COPPER MOON SHIRAZ—Cheap stress relief when you almost lose your Chihuahua

OMG, we almost lost Chihuahua today. In the hurried exchange at the ferry terminal, Mum and Dad remembered to pick up the kids but left behind an Important Gym Bag containing Chihuahua, Fluffy Chihuahua (its newer doppelganger), Cookie (nondescript but beloved puppy) and Purple Bunny, who has been with our family as long as I have. OMG!!! The family drove away, leaving the bag in Arrivals.

Only when Nana sent a text to let Dad know there was also a pie in the bag did the family realize there was no bag. Panic set in. They left urgent messages with BC Ferries Lost & Found, scarfed down lunch at the restaurant where they were catching up with relatives they hadn’t seen in two years, and flew back to the terminal where, thankfully, the bag was waiting.DSCN2457

Thank goodness those animals are safe. Bedtime would have been a nightmare—it wouldn’t have happened without those animals in safekeeping. And thank goodness—as my dad said on the way home—we don’t live in a place where a bomb squad would have been called in to blast Chihuahua & Co. to smithereens.

But mostly, thank goodness I didn’t have to see V and P upset about their precious animals. Not that I mind being the occasional Comfort Animal—but I couldn’t have filled the void left by those yappy creatures.

Not without losing stuffing at least.

Not without losing stuffing at least.

copper moon 750mLBottom line: big stress, big relief. Which calls for wine. I’m thinking—since we burned $25 extra in gas today—we should buy some cheap wine. Maybe COPPER MOON Shiraz, which we first tried on Vancouver Island. Available in three sizes, starting at $8.69 for 750 mL, this Canadian offering is soft and drinkable—thoroughly inoffensive, but not at all playful or suggestive of any particular character.

Even if you’re not stressed out, COPPER MOON would be fine for you solid-foods eaters as a dinnertime accompaniment, and chances are you wouldn’t guess its low price. By extension you could foist it on dinner-party hosts without arousing their suspicions about your parsimony; with its tasteful label and mellow notes, they wouldn’t be the wiser—unless of course they’d espied the big honking box at BC Liquor Stores for $27.99. And who really skulks around the liquor store that much?

I know, I know…It’s how I cope with stress.

OKANAGAN SPRING HOPPED LAGER—Fighting terror with 5.2% alcohol

My Fellow Inebriates,

You’d think I’d be pretty habituated to losing an hour here and an hour there, but daylight savings really throws me off. When I realize (a day late in this case) that we’ve skipped 60 minutes, I feel positively robbed.

But what was I going to do with that hour anyway?

  • Visit the People of Walmart
  • Nap
  • Bother Dolly
  • Hang out near the empties
  • Think paranoid thoughts

So the fact that it’s 9:45 instead of 8:45 isn’t the end of the world, although it does give one a sense of accelerating toward the End of Days. And as my parents pointed out, it means one less hour of “love and attention” from the girls.

It hasn’t reduced the paranoid thoughts, however. Yesterday I watched Glen Bear go through a cold-water cycle and tumble dry, all the while listening to my mother wonder out loud whether I wasn’t too fragile to take the next voyage. Even when Glen emerged unharmed, I couldn’t stop shuddering. Especially when my mother said, “Wouldn’t you like to be nice and clean like Fluffy?”

Arrrrrghhh! OMG!

Fluffy continues switching lights on and off, making pictures fall off the walls (he even made my Dan Lacey print fall down) with his mind (!) and generally exuding an uneasy presence/non-presence that creeps me out, people. With his Irishness, plus the extra kick toward St. Patrick’s day that our lost hour gave us this morning, he actually got me thinking about banshees. If you haven’t encountered one before, a banshee is a Gaelic spirit, female, who appears just before someone kicks the bucket and wails. While there are rare reports of them being beautiful temptresses, it’s much more common for them to look like my mother. There isn’t any liquor-related mythology surrounding banshees to recommend them. For all I know they like to put bears in the washing machine.

Needless to say, there’s an air of paranoia around here among the bears. Not only has Fluffy introduced a supernatural draught to the house; he’s raised the bar for bear cleanliness, threatening our general stability and peace. It doesn’t help that my friend Wetherby Bear published a series of washing-machine photos on his Facebook page, depicting the household bears, obedient and brainwashed, lining up to enter the Magtag hellmouth.

Never mind that I thought I heard a banshee howling this morning. After a moment I realized it was only little Miss V, screaming her lungs out because Miss P had scooped the big green towel after their bath, leaving her only 25 or so alternatives. She’d given my mum holy hell already and escaped in the end without a hair-wash.

Super-fresh smelling? Probably not.

Which to say it’s not just me. Lots of people hate getting washed. My friend Scarybear carries a permanent low-grade funk about him. The People of Walmart seem to avoid washing despite all the sweet deals on soap. Dolly describes my own Kavorka* as a “mixture of rancid Corona and derangement.”

Fleecy freshness vs mangy funk

You can maintain such an aroma only by consuming beer regularly—an argument that didn’t help me out too much with my mum. But luckily my dad is cool; he stopped for beer on the way home.

You might say I had some tremors to address, and the Okanagan Spring Craft Variety Pack offered four alternatives—three beers at 5% and, rising somewhat above them for my immediate purposes, the 5.2% HOPPED LAGER.

Despite crying out for a bottle redesign, the HOPPED LAGER is an appealing product. Pale gold in the glass, it sports lots of carbonation and promises refreshment, especially for hopheads. The aroma is fairly standard: hops and grain with some maltiness. In the mouth it bursts with hoppiness, and although the malt provides a decent counterbalance, the finish is lingeringly bitter—great if you’re partial to hoppy beers, but you might want to leave it on the shelf if sweet, malty beers are more your thing.

HOPPED LAGER is sufficiently middle-of-the-road to attract typical beer fans with its crisp fizz and signature hops. There’s nothing earth-shattering about it, but there’s nothing wrong either. It’s not precious or palate-bothering or even especially interesting—just a solid brew.

Poor Wetherby at the vomit bucket

Sadly the drinking experience was spoiled by my paranoia about spilling beer on myself. You see, the washing-machine discussion has not gone away. In fact, the kids have gotten on board, urging my mum to throw me in just so they can watch me tumble helplessly. Only my dad has my back—because he thinks I wouldn’t survive.

But who knows what my crazy mother will do once Dad’s gone to work?

*”Kavorka” stolen from Beerbecue (highly recommended)

Afternoon Comfort

My Fellow Inebriates,

It’s pouring rain outside, making the outdoors no place for furry bear with a beanbag ass. I fear water like nothing else. Weighing less than a pound under dry conditions, I manage to shuffle around through willpower and/or my parents’ deranged imaginations. But I manage. Add water and it’s all over.

With some liquid courage in me (an Island Punch actually: rum/orange and pineapple juices/grenadine in a collins glass), I decided to research the washing of “stuffies,” the somewhat pejorative term for me and my cohorts. You see, my friend Violet Purplebunny recently had a washing-machine experience that changed her personality permanently, robbing her of all empathy and converting her from a partial to a complete sociopath. Ever since then I’ve been haunted by questions about the pair of LG machines that lurk in our upstairs closet, and what really goes on in them.

Violet’s people put her in the Maytag because—picture my relief, humans—she does not possess a beanbag ass. Unlike me and lots of my friends, her bum doesn’t crunch when she sits; it’s what we call a foam ass and will dry as fast as your underwear will. Shudder…

My friend Scarybear has the biggest beanbag ass I’ve ever seen. Because of this he will never go in any washing machine, unless he is completely saturated with vomit or feces, and then perhaps his people would opt to dry-clean him. Of course that would add to the brain damage he’s already developed over the years through his violent lifestyle. Just as he lives with that dread, so do I fear the dry-cleaner, although I could probably trust my parents to be too cheap to cough up for it.

Where was I? Let me sharpen up my Island Punch with some green-apple Bacardi. Oh yeah, the machine…

For animals such as myself, the washing machine is our Room 101. I cannot bring myself to fully imagine the agitation, the cold, the hot, the wet, the poisons, the scents. So I did an innocent search for washing info, hoping to find some kind soul with a solution for dirty animals that would not be quite so…final. Instead my horror was reinforced by

And this seemed gentle compared to the following psychotic advice (

“You can wash them in the washer. If they have any stains on them, spray with whatever stain remover you use and then put the stuffed animals in a pillow case and tie a knot in the pillow case and wash on gentle cycle and then throw in the dryer while still in the pillow case and they will come out very clean and fluffy…used this method for years and they come out great….”

Holy shit, people!

Whatever sobriety I entertained a notion of is out the window as I medicate myself back into a calm state with the following:

  • 2 oz amaretto
  • 1 oz Southern Comfort peach
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 3 oz sweet-and-sour
  • Red Bull

Ahhhh, I feel safer now. But I’d better not spill any on me.