If I won the lottery

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The estimated winnings for Ontario Lotto 649 is $10 million dollars and the estimated winnings for Lotto Max is $50 million dollars….that’s a lot of dough!

I think it’s safe to day that most people have thought about what they would do if they won this kind of cash. And I bet most of us have seen that show on TLC (The Learning Channel) called “Lottery Changed My Life”. It’s human nature to day dream, and imagine, this is what we do as adults what we did as kids, only the stakes are higher.

I don’t play often, and I’m not in the office pool but that doesn’t stop me from wondering if I found out tomorrow that I had won the lottery what I would do.

First, I would have a coffee same as I always do, then I would proceed to freak out and dance around the house to the point my dogs would be scared of me. After that I would contact the OLG office and figure out the next steps. Then since I still work and the money doesn’t instantly go in to my bank account, I would head to work as normal but I wouldn’t say anything.

In Canada whenever we win any kind of lottery game we do not have to pay taxes on it like in the US, so if I won $10 million dollars I would get $10 million dollars, and that would be a nice chunk of change. I would pay off my house, pay off my other debt, and I would relax. I hate the saying “money doesn’t by happiness” my response to that is your doing it wrong…I would be VERY happy because the stress that surrounds my life which are directly related to money issues would be gone!

I would invest so that I would have a steady income that would allow me to eventually quit work, I wouldn’t up and quick work right away, the reason is because I like my job, I like my co-workers and I would have a hard time giving that up. I would look for a slightly bigger house that would have an easier entrance for my mom or build a home that would have a master suite just for me. I would be able to afford a private nurse, or personal PSW for my mom to allow my sister and I time to be able to go out and do things together. In that house I would have a custom couch built for my mom so that she is as comfortable as she can be throughout the day, I would have a nice garden in the back that she could go sit out in the summer and the house would be located near a Tim Horton’s so I could take mom whenever she or I wanted to go. It would also have a library in it

I would take a really nice vacation with my family back to California to spend time on the beach and visit with friends, I would take my close friends that have always been my rock to a nice warm place for a week where we would party! I would eventually travel to meet all of you. If I did quit work, I would do a lot of volunteer work and try to continue to make this world a better place. I would continue to advocate for kids/adults with facial differences and work with industries to ensure that those with visible differences are chosen for roles in television, movies, and print.

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I still can’t drive so I wouldn’t have to worry about buying a new car but I would see about getting a Vespa, for my sister and I as we have always wanted one. I would buy a new iPhone without having to get my telecommunications provider to provide a subsidy, I would buy one of the new iPads because they are lighter. I would get another tattoo, because I was going to anyways!

What I wouldn’t do, just give money away to people, that goes for anyone I currently know or anyone that somehow managed to find my address and write me to ask for money. I don’t say this to be mean, but I can’t be everyone’s personal bank, I can’t “loan” money out or act as a backer for anyone’s awesome next venture. I would want my life to be as it is now with the same people in it as is now just a little less stressful, and more free. Not that I will be winning the lottery anytime soon, but it is nice to dream, isn’t it! What would be the first 5 things YOU would do if you won the lottery?

What’s in a last name?

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As I plan my friend Crystal’s wedding to Norman (HI NORMAN), the topic came up at work about last names and marriage. We talk about a wide range of fun and crazy topics at work, I really do love my co-workers. So I am never surprised when certain topics come up and earlier this week the conversation moved to the topic of Crystal’s upcoming marriage to Norman.

Crystal was in a previous marriage and her current last name is with her previous husband, she is absolutely changing it have the same last name as Norman’s. For Crystal this makes sense to me, instead of reverting back to her maiden name, she would choose to accept Norman’s. Our co-worker who also is named Crystal said that when she was younger she was adamant that she was never getting married, never taking her husband’s last name in the event she ever got married. So the conversation evolved and I had to add my two sense worth….

I’ve never been part of a “traditional” family, my father passed away when I was young, I have his last name as my mom took his last name when they married in 1964. My mom’s maiden name was Chard, when my dad passed away I don’t think it ever dawned on her that she could legally change her name back to her maiden name within 30 days at no charge. Although my father’s life had some questionable activity, my last name is all I have from him, it’s the only one I have ever had so I’m not too keen to just give it up. my mom had 4 girls, 1 already married also took her husband’s name, I’m pretty sure if my other sister ever got married she would go that route and take her husband’s name. Me…not so much, it’s been something I have thought a ton about, it’s something that many people (including my co-workers) have tried to change my mind on, or at the vary least open my mind up to the possibility.

Although there are others’ with the last name of Loker, i don’t know many nor am I close with anyone. When my father passed my mom just did her own thing and never kept up a relationship with her in-laws. Not that I blame her, she had to deal with a lot of stuff back than and I’m sure trying to keep up with other’s was really not on her radar. As a result for some reason I’m fiercely protective of my last name and very unwilling to just give it up if/when I ever get married.

Being very independent person, and pretty stubborn, (just ask my sister) I cannot feel as if my future husband will “own” me by me having to change my last name to match my spouses. Why can’t HE change his name to match mine? Why is it that the woman has to make that sacrifice. My co-worker Crystal (not the one I’m planning a wedding for) said that she did feel the same way but when talking with her future husband he realized how important it was for her to adopt his name at the time they join together and even though she says shes still not 100% thrilled with the idea she is willing to do this for him, because she loves him.

I do get it, at the end of the day it’s just a last name, and pretty much taking your husband’s name is what EVERYONE does, however I think it’s almost because of this fact that I truly do not want to. I’ve always been different, I’ve never looked at the world in the same way and since for as long as I can remember I always had the notion that i would NOT take my husband’s name.

I’m not unwilling to compromise, during our conversation at work I had mentioned that I’m fully willing to hyphenate my name to join the two names together so I would be Penny Lynn Loker-?, heck if my future husband was up to it I may even consider a blending of our last names to create something that is just ours that would be passed to our children, what I won’t do is take my husband’s name as is…..no amount of discussion will change my mind. This is what I would consider a deal breaker. My co-workers asked what I meant by that, and I sad sadly that we would be at an impasse if having me hyphenate my name with his is not enough, we would never get married. Having my name is WAY too important to me, I have such a strong aversion that I just can’t do it…never..yep I’m saying it, I will NEVER take my husband’s last name, ever.

What are your thoughts. What were the reasons you did or did not choose to take your spouses name? For the guys, would you have ever considered taking your wife’s last name?

Cooking Class Recipes




2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup Waterloo Dark Beer (You can use ANY dark beer)

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Hot sauce, to taste

12oz. smoked cheddar cheese, grated.

6oz. jalapeno jack cheese, grated

(Feel free to use a mixture of different cheeses to change the flavour)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and beer, increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the mustard, Worcestershire and hot sauce and cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes.

Working in batches, add the cheese in large handfuls, whisking until each batch has completely melted before adding more. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with your homemade pretzels, or any other accompaniment you desire.



1 1/2 cups warm (110-115F) water

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 (1/4-oz.) package active dry yeast

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

vegetable oil

10 cups water

2/3 cup baking soda

1 large egg yok beaten with 1 tablespoon water


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar, and kosher salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to sit for 5 minutes or until it begins to foam.

Secure the hook attachment to the stand mixer and then add the flour and butter to the bowl and mix on low until the ingredients are combined.

Increase the speed to medium and kneed until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl. clean the bowl and then grease it with vegetable oil.

Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450F. Line 2 sheet trays with lightly oiled parchment paper.

Stir together the 10 cups of water and the baking soda in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. While the water comes to a boil, turn the tough onto your work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. No need to flour your work surface.

Applying even pressure, roll out each piece of dough into an 18 to 20 inch rope. Fold each rope in half, twisting the 2 pieces around one another and pressing the ends together. Twist the bottom end around the top, feeding it through the top hole and pressing to secure. Return the twists to the cookie sheet.

One by one, carefully place each twist into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove each twist from the water using a large slotted spoon or spatula and return it to the cookie sheet. Brush the tops of the twists with the egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt (optional).

Bake the twists until golden brown in colour, 12 to 14 minutes, then remove from oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving.




18-20 jalapeno peppers

1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot

2 tablespoons butter

1 garlic clove, pressed or minced

2 cups of rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed, shredded

1 rib celery, finely chopped

1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles (feel free to substitute feta or another cheese)

1/4 cup cream cheese

kosher salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 425F

Slice the jalapenos in half lengthwise leaving the stem intact. using a small spoon or paring knife, scrape the seeds and ribs out of each jalapeno

Place a small saucepan over low heat. Add the Frank’s and garlic and whisk in the butter until melted. In a medium size bowl, combine the pulled chicken, celery, Monterrey jack cheese, half of the blue cheese and the cream cheese. Fold the buffalo sauce into the chicken mixture combing well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop the chicken mixture into each of the peppers, filling them all up. Place the peppers in a baking dish and top with remaining blue cheese.

Bake the peppers until tender and heated through, about 14 minutes. Chef Patrick advised that the longer the pepper is cooked the milder it will get.




1 pound spicy Italian sausage, squeezed from casing

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound ground veal or beef

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup of beef stock

8 tablespoons freshly grated Peccrino Romano cheese, divided

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 28oz. can whole peeled tomatoes

1 14.5oz. can crushed tomatoes

arugula leaves (optional)

18 small soft rolls, split horizontally


Mix all meats, panko, 1/2 cup beef stock, 6 tablespoons cheese, egg, egg yolk, 1/4 cup parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Form into 2 inch meatballs or patties.

Heat tiny amount of vegetable oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches fry meatballs or patties until brown all over. Transfer to plate. Reduce heat to medium and add olive oil to skillet. Add onion, garlic, basil, and fennel seeds and saute until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add all the tomatoes with juices. Bring to a boil scraping up the browned bits. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. NOTE: you don’t need to simmer for 30 minutes this just helps bring more flavours out, if you are in a hurry just get it done!

Puree sauce in processor until almost smooth. Return to the same skillet and add the meatballs or patties. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about another 30 minutes longer. NOTE: you can do all of this ahead and just reheat when ready to serve.

Top each roll with 1 patty or meatball and drizzle with some sauce and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and 2 tablespoons cheese.




1 1/2 cups white flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups mixed chocolate chips (ie/ milk chocolate, dark chocolate, skor, butterscotch)

3/4 cup cherry jam


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8″x8″ baking dish and line with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang to grip and remove the bars after they’ve cooked. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar. beat until creamy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the egg and beat until well-incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on medium low, gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until almost incorporated, then add the chocolate chips. Mix until incorporated.

Press 3/4 of the cookie dough in the bottom of the prepared pan. layer the tam on top of that.

Grab handfuls of the remaining cookie dough and break it up over the top of the jam so you have crumbles everywhere. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden in colour.

Coll completely, then grab the edges of the parchment paper and lift straight up to remove from the pan. Cut and serve.

Cooking class


Last night my friend Donna and I headed up to the Sobey’s on Ira Needles to participate in a cooking class/demonstration. It wasn’t hands on we all sat at tables while the chef walked us through 4 recipes: Waterloo Dark & Smoked Cheddar Dip, Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers, Meatball Sliders, and Chocolate PB & J Bars. Please let me know if you want me to post the recipes and I will edit this post to add them. Included but not shown was Soft Pretzel Twists.

The chef for the evening was Patrick Mathieu (Twitter: @StationHouseCCo) I didn’t get the chance to sit down and chat with him maybe the next time I will do a Q&A with him but according his bio listed on Twitter (and verified by Donna) he is a firefighter with a catering business on the side, he does the Sobey’s cooking classes at least 2-3 times a month. On February 14th, 2015 he will be on an episode of one of my favourite shows Chopped Canada! Will be rooting all the way for him.


Chef Patrick & I

This was my first time doing anything like that, Donna and her mom are frequent visitors and really enjoy the various classes, which was what got me excited to attend one. The theme of the evening was tail-gating food and this was in preparation for the upcoming Superbowl festivities. Who are you rooting for? I’m totally not a fan of American Football but I have to confess I’m a huge fan of the food.

First up was the beer dip, I was surprised to see how quickly it came together and how versatile it was. If you thin out the recipe you can make in to a cheese & beer soup or use it as a base for mac & cheese. I did enjoy it but I’m not sure I liked the undertone flavour of the beer, either I would try to put less beer in and substitute for some broth or I would keep trying different dark beers to see if I found one that changed the flavour more to my liking.

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Progress shots of the cheese dip in progress, sorry no smell-o-pics!


Finished product! Was good!

The Buffalo Jalapeno poppers were up next, he had already had the peppers cut length wise and all cleaned out of the seeds and the pith, ready and waiting for the scrumptious filling. I never realized buffalo sauce was so easy, I’m not usually one to go for that type of cause but I can imagine using it for a whole host of other dishes, great dipping sauce for a sandwich, a coating for boneless chicken bites….oh so good. Again this recipe was super quick, Chef Patrick said that all of these are great to make ahead of time, the sauce will stay in the fridge for weeks! This was the first time that I’ve ever had blue cheese, I’m still not brave enough to try it on its own but have to say if it is cooked in something like these poppers, I wouldn’t shy away from it, but would only stick with the brand he used so that I’m comfortable with the flavour.

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Progress shot, really good!


Finished product, Donna’s and mine side-by-side before the were gone….

Chef Patrick took time while the poppers were in the oven to start the dessert but I’m going to talk about the sliders. Wow I think I would say my favourite dish of the night and surprisingly so easy and pretty quick. I learned how to make a home made kick ass marinara sauce which I can’t wait to try to make on my own, the sliders themselves were juicy and just the right size. The next time you make meatballs or burgers try using panko instead of traditional breadcrumbs and also add sausage to the ground beef to give the meat more flavour also the extra fat that it needs to keep your balls or patties moist.


Patties looking awesome!

Not a lot of pictures for this one as it was mostly done up at the cook top you see in the background. Also in the background is the very awesome Emily!


Finished product, didn’t last long!

I couldn’t eat it like a normal burger due to issue with my jaw because of the recent tooth extraction but I took to it with a fork and knife and devoured it!

And last but not least the dessert! Chef Patrick, used a cherry jam I think I would go with a raspberry jam but can’t argue with the way it turned out so good. I love that the base of this bar is a peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie dough that would make amazing cookies or go good paired with ice cream…yum…

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Progress shots, so good!

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The finished product.

If you live in the area I highly recommend looking up the February classes (I’m going to one on the 16th) and signing up for one. So great, they also do a lot of kids classes which I think is awesome. For those reading all around the world try and find something like this in your area, great way to meet new people, have great food, and have a really great night.

#BellLetsTalk Day


January 28th, 2015 the day where a country comes together to build a better future for those with mental illness, and try to end the stigma surrounding it.

For every call and text from a Bell subscriber, every tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk Bell donates 5 cents in the fight to help those with mental illness.

This is the third year that I have actively participated by tweeting up a storm and encouraging those around me to do the same. I’m not going to list all the statistics because I’m not an expert and honestly they scare me! But I can say that each year Bell is raising more and more money, more and more awareness and that’s a good thing.

Today I read so many personal stories of people battling with mental illness, learned how some of them overcame all the odds and are working towards recovery. I also read all the sad tweets that showed a loved one, or a friend who wasn’t as lucky, couldn’t get the help and lost their battle.

I have always said that if it wasn’t for my family’s support I probably would have went down those very dark paths. I do have struggles with anxiety, and depression but at a level that is not devastating, where I can recognize it in myself and find ways to cope.


I tweeted earlier today that some days I would rather just stay home and cry, sometimes the though of getting up and going outside is almost too much. Not knowing if there will be stares, if there will be a second look or a look that lasts a little too long. Some days I don’t want to deal with that! Add to that the stress of taking care of an adult parent who cannot look after themselves having that cut you and your sister off from really doing anything together like you used to, it makes me scratch my head and wonder when the next shoe will drop and if that will finally be the thing that pushes me over the edge.

When I read the struggle of one young person today and to see that she struggled and tried to cope all through out her life, I cried. I wanted to find a way to get to her, give her a hug and tell her everything is going to be OK. I know not everyday will be OK for her, she knows this too, she only sought help a little over 2 months ago but the bravery she showed in just letting everyone see what she has gone through shows me that she will be OK.


I can’t help but think of my co-workers son who lost his battle with mental illness late last year, and a co-worker who lost his battle also late last year. It makes me realize that the stigma surrounding mental illness is very much still present. That people who suffer do so in silence and in so much pain it makes what I have been through look like a walk in the park. I know that for some reason I was built in such away that I can keep on taking blow after blow and keep getting up, I’m really not sure for how much longer but I’ve still got lots of fight in me. I want to take on everyone’s hurt, I would change a lot if I could, I would change the world!

#BellLetsTalk campaign which really came from Clara Hughes desire to use her own struggles to start a dialogue and to really help those who are going through what she went through. To prove that those with mental illness can recover, can lead full happy and productive lives. I personal don’t believe that the Government is doing all that it can do to support those with mental illness, I know that there are countless volunteers, doctors, parents, and teachers that are on the front lines who do not have the support they need to be able to help those who come to them. #BellLetsTalk aims to change that, with the money raised they are able to fund initiatives and support organizations through out the year.


It’s never easy dealing with stress, sometimes just life in general seems like it’s going to fall down and crush you. Knowing when you are beyond your limits or when to ask for help is key. Knowing is one thing, actively asking is a whole other issue. Sometimes I have struggled with that, not knowing if and when I should ask for help, I’ve always been the one that my friends come to when they need someone to listen, and I love my friends but sometimes I haven’t felt that I can go to them. Most of my friends have kids or they struggle with their own issues and life that it’s hard to have those conversations. For me it’s also that not a lot of people can understand what it’s like to go out and be stared at, laughed at, or pointed at. I get it, I’m not blaming anyone but society for that, I have to own that I look different, that the way society views people with differences isn’t going to change anytime soon. All I can do is continue to be myself, continue to work hard, continue to use my voice to help others and to continue to love my friends, my family, and my doggies. I’m very lucky because on the days I don’t have enough love for myself I know my friends and family (and doggies) have what I need.

If you or someone you know is struggling, please TALK, please remember that you can recover, that the you need the night to see the beautiful stars. It’s not about someone who is struggling more than you, it’s about YOU and YOU matter. If someone tries to open up about something that is important, please don’t brush them off, it might be that one moment that you won’t be able to change but it could be the one moment that changes everything. Remember that I am here for ALL of you, if you don’t have someone available to listen, please know that I WILL!



A Great Night


After a good day at work it’s nice to have some downtime with a friend, kick back, and have fun. Today starts a busy week for me whereby I’m out doing something neat after work most days. Tonight I headed out with my friend Marnie to do Social Art KW. I’ve written about this before but here is a refresher for those new to my blog or who just plum forgot!

A group of upwards of 30 people all converge at a local pub or restaurant with nothing and come out with a work of art that they are happy with, or at least tolerate! My first one was a fall scene I took myself out on my birthday and this is where I first reconnected with Marnie. We have worked together in the same building for years but hadn’t had the chance to hang out. I was a little (ok a lot) worried about my first time at this event but was excited. I was sad that no one was able to come with me but determined to have a good time. Marnie noticed me first, approached me and welcomed me to sit with her and we ordered food before things got under way. I’m forever grateful for her for doing that because I doubt I would have spoken with anyone, I would have kept to myself, did my painting and bused home. Instead I ended up really connecting with her, had a great time and painted a scene I could tolerate. It’s currently hiding but here is a picture:


My first ever attempt

My second time going was as a private party that was hosted with a former co-worker and friend Lisa. She had really wanted to go to an event but none of the dates worked with her schedule so she made a private party and we painted an owl, It’s still growing on me but at least it’s hanging up in the dining room!


Midnight owl

That brings us to tonight’s outing, which was much like the first. Marnie and I went together and it was hosted at Fionn MacCool’s in Kitchener near where SportsWorld used to be. It’s my first time there and I liked it. I couldn’t eat much as I’m still recovering from that torture of a tooth removal so I tried their Latke Grilled Cheese which I was only able to really eat the centers and the pickles on top, I also tried their Apple Crumble Pie, they don’t dice the apples they have them slicked which meant when they cook with the skins it makes them a bit tough to eat so sadly most of this went untouched as well. Have to say the coffee was great!



We started painting at about 6:30pm and I got home about 9:15pm, so it was a pretty good evening event. Rachel is really great at walking you through each step, and when you get behind or need extra help she is always there to lend a hand. Just don’t ask her to actually put paint to canvas on yours because she won’t..this is not a bad thing, as it is meant to be your work of art. Being this was my third one I really didn’t want to rush so I found myself quite behind everyone else. I was working on my background and hills while everyone had just about finished the windmill. I took great care to ensure that the background and the ground were blended nicely as I found that with my first one I didn’t do this well. The windmill posed lots of challenges with the lines, filling in, and the blades. If I had to pick a favourite element from today’s painting I would say my background and my grass. If I had to pick something I could change it would be the hills and the blades of the windmill.


 Finished painting

If you live in the area or are coming to KW for a visit please check Social Art KW’s webpage (http://www.socialart.ca/) for upcoming dates because it’s well worth the $30, I love seeing how everyone’s turn out, and I try very hard not to compare mine to everyone else’s because I always feel that mine doesn’t stack up.

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Progression shots




Marnie & I

People I want to meet

Yesterday’s post got me thinking again that life can change in an instant. You never know what the next hour, or day will bring so here today is the list of people (not complete) that I would LOVE to meet.

Some of you reading this I already know, other’s are also included in this list without being on this list. You would be the people I would travel far and wide to come hang out with!

Cast & Crew of Murdoch Mysteries

Cast & Crew of The Blacklist

Cast & Crew of All of the NCIS shows

Cast & Crew of Supernatural

Cast & Crew of Saving Hope

Cast & Crew of Dark Matter

William Shatner

Rick Mercer

Jan Arden

Clara Huges

Nathon Fillion

Eugene Levy

chef Michael Smith

Chef Lynn Crawford

Andrew Younghusband

Adrienne Clarkson

Jill & Jacqueline Hennessy

Torri Higginson

Patrick McKenna

Lennox Lewis

Allan Hawco

Shaun Majumder

Alan Doyle

Claudia Black

Adam Rueben Beach

Bif Naked

Mike Tompkins

Jay Baruchel

Michael Buble

John Catucci

Lauren Lee Smith

Amanada Tapping

Ellen Page

Debra DiGiovanni

Rainbow Sun Franks

Ennis Esmer

Serena Ryder

Robin Dunne

Jewel Staite

George Stromboulopoulos

David & Kate Hewlett

Stan Lee

Ron Perlman

Kevin Smith

Ralph Garman

Ellen DeGeneres

Bill Nye

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Sara Bareilles

Heather Maranda

Jeffrey Wortham + Caroline Russell Wortham

Joshn Bodwell

Chris Jones

Zelda Williams

Dan & Laura Dotson

Darrell Sheets & Kim

Hugh Laurie

John, Kristine & Athena Scalzi

Emily & Zooey Deschanel

David Boreanaz

Missy & Jase Robertson

Jennifer Arnold + Bill Klien & Kids

Danny Trejo


Chris Gore

Garrett Wang

Robert Picardo

Kate Mulgrew

Joss Whedon

Alton Brown

Anthony Bourdain

Prince William & Kate Middleton

Prince Harry

Bruce campbell

John Henson

Patrick Stewart

Jen Yates

Duff Goldman

Vanilla Ice

Betty White

Dwayne Johnson

Katy Perry

Zachary Levi

Misha Collins

Al Yankovic

Felicia Day

Wil Wheaton

Barack Obama

There is no order to this list but the obvious set up, shows that are still on on air, followed by Canadians, than everyone else. There are many people I’m probably forgetting, I’m also fully aware that I will probably never get the chance to meet these people. This is a part of my bucket list, my bucket list is a few different lists this is just one. In future posts I will write about places and events I would love to also do.

Who would be on your list that you would want to meet?

A heavy heart


Sorry readers, this isn’t going to be a fluffy, happy post, tissues may be required.

Whether it’s the loss of a parent, a friend, sibling, co-worker, or beloved pet, loss is tough. This has been a rough week for people I respect and admire.

I’m not a stranger to loss, it’s been a constant companion my whole life.I have lost all of my Grandparents, my older sister (she passed before I was born), my father, my aunt, and various friends, co-workers, and 2 cats. Today I write about the loss of others.

One of my favourite author’s and a a man I admire has let us know that he has lost his beloved cat Glaghghee. Having followed his blog for a number of years and reading his books I can tell you that John Scalizi has a heart of gold. His cat was the cutest thing and seemed to have much knowledge. I find having gone through losing my 2 cats some years ago that the fact Glaghghee passed on her own terms should be a comfort, she felt so safe and loved. If you want to read how the loss has impacted him here is the link to his post speaking on it: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/01/25/ghlaghghee-2003-2015/. If you haven’t read his blog or his books, I highly recommend him.

My friend Crystal is grieving for her dear friend today, who passed away officially today but left on Friday medically. I asked Crystal what I should write about today, she said she didn’t know. I wanted to write something that would cheer her up I fear this is whole heartily the opposite but writing is all I can do besides being there for her as I have been. Out of respect for her friend I will not say her name or describe exactly what happened, those close to her reading this will know for whom I speak, the information is not mine to give. I wasn’t lucky enough to know this sweet woman but listening to Crystal tell stories and laugh makes me even more sad that I will never get to know her. She had gone through a rough few years and was so close to getting everything she wanted. I had just slipped the RSVP to her wedding in the mailbox the other afternoon after work, I’m truly saddened to think her fiancee will have to open that, Crystal and I were getting excited to go buy some “hoochy” dresses, and I was getting excited to get to know her more and hang out with her. Instead I will be celebrating the life of a lovely person who has left us way too soon, who on the cusp of true happiness that was more than deserved will shroud us in sorrow.

Loss of a loved one or friend never makes sense, when it’s unexpected and sudden you will always be left with more questions than answers. I know there are those who believe and take comfort in the grand plan that God has, for those who know me, they know that this is not something I can get on board with. For me it will never make sense but for the simple fact that we are not immortal, we will live, we will die, the time we have left is not predetermined just a matter of time. The loss of a child is for me the hardest thing I can imagine, knowing my mother has gone through that, that one of my co-workers is still struggling with that is beyond my comprehension and one reason I’m OK with not having kids. I have been good up to this point putting one foot in front of the other but if I had a child and I had to go through that, it would unravel me, for this I am sure.

Many of us who are helping a friend or loved one through a loss it’s an odd role but extremely gratifying and important. I like to think that my past losses give me a unique perspective I know that there will never be the “right thing to say” that you shouldn’t force the conversation. I listen, I laugh, and as I did today with Crystal I reminded her that it’s ok to be pissed off, it’s ok to not understand what the heck just happened, it’s OK to tell a person whom your not close with that it’s not really the best time to come and talk to you. Crystal told me today that she was thankful for the chance to say goodbye to her friend, I’m so proud of how strong Crystal is even if she doesn’t see it in herself at this moment.

Random writings inspired by “642 Things To Write About” part 3


So for today I asked my brother-in-law John to open’er up and pick a page. He picked a very interesting page with 3 questions on it.

1) You are a brand-new suicide-hotline counselor. Describe how you feel during the course of your first call

I have read this questions a few times and the first thought that comes to mind is panic. To be entrusted to talk to a person going though that amount of pain, but to have the strength to call for help would be huge responsibility. I’m not sure I can really answer this, I know that these programs provide extensive training and I think I would rely on that. I’m a naturally good listener and good at making people laugh, I would hope to be able to connect on a human level. To be able to be the sounding board that person needed at that exact time. I know that I would not make them feel small or stupid, I would try to help them see what is good about them, try to find the one tiny thing that went right on that day, even if it was calling for help. My win would be if I got them to crack a smile or even a laugh, my fear of failure would prevent me from ever being in this position. Again amazing volunteers who man those lines deserve some highest honours anyone can get.

If YOU reading this ever need to reach out please don’t be afraid to message me, I’m not a stranger and I’m here to help. there are other great organizations as well. On Wednesday I will be talking more about this as I will be promoting Bell Let’s Talk Day.

2) Do you have a superstition? What is it, why do you have it, and how do you follow it?

This is the specific question john focused on after flipping through the pages for a bit. Not sure why because I really don’t have any superstitions. I do have a few quirks that my close friends know about but not superstitions. So guess I will reveal my quirks, no judging ok? First is that I hate to take a shower right after someone, anyone. If I know my sister is going for a shower I need to get in before her, or John. The way the bathroom gets all steamy and inside the shower is all wet really just makes me feel weird. I know that they are my family and I love them, I do (LOVE YOU CRYSTAL) it’s just something inside me that just doesn’t like it. My other quirk is socks….I will not wear another pair of socks someone else owns. I also know my own socks just by putting them on and how they feel. If I’m at a friends house and my feet get cold and they don’t have a blanket or slippers I will just stay with my feet cold. I will wear my sister Crystal’s sock in a pinch but i would prefer not to. Again I know it’s weird, I know they are clean…just weird.. And my last quirk is with lettuce, if I think about it or handle it my jaw automatically clenches. No idea why, I have no aversion to lettuce just have this automatic reaction. Do you have any quirks or superstitions?

3) Explain to your boss why you spent $5000 during one business meeting and why he should reimburse you.

I had to go out and impress these new clients, they were offering us a huge contract and I couldn’t seem desperate to them, that we REALLY needed their contract to keep us afloat. I wined, and dined them and rented a helicopter for an hour to take a tour of the area. They have never been to this part of the world so I thought what better way to get them relaxed before our dinner then to share a potentially life threatening excursion. We laughed, we bonded, and we ended with a great dinner with some really great food and wine, oh and they really appreciated that 16 year old single malt we gifted to them! They are totally on board with what we can offer, and as we sit here debating my methods I believe you should have the papers coming through now!

I had a rough day!



One of the questions I get asked most is “How many surgeries have you had?” To be honest, I’m not actually sure but I thought today I would list the ones I remember. Also will talk about the lovely procedure I had today which might be on the top of the worst things ever list!

1) Jaw reconstruction #1

One of the earliest memories I have is being home after my first attempt at fixing my jaw. I know it was during the summer months because I don’t remember being bundled up or any snow. I remember being in the hospital getting special treatment from the staff. I remember what 8C of Hospital For Sick Children used to look like, the smells and such. What I don’t remember is the actual procedure or any pain. I remember being home an having to take lots of medication and a weird memory of my mom telling my older sister that I had an infection and would have to go back to have the reconstruction undone. I was seven at the time.

2) Rhinoplasty #1 (aka nose job)

I’m not 100% sure how old I was but before I had the procedure I remember Dr. Posnik and my mom asking me what would I like to change most. I had no answer for them, I think I said I didn’t really care, or I said my jaw. Little did I know they had already decided what was going to be on the agenda and I think they wanted me to have a sense of control. I was a pretty smart kid and didn’t buy it one bit! Dr. Posnik asked if I would like my noes done, my mom responded saying “yeah wouldn’t you like to be able to breathe better?” I’m almost positive I shrugged and said “I guess”, knowing full well the decision wasn’t mine. I don’t remember the procedure although i think I remember walking to and being in the OR. It was a long stay in the hospital they didn’t just do the procedure and send me home I stayed until I was fully recovered. One of the strongest memories i have of this stay is meeting a girl I think around my age named Tarra Stevenson, I have a picture somewhere but I can’t remember where I put it. It’s of the 2 of us in her bed with crazy plastic top hats on that we had just finished decorating with stickers. I had a cast on my face, yes an actual, honest to goodness cast like what they put on your arm when you break it. If anyone has had a cast on you know how heavy they can be, now imagine that on your face…I remember having the hardest time lifting my head. I blame some of my current neck problems on that thing. The other very strong memory is having a catheter taken out, it had been in for some time and I was suffering from burning sensation and pain. Of course I didn’t say anything but it got really bad on the day they were taking it out so I just held my pee in, mom and the nurses asked if I wanted to use it just before they took it out and I lied right to their faces and said I was good! They took it out, it hurt, they left my room and I told mom to help me off the bed so I could use the bathroom! She gave me heck for not saying anything but I didn’t care at that age I was already good at sucking it up and not saying anything. Tara got to go home before me, and I remember changing rooms to one further away from the nurses desk, I also played with a group of older patients and we got in trouble for making too much noise. It was one of the best times I’ve had. I never got the chance to play a lot with other kids while at home so I really enjoyed myself.

med 2

3) Jaw reconstruction #2

This one happened when I was 16, I was just finishing up grade 9 and was exempt from all final exams because the date of my surgery was at the end of the school year. It was on my sister’s birthday June 10th, 1996!There were days, and days of preperation for this one. My mom and I were in Toronto a lot and had to stay sometimes for a week, this was before Ronald McDonald house so we stayed at the hostel located across the and down the street from the hospital. They had a safe in the room where parents could leave their personal belongings locked up however it appears the staff were a bit shady because during one of the days we were there someone got into the safe (must have had a key there was NO signs of forced entry) and stole all the money my mom had in it. I’m not sure if she ever got it back, I also remember babysitting some of the younger kids while my mom and some of the other moms went to Honest Ed’s.

In those days you generally went the night before got admitted however I can’t remember if I did go the night before or if we got there really, really early in the morning. Everyone was there, my sister, and my mom. Since the first reconstruction failed they decided to take the tibula from my left leg due to it having it’s own blood supply and reshape it to a graft. I was in the ICU for about 4 or 5 days, I only remember bits and pieces and I’m pretty sure I had some weird hallucinations. I had an NG tube and was on a ventilator, I was so swollen I wasn’t able to open my eyes for a good few days but I don’t remember having a lot of pain. The only painful thing I do remember when being in the ICU was my left heel really hurt for some reason the had asked if I was in pain and I was able to write and tell them. I heard them say that the drainage tube shouldn’t be causing that paid. I had about 5 drainage tubes, on on on the bottom of my leg, one on the top part of where they took the bone, just below the knee, one on the right side of my ribs where they took cartilage, and a couple in my head and neck area. I had so much wanted to see my sister Crystal, I had wrote asking to see her but because she was also a minor they wouldn’t let her in so I had to suffer with writing notes to her however I was on some good pain killers and it took a lot out of me to write. I was happy to get the breathing tube out and that meant after another day or so in the ICU I was allowed to go up to a room. This is after Sick Kids had renovated so I got a nice room all to myself where my mom could stay in the room with me. She stayed as much as she could but she was not there every day. My sister was able to come visit me now which was nice and she brought her good friend (now my good friend) Becky with her, I remember going downstairs for MOCHA JAVA!! I was in the middle of a sentence when I fell asleep when I woke up only Crystal was there with me and told me Becky had to go. I had to get up and start walking which was nice but with a splint on my leg and my ribs bandaged up it was slow going but every day I set a goal to walk normally with the splint and I met those goals. The last drainage tube to come out was one near my head they gave me morphine before they did it, it didn’t hurt but felt so weird I asked to have it done again, we all had a good laugh. The rib area I will say was the most painful thing, even with all the pain killers I could still feel that so anytime I hear that someone has / had a broken or bruised rib I wince because I know that hurts SO bad! I was starting to think I should be a nurse around this time because one night a nurse gave me liquid Tylenol through my NG tube instead of just letting me take it orally, I told her that wasn’t the way to do it and warned her it wouldn’t end well but she thought she knew better and did it anyways. It didn’t take too much time for me to bring it back up, I called for help when I knew I was going to vomit but it wasn’t the same idiot nurse who made the mistake as I hoped it would as having to vomit through a small hole…well..I’m sure you can imagine it wasn’t pretty. While in my room one night the friend of another patient came in with home made cookies (his friend’s story is for another day) he probably should have given them to the nurse to distribute because not everyone would be allowed to have one (including me) but he didn’t and i gladly accepted, knowing fully well I wasn’t allowed since I was on a clear fluid diet at the time. I hid the cookie under the blankets and took tiny pieces off and shoved them in the hole that they leave you when your mouth is wired shut. I was in the hospital for about a month I want to say, I remember getting home and it was still summer, I remember going to the Multicultural festival here and having to carry wire cutters just in case of an emergency and lots of towels because I was always drooling. I got the wires out just before we took a trip (the fastest trip ever) to BC in August, we drove to BC stayed for like 2 days and drove all the way back, the days we spent there were awesome but not the greatest vacation ever!

4) Exploration operation

After the trip or before the trip to BC I can’t remember exactly i noticed that I wasn’t able to keep my balance as good, I was falling over and just unsteady. It came to a head when one morning getting up from eating breakfast I wanted to go one way and found myself against the wall in the opposite direction and the result was i broke one of my mom’s faviourte statue elephants, felt so bad. My mom made an appointment and I was seen by the ENTs at the hospital, after one hearing test they thought maybe I had too much wax in my ears so they took care of that and I did a second hearing test. The results were not that great so they had me come back so they could explore my inner ear. I went home the same day and it was determined that the graft they put in essentially made me deaf in my left ear as it had closed off the ear canal. Nothing could be done.

5) undoing jaw reconstruction #2

Over the course of months from June 1996 until November 1996 I went back to school, and thought everything was good, back to my old routine and looking forward to moving from our apartment to a really awesome town house and being allowed to stay at the same high school. It meant taking 2 public buses to school everyday but I was ok with that. I’m not sure who noticed the infection first, I know I didn’t feel like crap, I felt good however we noticed an unusual growth on the left side of my face that wasn’t getting any smaller. My plastic surgeon was called, and just after my classmate informed me I was leaking (the growth started oozing out nasty stuff) then the phone rang in my class advising me my ride to Toronto was there to pick me up. We got to Sick Kids in the early afternoon went right to 8C where my surgeon was waiting for me. We went to a treatment room on the ward used for burn patients he took one look at me and informed me I wasn’t going anywhere…I had not expected this, I had NO clothes, no PJs, nothing, just my school bag. He told me that the graft had once again failed, that my body was absorbing/rejecting it and he would have to go in and fix it. The next morning i had surgery to fix it but no ICU stay this time. and a short 1 week stay in hospital where everyday twice a day I had packing taken out and put back in from a hole at the side of my head. i was given morphine after the first time it was taken out the day after the procedure where the nurse cursed the doctor for really packing it in and when she yanked it out I cried it hurt so much. I got morphine before they went a head and tried to put new packing in and got morphine every time after that until it was healed enough for me to go home. I went back to school and every day after school a VON nurse came over to change the packing. The good thing about this procedure was that I missed the moving completely, when I went in to hospital I was living at one address when I came home I was living at another without having to do anything, well I had to unpack the boxes that were in my room but that wasn’t too bad. It was also the first time I spent 1 week by myself with no visitors I was the most boring week ever!

6) Septo-rhinoplasy

A few years after my jaw I started having a lot of sinus pain so I had to have my deviated septum repaired they also decided it would be a good idea to do another nose job! The day before the procedure my mom got a call that it had to be rescheduled because of an emergency case so I had to wait a few months I think however my condition go worse and the day after I went for a final consult and them pressing on my nose so bad, I became the emergency case. My face had swelled up and I had to put ice on my face. I was working at Tim Horton’s at the time and going to university, I had the procedure done on a Thursday, my Aunt took me and stayed until I was done and came back home relaxed for the weekend and was back to work and school on the Monday. It was near Halloween so I decided to use it as part of my Halloween costume at work and dressed up as a hippie and told customers that my character was beat up by police. Most of the customers thought it was just part of my costume..alas it was not! One of the first classes I went back to was with a professor who always came off as a bit cold, and uninterested. I always sat at the front because I can’t hear well or see well so when he came in that day he did a double take, stopped in his tracks and came over to ask if I was alright. I told him what had happened and called me crazy for being there but was always super nice to me after that day!

I’ve had other minor things done after this including having my sinus drained and deviated septum repaired again but these are the ones that I remember that were pretty intense. I had a lot of procedures as a baby that I have not much knowledge on.


Today I had to have the very back molar on my left side removed and had to go to an oral surgeon because my regular dentist didn’t feel safe trying to take the sucker out. I’ve had teeth taken out before (2) one at Sick Kids when I was younger with the use of “laughing gas” and the other at my normal dentist office with just normal freezing, both went well with very little pain. Today was a whole new level of pain / torture… I went in he froze me up but because of my anatomy they always have to put way more freezing then they think they will need so the number of needle pokes is really not fun and they were very painful. I thought that would be the worst of it, I was oh so wrong, he did warn me it wouldn’t be easy because of where it was, because I couldn’t open my mount very wide, and because the roots of the tooth were unusually long. It was seriously one of the worst things I’ve been through and that’s saying something, it was even worse than the time my mom accidentally pulled on my NG tube and ripped out a stitch, it was way more painful than the recovery of my ribs from the surgery I had to fix my jaw! After he worked on it for a bit and got most of it out he stopped, he told me that there was a small part of the tooth still in and he wanted an x-ray. After the X-ray was ready to view the brought it in to show me and informed me that he didn’t want to take any more out. Because of the 2 failed bone grafts what jaw bone I have in that area is very thin, he was very worried that he would fracture my jaw if he continued and he wants the part where the tooth was taken in to fill in and see how I heal to decide if the rest can stay in or has to come out. I asked him about the one wisdom tooth that I have if it’s safe or would need to come out I didn’t get a straight answer but he did say it would be way easier than the tooth he just took out that. He informed me that the one he just took out was the hardest one to come out of my mouth. It has finally stopped bleeding after almost 12 hours and I’m keeping up with the T3s I was given so I’m feel much better as I write this than I did earlier today!


This is most of the tooth that was taken out. As you can see a good chuck was missing.


In the waiting room after I was done, I noticed this artwork! It did make me laugh!