2008: A Year in Review and a First Footer

first footer 2008
In 2009, Dad was our first footer, carrying drink, fuel (paper) and food (party mix).

Happy New Year, everybody!  Traditionally, a house needs a good first footer:someone to enter the home sufficiently supplied with the staples of good fortune and good times – fuel for the fire, food for the stomach, and drink for celebration – to get the inhabitants off to a good start for the new year.  The Juniorvanian first footer, in the wee wee hours of Thursday morning, was my Dad.  Carrying a couple of bottles of Keith’s (that had been cooling freezing on the beer-fridge/porch), some paper (as easily portable lightweight  “fuel”) and a handful of party mix (dubiously satisfying the “food” component of the traditional trifecta), Dad was the tallest and darkest non-resident male at hand.  Subsequent research has revealed that a first-footer ought not to have been in the house at the stroke of midnight, so next year we’ll send Dad for beer with a few seconds to go before the Big Moment.

A blog needs a first footer too, right?  The first post of the New Year ought to bring a little bit of everything in the virtual door, enough to assure its audience of continued reading prosperity in the coming year.  Here then, is a compendium of what this blog has been about over the past year.  Besides, what better way to shake the fog out of a still celebration-addled brain than to consider afresh the year so recently departed?

January began hopefully, with happy news about the founding of the Great Kingdom of Juniorvania and the impending migration of our people to the new homeland.  By the end of the month, there was bad news about the sudden and all too early death of a friend.

February brought us “Child Bouncers“.  I also broke up with the television program “Lost”.

With March came a photo essay on a snowstorm.  For the Leafs, there was first hope, then the unofficial end of the season.  Finally, there was news from the fledgling Kingdom of Juniorvania of an invasion.

Much of April was spent with the Adopt-a-team project idea that I came up with:  like-minded Leaf fans and I, left without a date for the dance, would follow the Washington Capitals for the duration of their run through the playoffs.  I had fun getting to know the players on another team more completely and hanging around at two Caps fan sites – Japers’ Rink and On Frozen Blog.  Caps fans were welcoming and good-natured, they even cleared some elbow room on the bandwagon for us, perhaps to their detriment:  it could have been the mojo of the Leafs that saw the Caps eliminated after seven thrilling games against Philadelphia.

It doesn’t matter which angle you look at it from, May was a banner month, defined by my struggles with a Craftsman Lawn Tractor and my nephew Thomas’ impromptu audition for the Juniorvanian Olympic swimming team.  Too bad the little fellow didn’t know we hadn’t qualified for Beijing.  As for the yard equipment angle,  to this day the phrase “Craftsman Lawn Tractor” is one of the search phrases that most frequently brings traffic from Google to this site;  I can only wonder what those folk think if and when they take the time to read the post.  Incidentally, the inclusion of this review and its two (oops, here we go again) three mentions of the phrase “Craftsman Lawn Tractor” will probably only enhance that effect.  Enjoy, Google people!  Let me know what you think!

The JRV Eradicator - The People's Lawn Tractor

In June, Gord Kirke was looking for a job despite the fact that he was “busy”.  Meanwhile, I was taking my maiden voyage on the JRV Eradicator, otherwise known as the People’s Lawn Tractor.

July and August were pretty slow around these parts.  I had excuses:  I blamed a fishing trip (the full account of which is in the “promised, but undelivered” category), the hitching of my brother Doug, and preparations for the First Annual Founders’ Day, including the inaugural Juniorvanian Open Championship of 3-Par Golf.

My brother Mike and brother-in-law Jono kick off the Founders' Day festivities

September saw the commencement of my no doubt lengthy career as a zombie shambling along the aisles of Home Depot, and the beginning of a  too-long period of silence hereabouts that continued into October, owing to a certain charity event and the commencement of various local improvement projects in the great nation of Juniorvania, the last of which was the replacement of one battered mailbox (mmm, battered mailbox – tasty).

In November, Wendel Clark’s jersey was honoured by the Leafs, and I started – and stop if me if you have heard this one before – but didn’t finish (yet) NaNoReMo 2008 with my faithful Internet friend Mike.

In December, I posted about Sebastien’s Theme and some of my favourite days with the Heroes in Rehab.  What I was really thinking about was the imminent departure of my brother Mike and his family for their new home in Chicago.

What does this year-long review tell us?  First, that there are too many lengthy periods where I ignore this site and leave it lying fallow.   I’m not very good for keeping New Year’s resolutions, but I am going to attempt, in 2009, to be slightly more consistent in my posting habits.  I can’t promise a post a day like Mike manages to do, but I promise, promise, promise to be a better blogger.  Second, it is my own considered opinion that this blog started to find its purpose a little more clearly – in my own opinion I tend to hit my stride as a writer more when I recount personal stories.  It’s fun to write about the Leafs, politics and the world out there, but I wrote truer to my own voice when I tell you about life here in Juniorvania, the many ways that our power equipment is trying to kill me, or the time I busted my head open at Maple Leaf Gardens.

To all a happy, healthy and successful new year.

Categorized as HiR:tb

By junior

Guitar owner and silly person.


  1. Happy New Year and Many more to all those readers of your blog, and may each day bring everyone the blessings, of peace of mind, happiness, and a ‘joie de vivre’. P.S. may everyone’s hockey team have a good year, and may the leafs at least show up for the play-offs. If they don’t there will be some “explain’en” to do again.

  2. …and may the leafs at least show up for the play-offs.

    This phrase, or a variant of it, has been uttered so often over the last few years that it’s beginning to feel like an old Gaelic prayer or something – like the one about the road rising to meet your feet and the wind being at your back. In a few more years, I’ll be prepared to believe it was authored by Robbie Burns himself.

    Thanks for the New Year’s wishes!

  3. It has been an eventful year, when you look back on it; I look forward to every post, noting that quality is never compromised even if many many hockey references go over my head (an ex-Torontonian, by way of Chicago, who works with us threw out the reference to a Russian hockey player who had been rumored to be doping with dog blood — the name escapes me now, as it did then, but had I had the smallest following of hockey these past few years, I would be able to remember more details; such is my hockey knowledge until roughly February).

    I had an art teacher in high school look over my shoulder once — I was drawing a political cartoon, and it involved a pile of loot in a closet and as I was drawing each coin, she hummed knowingly, stating that she could tell a person’s personality through their art — me being detail-oriented (I believe the proper term is obsessive-compulsive at times). Writing is a similar pathway to the id; many best wishes for the coming year to you, Spouse, Popeye, Henry, the fish(es), and the rest of your extended clan of hardy Juniorvanians — I look forward to the stories to come.

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