I phoned my mother tonight to say goodbye as I’m off to Tokyo for two weeks.  I’d love to say I was expecting a “Have a nice time!” or “Enjoy yourself!” or even a “Have fun but be careful!” but I got pretty much what I expected.  A few seconds of ominous silent contemplation after reminding her of my trip and then: “Are your affairs in order?”.   While I’d love nothing better than to head east confident in the orderliness of my affairs, the sad truth is my affairs are decidedly DISordered.  I’m still transferring documents to my new travel laptop, downloading books to my new kindle, prepping, packing, and, most importantly, making sure Christine, the dog-sitter, knows everything she needs to know before I leave. And, when it comes to my dogs, she needs to know a lot.  An excerpt from my Instruction Rundown…

“1. When you wake up, take them out back to do their business otherwise Lulu will go downstairs and poop. Check anyway. She probably already has. If so, there’s some Peroxide in the kitchen for disinfecting.  By the way, Jelly has bad hips and will need to be carried down.  Maximus’s excuse is that he’s fat.  He’ll occasionally be freaked out by the stairs and need to be carried as well.

2. Breakfast!  Bubba gets 3 ½ pucks of raw food.  Maximus gets 3.  Jelly gets 2.  Lulu gets a handful of dry kibble and 1/3 of a can of wet food.  The extra raw food is in the freezer in the garage.

3. All of the pugs get a sprinkling of Recovery SA with their morning meals.  For Jelly, I tend to alternate between the Recovery and a crushed half-pill of Gyco-Flex.  Jelly also gets 2 tablets of Gabapentin breakfast and dinner, and one tablet of Zeniquin each morning.  Also a squirt of Omega 3 oils each meal – but I don’t think she likes it so feel free to discontinue.  Everyday, Jelly also gets a dose of metacam with her breakfast (8 kg), kept in the left hand drawer of the refrigerator.  Jelly is also supposed to get 2.5 ml of Amantadine daily but, at this point, she’s eating more meds than actual food so I’d suggest holding off on the Amantadine for now.

4. Morning and night, the pugs get a dose of tacrolimus for their eyes, while Lulu gets her eyedrops.  Jelly also gets her ears cleaned with a special ear-cleaning solution nightly  Afterwards, I give them all a treat/kibble.

5. As I said, unlike the other three, Jelly and Maximus can’t manage the stairs and will need to be carried up an down.  Jelly and Maximus can’t really manage to get up on the couches or beds – so if you’re inclined to have company, you’ll have to help them up and off as well.  At night, it might be best to leave them in the kitchen to sleep.

6. Never leave the dogs outside unattended! People in Vancouver have had their dogs snatched out of their yards by dog thieves. Also, coyotes have been known to dig under or jump fences for a quick snack.

7. Always make sure the dogs follow you in when you go out with them. Maximus tends to lag and eat mud and, because he is dark, tends to blend in at night. Plus, none of them will come when they’re called. In fact, they’re wanderers so make sure all four are inside whenever you: 1) go out, 2) come in, 3) go to bed.

8. The dogs are allowed in the front yard, but you’re better off taking them to the back because they’re easily distracted and will bark at any passing dog, person or suspicious-looking bicycle left unattended.

9. The doggies are needy and don’t like being left alone for more than about 3 hours at a time. Much longer than that and they will take it out on any available footwear or anything they can get their paws on.

10. Don’t leave food lying around the couch area.  Bubba can and will reach anything edible left on the coffee table, side tables, or kitchen table.

11. Jelly’s surgery is scheduled for Wednesday morning.  Her surgeon is Dr. Sharp.  Jelly shouldn’t have any breakfast on the day of the surgery, but water is okay.  Please drop her off in the early morning (they said between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 or even earlier if you want to get an early start on your day).  I’ve set aside some things for Jelly to help her through the recovery period: one blanket, one musical duck, one pink flamingo (slightly chewed), one clean black sock, and one t-shirt (for snuggling purposes).”

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about, now it looks like Maximus is coming down with an eye infection.  I’ll have to swing by the vet’s tomorrow and pick him up some ointment to add to the pharmaceutical cavalcade.

Off to finish my prep!


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Travel safely.

Bryan M. White

Hello Joe.

Have a safe flight. I am sure that everything will be okay with the dogs back home. Speaking of which, as soon as you hear, let us know how Jelly’s surgery goes!!!

Best wishes for a great vacation. You guys have earned it!!!



When the hell do you find time to write??!

*Note to self: Stick with cats.

Joey, wishing you a trouble-free and funsie trip! And NO drunk cuddlin’ with Ivon!!! grin

@Sparrowhawk – I finished Still Life With Crows! I think I’ma gonna have nightmares. razz Also, Pendergast has some issues, as Corrie finds out. wink

@ Tammy Dixon – That’s pretty cool. How did he come to pick that subject – was it assigned, or his choice? Did he by any chance touch on the killing of albinos in Africa? That’s just something I can’t get out of my head.

Of course, if I ever did a paper on albinism, I’d spend all my ink writing about how pretty their hair is. razz I think I need to see a shrink sometimes. oops



Good grief! After reading your instructions, Christine must be an angel. Have a great trip!


Aw……your ‘children’ are well cared-for….or spoiled, but they desire every bit…;-)

Safe travels!


I meant ‘deserve’ every bit..


I’m always envious of your Tokyo trips, because they are without fail, far, far more exciting and glamourous than mine (I went before Thanksgiving for 4 days to see 2 concerts and am going yet again for New Years). This time, I simply hope you and Ivan enjoy the time, good eats, good company and fair weather. I also hope for good news about Jelly on Wed, so you can relax and breathe a bit.

Can’t help but wonder if the T-shirt is one you’ve recently worn, to provide the little darling with something soft with your scent on it…? smile

Tammi K
Tammi K

I’ve traveled, leaving 6 kids at home, with less instructions!
Enjoy your trip.


My wife was complaining to me about how needy my 2 children are. I read the above list to her and now she feels she doesn’t have it so bad.

Roger Hågensen

Have a nice trip in Japan Joe, I’m really envious, I love Japan, and think Japanese people rock, and the girls are damn hot obviously.

So have a drink for us folks around the world that haven’t had a chance to visit Japan yet!

By the way, TRON: Legacy seems to be opening in Japan on the 17th, you gonna drop by a Japanese cinema and enjoy what is probably the first “true” 3D requiring movie so far?
I’m assuming that the Japanese has some good digital and 3D capable theaters, like Norway which has pretty much digitalized almost all of it’s theaters, and half are 3D capable even (at least in my city).

If you had a chance to make a 3D episode of SGU, how would you do it?

1. Would you go all hollywood and throw things into the eyeline of the viewer,

2. Or would you do it like I would, by simply using the 3D to enhance the depth of scenes, like the observation room of Destiny, or the Bridge, or the Dome, or to make the structural terrain of the ship’s outside be noticed more,
and maybe let some HUD or monitor displays “pop” as if they where using some kind of ancient hologram/3D projection, or for dramatic effect when a character is alone in a room as the emphasized 3D depth could add to the loneliness (Chloe).

Roger Hågensen

“Mercy writes: “Are we ever going to meet aliens that are actually human or decendants of humans from Earth?”

Answer: Oooh, there would have to be a damn good reason for why we’d encounter humans this far out. Yep. A damn good SF reason…”

If they speak a modern language the Destiny crew knows with no explanation, then yeah that is a toughie.

But considering the fact that Human life evolved from genetic material that “landed” on Earth it may not be so odd to find a parallel evolved or even Proto-Humans.

Besides, it wouldn’t be so unlikely to stumble across a lost ancient expedition team or even two.

Another thing is that the Ancients, did they originate on Earth? I seem to recall they interbred with Humans, which means the ancients are proto-humans? This means it might be possible for the Destiny to run into abandoned ancient ships or structures.

It is also possible that the Destiny may run across precursors to the ancients (aka ancient ancients or proto-ancients?) the closer to the structure (and galactic core as well?) the ship gets?

In any case, SGU is probably the best exploratory Sci-Fi made so far, you and the rest of the production team rock Joe smile


Dr. Sharp, the surgeon? That’s his real name?

Other real-life appropriate Dr. names:
Dr. Toof, orthodontist
Our very good friend Dr. Hacker, eye surgeon /opthamologist
(Come to think of it, his wife’s first name, Hope, is also appropriate. Her MD specialty is physical medicine & rehabiliatation.)

Happy packing!


Safe trip Joe,

Have fun and take as many snaps of those delicious meals for us. Oh yea… and kindly, GO EASY ON THE SAKE.



And I thought I was having *fun* when I had to do my Dad’s cataract surgery meds for 5 weeks!

Go safely Dude!


I leave similar instructions for my pet/house sitter too. My five are a lot younger than yours though. Much less of the drugs and special diets. More of the just make sure no one is missing kind of stuff. I have one cat that refuses to come out when we are gone. He does get spotted on occasion though.

Have fun on your trip!


Hey Joe,

I am sorry…but I am very grateful my children didn’t come with instructions like that. But it is wonderful to see how much you love those sweet little pups. You know every nuance…and have shared it with us. *giggles*

Enjoy your time out…with Ivon…*giggles more* OMG…you do NEED a vacation.

Best to you Joe,
Cheryl smile

P.S. I really did giggle the entire time I was reading your instructions. *giggles more*

Annie from Fremantle
Annie from Fremantle

It’s easier to look after my kids..


Selamat jalan! and all that. I’m feeling a bit down, so what better way than to write something slightly nonsensical. Please note that what will follow is either untrue, slightly true or plain rubbish. Therefore feel free to ignore at your own ease.

So… the bee danced around the apple tree in the breeze of the happy flapping silly. In a cup was a fizzy dream for wandering. An easy nectar for the hive, provided going home it could still be finding. By the by a flower grew and a petalled blossom flew, making a pretty hat to sit askew and tricking trouble to ensue. Huffing, puffing, flames grew higher. Muffing, stuffing for the dryer. In the end the bee danced on, telling friends that nothing’s wrong.

Somehow, that didn’t turn out right… Hey look, sugar flowers! Hang on… they’re real. As in, not sugar flowers. Ummm… Are orchids poisonous? Should I be worried? Who puts real orchids on a cake, anyway?


Have fun, Joe! And try no to worry too much!!


Hi Joe, you sound like a Jewish mother (or maybe Italian, they may be interchangeable…)! Whenever my daughter and her husband come for a visit, we usually leave him at home for a day to take care of Elway (and the Cockers) so we can go to Tampa to get haircuts, visit my son, shop, etc. They think my neatly typed lists are hilarious, but better safe than sorry smile Not long ago, somebody tried to pluck Molly out of our back yard (shit, is it “back yard” or “backyard” – the latter always seems wrong to me and I’m too lazy to look it up right now). Luckily, I was just on the other side of the door and the guy didn’t see me until he made his move, at which point I let Elway out, and he wasn’t happy. That took care of that. Hmmm, maybe you should consider getting a big dog at some point?

Otherwise, I’ve been up and down all night, trying to keep the “stray” cats warm. It’s freezing here and I worry, especially about Todd and Bob (yeah, I know…) who refuse to find shelter and sleep on top of the kennel I keep in the front. So, it’s heating pads and blankets. Another cat sleeps inside the kennel and stays toasty, but there’s more than enough room for all of themin there. They’re not having any of that. Meanwhile, our “original” stray cat, Spot (who was supposed to be put down weeks ago and is still with us), has a gigantic cage on the back patio. It’s covered in plastic and old comforters, and he’s pretty toasty in there with tons of warm blankets. It’s a lot of work, and the house looks like an insane asylum or crazy cat lady’s house, but whatever, they’re doing ok.

I hope you and Ivon have a wonderful trip smile Looking forward to hearing the good news on Wednesday!


After reading this post, I decided to never get a pet.


G’day Joe

You are a very good doggyDaddy.

Try to have lotsa fun on holidays. You have certainly earned it. Do not stress over the kiddies, sounds like they are in very good care.


And that didn’t scare Christine off? She’s one in a million.

Joe, is there anything you want me to do while you’re gone?

Have you both remembered all of your chargers?

Take care, relax, enjoy the food and drinks and call us if y’all need bail.

Cheers, Chev


Have a great trip, Joe! Have some roasted chestnuts for me. And an extra helping of wild mushrooms. And some kabocha.


Coucou!! Comment ça va ?

Moi très bien, j’ai passé un week end fantastique!!

Ehéhéhé Hello Japan !!! =P J’espere que vous allez en profité, je ne me fais pas de soucis pour ça ;)!

Tout les Canadiens prennent aussi soins de leurs animaux où c’est que dans votre famille? C’est drôle à dire mais je crois que chez vous, ça prendrai moins de temps et d’argent de faire un enfants que de vous occupez de tout vos chiens lol …!

Gros bisou