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I am in a post-Christmas slump caused not so much by an Alas, Alas It’s Over, but rather by a rotten chest cold that has had me dragging since Christmas Eve. I have been doing very little except Excellent Cat Sitting (which has made the two beasts in this house very, very jealous), eating whatever I have felt like eating — including Miss Vickie’s Original Potato Chips (my favorites), and watching endless, syrupy made-for-TV Christmas movies while lying on the couch. Except for the cough, it wasn’t a bad Christmas at all.


Sven and Brigit hit the locker room.

But today I must drag myself away from remote and couch and write this blog. It is never a good idea to cross Trolls. Cats are bad enough, but Trolls can cause severe damage. No, readers, I have not totally flipped out. I do have two Trolls in my life and they have been here for many years. They date from the early days of the marriage to the Murmuring Ex-Husband. I can’t remember exactly where I found them — or did they find me? — but they are here every year for the holidays just like Scrooge and Fruit Cake.

Their names are Brigit and Sven, I forgot a long time ago which is which. I suspect they switch back-and-forth just to confuse me. When we go out for their annual Troll Stroll, they expect, and get, a lot of attention. It is not often that you see a grey-haired, older woman walking around in Toronto with trolls in Santa Clause suits hanging from her ears.  So, even reserved Torontonians feel a need to comment.

We started this year’s Troll Stroll at the Sunday morning aquafit class. Everyone there was agog when they saw the Trolls. But not to be satisfied with just mere Oohs and Ahas, Sven and Brigit decided to knock-all-the-socks off their audience. First Sven and then Brigit began to spin around in my ears like Whirling-Dervishes. They were good. Applause accepted, they informed me that they were not putting their fair-hair into any cap and going into the pool. They were Nordic, after all, they were hitting the Sauna. It was a good beginning to the Troll Stroll day. We were all happy.

All was well as we all went to breakfast with Social-Medial-Guru Sarah, Magic-Finger-Masseuse Robyn and Hedge-Hogs-Owner Pixl. The Trolls chatted easily with everyone until I was dizzy from turning my head from side-to-side. They were most impressed IMG_5528when the waiter came around and asked for their orders first. I should have given them a breakfast budget but it was their only day out of the tissue at IMG_5527the bottom of that cracked, plastic box so I didn’t dare say anything was too expensive. You want the lox? You got em. You want the most expensive omelette on the menu, why not? Enjoy, enjoy. It’s the Troll Stroll, after all.

However, things started to go a little sour when I informed them that, as the Excellent Cat Sitter, I had to stop off and feed the Brazilian cat, Tomato. This was their day, they shouted from each of my ears. It was all supposed to be about them, them, them, not some ridiculously named animal. There was nothing to be done but to fall back on that terrible strategy that parents use with children: Threats. I told them, if we don’t feed Tomato, they will be put in my pocket and will not, I repeat, not, be going to sing at the Messiah. They grumbly fell into silence as the elevator made its way to the 16th floor.

But when we got there, there was no Tomato. This was the third day that there was no sign of a cat, poop, or a dent in the kibbles. The first two days I just figured the cat had done a Houdini and would come out eventually. But three days without pooping or eating??? I was distraught. The trolls were bored. As tears came to my eyes, I asked them how can I call myself the Excellent Cat Sitter if I lose the cat? They had no sympathy, the concert started in an hour and we had to go, go, go, go meet Sarah and Robyn and continue on the Troll Stroll, which, after all, is what this day is all about. Trolls are really very selfish little beasts sometimes.

They were especially excited about taking the subway and the possibility of getting all that attention from the hundreds of people packed in there. They started preening as we all walked to the station, humming a little Nordic tune in anticipation. I was just so sad about the cat, I couldn’t even appreciate their harmony. That didn’t matter they were in a groove and no cat named Tomato, for goodness sake, was going to ruin their day out. IMG_5539

On the subway, Brigit, or was it Sven(?), was busy trying to get the attention of the woman hanging on to the pole. She tried to ignore that Troll as best she could, but how can you resist a Troll in a Santa Claus suit? I turned away, a little embarrassed by Brigit’s aggressiveness. The other, meanwhile, did an electrifying-hair trick to get Sarah to take her (his?) picture. Neither of them have any shame on the day of the Annual Troll Stroll. (Maybe I should make little bunny suits for them and take them out for Easter so this one outing a year doesn’t make them into such exhibitionists.)

At the theatre, there was much discussion about which section to sit in for the Sing-along Messiah. I being an alto, and a flat one at that, wanted to hide us in the Mixed

Section but the Trolls would have none of that. They wanted to be up front and seen by Herr Handel when he came out to conduct. They were sure he’d invite them down on the stage to play with the orchestra. And anyway, that’s where Sarah and Robyn would be and we should stick together whether I could sing a note of the Soprano part or not.

Then the orchestra started to wander on to the stage — a violinist here, a cellist there, the harpsichordist, percussionist, horns and then the “real” chorus, as opposed to us in the auditorium, started to file in and take their places. Since this was mine and the Trolls first time at the Sing-along Messiah, we didn’t really know what was going to happen until it did! I could tell Sven and Brigit were excited just because they weren’t saying a thing. They perched themselves on my shoulders to get a better view over the heads of the folks in front of us. I was surprised that they didn’t politely or otherwise ask them to move out of the way. Then, finally, Herr Handel himself came out dressed splendidly in his 18th century garb which quite put to shame little Santa suits on Trolls. But they weren’t jealous at all. “Bravo, bravo!” I heard Sven IMG_5553and then Brigit sing out. I think he heard them and looked up. They were in Troll Heaven. On the way home, they didn’t even say anything sarcastic about Tomato and didn’t even complain when I wrapped them back up in their little scrap of tissue and placed them at the bottom of that cracked plastic box until next year.


Oh, Tomato came out the next day after some sweet words in Portuguese from Steven. All is indeed well — except the cold.

Happy New Year To All.