• Should I stay or should I go?

    Posted on by frysco

    Lately, I’ve started wondering if it’s worth me staying in Toronto, and even Canada.

    In terms of friends that I actually see, there’s only one that I really see with any regularity. There’s a small group that I see once a month. But other than those, that’s about it.

    Sure, it’s easy to say “Make some more friends, get to know more people,” and things like that, but I find making friends to be rather hard — especially that I’m on the wrong side of 50 now, and so many people around here (in the furry community) are much younger.

    So most of the time, I just feel alone where I am.

    It’s not just specific to Toronto, as I had much the same kind of thing when I was back in Vancouver as well. When I was in the Bay Area, it was less so, but still there were just few people that I really hung out with on any regular basis.

    Then there’s the thought of family back in the UK. Since I left there in 1997 my family back there has grown. My brother got married, and now has three kids (a boy who’s 7, and twin girls who will be 4 – I think? – later this year). They moved to a house that’s about 2 miles away from my parents’ place, and now my aunt (my mother’s sister) is looking to move to the same area as well.

    The family back there seems to have become closer, with more gatherings and even vacations away together. For example, this week they’re all down in a big house near Lymington, just south of the New Forest.

    My mom will be 80 this year, and my dad was 85 back at the end of April. My aunt is few years younger than my mom, and my brother is a few years younger than me.

    I’m starting to worry that being separated from them by the Atlantic might make things harder as the years move on, especially considering that my dad has got some progressing dementia.

    I also worry that when – eventually – my parents pass on, the physical distance between myself and my brother’s family may lead to falling out of touch with them.

    This has made me start to think about something I really didn’t plan on doing: Should I consider moving back to the UK?

    Sure, it would be a big upheaval after spending close to 27 years (and now over half my life) living in N. America. But is it possible that there may be more for me there right now than there is here?

    I’d likely be able to move back and still keep my current job, because we’re pretty much remote work now anyway. Also, there is one person in an adjacent team to mine (which escalates things up to my team) that is located in the UK already, so having someone in that timezone as well may well be useful.

    I’m not sure, and I couldn’t get to sleep last night because that thought was occupying my mind.

    When I left in 1997, there wasn’t too much for me there (other than family). But now, the furry fandom has come on in leaps and bounds there – not just in the UK, but over the English Channel as well with places like Germany, Sweden, and so on within just as easy reach as flying from Toronto to San Francisco or so.  There are some ren faires over in the UK, as well as fantasy faires like Elfia over in the Netherlands.

    I also spent much of my teen years being interested in the railways there, and compared to N.America, railways in the UK (and Europe) are far more interesting to me, plus they can take me more places — admittedly not cheaply within the UK, but there’s still things there that I’d love to do now that I didn’t even know about back in the 80’s and 90’s.

    But it’s a massive move to do.

    I’m just not sure…

  • ‘Vacation’ to UK

    I originally planned to go to the UK for Christmas 2023, but with Cylia’s health scare I didn’t want to risk her stability and so postponed the trip to a later time.

    That “later time” became this week, and – as if on cue – Cylia started giving me health scares again. First I noticed that her breathing was a little laboured, and a trip down to the vet determined that she had some fluid buildup around her lungs. That was taken care of and her diuretic medication increased. Then the day before I left I stopped in at the vet to pick up some more medication, and the vet wanted to see her to do a quick scan to check that the medication dosage was correct. This ended up being a multi-hour visit to actually get the scan, and then get more fluid (that had built up from last time – only about 10 days ago) tapped off. I thought that was going to be it and she would be stable for her time at the pet boarding place I had her booked into. After all, they said they could give her medication and all of that.

    Well, maybe they could, but Cylia didn’t want to let them. I got a message on Sunday night saying that she was being uncooperative, not eating, and not pooping. With all of this, they wanted to move her to a vet to do boarding. Of course, my being thousands of miles away didn’t help things there, because I got that message on Monday. When I woke to find that message, it absolutely shot my mood, and my anxiety about all of this flared up in high gear.

    By 4pm UK time, I got news that the boarding place was going to try and get her into a vet place that had boarding (which I had tried last week to see if they were available, but weren’t). Though by 9.30pm I had a call from that vet to say that they didn’t feel comfortable taking her and recommended she go to an emergency vet. My anxiety was now in overdrive. I called back the boarding place and had them contact my usual vet, giving them the name of various doctors they could talk to that have familiar with Cylia. Now my usual vet doesn’t do boarding any more, because they had a reduced staff count due to the COVID pandemic that they’ve not yet built their numbers back up. As such, they’re only open Monday to Saturday, closed Sundays. Because no one is there Sunday, they don’t offer boarding. This becomes a wrinkle because although I arrive back on Saturday afternoon, there is a chance I may not get to the vet clinic before it closes at 8pm.

    Anyway, the vet clinic agreed to take Cylia and she was transported down there Monday evening. I got an email from my usual vet doctor about 2pm Tuesday to say that Cylia is doing well, her lungs sound clear, her breathing is not laboured, and that she is eating. I was definitely relieved.

    At least until this morning, when I noticed a missed call from the clinic at 11.30pm (UK time) last night, which would have been around 30 minutes before the clinic closed. There was no voicemail left, and there was no email either. I started to worry again, thinking that if it was bad news they would be wanting to talk to me in person instead of leaving a message.

    I had to wait until after 12noon today before I could call the clinic, which would be 8am in Toronto. The receptionist said that there was nothing in the notes for Cylia to suggest a problem, and I asked if the doctor I usually spoke to was in (since she often works mornings). She was, but was doing assessments of the hospitalized animals, and she may not be able to speak to me. I felt pretty sure that she would, and asked the receptionist to check, and within a few moments the doctor was on the phone.

    She reassured me that Cylia is still doing well, eating and breathing well, and that everything is fine. The guess was that the doctor who called was just going to give an update, but opted not to leave a message. I said that I’d rather they did leave a message than nothing at all, and the doctor agreed, and there should be a note to say to do that from now on.

    Anyway, I’m about as relieved as I can be right now, but this hasn’t really been the kind of vacation that I can enjoy since I’ve had this going on in the background. I’ll not really relax until I’m back home Saturday evening with the catten.

    Then I have to figure out how to handle going away again next time – since I’ve got a work trip coming up 3rd week of April, a potential trip to Florida (parents traveling to the Bradenton area for my Dad’s birthday), and then AnthroCon in July.

    should be able to get Cylia into that vet boarding place that refused me this time (because this time there would be time to arrange everything and bring them up to speed), as a place like that can definitely handle giving cat medications, and I’ll be asking my usual vet to give Cylia some appetite stimulant to send along with her as well.

  • Drifting

    For the past… oh, I’m not even sure how long it’s been… I’ve felt that I’ve been just kind of “coasting” through life.

    My days are often more of the same kind of doldrums; work (which isn’t really too busy), mixed with the occasional watching of videos on YouTube relating to either transit/trains, Pokémon Go, gaming (Elder Scrolls Online and Star Trek Online), analysis of various animated shows, and whatever the algorithm ends up showing me that looks somewhat interesting.

    Yet when it comes down to doing anything relating to what I watch there, I find that I can do it for a few hours or so, and then I get bored/give up on it for a while.

    There’s been other things that I’ve sought to try as well, but I end up getting bored/giving up on them fairly soon as well.

    Nothing seems to really hold my interest well. There’s nothing that I can even say that I’m really dedicating myself to.

    And that worries me.

    I see other people who’ve managed to really get their focus on one or a couple of particular things, and I’d love to be able to do that. Even with just one thing.

    One thing that I’ve started to wonder lately; is this some form of attention deficit disorder? How does someone the wrong side of 50 even go about checking on something like that? If it is, then I’ve lived with it undiagnosed for most of my life.

    Maybe I might then even be able to find a little bit more enjoyment out of things I do.

  • The State of Cylia (3)

    I was just about to come here and start to compose another post, and then I saw my last one was about Cylia’s health, and that I’d left things hanging.

    She’s been on medication three times a day (which really could be compressed to twice a day, I suppose) since mid November, and she’s responded extremely well. I now have a happy cat who is back to loving life and enjoying spending time with me. In fact, I just was at the vet with her today getting her a checkup and vaccinations, and the vet is pleased with her progress. Unfortunately, she’s still lost a bit of weight since then, but it could be water weight as one of the meds she’s on is a diuretic. That said, her appetite doesn’t really seem off.

    The vaccinations are necessary because I’m going to be putting her in boarding in a few weeks, as I’m going to be heading back to the UK – because I didn’t get back at Christmas, and I have a week of vacation time to use before the end of March, or I lose it.

    This past Christmas for me… didn’t really happen. I started feeling not too good on the latter part of Christmas Eve, and then by Christmas Day I felt awful. Breaking out the handy-dandy free COVID tests I’d been hanging onto, I tested positive. So my Christmas plans got thrown right out of the window, and I was essentially quarantining at home for the next two weeks until I tested negative.

  • The State of Cylia (2)

    Previous post

    Time for an update on Cylia, since it’s been an ‘interesting’ couple of weeks.

    She had been rather down and very much not herself for much of last week, and then last Friday she went to the litterbox, and after doing her business, lay down in the box.

    Never a good sign.

    The next day I took her down to the vet, and she was examined and found to have fluid buildup in her chest. Since she had been diagnosed with heart disease (and a fairly advanced stage of that too) this is one of the things that can happen.

    That can make it hard for her to breathe and as a result was making her feel really bad. She spent most of Saturday at the vet, was given a diuretic and then later the vet did some manual draining of the fluid buildup.

    Since then, she’s really turned things around and is starting to feel a bit more like herself again. She’s walking around with her tail held a little higher each day, and last night she slept all night on my bed with me – something she hasn’t done in a few months now.

    At this point, I’m feeling a lot more hopeful now for her. Yet at the same time, I know that the heart disease could be ready to complicate things without notice at all.

    Also it complicates the plans I had for December, since she’s now on meds for the rest of her life.

    Due to this, I can’t have a friend come check on her each day and make sure food & water is stocked up, as well as scoop out the litter box. She needs meds twice a day. That means if I want to travel anywhere, she needs to be boarded.

    But doing that would put her into such a state and likely make her health spiral downhill. I can’t do that to her.

    So, right now, it looks like my planned trip back to the UK is probably going to be postponed. Parents are understanding, though rest of family don’t know yet. Still tentative.

    It’s unfortunate, but she’s worth it – and there will be other Christmases with family.

    Though so much for doing a 50th birthday celeb with them. I’m still not even sure what I’m going to do here on the day. 😛

  • The State of Cylia

    Cylia, my 14.5 year old grey and white cat, laying on my couch.

    I’ve been somewhat absent this past week due to concerns with Cylia. All that’s been going on is pretty much responsible for my mood having tanked lately.

    When I got back from NC, she really hadn’t been eating. This has really been going on for some weeks now with her appetite being off, and last Thursday (Oct 26th) I got some medication from the vet to try and help. Between my giving it to her in the evening and leaving for NC at 4pm Fri, she hadn’t eaten a thing.

    I figured that this was probably down to the meds (one of which was a sedative) and that she would eat more while I was away. Though when I got back, while there were signs she had been eating, she hadn’t eaten much. She’d go to a food bowl, look at it, and then go to get water instead – or just go elsewhere.

    Monday I took her down to the vet and got some appetite stimulant as well as anti nausea meds for her. By Tuesday, not much had changed, so she was admitted into hospital with the aim of them getting her to eat (syringe feeding), IV fluids, and monitoring.

    While in, she had started to eat a little better, but they discontinued the IV because they detected a ‘gallop rhythm’ in her heart. Over the next few days this was monitored and she continued to eat better, and yesterday (Thursday) she was seen by a cardiologist.

    It’s here the news becomes not so good.

    She does indeed have a level of heart disease (though we’re not quite sure how far that’s progressed), and also an enlarged heart. This enlarged heart could explain much of her symptoms recently, as this can cause lack of appetite, listlessness, and abnormal heart rhythm. It can also cause blood clots to form which could lead of paralysis of certain parts of her body.

    I’ve got medication for her to prevent blood clots – essentially a blood thinner. Also more meds for the appetite stimulant. I just now have to monitor her for the next couple of weeks to see how she does.

    She’s 14.5 years old, and I hoped I would have more years with her. But this diagnosis puts that into doubt. Sure, with medication, she could last maybe a couple more years, but now I feel that the Time is coming far sooner than I expected. I don’t know when, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure she stays with me for as long as possible.

  • The HVAC saga

    If you follow me on Mastodon, you may have seen some posts regarding a saga that I’ve been having with my condominium’s HVAC system.

    To quickly summarize those:

    1. With as hot as this summer’s been, with stretches of days into 30ºC and above, my air conditioner had been struggling to keep my condo cool.
    2. Looking back at my smart thermostat’s data, there’d been a slow decline in performance since last year
    3. A technician that came into look to diagnose the issue couldn’t do anything about it due to not being able to remove the compressor unit, because of a pipe (we suspect it’s a drainpipe) in the way. They said that it should be possible to access the unit from outside, but that would need help from my condo building’s property management.
    4. I’d since been on to my condo building’s property management company to get further assistance, explaining the problem over a number of phone calls, emails, etc.

    Fast forward to today. I’ve just had technicians around from another HVAC company, who allegedly can deal with external access. What they found today was pretty much nothing new, and that they said that external access is probably the best way to go about fixing this issue. However, it’s not a cheap or easy thing to do. Because my condo is on the 4th floor and there is no access to the external vent area from the balcony, the company would need to get some kind of lift system to get up there.

    Photo showing the external access cover to the HVAC system.

    One thing they suggested was that the problem could be due to dirt and grime buildup on the secondary coil, which should be accessible from behind that vent. There should be regular maintenance performed to ensure that those are clean, but in my time living here (since March 2018) I do not recall that’s ever been done. So a convenient option would be for the property management company (of which we’ll be switching to a new one come December 1st) schedule a time sometime in April to go and clean these for all the suites in the building, which means that a lift has to be rented just once, and works out cheaper in the long run as its for all suites not just one. Also, while they have the lift, an HVAC tech can check my unit out to see what’s up with it, whether the refrigerant levels are good, etc. Then things should be in a good position for summer.

    Another thing that the techs suggested was the our building sue the building’s developer for how these HVAC units were put in… because it’s just insane how they were installed.

    Not only is the drainpipe (black pipe) obstructing the HVAC unit, but there are vent pipes for the hot water heater in the way as well. To really get at the HVAC system, everything in there would have to be disconnected, which means liaising with the gas company as well. The way that everything is in there makes it near unserviceable, which is why the technicians were saying that it may be grounds for legal action.

    Anyway, these technicians are going to email the current property management company their report. I have also given an update directly to the property management company myself, and I’ve sent an email to our condo corporation’s board apprising them of what’s been going on as well, so that they’re aware and things don’t get lost in the management company handover.

    I know that nothing is going to get fixed on this now until early Spring next year, and I’m going to make sure that the issue doesn’t get forgotten so it does get addressed.

  • Furnal Equinox 2023 thoughts

    I needed something to test the ActivityPub plugin that I just added to my site, so I figured that I’d also do a quick write-up of thoughts post-FE.

    I started staffing the convention as Business Director after FE 2018, though only had two in-person events under my belt (FE 2019 and FE 2022 – FE 2020 was cancelled in the 11th hour, and FE 2021 didn’t happen due to COVID-19 too) before I stepped down. So this was my first year as a regular attendee since the first time I’d attended the convention, back at FE 2017 – when I still lived back in the Vancouver area (and hadn’t even been contemplating a move out to Toronto then)

    Personally I felt this year was a little disappointing for me due to a number of factors.

    First, a couple of good friends who had planned to come out had (for good and personal reasons) backed out. This meant that my ‘hangout group’ was now quite a bit smaller than I’d planned, and I had been hoping to do more since I was no longer staffing.

    Second, for personal reasons of my own, I just wasn’t feeling particular enthusiastic about going to the convention in the weeks leading up. Barely a hint of excitement, very little planning of what to do, and so on.

    Lastly was the at-event experience. This year in particular I felt that it was very difficult to actually find other people to talk to and hang out with. I’m putting this down to a general lack of hang out space in the hotel and convention centre. The mezzanine (convention) level of the hotel has a long hallway with south (lake) facing windows which – when the hotel is not holding an event – has a number of comfortable seats. Starting from FE 2022, almost half of these seats got re-deployed into ‘Quiet Rooms’, to provide a refuge for people who might be feeling somewhat overwhelmed to retreat to. Then, there was no ‘Zoo’ (lounge) area where people could congregate and just hang out. This also went away in FE 2022 due to making the Dealer’s Room larger to give more opportunity for social distancing, letting that area expand from 2/3 of the Metro Ballroom to all of it. There were tables in the Gaming Room as well as a small handful in the Dealer’s Room, but it kind of felt ‘wrong’ to use those as chill/hang out spots. As for the hotel lobby, there were no real seating areas down there, other than the bar – of which you really had to be eating/drinking to make use of.

    So I felt that I was wandering the hotel and convention centre just looking for people to talk with, and when I didn’t find anyone I knew I’d just end up retreating back to my room. Then in the evenings, I’d wander down and the lobby area (except the bar) would have a handful of people, the same in that long south-facing hallway on the mezzanine level, and it seemed that everyone else was in the main stage area for the dance. I can only assume that if you weren’t a fan of excessively loud music and/or dancing, you were hiding in your own or someone else’s hotel room.

    That even made going out in costume difficult, because other than the a handful of costumers on the bridge from the hotel to the convention centre, there just seemed to be rather few people out. I went down in Tseatah mk.IV one afternoon and was only out for 30 minutes because there was so few people out and about.

    For a convention that had over 3,300 people, it sure didn’t feel like that many people were there.

    Hopefully I’ll have a better time this summer at AnthroCon, as at least then the weather will be such that people can socialize outside the hotel and convention centre.

  • 2019 in Review


    A sad month, as both Cylia and myself were learning how to live without Otter in our lives.


    Went to the local Floof Furmeet, which is held in the Delta Hotel by Pearson Airport. Took Athra of course, because that Khajiit is such a ham for attention. Other than that, not much of interest other than prep for Furnal Equinox.


    Before an FE meeting on the first Saturday of the month I had a bit of time, so I rode out on the TTC Line 4 from Yonge-Sheppard to Don Mills. That meant that I’d now ridden on every subway line from end to end. Hurrah?

    FE time, and this year had Aeto and Saerak come up to the con for the first time. Also, this was the first time that I was staffing the con as Business Director. Of course this meant I couldn’t do as much costume stuff as I wanted to, which was a shame, but other than that, the con seemed to come off okay.


    Went to see Come From Away with a few other local people. A good show! If you’re not familiar with what it is, it’s a musical of the real events that took place on and just after September 11, 2001 when 38 planes were diverted to Gander International Airport on the island of Newfoundland, and how the local people did whatever they could to welcome the ‘plane people’.

    Needed a relaxacon, so went down to try Motor City Furry Con down in the Detroit area. A small con with not too much happening, but was good to get away for a bit.

    At the end of the month, the plan was to go down to Florida and meet up with my parents and brother to help celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday. It didn’t quite happen as planned, because my dad had to back out due to a medical issue. In the end, I still went – along with Aeto – and stayed in the rental accommodation that my parents had already paid for. It was either that, or they’d lose the money completely. So, we got a small vacation out of it, and spent much of it in the company of Dreamfinder Dragon (Dreams).


    Went with Lanakila and Nexus to Mountsberg Raptor Centre and saw birbs! Chomper the Great Horned Owl still hates Lanakila, so that’s still amusing 🙂

    It was Game of Thrones finale this month, so I posted some pics of the Drogon costume (made by Temperance, Silverhusky and Wolfish) and got some good reactions.

    Also, went over to see Derecho in Saginaw, MI.


    A bunch of us went down to the University of Guelph and posed with the big gryphon statue there.

    Ribfests around the GTA had kicked off, so was good to wander out to those on Saturday afternoons for dinners.

    Traveled down to Michigan again, where Derecho and I went to the Mid Michigan Renaissance Festival, and Athra was well received.


    AnthroCon right at the start of the month, and this time everyone from a little group-of-friends Telegram chat that I’m in was there. So we all hung out with each other for the most part. A fun convention. Brought Drogon down as well, and he got to re-meet Temperance again.


    After missing it last year due to a foot injury, drove up (with Babs) to Ottawa and attended CanFurence. Another smaller con, but had a decent enough time there. Ended up enjoying running around in one costume of mine that I didn’t think I’d be using most of the time. Even took the Kootenay costume up there! First outing of him in quite a while.

    Right at the end of the month, went to DragonCon for the first time. Took Drogon, Qesnel, Athra and a Cats-style costume (Snowpaw) I’ve had for a while and barely done anything with. Drogon participated in the Game of Thrones photoshoot and the big parade. Qesnel went out one evening along with Dreams’ Namid Jedi gryphon. Athra did his thing, of course, also going in for the Elder Scrolls photoshoot. Finally, Snowpaw went out with Temperance (as Rum Tum Tugger) for a while, and then went to the Musicals photoshoot. Quite a fun time overall! Not a con that I would do every year, but I would go back.


    My brother and his wife became parents, again! This time to twins – Charlotte and Imogen. Unfortunately, due to an early birth they had some health issues and were in the hospital for quite a while.

    Sadder news that month was that McVitie’s Canada had discontinued Ginger Nuts (a type of cookie/biscuit), so I could no longer buy them easily in grocery stores. Now I have to travel further afield to import stores to get them.

    The Furry Convention Leadership Roundtable (FCLR) was being hosted by Furnal Equinox in Toronto this year, so I got to participate in that.

    Then the following weekend I went up to a Pokémon Go Safari Zone event in Montréal. First time that I’ve been to the city and spent a significant amount of time in Quebec! Fortunately I remembered enough High School French to survive and figure most things out – mainly signage, as English was quite heavily spoken there still. First time too taking a train for a significant distance in N.America, as that’s how I got to Montréal and back. Was surprised how fast it went, actually, but it was not as smooth of a ride as in UK/Europe.

    At the end of the month, I was back in Michigan again, this time for the Michigan Renaissance Festival… which, of course, meant that Athra was out and trying to be the centre of attention again.


    Cylia worried me for a bit, as she ended up limping one night. She managed to walk it off, but was out of sorts for a bit. She got a trip to the vet out of it, but nothing was found. Whatever it was, she recovered from it okay.

    Nikoli got stockings! Saw these being offered, and thought that is silly enough for a spotkat.

    Canadian General Election – the second one that I’ve been able to vote in. As someone who hasn’t always had the right to vote where I’ve lived, now I have it, I take it very seriously.


    Went down to North Carolina for the Renaissance Festival! I’d thought about doing it for a while, and managed to find a trip for some airline points and some money to make it happen. Met up with Wyoon, Dreams and Saerak there, and stayed with Saerak at a hotel near Charlotte Airport. Good fun, and Athra was his usual self. The Khajiit even met Fireflicker the Dragon!

    Derecho came out to visit later in the month, and he took some really good photos of Athra out at the Scarborough Bluffs. I used a different outfit for Athra this time (the same outfit I used with Ryme the Raven at Sarasota a few years ago), and Derecho loaned Athra a cape. Wow, that worked with that outfit so well. I’m in love with some of these photos!


    Went to an offsite work event and rode in a N. American school bus for the first time ever. So… uh… yay?

    Didn’t do Midwest FurFest this year because of how bad it was for me last year. I don’t feel that I really missed out.

    Aeto came to Toronto for a week for work, and came along with Babs, Scani and myself to see Cats (the stage show, not the new movie). Followed that up with dinner with some more folks, and then back home. Also bought a cake that evening from a vending machine in the PATH! The cake actually wasn’t that bad either!

    Went back to the UK for a very quick trip to see family for Christmas. Not only do I have a nephew there now, but I also have twin nieces. While I was there, saw Come From Away again with parents. They’d never seen it before, and definitely enjoyed it.

    Now, as I finish off writing this, it’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve been out for a quick dinner with Babs. Spent the rest of the evening watching Netflix, but I’m not going to stay up to actually watch the time tick over to midnight.

    The coming year

    Only a handful of plans compared to last year.

    • Furnal Equinox, since I’m staffing it still
    • AnthroCon
    • CanFurence, perhaps going there again
    • FanExpo, since I’m not doing DragonCon two years in a row
    • Renaissance Faires, because Athra needs to get out there again

  • 2018 – A Year of Change

    This comes perhaps a little later than some people will have posted their reviews of 2018. My reason for the late posting – today (January 17) is also the anniversary of arriving in Toronto.


    The start of January was spent by packing up the old place in Maple Ridge, and working on getting it ready for a change in ownership. The sale was in process, but I had to get some work repairing the garage ceiling done first. It was also early on in January when I moved Otter and Cylia over to be looked after by Sydney Roo and his brother. Had a farewell dinner with some folks, and then on Jan 12 I left BC and went down to Seattle. There, another farewell dinner with some more people, and then left on the Big Drive on Jan 13. The drive was long, but fortunately uneventful, and I arrived in Toronto on Jan 17. Stayed with Babs for a little bit while I looked for a place to buy, and found somewhere maybe a week later. Then moved to an AirBnB for a few weeks until the purchase of a condo was completed. I started working on Jan 29th.


    Moved into the new condo on Feb 15th. Got all my stuff on the 17th. The cats arrived from BC (by air) on the 18th. My little family was complete again.


    Attended my 2nd Furnal Equinox. The previous year when I attended I had no idea that this one I would be living here for.


    Broke the 1000 follower ceiling in Twitter … yay. This would come to be of benefit a couple of months later at AnthroCon, as it would get me a free taco at the place across from the Westin.

    There was the attack by a guy in a van in North York – two subway stops north from where I work. A number of people killed as they were run down.

    Smirked as the Maple Leafs got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. Though I don’t live there any more, the San Jose Sharks are still my team.


    Otter made it to be 18 years old!

    Did a couple of fursuit outings – a walk in a park, and also an event on Victoria Day on Toronto’s Centre Island.

    Went out to the Doors Open Toronto event, and got to see Bay Lower subway station, the old Toronto City Hall and the new Toronto City Hall.


    Went down to attend the Niagara Falls Comic Con, bringing Drogon out there. Mistakingly ate at an Outback Steakhouse there, unaware of the massive tourist markup they charge. It wasn’t even that good of a meal either!

    Cylia’s had her 9th birthday!

    Visited Ottawa for the first time, and wandered the Parliament Hill grounds in the evening and a bit of downtown. The next day, went out to a Renaissance Faire near there. Originally had intended to costume, but it wasn’t great for that since it was on a government owned property, and governments are No Fun.

    Went to the theatre to see Phantom of the Opera! While I remembered the music, I was surprised at how much of the story itself I had forgotten.

    Visited the Raptor Sanctuary at Mountsberg, a place which I hadn’t been to since March 2008.


    Aeto came over to visit right before July 1 (technically he arrived June 30). We went down to Niagara Falls on July 1 (roads were so busy!) and then got back with what we thought was enough time to see the fireworks back in Toronto. Except traffic was a mess and transit couldn’t get us to where the fireworks were when it started. Saw some of them from a number of blocks away, but left somewhat early to avoid traffic. Drove down to Anthrocon – the first one that either of us had been to in years – on July 4. Debuted my new Khajiit costume, Athra, and had perhaps the best con I’d had in ages.

    At the end of July, I tripped over a weirdly placed curb and suffered a bad foot injury. While I’m mostly recovered, the effects still linger. I doubt that I’ll be back to the state that I was before, though.


    Intended to go to CanFurence, but because of the injury just a week before, ended up missing it. Also because of trying to recover from the injury, I really didn’t do much this month. For a large part of it, I was working from home as I really couldn’t comfortably make it into the office.


    Technically this started in August, but I went to the Toronto Fan Expo. Once again, I took Drogon there, and also Athra. Still liking that lots of people actually recognize him for being a Khajiit.

    While I never made it to the Gilroy Garlic Festival while I was living in the San Jose Bay Area, I made it out to the Toronto Garlic Festival this year.

    Right at the beginning of their season, I ‘challenged’ the Blue Jays that if they won the World Series I’d stop mocking them. They didn’t even make the playoffs. The mocking will continue.

    Went out to the Michigan Renaissance Faire. This was the first Faire I’d been to which had permanent buildings. Wow. This blew even the California Faires (which were my current high bar) out of the water. Again, brought Athra out, and he was quite the hit.


    My parents came out around the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, prior to them going down to Florida. Again, went down to Niagara Falls (3rd time this year), and managed to find other things to do as well to keep them occupied.

    Went to the Hamilton Comic Con. Met Caroll Spinney (who used to play Sesame Street’s Big Bird), and brought Athra out again.

    While playing Pokémon Go out in a park one Sunday afternoon, I saw my first real blue jay. Eh. Not at all as impressive as Steller’s Jays!

    I decided to bring in Phijardni to work for Hallowe’en, and won ‘scariest’ at the work Hallowe’en contest.


    Went to Furnal Solstice, which is Furnal Equinox’s winter holiday party. Brought out Tatonga for that one, since he does his best to fake being a reindeer occasionally.

    Then towards the end of the month, things started to decline.  Stuff happened that caused my mental health and happiness level to start rapidly going down. Then the day I was going to leave for MFF, my workplace decided to terminate the employment of one person in my team, and a few people in the neighbouring team to me. I knew that I was okay, but these thoughts stuck with me while I was heading to the convention.


    Continuing on from the end of November, things just got worse. Lots of little things that kept going wrong just compounded, and I ended up having the worst convention experience I’ve had for years. By Saturday afternoon, I was almost ready to try and get an early flight home. While it’s not the fault of the convention, I think that I will not be back to MFF for some time.

    Right in the middle of December is my birthday – 45 years old now. To celebrate it, went out with a couple of people to see Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo show. After that, walked over to a BBQ place and had good food.

    This year, I was heading back to the UK for Christmas. I had the Friday before I left off work, and that was fortunate, because while I was going to take Otter to the vet for boarding, he appeared rather unwell during the day. I took him down earlier in the day instead. He was dehydrated, and there were a few tests that we were going to get done. He was in the best place to be for the next week, at least.

    The time in the UK was decent, and I managed to avoid political arguments while there. Went and did the Crystal Maze Live Experience in London with my brother, which was a lot of fun. On Christmas Day, met my nephew for the first time, as well as my aunt’s new dog. Thursday, went and saw the Disney stage show of Aladdin, which was okay except for that they made Iago to be a human henchman to Jafar instead of a parrot – so that nagged at me the whole show.

    But the year closed out on a bad note. Once I got back home, Otter was not in good shape at all when I picked him up from the vet. He was now barely able to walk, couldn’t make it into the litter box, and was hardly eating. On New Year’s Eve, I took him back down to the vets for the last time and said good bye to a friend that I’d had for almost 18 years. 🙁


    Looking ahead to 2019

    When this journal is posted, I’ll have been in Toronto for a whole year. It’s had highs and lows. It’s starting low now because of the loss of Otter, but I’m hoping for it to get better. The plans for this year include:

    • Furnal Equinox in March, where I’m staffing it as Business Director
    • Heading to Florida in April for my Dad’s 80th birthday
    • AnthroCon in July
    • Fan Expo in August
    • DragonCon – my first time going to that one – in September
    • More Renaissance Faires – I want to go back to the one in Michigan, as well as others in that state. Also, want to try and get to the NY Faire. Depending if someone (not me) gets a particular Khajiit costume, I may try to make it down to the NC Faire too.