update and a Lynx Cub

Sometimes this cat just gets too comfortable. He has had no difficulty in adjusting to his new home. If anything, it’s like he has always lived here. He has totally moved right in and taken over. He has become more vocal these last few days (it’s such a tiny meow for such a huge cat). I’m guessing it’s because we’re constantly talking to him. With the crazy weather lately he has been full of beans and racing around here. It’s fun to see a cat that will play and jump around. It’s also weird to have a cat that can hear. We were so used to Nochie and Squeak who were pretty much totally deaf that it still surprises me when he reacts to noises. I finally weighed him: 13 pounds! We currently have him on an appetite-reduction dry food and regular canned food. Hopefully he’ll slim down a bit. He still hasn’t done his lappet bit again, but he has come close to it. He was half on my lap the other day. That may be because my lap just isn’t big enough. He’s slowly starting to visit us at night (well early morning), but he sleeps more regularly on Miranda’s bed. I think he doesn’t like the ambient sound we play through Alexa at night. Plus he tends to walk around and meow then hog the bed when he visits us which wakes me up enough that I can’t go back to sleep. Today he was helping Ian practice piano.

Here are some recent photos:

Plus, we had a lynx cub wander through our yard along the back and side fences. What a beautiful surprise.  I heard from our neighbour that a cougar had been around, but a lynx!

Here’s a short video shot by Simon:


I know, there’s not been much posted here in a while. It’s just the time of year, I think. The kids are back at school and just getting into the swing of things. Miranda started off high school at Sir Winston Churchill with lots of homework, but seems to have been managing it. Every day she’s sitting down with me and giving me an update on how things are going. She has science, math, language arts and gym. The funny thing is she’s enjoying gym. She likes her teacher and the rest of the kids in class seem to be mellow and not hyper competitive. It also seems as though the kids in her classes are paying attention and working hard, which is very welcome to her. A longstanding complaint of hers has been that there was a lot of horseplay and disrespectful behavior in the class, making it difficult to pay attention. So she’s busy but happy. The weather was nice today for her ride with the BCC.

Action shot of Miranda coming home

Ian’s knocking the rust off of his math skills with some extra homework these days. He is continuing to wow us with his videographer skills. While on one hand, we worry about his “screen time” and the amount of time he uses the iPad/iPhone, but when you go into his room and he’s improvised a green screen and has made this:

I laughed and laughed when I saw this. He’s done a bit of a satire of these videos by Jony Ive for Apple.

I’m back to work after a summer of fun, and Tammy’s not happy with her class these days. Same old, same old. Tammy acts out by baking, so we have coconut custard tarts, butter tarts and banana-raspberry bran muffins now.

My watch is back. I think it was in the Apple repair center for about 35 seconds.

They couldn’t replicate the problem… did they not go swimming with it on? Anyways, I’m happy to have it back, but anyone want to start a pool for the date I go and get a new one? ⌚️

My Apple Watch Doesn’t Like Swimming

The story so far:

  • Went swimming at the hotel in Prince George, and the watch went kablooie
  • Gave up on it but found out that it was working when we got home to Calgary
  • Took it to the Apple Store and the in-store diagnostics came back clear
  • Kept the watch instead of sending it off. Told to try swimming with it again and see if it happened again.

Immersed it in the bath last night, and then afterwards this happened:

I have another appointment at the Apple Store this evening. Time to send it off. But we’ll get a new battery for my Bulova Marine Star that Tammy bought me when I graduated from UNBC. I’ll have a different watch for 1-2 weeks.


My watch is off in Apple’s hands now, and I’ve been wearing my Bulova for three full days now. At home, it doesn’t affect me that much. Yes, I wish I could check the weather, or my circles or use the walkie-talkie feature to find the kids. But it’s when I’m out and off to work that it really hits home. I get so many notifications for emails and meetings at work that I’m used to glancing at my watch when something bings or buzzes at me. A quick glance and I’m up to speed and back to work. That’s the worst. The lack of Apple Pay on the wrist is second. I got to the train station on Monday morning and had to balance a potted plant and my bag and my wallet as I got rejected via Interac twice while trying to buy a train ticket with my card. On the bright side, I have been well-trained by my watch so that I get up and move around regularly at work without being reminded.

I don’t know when I will get my Apple Watch back, but regardless, I might be immediately exchanging it for one of the new Series 5 watches announced today.

Always. On. Screen.

Our New Fur Baby

We held out for two-and-a-half weeks, but we just can’t live without a cat in the house.
Yesterday Simon filled out an online application with the Meow Foundation and late in the afternoon the same day we received a call from our adoption counsellor. We set up an appointment to go down today at 3 and have a look-see. Our criteria were lap-cat and family friendly, so we were introduced to those that fit the bill.  It came down to 3 then to 2 in the end.  We would’ve taken two today, but their compatibility was in question, so we went with the slightly older (he’s 3.5) male cat called Scarlet Pimpernel – I’m angling to rename him Murph(y). Murphy was the clear favourite for Simon, who wanted a lap-cat, after he jumped into his lap. The other was Elvira – she is so much like Nochie when she was younger it was scary. Maybe if Murph settles in quickly we’ll consider her (if she’s still available). He has been neutered and has had all his necessary shots.  His teeth are in excellent condition and has no obvious health issues. Plus he has an identifying microchip implanted just in case he goes missing. Total adoption cost: $175.

So far Murph has been totally relaxed. He’s busy investigating everything and everywhere, but he has pretty much moved in without incident.  We’ll have o see how the night goes.  Will he keep prowling or pass out somewhere? In many ways he’s like Mr. Doos. He’s a chunky boy with big strong hands and arms.  He grabs onto the cat post toys and kicks at them with his legs. He likes to be up high.  Plus he exhibits signs of being a lap-cat.

We’ll keep you posted as the week wears on. In the meantime, here are some pics:

Updated September 2

Murphy is settling in. What a confident cat. The first evening was a lot of exploration. He likes sitting in the windows, especially if they are open and he can have a sniff of the fresh air outside (we have screens in the windows). According to Miranda, Murphy was in her room and jumping up onto her bed during the night, although when I got up in the morning, he was snoozing on his favorite ledge.

Last evening, we were all in the master bedroom watching the TV and Murphy came and joined us, jumping up on the bed. He stretched out and was in the centre of everything. That continued into the night, where I think he spent most of the night on the bed. He’s a bit of a space-hog. As you can see in the picture above, he’s got no compunction about taking his fair share.

He’s eating well, both wet and dry food. He has been 100% on using the cat box. He’s not a yowler like Mr. Doos or Squeak were, but he did wake us up with some meowing this morning. It was time for breakfast!

Maybe adopting a 3.5 year old big cat wasn’t what we might have imagined, but he’s fitting in amazingly.

Our 22nd Anniversary

Today marks 22 years since Tammy and I tied the knot. It doesn’t seem nearly that long, but then the evidence all points to it being true.

So much has happened, but both of us are getting smile lines on our faces.

Tammy got me a bar of handmade soap from Prince George and a polished quartz heart from the mineral and gem show in Victoria, but the best gift I got was that her colonoscopy went well yesterday and she got a clear bill of health.


The All Clear

Today was my first ever colonoscopy. Long story short, I had to go for one based on the recent results from my most recent physical (low iron, low blood pressure, and a positive on FIT) and the family history of polyps.

Last night and early this morning (4am start) I took the CoLyte preparation. Honestly, it wasn’t all that bad.  It smelled like a piña colada, but tasted more like bubble gum. I have to admit after the 6th glass in an hour-and-a-half I could’ve used a different flavour. The effects of taking CoLyte was also “disappointing”. Let me just say the explosion-factor was grossly overstated.

The worst part of the whole thing was the low-fibre build up (It’s amazing how high-fibre our lives are) and living off of clear liquids and jello for a day while everyone else ate yummy food.

I was dropped off at 8.45 for my 9.00 check-in.  I was almost immediately into the pre/post-procedure area where i got into my gown, went over my particulars, and had the IV put into my hand. At 9.30 I was wheeled in to the procedure room where I was hooked up to oxygen and given my sedation (which started to work well after the procedure). The whole thing took about 20 minutes and was mostly painless.  There was one corner in there that’s usually tight and it takes a bit of shoving to get the camera around it. Other than that, it was really nothing. And it showed nothing out of the ordinary. There were no polyps, lesions, cancers, ulcers, or anything and I don’t need to have a repeat for 10 years. Yay!

I’m sure at some point the GP will call for a follow up. I’m back on my iron supplement for a couple of months. Who knows what caused the anemia was. If you want to see pictures, click below. 😆

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She’s Got a Ticket to Drive

Miranda passed her test today for her learners license.

Ready to learn

She managed to pass the test on the last question. She needed to get 25 questions right out of 30. I took her down for the test. We got a box of Tim Horton’s donuts to celebrate.

She can’t take the road test for a year, so there’s a while to wait before she gets a full license.

Squeak is Home

Tammy got the call today from the kennel that Squeak’s ashes were ready to pick up. The people who work there signed a condolences card. Michelle had saved some fur and made some paw prints.


Tammy and the kids picked the urn up and dropped off a box of Purdy’s chocolates as a thank you. It wasn’t enough, but at least it was something. I was at work, coming down with a cold.

Jury Duty – Take 3

I went to check the mail the morning after we got back half expecting it to be choc-a-bloc with flyers and other rubbish, but I was pleasantly surprised to find very little in it. One of the pieces of mail was a jury summons letter. This is my third one. The first was when we lived in Sooke. I was unable to serve because the kids were too young and I had limited daycare. The second time was also when we lived in Sooke, but we were preparing to move. Will the third time be the charm? This time I have no excuses. There’s no reasonable exemption for which I can qualify. I work evenings so, in theory, I can be in court from 10.00-4.30, beetle home on the train, grab a bite for supper, and jump in the car for work at 5.30.  It doesn’t leave much time for class prep and I’ll need to have some meals prepped for the family.

The selection date is Oct. 24th. I wonder if I’ll qualify? More to come much later.

The Rest of the Vacation 2019

After we posted daily on the way to Victoria, I had intended to slow down and enjoy the trip. There were fewer long evenings in hotels and long days in cars to take advantage of. But when we got the call on Tuesday morning (the first morning in Victoria) that Squeak was dying, that threw the rest of the week into a completely different spin. The morning was full of tears for everyone. As part of my therapy, I got out for a ride (of course!).

Along Ocean Boulevard. What a beautiful day.

In the evening, we had arranged to visit with Jeff and Sasha. That was a weird echo of December 2016, when Nochie passed away and we had arranged to visit with Steven and Krisztina the following evening. But everyone looked forward to the distraction. We picked up a Peach Decadence cake from the Lighthouse Cake Company and went to visit.

Jeff and Tammy pondering their slices of cake

Me, Sasha and Jeff

We had a really great visit. Dinner was… Thanksgiving. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and veggies. Jeff’s rationale was that it was easy and delicious and we’re never around for Thanksgiving or Christmas with them. 😄 Their youngest daughter Sonya is now two and a half and speaks a mixture of Russian and English thanks to being looked after by Sveta and Gena downstairs. Katya is very tall, probably pushing six feet at only 14 years old. Ian and Alyosha got on very well. The kids all had a lot of fun together. It’s such a pity that we only see them once per year. I think I say that every year. Jeff said that he was going to set up a Minecraft server for Alyosha and his friends to play on, and Ian will get an invitation. We’ll watch for that!

Miranda, Ian, Alyosha, Jeff, Sonya and Katya

On Wednesday, we all headed out for a family bike ride. It had a couple of purposes: one was to stretch the legs after all that car riding but also as a chance for everyone to have a test ride of their bikes before the big ride on Saturday in case mechanical work was needed. Everything checked out. We rode through Langford and down to the Lagoon. The traffic in Langford was, in Tammy’s words, “terrifying”. There may be a lot of bike lanes painted on the roads here, but you feel a lot safer in Calgary. The morning was beautiful and worth the terror.

A seaside rendezvous

Tammy imposed on Stephanie and invited us over to her house for some “cat time” with Willow and Twinkie. She was still very sad about Squeak and enjoyed some furry friends for a while. It turned out that Stephanie had tweaked her knee and was off so we got an afternoon visit with her, Tristan and the kids.

In the evening, Dad took us out for fish and chips and we walked there and over to Everything Games near Floyd’s Diner. The weather was still smiling on us. It was nice that we could have an evening of sitting and relaxing. We watched Despicable Me 2 with Dad.

Thursday morning was a shopping trip downtown. Everybody except Ian was excited to go to Russell Books, Murchies and Munro’s Books. Miranda found three books in a series she’s been looking for, and I picked up a couple of Wheel of Time reference books for sharing with Ian (we’re always skipping back to the map in the e-book when reading). Later was back to Stephanie’s for a BBQ and a sleepover for the kids. The kids played War of the Monsters and the grown-ups got to play a game of Cards Against Humanity, which Tristan won.

“_____________, the Musical”

  • Gandhi
  • Auschwitz
  • The Great Depression

Altogether, it was a very successful day.

Friday was picking up the kids from Stephanie’s and having lunch with Dad before heading down to the Trek bicycle shop for sign in for the Tour de Victoria. Before our trip, Ian had asked if he and I could ride down to the sign in. In years past we’ve walked from our hotel or driven. But I think he remembered seeing people ride down and wanted to do that. So he and I rode down, and Tammy and Miranda drove down. We took the Galloping Goose from Dad’s and had a very nice ride. He recognized the place where the Cycle of Life Tour started in 2017, which was on the way.

On the pedestrian bridge at Uptown

From there, Ian rode with Tammy and Miranda to Pearkes Arena, where there was a Gem and Mineral show on. Stephanie and the kids went there too, while I rode back to Dad’s via Esquimalt and stopped in at North of Hadrian’s Kilt Shop to see Jackson.

In the evening, Stephanie, Tristan, Tammy and I met up with Michelle, CJ, Maria and Tony at Ma Miller’s Pub for dinner, drinks and music bingo. The food was very good and the bingo was fun. My only regret was that we couldn’t stay late because we had to get up for the ride the next morning. Tammy got second place in the game we played, and I won a prize for “being enthusiastic”.

Chowing down at Ma Miller’s

Deep fried Mars bars to share

My bingo card: lots of dots, no lines!

The Tour de Victoria on Saturday I covered in its own post. Afterwards, we were all tired (especially Tammy and I). We had an offer to visit with Jackson and Michelle, but we needed to rest and pack for our trip home the next day. We had dinner at Jasmine’s Restaurant and got everything ready for the next morning. This was one of the most controversial parts of our trip: we would drive back home the day after the long ride. We needed to do it, because Tammy had to work Monday night. Normally, we arrive in Victoria and sign in then do the ride, and then have a week or so of visiting. This time, with the work restriction and the ferry ride we saved the Tour de Victoria for last. I really liked it. It was something I was looking forward to all week. Tammy and Miranda thought it was more a matter of dreading the end of the week.

We had a reservation for the 8:00 ferry on Sunday. I might have made a reservation for the 7:00 but there were none remaining when I made it. We were up at 5:30 (for the second day in a row) and everything was in the car and everybody hugged Grandpa by 6:15. There was little traffic and we were at the terminal by 6:45, so we actually got on the 7:00. What luck!

The rest of the day seemed to play out in fast forward to me. Tammy and I traded off driving frequently, with Tammy driving from Hope to Merritt, Kamloops to Salmon Arm and Revelstoke to Golden.

Coming into Merritt

It was very warm in places: Salmon Arm was over 30 degrees. Lunch was at Tim Horton’s in Kamloops and dinner was at DQ in Golden.

Heading into the mountains

We made great time. The kids were as good as gold the whole day. From Golden to Calgary, we each took turns choosing songs to play, which helped the time pass. We stopped in Lake Louise for a bathroom break, when I caught this photo.

Last rays of sunlight

We got home after 10, safe and sound. No real worries on the road. Lots of idiot drivers, but nothing that endangered us. Time to start real life again. We called the Springbank Pet Resort this morning and Squeak’s ashes aren’t ready yet, but they will call us.

In other news, when we got home, I threw my watch on the charger in order to get it ready for seeing the Apple Genius, and guess what? It was working. It has continued to work. I took it in and they ran diagnostics on it and it was clear. There is still a limited warranty on the watch until November 25th, but I would have to send it off to a service centre for 7-11 days. After the torture from this week without it, I am not willing to do that at the moment.