KICK IN THE ARTS BY BRIAN GALLAGHER

March 12, 2020

So by now all you beauties know about our little buddy Hobbes and his kidney disease. First off – he seems to be doing better and he is getting stronger day by day. Out of the woods? Not sure. But the bestie is quite hopeful and glad to have him home, as is his brother Calvin, who is enjoying the new six times per day feeding schedule.

That is not to say that this journey over the last few weeks has been an easy or a clean and tidy one. Every day we have to give him fluids via enormous syringes along with pills and liquid medication. The kind folks over at the Saint-Lazare animal hospital have been more than patient giving us instructions and even calling us at home to give advice and listen to our questions. But we have done our own homework as well. We headed over to The Google and watched several videos on how to give your cat pills and liquids easily and with no muss nor fuss from the furry patient.

B.S. Yup, I’m calling B.S. Every video we watched is of a sweet, quiet, calm and more...

February 27, 2020

PHOTO BY NICOLE GIRARD

We’re hoping Hobbes (right) with his brother Calvin is well on his way to recovery.

Hey beautiful people, how are you? I have a question for you – how many of you are pet owners, or should I say have fur babies? Show of hands please. Those of you who follow this little column probably know by now that my bestie and I have two furry felines, Calvin and Hobbes. We have had them for about seven years now and for some reason each cat has bonded to one of us. Hobbes, the thin quiet good looking one has bonded to my wife, worships the ground she walks on actually. The other, Calvin is chubby and loud (he gets called ‘Chub-chub’ or ‘Shortstack’ more often than his real name) and likes to follow me around, even with the music blaring. ‘Shortstack’ also enjoys hanging out watching Sportscentre with me each day with our morning coffee.

Well, for the last few weeks Hobbes has been quite ill. I won’t go into graphic detail but he has been sick multiple times a day and has stopp...

February 20, 2020

PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

Good morning beautiful people. That is if you are enjoying this week’s edition of this fine publication with your morning coffee. If it is with your afternoon cocktail (I recommend a shaken martini with olives) then good afternoon. For those of you curious about this week’s title, I assure you it is not a Dr. Ruth column.

I wanted to share with you some snippets from a letter sent in to the K.I.T.A. virtual mailbox by a reader. I found it witty and entertaining. It was in response to my article on January 30 (Breaking up is hard to do). I had to go look it up. Let’s face it with my attention span and fading memory I can barely remember what I had for dinner yesterd… - oh look, a squirrel!

This dear reader sent in a response to my list of how the weekdays were going to be named due to how I need to change my habits and become more fit and healthier this year. Here was my proposed list of change:

Martini Mondays – Mushroom Mondays

Two for Tuesdays – Tofu Tuesdays (...

February 6, 2020

PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK 

Last spring I told you beautiful people about my bone disease osteochondroma. It is a disease that is a non-malignant version of cancer that affects the soft cartilage and joints and causes them to grow ‘extoses’ that impede mobility. When these nasty outcroppings start causing excess pain and/or impede movement they need to be exorcised; oops I meant extracted (or in plain English – sawed off). This happy affliction usually stops being a nuisance when your body stops growing. Vertically, that is. My body seems to recently have decided to try and even the odds between vertical and horizontal measurement. But I just happen to be in the lucky 37 per cent where it just decides to hang around past puberty and tag along for the ride. And now that I have played more than 20 matches against it in the operation arena I’m indeed feeling like a seasoned veteran.

Although I am blessed that I am not in the other small percentile of patients where osteochondroma morphs it...

January 30, 2020

Man oh man do I feel lethargic… listless, lazy, unmotivated... Barely enough energy to get up and go to the pantry, grab more Cheetos and fill up the mixing bowl back up to the brim, refresh the bevy, make a quick pit stop in the loo and return to the safety and sanctuary of the blanket and the couch to binge-watch Peaky Blinders on Netflix. Ah, much better.

Seriously, does this sound like you dear readers? Is it the winter blahs? The lack of vitamin D and no exercise? Or do I just need to come to the realization that (in my case at least) it’s probably got to do with the extra 12-15, oh heck let’s just round it up to 40, pounds I’m packing around the midriff. Starting to look like the Michelin Man or Mr. Stay-Puft and not just because I’m as pasty white and mushy as a bag of full-fat milk.

Like most of you beautiful people, the two of us here in Shangri-la have made a resolution to start being healthier this year. And truth be told, the bestie is rocking it. She is eating healthier, exe...

December 5, 2019

IMAGE COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

How do you celebrate the holiday season dear readers? Dashing through the snow? Roasting chestnuts on an open fire? Do you spend it with family? Do you travel? Do you shower your significant other with lavish gifts?

Good for you. Enjoy. This year we have decided not to give each other gifts, with one exception. You see we have been together for a long time (not compared to some of you wonderful married people out there but in hamster years we have been together, well, almost forever). A long blessed wonderful time. Magical, really. So we realized that we don’t need any gifts or some commercialized version of happiness and goodwill towards people …. We just need the gift of each other’s company. Okay, stop. Obviously the sweet addition of Baileys in my coffee this morning has brought out the Harlequin romance or Hallmark card writer in me. Better switch to whiskey to get back on track. Give me a second beautiful people – back in a flask (oops, ‘flash’).

There, m...

November 21, 2019

PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK 

Now don’t get the wrong idea here dear readers. Don’t start talking about what you think I might be talking about when I’m not really talking about what you think I might be talking about. Did that make sense in your head? It almost did in mine, I think.

And to further substantiate your suspicions about what you might think my column is about this week let me tell you what I’ve been watching on Netflix this past week. The bio-pics and documentaries on Woodstock, The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue. Groovy, man. Far out. Although the Scorcese movie of Bob Dylan’s tour had interesting insights on some of the great artists of the time, I really enjoyed the Woodstock documentary because it wasn’t really about the music but about the organizers of that iconic event and what they went through to put it all together. And of course all the original footage of the event itself was a real trip.

But I digress (as I am wont to do)…Yes in full disclosur...

October 31, 2019

Why hello there dear readers, I hope you are well. There’s a bit of a change of pace to this weeks’ column because I’ve been feeling reflective lately and somewhat melancholy. Let me take you back to this past weekend:

My bestest half and I were winding down on Friday after a good day of chores and tasks around the house. I had just finished making the happy hour martinis when the phone rang with tragic news. The rest of the weekend we just hung around the house and although we did get some leaves raked and patio work accomplished on Saturday we spent most of it trying to get our heads around the sudden and unexpected death of our brother-in-law.

He and his wife who recently celebrated 40 years of marriage were also celebrating the fact that three weeks ago they both finally retired from the rat race and were ready to go out and do all the things they had talked about for so long. First item on the agenda was a majestic three week excursion for two in South Africa. A trip they had always...

October 24, 2019

PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

If you sing it with a drawl, it almost sounds like a country song doesn’t it? If it was, it would be my ode to the large pine tree in our front yard which has only recently stopped shedding its 7,874,241 pine needles all over our yard.  Right now I know what you are doing dear readers…

1) You are asking yourself, “He actually COUNTED each needle he picked up? How bad is this guy’s OCD?!

2) Why can’t I get that country song out of my head?! (C’mon you know you’re singing it).

Seriously though beautiful people, when we bought our palace here in Shangri-la last year I loved the old crooked pine tree on the corner. I even put a sign up on it that said ‘Crooked Tree Corner’ since it was the focal point of the property. I should have known…. Remember that kid’s book ‘Everybody poops?’ Well it’s true. Everyone and everything including my crooked pine tree. Pine cones in the spring, small pine buds in the summer that come off in the wind and pepper the roof on the side...

October 10, 2019

I have to tell you my friends; Thanksgiving is a bittersweet holiday for me and my better/best/bestest half. For years we have had the privilege of sharing Thanksgiving Sunday with our dear old neighbours from Glengarry County, Ontario. Each year the day was filled with songs, toasts, stories and laughter surrounded by Bob O’Connor, his lovely (and well-loved) wife Joanne and her extended family; of which we were honoured to be thought of as included in this special company. After the initial song and toast to loved ones dearly departed (Mes chers amis, mes chers amis, lever votre verre…), accompanied by the pre-requisite shot of Fireball of course, we would set off for a happy hayride jaunt through the fields and forests of Glengarry stopping not only for pee-stops and haunted houses, but for more songs, and of course, more Fireball (nasty stuff that is, but does keep the cockles warm).

After we are all glowing happily it is time to head back and watch the kids giggle and screech as th...

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