Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fit Dogs

I've been pretty bummed lately because my oldest dog, Hobbes, is starting to show his age. As I mentioned in a previous post, because of arthritis, Hobbes can no longer go with us on our daily walks. His world now consists of the house and the grassy patch at the top of the street, which is only a few hundred feet from our house. And as much as I would love to take him on our regular walks, he just can't do it anymore without limping.
I found out about this place called Fit Dogs which has a heated indoor salt-water pool for dogs. Its supposed to be really good for dogs with Hobbes' condition as well as a great way for him to get the exercise he was sorely lacking due to his shortened walks. The salt water is great for his joints, and the swimming is also good for him because he is able to exercise his bad leg in the water without putting any stress or weight on it. As well, 5 minutes of swimming is the equivalent of about 15 minutes of walking on land.
I was a little worried we would have a problem getting Hobbes into the pool because Fit Dogs makes all the dogs use a ramp to get into and out of the pool, but we brought Calvin along for help, and just like we thought, he had no problems doing what he was supposed to. Hobbes quickly realized that was the only way in and followed Calvin's lead.
It cost $50 for the initial visit, which consists of an orientation and supervised swim with an instructor to show us what to do. After that its $23 plus $10 for an additional dog, for a 15 minute private swim with you and your dog(s). There are change rooms, a shower and dryer area for the dogs and they also provide all the water toys and flotation devices you need for a fun and safe time in the pool with your "besties".
To find out more about Fit Dogs, click here.
And finally, I think I can safely say this place was a success for the most important reason of all; Hobbes, who seemed to like it. How could he not? It combines two of his favorite things in the world, swimming and fetching the ball and it gives me comfort in the fact that I can do something proactive to help him with his arthritis and get him a little exercise at the same time.
Thanks Fit Dogs, we will definitely be back!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In Case You Missed It...

... The Adventures of MadMal and Hobbes (and Calvin Too...) turned 5 on Friday.
That's 5 years worth of random thoughts, rants, raves and all the pictures to go along with it.
This blog has changed a lot since I first started posting my thoughts and pictures for the world to see. Its been a great outlet for me to express myself, vent and display my skills as an amateur photographer. Its been and continues to be a work in progress but I have a lot of fun doing it and hope to keep on doing it as long as it continues to be so.
And a big thanks goes out to you, my regular readers, for sticking around and following this blog. Its because of your positive feedback and comments that I'm still here!



Winter in the City

Some shots of the crazy winter we have had so far in the city. Not a lot of snow, just enough to make everyone forget how to drive, freezing cold and then mild. 
Forecast for tomorrow? Temperatures above zero and torrential rain ... WTF?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thinking of You

Thinking about my mom, it would have been her 71st birthday today.

Happy birthday mom.
Miss you lots.

Friday, January 13, 2012

It Sucks Getting Old

My oldest dog, Hobbes, has been limping a lot lately. So much so, that I took him to see the vet. Turns out my little buddy has arthritis in the elbow of one of his front legs. Not much we can do about it except to shorten his daily walks, and stop playing fetch. Hobbes has been slowing down over the last year or so. He still likes to carry his ball when we go out for walks, but chooses to watch Calvin play more and more instead of joining in. He has a hard time getting up the stairs to the front door, and takes forever to get into the car. I bought a dog-ramp for the front steps. He refuses to use it or go near it. Calvin has no problem with or using it. Sometimes I help him out by picking him up, he hates that. He is a very proud and independent dog and likes to do things by himself.
The funny thing is, I'm pretty sure I'm having a harder time with this then he is.
Man, it sucks getting old.

Riding The Rails

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Racing News: Mayor of Hinchtown Lands a Sweet Gig

Looks like a great day for Canadian drivers in the INDYCAR series. Last year's Rookie of the year and Toronto's own, James Hinchcliffe sealed the deal with Andretti Autosports to drive the #27 Go car for the 2012 INDYCAR season.
You can read all about it in USA Today, here.
The #27 Go car was formerly driven by Danica Patrick who moves to NASCAR this season and her seat was originally supposed to go to Dan Wheldon, who was killed in the season finale in Las Vegas, last October.
Eerily similar to 1999, when Canadian driver Greg Moore who was driving for Players Racing at the time, was killed in the final race of the season at the California Speedway in Fontana, California. Moore was supposed to move to Penske Racing the next year, but instead the seat went to a little known Brazilian driver at the time by the name of Helio Castroneves and we all know how that story went.
I don't think Hinchcliffe will have any problems surpassing Patricks accomplishments in the car, and with a competitive car like this, a championship suddenly becomes a definite possibility for the 2012 season.
Congratulations also goes out to Alex Tagliani, who landed a full season ride with Bryan Herta Racing.
All that's left is for the thrill from West Hill, Paul Tracy, to find that full time ride for this farewell season.

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's A Beautiful Day

Hard to believe it's the first week in January and still no real snow, or any real sign of winter in Toronto.
And quite frankly, I'm OK with that.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ridiculously Simply Banana Bread

For the last few weeks, I've had this craving for some homemade banana bread just like my mom used to make, only problem was, I didn't know how to make banana bread.
Then to my surprise, while surfing my list of blogs the other day, I stumbled upon this recipe for banana bread on my friend Claire's website, called Ridiculously Simply Banana Bread which was a tried and true long time family recipe. With a name like that and the track record to back it up, how could I go wrong?
Well for starters, did you know how hard it is to find ripe bananas anywhere? Most stores only sell fresh bananas. Apparently, what you are supposed to do is wait for the bananas you buy and never eat to go bad and then use those. And if I was someone who baked and knew enough about this sort of thing, maybe I would done just that. Unfortunately, I'm not and didn't have the patience to wait for this to happen, so I searched until I found some suitably ripe bananas that I could use.
As for the recipe, it really was pretty simple and straight forward. I followed Claire's instructions to the letter and had two Ridiculously Simply Banana Bread loafs ready to put in the oven in under 30 minutes, from start to finish. One with walnuts for the wife and one with walnuts and chocolate chips for me.
Not too bad for my first attempt at banana bread if I do say so myself.
The results of the taste test are in and the verdict is ... it tastes pretty damned good! Two thumbs up for this recipe!
For those of you who might be interested, you can find Claire's recipe for Ridiculously Simply Banana Bread on her website by clicking right here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Green Day's American Idiot

I went to see Green Day's American Idiot last night at the Toronto Centre for the Preforming Arts.
Being a huge Green Day fan I was a little hesitant about how their music would translate onto the stage that is Broadway, but as it turns out I had no need to be worried.
I will admit that I kind of squirmed in my seat a little with the opening number American Idiot, but then quickly forgot about the fact it wasn't Billy Joe belting out the words and got into the story of the show which is built around Green Day's successful rock opera album, American Idiot.
A couple of things I really loved about this show was the stage set up, which was an industrial type backdrop with TV monitors scattered randomly all over the wall, very simple, with no major set pieces, just what appeared to be an empty stage that magically kept changing to accommodated the story. One minute it was just a wall, the next it was a window with someone hanging out of it and then it was gone, transforming into a door somewhere else. Very cool.
And the other really cool thing was one of the main characters in the show loses a leg and when he shows up without it, you would swear he actually lost it. I don't know how they did it, it left my wife and I scratching our heads trying to figure it out.

It's only here for a limited engagement, if you have the chance to see it, I would highly recommend you do so. From start to finish, this show rocked, it's broadway with a modern twist. I loved it, and you will too.
pictures courtesy of Google images

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Day

My family usually gets together on new years day for a late lunch to celebrate the day. This year was no exception, with my brother hosting it at his new place in Chinatown. I was very interested to see how this would all play out, because if you know my brother, then you know he doesn't cook. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. There was plenty of food thanks to Aunty Verna and Chinatown down the street and even more booze but as you can see from the photos, not everyone was in the mood for drinking.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! All the very best to you and yours in 2012!!

So much for a group shot...