Sunday, 10 June 2018

Blair Puts It All On The LIne - Riding The Branch Out Foundations 80 km Fundraiser on a Tandem With Wife Judy

Gee Blair, you sure don't shy away from risk, do you? After all, wasn't it you that rode your bike up the  Yukon's Dempster Highway without bear spray during peak bear season. And also wasn't that you who (willingly) allowed a surgeon to "login to your noggin"  by drilling two nickel -sized holes deep into your cranium in an attempt to alleviate some pesky Parkinson's symptoms. Now you're telling us you planning the ultimate stunt - to ride the 2018 Branch Out Foundation's 80 km bicycle tour/fundraiser on the back of a tandem with your wife? 
You have likely  figured out by now that you are about to be hit up for a donation but why me, you say?  Safe to say, I think you are a good bet for support. Maybe you are a trusted friend, a card carrying of my imaginary support group, the Parkinson's Wake Corporation. or one of my favorite brothers. Alternatively, you may be part of of what some say is a growing body of detractors who loathe every blog entry that I have ever published, every glass half-full, positive message I have ever proffered. Or every very irreverent use of the term "Parky" I have used to refer to my brethren - but who would get considerable satisfaction from seeing me embarrassed and shamed in very public display of tandem-induced marital discord.
Regardless of your motivations for supporting me in this endeavour, all funds earmarked for this Clydesdale will go to support The Branch Out Neurological foundation. The Branch Out Neurological foundation is a brain-loving charity that funds research for no-pharma and tech solutions to neurological disorders.  With 1 in 3 Canadians directly impacted by a brain disorder, your donation, regardless of size has the potential to impact many.
To learn more about the Branch Out Neurological Foundation, visit
Blair, with the ride a little more than 10 days away, aren't you registering your campaign a little late?
The RetroGenerates
Official Team Logo
Team Logo
​I didn't want the decision to support to weigh on your mind anymore that needed to so I have pared the decision period down to seven days. Truthfully, my preparation has been plagued by several physical ailments - at times leading me to question whether I could or should finish the ride. Fear not, supporters, as I have assembled a world-class peloton to help give me to the finish line. My team, the "RetroGenerates" is led by college buddy and 1992 Olympian Brian Saunderson. Okay, okay, so rowing was his sport, not cycling, and he's way past his prime - but I can confidently assure you that minimally - he will ride the tour with a full load of dopamine. Fortunately, Brian will be riding a tandem led by his partner the dynamic  Suz Saunderson who runs Collingwood Bicycle Tours in Ontario. These are two very special people and I appreciate their support greatly. 
My team is rounded out of course, by my partner Judy, an elementary school administrator - half of whose donations will go to support the wonderful people at Squirrelly Teachers in June a support group providing therapy to unfortunate teachers who have burned through their red wine budget before the end of the school year.

Yes, all contributions are tax deductible.  You are welcome to pass this email on to anyone you deem appropriate.
 Thanks in advance for your support!.
Blair & Judy

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Our Dog Tomo - Uncondiional Love Or Conditional Kibble??

It would be an understatement to say that my late dog Tomo was complicated, and a “ tough nut to crack”. Please take careful note of that last sentence, as understatements don’t last very long around here. I am guessing that they are crowded out by the more burly, endomorphic, hyperbole that seem seem to characterize the Parkinson’s Wake brand


I am polishing up the final draft of Tough Love? Or Tough To Love? Our Dog Tomo and The Gifts Of Imperfection. In the meantime I will leave you to peruse two items I found under her mattress. I have included just a few of the highlights from the PrePUPtial agreement she forged my signature on. While much of if may not have been implemented - the content of the agreement does speak volumes of the keen canine mind I was pitted against for 12 years

Balance to come this weekend.

TOMO’s forged PrePUPtial Agreement
  • Owner agrees to never employ the services of an “overlapper dog a type of mercenary puppy (often a therapy dog school drop-out used to cover the gaps between family pets.
  • Owner will refer to the dog as a “puppy” till the bitter end thus providing the widest possible lattiude to explain away poor behaviour
  • Canine agrees that his THERRA-puppy services are considered an “essential service that cannot be withheld. To do so would be considered a felony punishable by a weekend with his cousin, the overlapper .
  • Under most conditions, owner is permitted to wear the pack leader hat but agrees that while in the presence of any other dogs will give up said hat to puppy, reverting to a more truthful depiction of his role a spineless, panderiong Caesar Milan imposter
  • Owner will be responsible for providing (2) duvets to sleep on (min.500 thread count) agreeing to “poof it up” daily just prior to bedtime.While dog agrees that a certain amount childish “doggie babble is owner inevitable, owner agrees to keep it to the absolute minimum.
  • Canine agrees that commands will be delivered in one of the two official household languages: English, and Japanese. Puppy shall be responsible for any related ESL expenses
  • Dog agrees to meet his owner at the door With a wagging tail and a slobbering kiss - without fail - unless she has shit on the floor, in which case she will hide on the second floor landing, aka “Tomo’s Landing, peeking around the corner with a look on her face like she did something like shit on the floor.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Tough Love Or Tough to Love - Our Dog Tomo and The Gifts Of Imperfection

My apologies for yet another glacial delay in publishing my blog. I came pretty close to winding up part two of the "good enough" parky then a new, far more pressing story came across my desk. It is about a couple who have lost a cherished member of their family. It is as tale of a woman who considered the canine's powers of restoration and renewal so immensely therapeutic that the puppy was immediately termed the ““Thera-puppy”.The blogger doubts he could have handled his first 12 years of parkinson’s as well without the mutts companionship.. The storyline lends credence to the oft-said adage that “Sometimes you don’t get the dog you want, you get the dog you need.” It is this bloggers hope that the reader will come to a similar conclusion - That the ones that bite us the hardest may just be the ones that require the most love.

Tomo's early behaviour was not particularly stellar and I suspect many would have returned Tomo to the farm by sundown. However, this sans-children couple had love to burn and were ready for a project. Figuring that a little tough love was all that was needed, we moved forward. Indeed, tough love was what the doctor ordered and exactly what Tomo delivered.
For those who assume that my account of Tomo's 12 years with us will be just another syruppy internet "my dog was the bestest EVER! will be sadly mistaken..Tomo was extremely flawed just like the rest of you. She will not be getting a free pass just because she was sleeping with the blogger, nor because she was undeniably, without question, far and away the best looking dog EVER

Friday, 25 August 2017

Shittin' Bricks Next To Surly, Burly Russians - AKA Escape From Excellence and The "Good Enough" Parky

I was squeezing the wooden oar so tight that  sawdust was sprinkling down. There sat your blogger trembling, a young peach-fuzzed 18 year old ectomorph lining up at the start of the 1979 World Junior  Rowing Champs in Moscow next to the super burly East Germans on our left, and the surly burly Russians on our right. We were so out-sized, if this were catch and release you would just leave us on the hook and use us as bait. These guys looked, well, goliathic. They had so much facial hair, that they had five o'clock shadow - five o'clock AM shadow.To top it off, we were entered in the coxed pair, an event where the typical “athlete” resembles a cartoonishly mesomorphic viking rower  from a Far Side cartoon.                        

 I sat there wondering whether it really mattered whether I came 10th, 11th, or last. Would anyone (back home) really notice?  30 years from now would any idiot be dredging up these obscure results for the purposes of navel-gazing? It was clear that I as not there just for the track suit, as they say, but it was equally apparent that I was not obsessed  as to whether I was podium-bound or not. There was no doubt that I was more concerned whether my performance met the expectations of others than my own. We  promptly went out and over-delivered seizing the day by finishing 11th out of 12 crews. God bless the Norweigans! You know people talk about  the wide gulf  in post-race pychological after-effects between first and second place,  but let me tell you the gap between last and second last is equally huge. The mental boost from beating someone, ANYONE is as huge as from winning. That goes even if we had edged out the Vatican at the line.

Smart-ass reader:” Wow Blair, I never knew you were such a big part of Canada’s sporting folklore.

However, succcess would require a further mental adjustment when later in the regatta our junior womens 8+ slayed all - including the eastern block giants. I confess that I was not  able to celebrate my teammates success, as I had no doubt that their success would diminish my performance in the eyes of others. I truly believe that this special group of women were the first to redefine "success” for Canada's rowing crews Prior to the 80's there was a unspoken belief that simply making a final was the gold.| standard for aerial Canadian crew. This crews legacy was to help Canadian rowers redefine themselves as winners fully capable of reaching the top of the podium.

Slightly disoriented reader wondering how the above has anything to do with the price of Sinimet in Micronesia?
"Blair, what he hell does this have to do with the price of Sinimet in Micronesia?

Blogger: Whoooaaa pardner! When was your last dose? It will all make sense shortly.
To receive a Parkinson's life sentence is ts to be relegated to living a life seemingly devoid of what one would normally call "excellence". As far as Parkinson's goes, true excellence and excellence at its  worst, perfectionism are best left for neurosurgeons really, anyone with an adequate supply of dopamine.

You though, my neurodegenerative friend, for the most part, will need to to reject excellence and embrace the shortcuts, hacks, and the general “just get it done” ethos of the “Good Enough” Parky

For the first few years after diagnosis (the honeymoon period) you may be able to get away with worshipping at the alter of excellence but after a few years of dopamine denial you will see that it is pretty much imperative that you embrace mediocrity  as it is mediocrity itself that may save your excellence.
Reader: “Blair, now you've totally lost me”
Blogger: “Let me backtrack a bit”

Early on in my battle with Parkinson's when my abilities (specifically mobility) fluctuated in a much more dramatic fashion I drew up two lists called High Tide and Low Tide. This was done and in an effort to better match the requirements of my daily tasks with my  skills and abilities -  which were constantly in flux. My high tide list would contain only activities that require good mobility, ie shopping, cuttting the grass, pole  dancing, etc while my low tide list contained activities that don’t require mobility: covering my eldest brother in touch football, writing world class blog entries washing dishes, felting,etc. While I do not use these specific tools anymore, the general concept remains with me. Given what I want to get done today, which task Is the best match for my current abilities?

Coming up, Part 2 - Learning to Limbo How to Manage the Bar That Is Expectations

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Wicked Wedgie Woman and. Some Other Words That Start With W That I Can't Think Of

Now, I have been a "wedgee" (one on the receiving end of a "wedgie")
Many times. Some I admittedly deserved. The assorted "wedgers" (one who gives a wedgie) have been the usual unsavoury cast of characters you would expect - The school bully, my brothers., so-called "friends", but I had never received a wedgie from someone's grandma - that is until yesterday. Yes you heard that right. 

Lemme start from the start. I was in a a store called Value Village, a thrift type store. It reminds me of a flea market I used to go to in Texas. Off on the horizon I spotted a bluetooth keyboard - a rare commodity in a store such as this.  I thought I'd shift into 2nd gear - a sort of "Harlem Shuffle" but this is exactly when my gait goes to pot and I go into happy- drunk mode. That was when I felt someone grab my rear belt loop and hike up my pants. My immediate thought was "which of my "friends" would be juvenile enough to wedgie me in a public place? I turn to face a sweet, Ms. Doubtfire-looking woman who  shrugged her shoulders and said "I thought you were going to fall". 

Now if you want to get technical, she  did not give me a wedgie -  as if her real intention was to hike  up my gitch, I foiled that plan by tucking in my shirt. But. Her seemingly inoccuous action of grabbing grabbing my rear belt loop  and raising my pants to Ed Grimlian levels  bore all the tell tale signs of a well executed "external" wedgie with the initial mildly pleasing sensation, followed by moderate discomfort, and cliaxing in an always demeaned state. 
While I certainly wasn't soft stepping across the floor, I don't
 recall stumbling nor did I think that I was displaying any outward signs, nor inadvertantly communicating that one of my patented "bring down everything that is not bolted Sto the floor" falls. So I am not inclined to believe her line that she thought I was falling.

           Then what exactly were her nefarious motives? Could this Septuagenarian be  "interested" in me? It's got like 55 year old Parkys are exactly lighting up the Eharmony switchboards. As Red Green used to say, "If the women don't find you mobile, they should at least be able to find your waistband"  I contacted Gifford Falway of the REHAB (Retired Elders Having a Blast) and he reassured me  that this was anot a common scheme for finding companionship amonst his members as most have already transitioned to an elasticized mnwaistbands. While confessing that a handful of his members may have employed the Wedgie falling hoax as just another tool in the toolbox used to find companionship, Falway was quick to note that his group has always promoted a "catch and release" policy amongst its members

Then last night one of my crack research interns Lars questioned whether she could actually be the Wicked Wedgie Woman immortalized in Dan Pilkey's, "CaptaIn Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked  Wedgie Woman.  I think not as she was attempting not a basic wedgie, nor even the rare "atomic wedgie", but the easiest entry level wedgie the one mandated in every elementary level curriculum. The Wicked Wegie Woman would never bother with such amateurish attempts.

Regardless as to whether this woman is some sort of super heroine or not, But regardless of the result it is the intent that counts, no? I believe that this woman is a chronic wedger and is a grest risk to reoffend. Wedgie Womaan, Ms. Doutfire, or whoever you are... if you are on the lam reading this - turn yourself in. I'd be happy to make a citizens arrest at any Parkinsons Wake satellite  office. But if you just take a second to "like" this  post below, I promise to stay the charges. 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Blogger Contracts A Severe Case of Young Onset Descentia


In the old days when it wsas such jolly good fun skewering Facebookers that posted critical updates such as the status of their bowel movements, or their opinion on who was hotter on Gilligan's Island: Ginger, or Mary Ann, I pledged that if I ever posted on the minutiae of my life it would at least involve what I considered a weighty issue, or something that had a public service.

Today's report involves a report on yesterday's EPIC bike ride up into the foothills just outside Calgary, specifically, up the Highwood Pass. Highway 40, or the Bighorn Highway is a mountain route that is closed to vehicular traffic until June 15, every year - making it a Mecca for young Calgarians who yearn for a heavy dose of "young-onset descentia. I'm not positive which feel-good neurotransmitter iare generated by riding down the yellow line at mind-bending speeds, but I was totally innebriated

What is it that makes a not-so-young onset Parkinsonian scream down a mountain pass at speeds that if the unthiinkable (though if considered over a lifetime - likely inevitable) happened, he would be in such a world of hurt, that would exceed,the agony of his spinal fusion, plus his Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery PLUS the pain and associated suffering of living with a teacher in the month of June.

Where's the public service, you ask? Well, my personal advice to you is that this ride should be on your bucket list Somewhere near where you placed learning nude felting, and working Blair's corner at his Caesar's palace title fight You do not need to be a pro cyclist (nor a parky) to ride the route though the latter might help - as with Parkinson's, cycling is one of the few activities that feels as it always did - making the rides descents even more exhilarating. Enjoy!

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The Parkinson's Alternative Glossary, " Carpe Nocum" and The Naked Carpenter

Sometimes people say I make up words. I reply, I only resort to forging new words when the English language cannot keep up with my convoluted, dopamine-starved, twisted, fictionettes.

It used to be that every linguistic street crossing had sentries posted to guard against entry of neo bastardized words - inevitably from the Rock n' Roll stained youth of the time. These days, the sentries look to have abandoned their posts. It would appear that anyone can become a pseudo authority and start their own dictionary. It's like we've gone from "Let's start a rock 'n roll band and make a million dollars" to "let's write a dictionary to legitimize our verbal diarrhea."

wordlef.PNGOf course we have the gold standards, the Oxfords, the, Webster’s, etc. We know of several upstarts such as the URBAN dictionary, the RURAL dictionary, and my personal favorite “Right On The Edge of Town”  (but still close to Starbucks), dictionary, aka, “The New Parkinson’s Altern

Yes, I am pleased to present to you the latest entry in the crowded hdictionary/glossary market: The New Parkinson’s Alternative Glossary. This latest entry fills a strong need for a glossary/dictionary that can decipher and crack the code of some of our multi-worded phrases in the Parkinson's sphere. While these cryptic references are primarily from my personal dialect, many fellow Parkinsonians will recognize some of the references.

This truly is the English language at its most beautiful. This handsome, six page, no-cover downloadable beauty would make a great gift for anyone affected by Parkinson's - but would also be an excellent gift for any others that are curious about how the other 1% live!
Parkinson's Wake has managed to extort a review from Giff, our old friend from REHAB:

"A must-read for those friends and family who don’t find anything funny about Parkinson’s"
Gifford Falway - REHAB (Retired Elders Having A Blast)

We will be feeding you these gems one minnow at a time here on the blog. 
Without further adieu, our first entry is..

Verb (latin)

  • Literally, to “seize the night”. Parkinsonian definition refers to an unusual spurt of good mobility, a rare nocturnal “kicking in” of dopamine. This often results in a titanic mental steel cage match pitting a frenetic urge to leap out of bed and “make hay while the sun shines” with an almost equally powerful urge to stay put and drift off into effortless sleep (the latter with the recognition that the typical Parkinsonian banks as much sleep as a coffee taster on night shift.
  • New York's Naked Cowboy
    A distant relative of Calgary's
     the Naked Carpenter
  • Additional Info: A willingness to engage in "carpe noctum" activities means the individual must accept the risks of functioning in times of a manic state. There are documented cases of extremely odd behaviour associated with carpe noctum. In one disturbing case in SW Calgary, an individual was found in his carpentry shop working away in his underwear at 3:30am. When confronted and questioned why he was in underwear, he responded "Wouldn't be very safe doing carpentry naked, would it?" It is said that the first respopnder was reminded of New York's "Naked Cowboy". (Minus the boots, the cowboy hat, and replace the guitar with an 8 ft. length of beautiful milled Birdseye Maple.)