Skip to Content

Saying Goodbye To Mr. Bojangles

Forever turning the record over.

“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

Hello anyone reading this. I realize I kind of just abandoned TTRO without saying goodbye. That wasn’t my plan but in 2017/2018 a few very bad things happened in my personal life, and I never did finish the redesign so I just stopped posting. I also started focusing more and more on being paid to write. Running your own site certainly has a lot of perks, but financially it became harder and harder to write here for free when I could pitch ideas to other publications for pay. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

The reason I’m returning today is because this site still does exist—I never let the hosting expire–and if you ever looked at the logo or clicked the contact page or followed me on social media you knew about Mr. Bojangles–he always was the logo of TTRO (even in the early years) and the mascot of my life. My absolute heart and soul. The greatest gift I ever gave to myself. If you were really lucky (and I really liked you) you might have even met him. He came into my life in the summer of 2006. I was in the midst of my first heartbreak, a deep depression that left me unable to eat, sleep or stop crying for weeks on end. I knew the only cure was to be with my childhood dog, but he was in his final years and my parents couldn’t bring him to Toronto to visit.

So even though I was a college student living in a dingy basement, I got the dog I had always dreamed of. As a kid I would stay up late and watch SNL (I’ve always had delayed sleep phase syndrome). Will Ferrell was at the height of his brilliance during those years and he had a recurring sketch with Molly Shannon called Dog Show that I was obsessed with. In it, he had a Pomeranian named Mr. Bojangles. From the moment I laid eyes on that dog I knew I would have one some day.

(You can watch all the episodes of Dog Show NBC has available at the following links organized by the SNL host that week, but Canadians need a simple free VPN plugin like Hola switched to a US location to unblock it since the internet still has such weird rules about countries and content. I just watched all of them for the first time since they originally aired in the late 90s, as I was never able to find them back when I got Mr Bojangles nor when I started blogging. Thankfully they’re still hilarious and now also comforting: Vince Vaughn, James Van Der Beek, Drew Barrymore, Heather Graham, Alan Cumming.)

If you combine the heart of a lion, the protective nature of a bear, the brain of a fox and the hustle of raccoon you get Mr Bojangles. It’s no surprise that he looked like some miniature blend of all these animals at various points in his life.

Bojangles saying goodbye to my childhood dog Comet on his final day.

Mr Bojangles developed an illness over a year ago, and after taking him to the vet they discovered the odd symptoms he was having were caused by Cushing’s disease. Because he was already almost 13, surgery was not an option, so the only way to treat was through pills and monitoring his blood work. Many dog owners in my situation choose not to treat it and just put their dog down right away because it’s quite expensive to treat, but there was no way I was going to give up on him. With regular care from the incredible team at Rose City Animal Hospital, he was able to have another full year of fairly healthy, active and happy life. And a year is a long time in dog years.

Last week, everything started to rapidly go down hill. He had been eating less and less since December, we had to switch his food to different brands several times trying to find one he would eat, sometimes feeding him by hand. But when he suddenly would no longer eat or drink water and was sick on an empty stomach we knew we were running out of time. The vet explained that at this point, his liver was failing and he was battling an infection that while we could spend a lot more money to figure out exactly what it was, even if we could cure the infection his liver was still in failure, so there was no point. To keep him around any longer was to let him suffer.

The first photo of him as a newborn babe (on the bottom).

On Tuesday February 11th he left me for good. We spent the last few days together doing all the things he loved to do–taking walks, making friends anywhere he went as he always did, giving kisses, napping, exploring, playing and eating all the people food he had desperately wanted his entire life, but for which I only ever allowed in those final days as I wanted him as healthy as possible. He was incredibly happy about this new development.

The night before he had to leave us, we were watching the AKC Dog Show, and when the Pomeranian was up they mentioned that poms exist purely as companion and therapy dogs, and that’s exactly what he always was for me. Therapy. There is no issue in my life that couldn’t be fixed almost immediately by seeing his little furry face, petting him, having him by my side. He would instinctively lick the tears off my cheeks when I was sad–like all dogs, his emotional intelligence was higher than that of most humans. He would always greet me with barks of pure joy begging me to pick him up and pet him no matter if I was gone for 2 minutes or 2 weeks. He would light up at the sight of his leash as he knew it meant one of his two favourite things: a walk or a car ride. The only thing he loved almost as much as his family was exploring the outside world–something I’ve never been quite as good at. Having him around forced me to try to embrace other people as effortlessly as he always did. When your dog still looks like a perfect puppy even in his old age everyone wants to stop and say hello.

He never judged me and always protected me, especially in the early days when I would pass out in my clothes after a night of partying.

His energy was boundless. He was the funniest, smartest, cutest dog I’ve ever known. He was literally fearless in the face of dogs 10x his size because to him there was no bad in the world, nothing worth being afraid of. His temperament was absolute perfection. Many dogs fear the vet (my childhood Sheltie certainly did) but Jangles was always happy to see a familiar face. Even in his last moments, he wasn’t afraid.

You know you have a special dog when the vet team is in tears and all the staff want to say their goodbyes to him as well.

The first night without him I looked up at the sky and for the first time in a long time I saw it filled with sparkling stars. I know it’s easy to see anything as a message in the midst of grief but I find myself less and less cynical as I get older.

That time he starred in a small indie short film and LIVED for it.

This will more than likely be the last post on TTRO, and it is fitting that it is about my baby. He was there throughout my entire 20s experiencing Toronto with me, and that is all this blog was ever about. Now that he’s gone I no longer want to redesign it and start fresh. I want to hold onto this exactly as it is, a memory of my life during the years he was with me. He sat by my side while I created Turn The Record Over, and slept by my feet while I wrote every post.

Right before Mr Bojangles took a turn for the worst, I finished watching The Good Place. If you’ve seen it, you probably cried as hard as I did at that ending. I feel like in some way I was being prepared for this goodbye by watching that finale. I’m not so sure I believe in a particular good or bad place for humans (lapsed Catholic over here), but for whatever reason I have no doubt there is a good place (and only a good place) for dogs. And Bojangles, Jangles, Bojangley, Jingle Jangles, BoJangaJangs, Baby Jangs, Sausage, Mini Bear, Baby Bear, and all the many other names he knew were his–is sitting at the head of the table.

RIP MR. BOJANGLES

JUNE 3rd 2006 – FEBRUARY 11th 2020

Lisa

Christmas Gift Ideas For Dad – JORD Wooden Watch

Getting my dad the perfect gift isn’t easy. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t want anything from anyone, and doesn’t have many hobbies besides woodworking and watching wrestling and hockey.

With that in mind, when I came across these wooden watches from JORD I instantly knew it was something my dad would admire for the work it would take to create such a unique piece.

The Frankie series Koa and Ash instantly caught my eye. The bronzed wood and simple grey and silver clock have the classic look a watch should have if you’re going to wear one in the day of the smartphone.

Wearing a watch today is a symbol of style, not function, so it should look this good.

I gave my dad the watch for his birthday and he was absolutely in awe of its construction and beauty. He works in a factory so he is afraid to wear it to work and risk damaging it, but otherwise, it’s his favourite thing to wear.

Because it is a watch with a band literally made of wood, ordering the accurate size is important. They offer a measuring system so you can find out what size you need to order. I measured my dad’s wrist but decided to size up just a tiny bit, just in case, and it was unnecessary. The watch arrived too big, but it comes with a tool to help you (or a jeweler) remove a link or two if necessary, so it wasn’t impossible to fix. With that in mind, I do advise ordering the exact size your wrist measures out to instead of sizing up.

Since it’s Christmas, you can also make it extra special by engraving both the watch, and the beautiful box it comes in, for an extra fee. The back of the watch is the perfect spot for a favorite quote or phrase you know that person lives by.

So there, the next time you think “I have no idea what to buy for this person,” now you have your answer.

 Lisa

An Acoustic Sam Roberts Set Paired With A Whisky Tasting

auchentoshan

Last weekend I had the chance to attend a whisky tasting event for Auchentoshan where I was able to try three of their best bottles. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to drinking straight whisky, so these events always intimidate me, but as someone who always appreciates a good drink – I love learning as much as I can about every option available.

The first sample their ambassador introduced us to was their American Oak, the standard whisky of the three. It tasted of roasted malt and a toasty, nutty oak with a crisp, strong finish.

The second was their triple distilled 12 Year Old Single Malt which came off slightly fruitier, due to notes of tangerine and ginger.

The third, their Three Wood Lowland Single Malt, was my favourite of the three by far. Aged in three different casks (American Bourbon, Spanish Oloroso sherry and Perdro Ximenez sherry), I was able to taste notes of brown sugar, hazelnut, orange, cinnamon and toffee with every sip. As someone with a sweet tooth who can’t usually handle straight scotch, this one made me realize there is a scotch for everyone, you just have to find yours.

sam roberts toronto

The best part is, it was all followed by an intimate show (it happened at Common Sort, a small vintage boutique in the east end) with Sam Roberts performing acoustically. It was free to the public, but like any in store in a small space, you had to arrive quite early to get in.

Once he took the small stage (aka the back of the store) he told us they had a couple new songs they would play from their latest, Terraform, and then they’d be taking requests from the crowd.

All the songs you’d expect people to request were yelled out incessantly, and while they did play “Don’t Walk Away Eileen” to a grand singalong, the crowd did not get to hear “Brother Down” despite not taking the hint and requesting it after every single song. Sam noted that they haven’t played some of these songs live in years, so it felt like a great risk pulling them out and hoping they’d come out right.

The set was short but fun, and having an open bar for everyone who made it in only made it all the better. Here’s to more great events like this popping up around the city.

 Lisa

What A Week.

leonard cohen

Hi friends.

I know it’s been a while. That’s because life has been absolutely insane these past few months. Lot of things have happened, mostly good – but of course, some incredibly bad.

Part of me has wanted to put the blog on complete hold until I can finish the never ending redesign (which is why I have been silent here for a while) but when someone like Trump is elected president, and then we find out Leonard Cohen died, it feels wrong to stay silent. This has always been where I come to vent, and today will be no different.

Obviously, I am not an American, but the reality is, Americans are our neighbours, and they’re also our brothers and sisters. They are not that different from us, despite how much we might protest otherwise and lay claim to superiority since we have Trudeau – a feminist – while they have Trump, a man who campaigned on pure hatred and vitriol toward everyone but white men.

A world under Trump is terrifying. Not because Trump is terrifying (he’s just a clown, nothing more than a power hungry entertainer with a great marketing team) but because if he is impeached (a likely possibility) an even worse monster – Pence – becomes President of the most powerful country in the world. I’d like to believe Trump isn’t nearly as racist or sexist or xenophobic as he campaigned himself to be, he just knew it would work on the people who are.

That said, in the face of the rampant increase in racism and sexism being displayed in full force since his win, it is up to us to do the right thing and protect the people who are now free targets to a once mostly silent majority of the population. Speak up if you see someone saying something hateful. Stand with the person being targeted. Being a bystander is never okay.

As Canadians, we also have a responsibility to not fall into the trap that has taken hold in France, England and America – the nationalist trap that fears the other. This is how devastating wars begin. This is why the violent tragedies that have happened recently have happened at all. Being afraid of refugees moving here is what convinces those vulnerable people to believe the rhetoric of dangerous groups and sign up for their ranks. With every nationalist win like Trump and Brexit, they only get stronger. Aaron Sorkin wrote that ISIS is having a party after Trump’s win, and that’s what strikes me the most about this whole nightmare. By being afraid and filled with hate, you are only making them stronger. This isn’t a solution to the problem, this is how you increase its power over you.

When America had Bush, we followed with Harper. Once they had Obama, we followed with Trudeau. We tend to follow their political ping pong party game pretty closely, and I hope and pray that this doesn’t happen again with our next election in three years. We cannot buy into this world of fear and hate. It only puts us at risk. When you hear a certain Conservative woman on the news spouting about Trump and how she hopes to follow in his footsteps here, tune that shit out. Turn the channel. Don’t write about her. Don’t give her press time. Please don’t validate any Canadians who campaign on hate, like the American media did by giving Trump non-stop press just because it was good for ratings.

We like to believe we are less racist and sexist here, but as we found out last Tuesday night, the silent majority might just be silent until it comes time to vote. Don’t take that for granted. Try your best to educate anyone around you who seems to support the Trump win. Do it without anger (if you can, I know this is incredibly hard for me). People only understand life through their own eyes, their own experiences, and that means your suburban relatives can’t always relate to your point of view. They haven’t experienced the diversity we embrace in cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. They only see the issues that affect them personally, and that is how they vote. Educating the people in your life about what it means to care for your neighbour is key. Educating them about what all this fear mongering nationalism does to strengthen terrorist groups is key. It might not work – people are inherently stubborn and self-interested, but you have to at least try.

In other news, I recently went to NYC for the first time in a DECADE! And it was as incredible as I remembered it to be. There was a time when I wanted nothing more than to leave Toronto for New York, and I think I had to stop visiting in order to truly embrace my city. Now that I adore Toronto and it has developed into an incredible place, I can resume my just as intense love for New York.

I went down there for a writing conference run by and for women, where I learned a ton. Screenwriting has been the most recent passion of mine, and I was able to attend a seminar led by Jenny Lumet, who wrote a film I truly love, Rachel Getting Married. I also got to wander around the MOMA, see the spot where Paul’s Boutique used to be, stay in Brooklyn, get drenched by a full day of rain, live on about 4 hours of sleep a night, eat the finest pizza $3 will ever buy you, tour Greenwich Village to indulge my Bob Dylan love, get lost on the vast subway system, meet a bunch of incredibly talented women writers, attend live tapings of The View and Dr Oz (because all the shows I wanted to see… Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah, Steven Colbert, SNL were sold out) and visit the 9/11 memorial. It was an incredibly packed 4 days.

Before that, I fulfilled one of my biggest music industry dreams – I was a Grand Juror for the Polaris Prize 2016 – which as you know by now went to Kaytranada’s 99.9% – a truly fantastic album that I never would have given a fair listen to were it not for the privilege of being on this incredible jury. It wasn’t the album that I was there to fight for (that would be Black Mountain’s fantastic IV) but I understand exactly why it won and I stand behind the choice.

One more great thing, I checked another big career goal off the list by having my first byline in Marie Claire (about a 90s film I love, The Craft), a publication I’ve always wanted to write for. Yes, my writing here has been sparse because I have an entirely new vision for this blog that has me stockpiling material, but also because I’ve been focused on freelance writing full-time, which is a non-stop hustle. With that point, I should make it clear that TTRO is not over, it is just on a semi-hiatus until I can turn it into something that represents me in my 30s instead of this old version of me in my 20s. I feel like when I post here I’m walking around in an old outfit that just looks silly on me now, so I’ve been holding back. But soon! An early 2017 launch is the goal, and things around here will be a lot more consistent (and hopefully very useful for you) come that time.

One last thing – by some strange and awesome twist of fate – after 7 years on Twitter I was finally able to get my name out from under someone sitting on the handle – so @lisa_TTRO is no longer. Now you can tweet me @lisalagace, which is the same as my Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Periscope names. Yay for consistency!

And finally, let me just say, one last time for the record, RIP Leonard. When I watched you perform live in 2009 it was one of those rare musical moments where I knew I was witnessing pure genius, a poet who understood our pain for us, made it somehow more tolerable.

“And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord Of Song, with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.”

[tube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I7aNlUcoiM[/tube]

 Lisa

Giveaway – Tickets To Toronto Cider Festival

toronto cider festival giveaway

Cider has easily become the drink of choice in Toronto, replacing our obsession with craft beer – and I for one am not complaining. The Toronto Cider Festival is back for its second year at Dundas Square, and if you love cider as much as I do, you should probably be there on August 27th.

Thanks to the lovely team running this much needed event, I have a pair of tickets to giveaway to the daytime slot, happening from 11:30am until 4pm.

There are also tickets available for purchase to the evening slot from 5pm until 10:30pm. For $30 you get a commemorative mug, 4 sample tickets, live music and entertainment, a photo booth, games, food trucks, a flair cider cocktail competition, and access to 20+ of the best ciders available.

To win a pair of tickets to the daytime session, email me at lisa@turntherecordover.com with the subject “Cider Fest.”

Those who subscribe to the upcoming newsletter get a bonus entry, so be sure to mention if you are subscribed in your email. Sharing this post also gets you a bonus entry.

The winner will be contacted via email on August 24th!

 

 Lisa