Jack’s Walk

Jack is a bit out of sorts today. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Well, it looks like it’s going to be a green Christmas in Montreal, which is… unusual. Montreal is a snowy place, and snow removal is big business here. Nearly all private homes hire firms to plow their driveways, and they all pay an annual fixed fee. It doesn’t matter how many times they dig you out, the cost is the same.

This year the plow companies are making out like bandits. I wonder if their services will become obsolete as climate change advances.

The Art of Book Design: A Visit From St. Nicholas (‘Twas The Night Before Christmas)

Clement Clarke Moore. A visit from St. Nicholas, Boston, Published by L. Prang & Co, 1864.

It was a tradition in my family to read this poem every Christmas Eve just before bedtime when I was young. The poem was first published anonymously in 1823, but Moore admitted authorship in 1837. The poem is credited with cementing the idea of Santa Claus and gift-giving into the Christmas traditions of modern times. This is the earliest edition that I was able to locate, and the entire poem is included beneath the fold.

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Jack’s Walk

Jack making a run for it at a 401 rest area. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Bonjour, ça va?

Jack and I have relocated to Pointe-Claire, Quebec, which is on the west island of Montreal. We’ll be spending two weeks here, visiting my mother-in-law, who will be 94 on the third of January. She’s a pistol, Mum is. She still does everything she did at 50, including baking (store-bought cookies just aren’t as good), shopping, driving, cooking, laundry, ironing (even underpants because they fit better in the drawer when pressed!) and keeping a tidy split level home with stairs everywhere. She has a full turkey dinner planned for Christmas Day, including a home-made raspberry pie.

We had a good drive. The roads were clear and traffic was much lighter than we expected, even going through Toronto. Jack slept most of the way, but the Mr. and I are feeling a bit road-worn after the 8-hour trek to get here. We’ve been making this drive for nearly 30 years, but the older I get, the longer it seems. Now, I think I’ll have one of those homemade cookies and wait for the feeling of still driving to stop.

So many new smells and so little time. ©voyager, all rights reserved

An update About my Continuing Absence (and more) – Charly

Hi guys, as I mentioned already in several posts, I had some pain trouble with my hands for over half a year by now. In the summer I visited an orthopedist and he told me, based on an X-ray, that there is no inflammation and that warmth and rest should suffice. With maybe some anti-inflammation medication as a precaution.

Well, I took the advice and medication he prescribed. Problems receded to nearly, but not completely, vanishing. Then they returned. Then they nearly, but not completely, vanished again. So after I finally left my job at the end of October, I took a whole month of rest. Like, doing absolutely nothing except keeping myself alive and clean. I also only turned PC on twice a week to read e-mails, because clicking mouse and writing on the keyboard were both extremely aggravating. However, it was still not enough so I visited my GP, who in turn requested a re-evaluation of my old X-rays from a radiologist and performed blood screening.

The good news is that I do not have autoimmune rheumatic arthritis, neither do I have Lyme disease or carpal tunnel syndrome. The bad news is that I did indeed have inflamed first joint on my right hand the whole time. There does not seem to be any large-scale damage to the joints (and hopefully no permanent damage), but now I am probably more prone to both tendonitis and arthritis than I was previously and I might even already have tendinosis (permanent damage to the tendons). I was always prone to straining my hands with work and having to take abnormally long rests afterward, but never so long and persistent like this. I am getting old in addition to my always poor health, I guess.

I was prescribed new anti-inflammatory medication by my GP and it seems to have helped quite a lot. I had a few days since then when my hands felt completely normal. But still, a few hours on PC render me useless for two days as my pointer fingers get sore again. I will probably have to take a few longer courses of anti-inflammatory drugs with even more rest and some careful exercise before (if) I am back to normal again. I will have to visit my doc again in the new year. As it is now, I am not medically disabled whilst not being able to work, which sucks on a completely different level.

So the next bad news is that I definitively cannot carry my weight around the blog re: writing, for non-definable time. I will try to post some pictures again at least. Only not this year, because now that I can use PC at least short times somewhat, I have to do all my backlogged bookkeeping and transfer from Windows 7 to Windows 10, which I expect to take a week at least. And then, of course, I need to read up on all that I have missed here since November because whilst I can watch YouTube on my phone, reading on it I found to be extremely uncomfortable so I had to reduce my reading input too.

To counterbalance it with a hope of good news, even now most medium to heavy work is not nearly as much of a problem as writing on PC is – in fact I repaired old furniture and cleaned the attic with no adverse effects –  so once I feel healthy enough I still hope to be able to start making knives and wood carvings the next year. And draw/paint pictures.

So Happy Holidays and Grumpy New Year or somesuch. See ya.

Have you been drinking varnish? A continental comment on the transphobic “restroom panic”

As you may have heard already, trans folks got an early Christmas present in the UK: A transphobic woman lost her employment trial, establishing a trans friendly case law and also paying for the privilege of doing so.

In the wake of it J.K. Rowling dropped all pretence of not being a transphobe and the transphobic “persecution” cries are doing a round again. At the centre of their argument is that People who were AMAB pose a threat to women and girls in female only spaces*. They, including the very nice lady who didn’t get her contract renewed (she wasn’t even sacked as people would want to make you believe) believe that this is true regardless of what steps the person has done to transition** , which is part of why the judge ruled against the transphobe as the view was absolutist and “[t]hat belief is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

This doesn’t keep transphobes from keeping claiming that trans women are a threat to cis women in changing rooms and I think that one reason why they’re particularly successful in Britain is because of their unusual layout of changing rooms. Whether in France, Spain or Germany, wherever you go shopping, the fitting rooms are unisex. Single stalls with a door or a curtain. It wouldn’t be hard to sneak a peak, and occasionally you can’t help seeing something when there’s a curtain that doesn’t close perfectly and a mirror, but you’re supposed to handle it like a grown up. Going to fitting room the first time in the UK was a culture shock there were separate ones for men and women and the women’s was a large open room with a couple of individual stalls that you could use if you tried on swimwear or something. Everybody else stripped and dressed together much like a gym locker. I guess you can see why that would be the image that flashes before UK people’s eyes when they hear “unisex” toilets or fitting rooms. Our communal swimming pool has always had “unisex” changing rooms: individual stalls that you enter on the “street side” of the pool and leave at the pool side. There’s also “family changing rooms”. No fucking body is forced to share space with somebody else while naked (unless you go to the sauna, but then that’s what you pay extra for).

Of course transphobes are not ignorant. The vocal ones are well educated and have for sure travelled to the continent and further away. They know what unisex toilets and changing rooms look like, but they choose not to correct their audience. Much like all other reactionaries who know better but who selectively present “facts” to mislead people who are probably well intentioned but just not as well read or travelled.





*Apparently boys are safe in male only spaces. For reasons. Or they don’t count. I don’t know.

**Now, just to make it clear: All trans women are women. I don’t care about the state of your junk or whether you stuff your bras with tissues or tits. None of them are my business. Unless you’re using live tits. That’s animal cruelty.

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

Here are a few food safety tips for your pet over the holidays.

  •  Keep chocolate out of reach from your dog. It’s toxic to then.
  •  Keep alcohol out of reach of pets. I used to have a cat with a taste for brown cows.
  •  Limit table scraps. Too much rich food may cause diarrhea, gastric upset and potentially, pancreatitis.
  •  Give pet safe scraps only. White meat with no skin, unsalted and unbuttered veggies and plain white rice are good options.
  •  Don’t give your pet bones and mind the turkey carcass. Cooked bones can splinter easily and cause injury to teeth or gastric systems of both cats and dogs.
  •  Don’t let your pet eat raw dough. Yeast might still rise after ingestion or release fermented sugars, which can cause ethanol poisoning.
  •  Wash pans right away or put them out of reach of your pet.
  •  Don’t leave cookies and milk for Santa within your pet’s reach.  Leave Santa a note telling him where the treats are if he wants one.

source – Top Dog Tips

source – Catster

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I want to talk about a few ways to keep your pet safe and happy over the holidays. Christmas can be stressful for our pets, but there are some simple things you can do to make it a happier, healthier time. We’ll be breaking it down into a few categories, and today we’ll begin with some safety tips to keep in mind while you decorate your home.

  •  Don’t use lilies, holly, mistletoe or poinsettia because they are all poisonous to your dog. Lilies are also highly toxic to cats and poinsettia can make your cat quite sick.
  • Don’t use real candles. If you must light real candles, blow them out when you leave the room. Keep candles out of reach. This is especially important for people who have cats that jump and knock things over.
  •  Use an artificial tree. It will be less interesting for your dog or cat.
  •  Anchor your Christmas tree.
  •  Don’t decorate the bottom part of the tree, it will only entice your pet.
  •  Block off the tree with a pet gate if your dog won’t’ leave the tree alone. Ditto for cats, which may also be dissuaded by tin foil around the edge of the tree skirt.
  •  Don’t use tinsel. It can cause serious problems if your pet ingests it.
  •  No edible decorations, such as popcorn and cranberry garlands or flour cookies.
  •  Block off access to the tree water if you have a real tree. The water is stagnant and can be full of bacteria. It could also contain a “tea” of pine needles, which will make both cats and dogs sick.
  •  Keep wiring and extension cords our of reach. They can cause severe injury if chewed through. They also give the animal an opportunity to knock something over.
  •  Keep it simple. Too many loud or obnoxious decorations can put your dog or cat on edge.
  •  Don’t use ribbon on packages that could entice your cat or dog to eat it. (cats eat the ribbon, ditto for dogs, who also may eat the whole package) Keep gifts out of reach if possible.
  • No glass ornaments. They can break too easily and the shards can cut your animal and can cause serious harm if ingested.
  •  Beware of Snow-Globes, which may leak or break if knocked over.  What’s inside them can be very toxic.
  • Unplug the lights when you go out or to bed. If your pet chews the cord while it’s plugged in, they can receive serious burns or electrocution.
  • Pretend like the tree is no big deal and provide other distractions for your pet. Food puzzles and new toys are an excellent way to keep your pet occupied. Empty boxes also work well for cats.

So there you have it. Some common sense ways to make the holidays happier and healthier for your pet. Tomorrow we’ll look at food safety tips over the holidays for your cat and dog.

source,  Top Dog Tips

source, Catster

source,  Consumer Reports