Driving observation

Sometimes driving around town is frustrating1

Sometimes driving around town is frustrating!

Today, I was driving along College Avenue, one of the major north-south roads in Indianapolis and came to a stop in the middle of the road. Up ahead, the two lane road narrowed to one lane. I knew that and I was already in the correct lane,which happened to be the left lane. Yet, there were several people who drove up along the right side of the road even though the majority of the drivers were clearly waiting for the traffic up ahead to move along. The reason why the rest of us were stopped for so long is because of all of the drivers who was cutting the line. It was so maddening! One such driver sped past about 10 cars before budging the line and I noticed that he actually had a vanity plate that read, “THANKS” which I am sure is meant to be sarcastic. Even though he took off down the road, I ended up right behind him about 15 minutes later. I wasn’t following him, but we happened to end up in the main part of Carmel. Guess where he ended up going? He was speeding, weaving and cutting the line because he was in such a hurry to get to Arby’s! Crazy!

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A letter from back home….

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Not too long ago, I celebrated my birthday. Some friends from Vancouver sent me a neat little birthday card:

For your birthday we did a little research on things we would do with you if we were there:

      1. Afternoon Tea at the Indianapolis Propylaeum
      2. Magic Show and dinner at the Propylaeum
      3. Cats at The Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre
      4. Indy Winter Classic Dog Show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds
      5. Birthday Grand Slam at Denny’s
      6. Truffle Pie at The Best Chocolate in Town

Hopefully you will enjoy some of these activities. We would love to see photo evidence!

I was happy to get the card, and even happier to get the suggestions! I have not done any of them, yet. But when I do, I will let you know!

I went to Smashville

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I just got back from Nashville where B.B. and I went to see a Nashville Predators game. The visiting team was the Anaheim Ducks, who beat the Predators 5-2 and currently have the best winning record with 41 wins this season.

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Up close to see the action! Allen vs. Clune.

B.B. and I had pretty awesome seats (behind the penalty box) so it was a pretty exciting game to watch (also it’s been a few years since I have been to an NHL game (the last might have been when the Detroit Red Wings came to Vancouver and got shut out 4-0 or when I went to see the Edmonton Oilers take on the Columbus Blue Jackets).

The price for the seats was pretty reasonable, I thought (a little over $100 each). But being so close to the action was worth it. I thought that the price was low considering how close we were to the ice. I was curious to find out how much ticket prices varied from venue to venue. As expected, the cost for NHL tickets in Canada seems to be a bit higher.

City

Venue

Seating capacity*

Avg cost per ticket**

 Toronto  Air Canada Centre 18,819  $ 123.77
 Vancouver  Rogers Arena 18,910  $   68.38
 Nashville  Bridgestone Arena  17,113  $   51.04
 Dallas  American Airlines Center  18,584  $   29.95
*Based on seating capacity for hockey (Wikipedia pages)
 **ESPN article about cheapest tickets in NHL

The other thing that I thought that was weird about the game were the cheerleaders (there are no cheerleaders in hockey!). Well, it was a surprise. It’s pretty much an American thing to make hockey more enticing to watch, I guess. I found out that none of the Canadian teams have cheerleaders, except for Edmonton.

One cool thing about the game in Nashville is that because it’s in Music City, there is a lot of emphasis on live music. There was a Ford Band Stage between the upper and lower bowl with a live band playing in between periods, and that was pretty fun.

I’ve got cabin fever

I’m a little shack wacky. I have spent the last several days stuck at home. I’m not sick, I am just stuck. Indiana experienced a major snowfall the other day. It snowed all day on Sunday and by the end, there was over 10 inches of snow on the ground. Travel advisories were in effect and people were encouraged to stay home on Monday and again on Tuesday mainly due to the windchill. Temperatures dipped down into the negatives. When I heard that it was around -11, I didn’t really blink an eye…until I converted to Celsius. Negative 25 is quite cold! Maybe tomorrow I’ll go to work. Depends on the road conditions, though.

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The million dollar question…

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The other day, I found this paper bag by my door.

The other day, when I got home from running errands, I found this paper bag by my door. Usually, I receive newspapers, UPS deliveries, flyers, and religious propaganda, but I have never received mysterious packages.

I couldn’t help but feel a little suspicious about the mystery bag. Ever since moving to the US, I almost can’t help but be paranoid about things that are out of the ordinary. Who can help not feeling this way? The media is constantly instilling fear in the public. You cannot turn on a local news broadcast without being concerned for your own personal well-being. So, I was naturally suspicious.

Who left this package by my door? (it was obviously left for me or for B.B.) Was it a trick or was it a treat? Could it be a present? Could it be dog poo? Well, when I opened the bag, this is what I found:

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No note was attached to the package, it was just a random bunch of tomatoes of various sizes and colours (well, there were only 6–but such an odd assortment, right?). So, my million dollar question is: Should I eat the tomatoes? (my follow-up question is: Who left the tomatoes at my door?).

The tomatoes are still uneaten, but I’d be interested in knowing what you think.

At the scene of a horrible accident

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Today, B.B., Francis and I decided to go to Harrison State Park. As we were approaching the entry ramp to I-465, we came across an overturned charter bus which had somehow managed to land on the concrete barrier that separates the entry ramp from Keystone Road. The ambulances, police and firefighters had not yet arrived on the scene, but there was a crowd of people trying to help out. Apparently, the bus was carrying a bunch of kids who were on their way home from a summer camp. B.B. pulled over and jumped out of the car and to see if there was anything that could be done. He mostly talked to the kids to check how they were doing and to help reassure them, many of them were in a state of shock. Unfortunately, there were a few fatalities.

Feel like getting scared? Watch The Conjuring

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Conjuring_posterLast night, B.B. and I decided to go see a movie. Originally, we were going to watch Red 2, but when we arrived at the theatre, we found out that there were still seats available for The Conjuring, which had just opened (the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes were positive for The Conjuring, but not so high for Red 2). Despite being worried about not being able to have a restful sleep, I told B.B. I would be okay with watching a scarier movie. Without giving away too much of the story away, here’s a brief review of the movie.

The Conjuring is made just a bit scarier, because the director James Wan, makes a point of telling the audience from the get-go that the movie is based on a true story, unlike many other movies where that bit of information is saved for the end. The movie is set in the early 1970s when Roger and Carolyn Perron and their five daughters move into an old farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island. The first sign that something is terribly wrong, is when the family dog is seen shaking on the front porch and refuses to enter the house. The girls play a game called hide and clap (one person is blindfolded and must find the others based on the clapping sounds from the hiders). In playing the game, they discover a boarded up entrance to the cellar, a very creepy room that becomes significant in the film.

During the first night, the family members experience some paranormal activities. One of the daughters is awakened from her sleep because she feels a tug on her leg and mistakenly believes that it’s her sister “pulling her leg.” The next morning, the mother wakes up with a mysterious bruise on her body and notices that all of the clocks had stopped at 3:07 a.m. The youngest daughter goes outside to see the family dog, only to discover that it had mysteriously died during the night. The strange activities increase and the family begins to realize that they are not the only ones inhabiting their home.

The youngest daughter discovers an old music box and is able to conjure up the spirit of Rory, who she befriends; she is able to see Rory once she winds the music box crank and looks through its attached mirror. One night, Carolyn, who continues to get new bruises each day, hears clapping and believes that her daughters are still awake and playing a game of hide and clap. She soon realizes that her children are all asleep in their beds upstairs and she goes downstairs to investigate. The father, who is working late, comes home to find that his family had just experienced some terrifying paranormal activity. He finds his wife locked in the cellar and the daughters upstairs screaming and crying in fear. The Perrons seek the help of the Ed and Lorraine Warren, local paranormal investigators. The Warrens visit the farmhouse and immediately sense the negative energy and agree to help the family. They inform the family that an exorcism on the house may be necessary but must first gather evidence to submit to the Catholic Church who must authorize it.

Even though I knew that “something” was about to happen throughout the movie, it was always suspenseful and a surprise (and I sometimes watched scenes with one eye shut). B.B. was slightly annoyed because there were so many kids in the theatre chatting and nervously laughing throughout the movie, but I welcomed the additional background chatter–I was truly scared and a bit on edge during the movie. If you believe or you have ever experienced paranormal activity, this movie will make you sleep with the lights on, which is what I did after watching this movie.

Francis, the fighter

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Francis is not a fighter, but he's not a lover either

Francis is not a fighter, but sometimes, he’s not a lover either

Last week, I was walking Francis when something a little out of the ordinary happened. From about five houses away, a neighbourhood dog (a medium-sized dog that weighed 50 lbs) made a B-line towards us. It did not look friendly. The first thing it did was hip check Francis and then it turned around and decided to attack. Francis, who, at first was bewildered by this angry dog, decided that the only thing he could do was defend himself (and maybe me, too). Both dogs were snarling, growling and pawing at each other. It was ugly. I was worried for Francis because this other dog was so aggressive and mean. However, within 10 seconds, Francis had the dog pinned down and had his jaws over top of the other dog’s neck. Then I was scared for the other dog because Francis has very strong teeth (they’ve ripped open plastic bags with treats, shoes, his blanket, plastic milk jugs, olive oil jars, mayonnaise jars, tin cans, whittled down deer antlers and much more–it’s a good thing that he doesn’t have an appetite for blood). Francis did not bite down on the other dog’s neck, just pinned him down. I was still holding onto Francis’ leash so I pulled him off of the other dog who was at his mercy and crying uncle. The dog proceeded to run big circles around us. Francis started barking hysterically at the dog–not his usual scary deep bark, but several high-pitched freak-out barks. The dog ran back to his house and the owner, who did not bother coming over to get her dog during the fight, put the dog in her house. She was gardening outside and when the fight broke out, I think she went into the house to get someone or maybe to get a leash. But, I don’t know for certain—I was busy trying to handle the situation happening right in front of me. After the dog left, Francis and I were both a bit frazzled.

Another neighbour, who had watched the whole event from her car, stopped to make sure that I was OK. Both Francis and I were fine (other than a minor bruise on my shin from the scuffle). She expressed her dismay about irresponsible dog owners who let their dogs run wild in the neighbourhood (she of course, was referring to the gardening woman). She said that she was glad that I wasn’t hurt.

Francis and I approached the house with the terror dog and the owner came down the driveway to make sure that I was OK. I told her that I was fine. She explained that her dog just likes to play (“Whatever!” I thought, in my mind). Then she stuck her hand out and tried to pet Francis who let out a deep bark as if to say, “Back off!” The woman retracted her hand quickly and let out a surprised and frightened cry (I don’t know why she even tried; Francis could smell her dog’s scent on her hands). I told her that Francis was still wound up. And that was that.

Fast forward 5 days…

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Francis and I went for a walk in another part of our neighbourhood and we were about to walk past his arch-enemy, Ruby. I don’t know why Francis hates this dog so much, but he does. I suspect that it’s because this dog did not like him first. She is always skulking and looking mean when Francis is nearby. Now they always growl and bark at each other whenever they see one another. This time, Ruby was in the yard and Francis saw her and went crazy and slipped from his leash (this has happened a couple of times when he pulls on the leash and causes the latch to unbuckle). Francis ran across the street and into the driveway and they went at it. If I thought the other day was bad, this was terrifying. Francis had his teeth in Ruby’s neck, but that only made her mad and she started dominating Francis. I ran over, but did not want to get bitten. All I could do was scream at Francis to stop and the owners of the other dog came outside and screamed at Ruby. The dogs stopped on their own, but Francis was already done and looked like he was cowering. The whole fight lasted less than a minute and both dogs were OK, but there was a little bit of blood. It turns out that it was Francis who drew blood, but it was Ruby who ultimately won the fight (his only saving grace is that he has a lot of fur and a turkey neck with lots of loose skin). I took Francis home and told B.B. what happened. B.B. went over to the house to make sure that Ruby was OK. (It turns out that Ruby is a senior citizen dog–she’s a tough 12 year-old boxer). I was so mad at Francis, but I’m also glad that he lost and I’m glad that none of the dogs were seriously injured.

Generally, Francis likes most dogs (there are a few that he’s not so fond of). He interacts with all sorts of dogs at his day camp. He is generally fine on walks, but we’re going to have to work on some of his leash aggression issues. I am hoping that Francis will be avoiding any future dog fights with Ruby and any other dogs that he dislikes.

The green bean diet

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Me, on a diet?! I scoff at diets!

Francis

Hello, it’s me Francis. The humans are at work, I’m not sure where Teemu is. I think he’s away on vacation at some sort of guinea pig day care. I thought that I would break out of my crate to catch up on some e-mail and post on some blogs. It’s been a while.

The last time I went to see the vet was because I had some diarrhea as a result of getting into the fridge. I helped myself to some delicious butternut squash soup, creamer, mayonnaise and a few other choice items. Hey, I’m an opportunist! This is, by the way, the reason why the humans put me in a crate during the day.

Last week, I had my annual physical. I was a bit scared because the last visit to the vet was under rather unpleasant circumstances. For the most part, it wasn’t too bad. However, it turns out that I’ve gained about 5 lbs since my last visit (I’m over 90 lbs). What’s the big deal? So, I put on a few pounds. I’m as fit as a fiddle and that extra poundage is all muscle! And the ladies love it! (I get so many admiring glances; people think that I’m so adorable!!). Besides, I can’t help it that I’m such a foodie! I love cooking shows and I love to help out in the kitchen…as a canine Hoover (any little bit of food that hits the floor is mine!). So when I heard the vet tell my owners that I had to lose about 10 lbs and go on a green bean diet, I laughed. (Are green beans OK to give to a dog? Apparently so!). The humans are sticking to it. I get 1.5 cups of my regular dog food in the morning and a can of green beans at night. So far, so good. I actually enjoy the beans (the French cut, of course!). Very refreshing on my palate. But I’m not too fussy!

I’ve also been getting in some extra walks (in addition to the 2 miles that I do each day). Today, I was chased by three dogs, each of which were about 5 lbs in size (but an intimidating 5 lbs, nonetheless!). One was interested (I’m a husky ball of fur) and the other two were just jealous! I’m sexy and I know it, but just to keep the peeps happy, I’ll eat the green beans.