Friday, June 24, 2011

Feline relaxation and a sad day

Sorry for the radio silence! Unfortunately my uncle Gerry (one of my Dad's siblings; he was one of six)  died on Tuesday, and so yesterday I drove to Toronto to attend the funeral, which is today. I'm going home tomorrow. Gordon is at home looking after the menagerie. A whirlwind trip with no time to visit any of my Toronto friends, although I'm staying with my mother-in-law, so she's getting some quality time! :)

It's too bad there's a funeral, but it is nice seeing all my cousins again. I have many. 

Anyway, before I left, I caught Julius in a typical relaxation pose...

As you can see, he's not particularly inhibited!

He actually enjoys slow, deep belly rubs. I oblige him but I have to watch for signs of irritation, because when he's had enough, he tells me by wrapping his paws around my arm and digging in. Ow!

He'd definitely had enough of the photo session!

See ya after I get home tomorrow. The 401 in Toronto is a deathtrap. Honestly, I think they are the worst, most dangerous drivers in the country. I grew up here and lived here for over 30 years, and I've lived all over the country, and nobody matches Toronto for sheer insanity of drivers, especially on the 401. Yesterday in rush hour, with bumper-to-bumper traffic all going over 100 kmph, two motorcyclists on bullet bikes were weaving all over the highway, driving BETWEEN cars (between lanes!) I noticed them in the rearview mirror, which is fortunate because one of them drove up between me and the car next to me, pulled in front of me and cut me off, then took off (I saw that coming and braked in advance of it.) It was so frightening that for the first time in my life, I called 911 and gave the police a description of the pair of them.
I'm not a nervous driver and I'm competent and have a great driving record, but I told Gordon last night that I am never driving here by myself again, because after this weekend I never want to drive in Toronto again. I learned to drive here and I used to drive here all the time, commuting in this traffic every day, but I'm at a stage in my life where I just have no time for a population with such a blatant disregard for human life. The motorcyclists were but one example (the worst) of the insane driving I saw yesterday. I think when you live here, you just shut out the madness and accustom yourself to it, but when you move away for a few years .... holy sh*t!! Honestly, I was shaking when I pulled off the highway to call the cops and that's never happened to me. For a second I thought I'd be IN a funeral, not attending one. Those idiots are lucky that one of us learned defensive driving and saw what was coming.

Traffic should be better tomorrow (Saturday) when I drive home. Hopefully the funeral will go okay today. I am mainly here because I am close to my uncle's son, my cousin Steve, and he needs the support.

Wish me luck for the drive home! I always breathe a sigh of relief when I'm out of Toronto proper.


  1. Looking forward to you being safe and sound in Apple Hill. I know that feeling...that sigh of relief when you're out of Toronto. I always feel best when I see the Peterborough/Lindsay sign. Sigh!

  2. Oh, Nat, I'm so sorry about your Uncle's death. Give Steve a big hug from your online friends!

    Driving sounds awful there. It's also pretty bad here in DC. Crotch rockets are the worst - I think they're what you call bullet bikes. They're the fast motorcycles that the drivers lay down on. They always speed thru traffic, weaving between cars, scaring the crap out of me. I always let them just go because I'm afraid one day I'll hit one and kill someone by mistake. Although they would be at fault, it still would be terrible. I also tease Randy & say I want to get me a bike so I can break all the rules and get to work in record time. But with my luck, I'd be the only motorcyclist who ever got a reckless driving ticket! Lol. Good luck with the drive back into sanity!

  3. I'm sorry for your family's loss...I hope the funeral goes OK (insofar as they can) and there is good weather.

    Come and drive in Vegas sometime. I'm originally from Chicago...folks in the midwest know the rules of the road! Out here it's a crap shoot; we average one death a DAY on the 15. Thank goodness I don't commute far and hubby works from home. Those odds just are not good. Have a safe trip back.

    Also: We use a garden rake in our litterboxpool for the initial "loosening".

  4. You know, I've seen "crotch rockets" driven just as you describe, and quite recently, here in the coastal South. And the stupidest, most dangerous driving I've ever seen has been in the two places I've driven most lately, here and San Diego. I'm afraid I think that the problem is less place-based and more generation-based. I don't think anyone even TEACHES defensive driving anymore!

    My husband was driving home late at night on an unlit road that winds through swamp. A group of five or six speed bikes passed him going well over 100 mph. The last one missed the curve. My husband saw the headlight turning end over end through the cypress...and then nothing.

    Get home safely. That's one languid kitty!

  5. Julius is the coolest. (and that grab in dig in during belly rub - we call that Kitty Mitten!)

    The 401 is... interesting. I used to drive it every day a few years back - and you do get numb to the stupidity (that or you go crazy). I now do the QEW, which is almost as bad - but luckily I was able to shift my hours so I'm on the tail end of rush hour and it's not too bad - but there are definitely a lot of morons out there - on bikes, in cars, and trucks! If you can avoid rush hour on your trip back it should be much smoother.

  6. I'm so sorry that, in addition to your sorrow, you have to drive on your own to Toronto. Although driving is very bad in Montreal, my family always complained about the 401, when visiting me.

    In Toronto, be very careful about the cyclists. They do not obey any rules. One of my friends has horrific dreams he killed a cyclist. It's also dangerous for older pedestrians as the cyclists will jump on the sidewalks anytime to bypass cars and arrive faster at the next corner.

    One day, Gordon might have to defend me in court as, in a rage, I will probably hit a cyclist with my cane. The Toronto Police is becoming very strict with them. It's too bad because it's a cheaper way to go to work and it reduces the number of cars on the streets. But the city is not geared for cycling.

    Time for me to go and relax as your feline. Hope nobody is watching from somewhere.

    All my love, dear Knatolee. A big hug.

  7. Anonymous4:13 pm

    My condolences, Natalie, to you and your family.

    Take care coming home--I guess all the crazy drivers aren't just in the U.S.!

  8. I'm so sorry to hear your sad news.
    Have a safe journey home. x x

  9. Anonymous11:44 pm

    Julius is so handsome. Be safe Natalie!!!

  10. Sorry for your loss, Nat.

    Drive home safely.

    Love, Willie

  11. You're a good niece & cousin, Knatolie. xo

  12. My condolances for Gerry's passing.

  13. Ronna, I thought of you when I passed the Peterborough exit on Saturday! But this time the traffic was a pain until Kingston. :( Glad to be home in beautiful Glengarry.

    Lynn, I have a friend who drives two or more hours a day in DC and I don't know how she does it without losing her mind. It would drive me CRAZY! ANd yes, a crotch rocket is a bullet bike. The only saving grace in Canada is that there are no motorcycles on the roads in winter! I was freaked out by the one that cut me off. I've seen them drive between cars before, but when he pulled in front of me from beside me, and cut me off... shudder! He's just lucky I saw him coming.

    I delivered the hugs to Steve. :)

  14. Katnip, the funeral went well! My cousin gave a great eulogy with lots of funny bits (we are a funny family) and also touching moments. There was even a bagpiper and the requisite Catholic priest, as required for all funerals involving my father's generation of Rowes. ;)

    I did drive in Vegas in 1994 but I have blotted that out. :) One death a day is INSANE!! Ad thanks for the garden rake tip. I will use that. The cats LOVE the kitty pool!

  15. Nancy, good to know there are motorcycling morons everywhere. That story about guy going into the swamp is sobering and scary.

  16. Wandering Cat, I left on Saturday, which was definitely better, but really, a traffic jam in Oshawa on Saturday morning? Sheesh! I do think when you drive there all the time you get used to things. I used to commute on the DVP every day for a couple of years. Now I don't know how I did it.

  17. Claude, I HATE it when cyclists ride on the sidewalk. Makes me so angry! I never do that when I cycle. Yeah, it's safe for the cyclists but it can be deadly for pedestrians.

    I actually prefer driving in Montreal to driving in Toronto, believe it or now. They are aggressive in both cities, but in Toronto I find them stupid and aggressive, whereas Montrealers have a modicum of driving skill (probably from driving in winter hell! Weeds out the unskilled.) ANd in Ottawa last week, a jackass on a bicycle ran a red light in a leisurely fashion and rode right in front of my car as I was pulling into the intersection on my green light. He's lucky I looked left first.

  18. TTPT,we have PLENTY o' crazy drivers. Not so much around where I live now though. Much more relaxed in the country!

    LBM, CogDis and Willie, thanks for the condolences. You too, Ahab and Brian. xo


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!