3 things that make me smile

Square: top left Daka, top right Dorje, bottom right Ellie, bottom right paw with the words “I love my dogs”

Three things that make me smile

1) Daka

2) Dorje

3) Ellie

Well that was a short blog post. See you all tomorrow.

Just kidding, today’s idea comes to us by my friend Steve. Who asked me to write about the 3 things that make me smile. As I laid in bed last night thinking about what I would write I was met with a wall of anxiety. But not for the reasons you might be assuming. I wasn’t worried about how I would only choose 3. I was worried about finding anything to write about. Contrary to what you might think what lives in my head are dark echos, darkness of many kinds. This makes finding specific things hard. I’m taking a a broad approach to these three things. They encompass the true things that make me smile.

In no specific order here are my picks for the three things that make me truly smile.

Image belongs to: https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/616099743/i-love-animals

I Smile for: Animals

It shouldn’t be a surprise this is one. A look at my social media and you will see three puppers frequently front and centre. When I am having a rough day these three dogs are my connection. But I love all animals. I don’t see any animal as “ugly” I love cats, otters, birds all the animals. I love searching out funny and cute animal videos. I recently found a Buzzfeed twitter handle devoted to animals and LOVE losing myself in their short cute videos. It sponsored but here is their handle. https://mobile.twitter.com/adorably?lang=en

Every time I see a special needs animal not getting adopted I want to rescue them. There are many breeds of dogs and cats I would love in my life. Bylaws here in Waterloo Region prevent me from having more than 3 dogs. Which I guess is ok but if it didn’t exist I’d prob have more dogs. I have more love to give.

I Smile for: altruism

I love giving. Whether it’s my time or buying something for someone (or animals). I enjoy surprising my sister when I can with something that she wants. I love being able to get things for friends and always want to give. I got a lot of personal satisfaction from volunteering and hope to get back to it. However right now (not Covid related) I can’t. I’m just so exhausted that I can’t provide the time I want to various causes. I donate money when I can to various charities and GoFundMe campaigns. Giving, making others smile or in some small way blighting their day fills me with purpose and never fails to make me smile.

Blades of grass.

I Smile for: Scents

This one might be a surprise to some. Those who really know me know just how sensitive I am to scents. Most scents will trigger a migraine, make me nauseous or give me sinus pain that stays for days. However there are a number of scents that when I smell them truly make me smile. Dress cut grass, fresh baked bread, lumber, my puppies after they’ve been groomed. A few perfumes I can still wear are White Musk from The Body Shop, Pleasures from Estée Lauder and Happy from Clinique. A really nice wine and a good dinner are also scents that genuinely make me smile.

Did these surprise you? What are the three things that make you smile.

Food is fuel

Another blog idea from the awesome Becky. All about some of my fav recipes. Please if you want me to write about something please leave a comment below.

I’m not the worlds best cook. To be honest if I lived alone I’d most like order in most days. I don’t mind cooking but I even ok not cooking. My sister also hates cooking but she is dang good at it and is the one that primarily cooks in our house. I tend to act as her sous chef, doing as I’m told.

Like most households we tend to have a set of rotating meal ideas and for the most part don’t venture too far from that. We are a meat and potatoes family but we love Asian influenced dishes. We are more likely to explore Japanese, Korean and Chinese flavours.

Tonight’s dinner was not those flavours. My sister and I made our chicken post pie and salad. This came from the one time I did make something all myself. One year after Christmas we had some turkey left over, as one does. And I searched for something to do with those leftovers. I found Jamie Oliver’s leek, bacon and turkey pot pie. So I got the stuffs to make it and made it. It was REALLY good. I made it again when my sister came and she loved it. We didn’t make it on the regular but when we moved to our house we remembered it and tried our version. And now we make our own version that isn’t hard, but is time consuming and tastes so good.

Pot pie with salad

I’m sad I can’t find the OG recipe from Jamie Oliver. But if you google “Jamie Oliver leftover leek” it will provide links to,other people who have recorded the recipe.

The most recent add to our dinners have been to do homemade pizzas. We make dough from scratch and allows us to more customize it. I can’t handle a ton of cheese so by making it ourselves I can control the cheese factor.

Cooked pizza with green olives, green peppers and pepperoni.

Baking is something my sister and I remember our mom doing quite a bit growing up. If she had spare time she was making pies, tarts, cakes or fudge. Mom’s baking was amazing. It’s also something my sister prefers to do. We do not do a lot but we love a good banana bread loaf or muffins, we love a yummy strawberry pie. Also lemon loaf is a staple since the first time we made it.

Classic lemon loaf

It’s so good. You should 100% make it and send me pictures if you do. I’ve made other loaves but the lemon is by far our favourite.

We don’t do a ton for breakfast or make anything specific for lunch either now that I’m thinking of it. We grab some toast or a bowl of cereal. Lunch is a sandwich, hot dogs or macaroni & cheese. Not very adventurous.

We have only ordered in a couple of times other than coffee which we’ve been doing as a weekly treat on Sunday’s.

Do you have recipes that you make on the reg? What are your staples.

We all have a poop story

Poop emoji

Today’s post comes from my friend Becky who texted me a few ideas. One was titled “Storytelling” she followed it up saying should be a “fun, sad or embarrassing story. So looking to bring some light to your day wanted to share my funny poop stories.

I’ve been thinking on and off about writing a book and had this idea that these stories would be placed smack dab in the middle of the book. For the same reason, to add some levity. The book I envisioned is heavier in nature dealing with my life and insecurities so having a funny middle book would be a nice resting spot. So without further ado let me embarrass myself.

Story #1: don’t take candy from strangers

You learn from an early age to NOT accept anything edible from strangers. I have no doubt my mom said this. But being a kid that was always around adults who were strangers who did offer me things for which my mom never took away I got some mixed messages.

The scene: sister and I sitting on a giant tire swing on the playground of our school. I was probably in grade one. I was a tiny, tiny kid. I was usually older than the kids in same grade but half the size. I remember sitting on the swing feet never touching the ground. My sister would have to help me get on the swing. We were just sitting on the swing and these older kids come up to us. They were not adults most likely teenagers that didn’t go to our school. Our school faced the street and it’s easy for strangers to interact with the kids. Sadly I can’t find a picture of what the playground used to look like. They came up to us asking if we wanted a piece of chocolate. I said yes and promptly ate it. My sister had taken one but smarty decided not to eat it. I remember saying “if you don’t want it I will take it” and I did, and I ate it. If you don’t see where this is going….I don’t know what to say. I ate two whole squares of what I’m sure was exlax. I don’t remember much of the rest of the day. I know I had a number of accidents. One of my most vivid memories was after school. Clearly the school called my mom but my mom didn’t get me early. Instead I walked from the side of the school to the back. Attached to the back of our school was an entrance to the back of the gym and a set of stairs. On those stairs sat my older sister and my mom. I walked over shyly, as soon as they saw me both of them burst out laughing. We lived in a house right beside the back of the school so wasn’t a long walk home which was nice. That laughter still stuck in my head. Needles to say I learned the hard way NOT to take candy from strangers.

Story #2: I blame the meds

Front of Sick Kids hospital in Toronto

I had major surgery in 1996 when I was 16. After getting out of the ICU and having been in my room for a bit. Being independent and knowing how hard nurses work I though I could take care of myself. So when I had to go the bathroom I didn’t call for a nurse. I got my feet over the edge. I stood up and things just lined up and I shat myself. I was so mad at myself I cried as I called the nurse. She was super sweet and helped me clean up.

Story #3: The trouble with Tim Bits

Timbit character

I’m not sure the exact year this happened but was not more than 15 years ago. I lived about a 5 minute walk from the local neighbourhood Tim Horton’s coffee shop. One evening as I often did I decided to walk and grab a coffee for my mom and I. I decided at the last minute to grab a couple of chocolate glazed Timbits. I was feeling ok, just as I got to Tim Horton’s I had felt some rumbling but ignored it. Got my order and went on my way. The Timbits were fresh, indeed still warm. As I transitioned from the parking lot pavement to the concrete of the sidewalk, something off happened. My tummy rumbled and well….they emptied. Walked home in my soiled jeans. Soon as I got in the house I called for my mommy like I never had before.

Well that’s it those are my poopy pants stories. I hope you enjoyed them and laughed alongside me as I wrote them. These are just a few embarrassing stories. If you want to know more or think I should actually write a memoir let me know.

Canadian eh!

Canadian flag on a pole.

Problem with setting a goal to write every day means I run out of ideas. My life isn’t exciting to write about every day so I crowd sourced some ideas. Today’s came from an awesome Twitter follower who wanted to know “Things that people elsewhere misunderstood about Canada?” I asked her if she had any specific questions and I love her question. So today’s blog post I’m going to try and answer her question (listed below).

I’m by far not the only one to write about this. Or talk about this. In fact one of my fav YouTubers is putting together a Podcast exploring this very topic. They are releasing it next Tuesday so I will link to it when I can.

I live in Waterloo, part of the region of Waterloo in the province of Ontario. I do say sorry and eh a lot, sorry. I also love poutine and maple syrup. Winter sucks!

The question posed by Belinda on Twitter is “How do Canadians draw Canada with all those islands” she was referring to growing up in school. I had to think but I’m almost positive I never had to actually draw Canada. We were always given maps that were printed out. We coloured them and had to identify the province, territories and capitals. Now I kind of want to try to draw that. If you want to see that let me know, I will make a YouTube video with that.

One of the things most joked about when people talk about Canada is how NICE we are how polite we are. I don’t know where this came from but if I had to take a guess and NOT google it I would say we are a nation that welcomes people. We have a history of being open to those in need. I’m sure the reputation is well founded but not entirely true. There are plenty of people who are assholes. I just need to go out in public to prove this.

Some weird random things I can think to mention are:

~ In Ontario where I live our milk comes in bags. Why you ask? Well it’s better for the environment. I like having bagged milk my sister does not.

~ Our $1 and $2 comes as coins. The $1 is known as a Loonie and the $2 is known as a Toonie. We also did away with the penny since it cost more to make than it was worth.

Loonie & Toonie. Which may have been my nickname in middle school.

~ Our healthcare isn’t “free”. We do have what is called Universal Healthcare. This means a portion of our taxes goes to supporting healthcare. Having Universal Healthcare is absolutely amazing. When I visit my neurologist, respirologist, or local ER I don’t leave worrying about a bill in the mail. If an ambulance is required it’s about $40. Medication is not covered nor is services such as massage therapy, optometrists, chiropractor and the like. A tweak to this optometrist are covered for kids 16 and under, seniors 65 and older or if you have specific medical conditions. My visits are covered, I go once a year, most go once every two years. Most employers will offer benefits which reduce cost of medications, cover portion of other services. My employer covers $200 every two year for eye glasses and a decent lump sum to divide amongst other services. There are exceptions for seniors over 65 getting government support, they pay between $0.11-$6.11 per prescription in Ontario but pay $100 yearly deductible. Other programs exists to help those in need.

~ In Canada we differentiate between University and College. Mostly you go to collage for more trades or certificate level trainings but not always. It used to be Nursing was offered at colleges that’s still the case but there is more connection with a University for a degree instead of a diploma or certificate. University is for degree programs. We don’t use their term collage for all/any post secondary school education.

~ There is no where in Canada that minimum wage is lower than $11.

Map of Canada where min wage is shown by province.

I’m a very proud Canadian. There are lots of things to like but I wouldn’t sugar coat the bad. This land was taken from the indigenous population and the treatment of our indigenous lands and people is nothing to celebrate. We have a lot of work to do to make up for that.

If there is something specific about Canada you want to know just leave a comment below. Maybe a part 2 will be required.

Draw me like one of those Facebook avatars

An online friend Carly who is a published author and overall amazing human recently reached out to me. She wanted to know my opinion on filters used by various social media platform. I won’t share here what I shared with her but once she published what she is writing I will link it. Whatever she says is going to be what I think, just written 1000 times better.

Her questions did get me thinking about something else that has been becoming more of a trend. Those custom avatars. A lot of my FB friends have been posting them. I’ve enjoyed seeing them. However I do kind of feel left out. I can’t get one to look like me. Because as with anything to do with these, they are not friendly to those with differences.

Facebook avatar vs. Me

Yes, I know these things might be trivial for you. Not a big deal, not worth my time. I’m not overreacting or being childish. With how fast technology is developing I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that in 2020 I wouldn’t still fell like I’m in school being shunned.

When technology doesn’t include everyone it’s failing. Those with disabilities are always the last thought, an afterthought or at worse not given any thought. That’s how I feel when I see my friends posting their cute avatars that they’ve created. They are sharing them and using them in every day interactions. I’m just as always on the outside looking in.

Please don’t take this to mean I don’t think people shouldn’t use them. Have fun. Share them, I love seeing how cute you would be in a cartoon. I don’t need or want anyone’s pity. I just for once want companies to provide a more inclusive experience.

It’s the same when I try to use the Animojis or Memojis through Apple. It can’t really track my face and the end result does nothing for my self esteem.

As soon as Apple announced that these would be a feature I instantly knew they would be useless to me. There isn’t a way to get them to work I’m a way that makes me smile. Again it’s a random silly little thing and yet it angers me. Makes me sad and is something I’ve thought about going to the Apple store to actually complain about. But my better sense comes along and I go about my day.

I use facial recognition to unlock my phone and I can tell you the process for that was about what I expected. To this day when I use it it’s at odd angles that I notice my sister and her BF don’t have to use. In some cases mine lets me unlock my phone from quite a distance which isn’t half bad. It makes me wonder what surveillance type facial recognition would see me as. Would it dismiss my face as little more than white noise?

Me looking straight on camera with my Memoji.

What tech do you get frustrated with?

Covid-19 My experience

I’m off work this week, a staycation, cause you know, reasons. I have a few goals and one of them is to try and to do a blog post a day. Fingers crossed, thoughts and prayers.

Tonight I wanted to talk about my experience during this very odd time we are in.

We, like the rest of the world first heard about this new virus in early January. Canada had its first confirmed case of of Covid-19 on January 15th, 2020. Sooner than most countries, including the states which wouldn’t see its first case until January 19th. Public heath told us that we shouldn’t worry, wasn’t any evidence that this new virus was easily transferable from person to person. I don’t think I gave it much thought at all. In early February I got a call from a friend that sounded more alarm than anything we heard before. We took that warning with a grain of salt but we did heed it and did stock up on some items.

In late February I had to take a trip to my Neurologist‘s office in Toronto. I travelled in crowded conditions both to and from. I answered a questionnaire asking pointed questions. Reminding me a lot like what happened during SARS some many years before (2003). I will need to admit that I was annoyed. I did sit beside an older lady who was coughing. Which I’d be lying if that didn’t give me pause as I was answering those few questions. But again I didn’t think much about it.

In the first week of March I had to go to my optometrist’s office to get a hair plucked out of my eyeball. At this point it was clear this virus wasn’t to be ignored. There was real fear. I remember taking public transit but being extremely careful not to touch any surface. I was very proud of the fact I didn’t touch anything other than my bum to seat and used my jacket to pull the cord to get off. Got home washed my hands and that was it.

On March 16th I noticed I wasn’t feeling well. My throat was sore and I had developed a fever. Knowing this might be nothing or something I didn’t say anything to my sister. I managed to work my shift on the Tuesday but as the day wore on I knew I couldn’t ignore my symptoms. I contacted my local Public Health Department. I spoke with a lovely person who took my info and said I would be contacted if I would need to be tested. I was then told to self-isolate. I told my manager than I told my sister. That wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have. After finishing my work day, I began a long two+ weeks alone in my tiny AF bedroom.

I had a fever for much of those two weeks. I slept most of the time and barely ate. I coughed a ton and had more than one night where my coughing kept me awake. There were times I’d cough so hard I’d bring up the little water I drank. It wasn’t a fun time.

The first few days I waited to hear from public health. I was also in contact with my family doctor. Public heath got back to me via email, they would state that due to the lack of testing kits, I would not be tested. To this day some almost 3 months later I don’t know if I contracted Covid-19 but based on the fact my lungs are still not healed my respirologist is pretty confident I did. I’m now on two daily inhalers which I take every 6 hours and recently had to take prednisone for 5 days just to get the inflammation under control. I don’t know the exact nature of the damage my lungs suffered and might be some time until I do. It sucks.

My health is just one aspect of how Covid-19 has impacted my life. Mom hasn’t been able to go to her day program on Wednesday’s which has meant my sister and I get no real respite. When we have our PSW we used to be able to go out, have coffee but now we either stay home or got for a walk. Getting groceries has been a challenge as it has been for everyone.

Image Credits
Copyright: (c) Sergio Yoneda | Dreamstime.com

It’s now recommended that one wears a face mask when distancing can’t be observed. Well I’ve had a hard time getting some. I’ve ordered from two places one in early April and one early May and so far, nothing. I wish I had my dream sewing machine so I could make a customized one to fit me. But as someone with a facial difference with severe asthma I’m not keen on them. Facial masks are made for the population who are normal, I’m not that. I have the head the size of a four year old. I assume I will be knitting an ear saver, not to save my ear but to ensure I can tighten the masks. Fingers crossed the masks I ordered show up soon. Also fingers crossed Lysol wipes are not so hard to get, I have senior dogs one of whom is not above doing his business of the floor and I need more to help clean up the mess.

We are at the point where things are going to slowly reopen. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I think it’s too soon. I don’t think we will adjust what we have been doing.

On the topic of masks, I’m seeing an awful lot of mask shamming. Whereby people are being AHoles to anyone not wearing one. Here’s the thing I’ve always been one to mind my own business. Unless there is a danger to someone else or anything like that, I don’t people watch and try to judge someone for what they do. I have a feeling when I do get out more and if I can’t wear a mask imma going to have a hard time with people. I doubt very much I will be able to safely wear a mask. I think it’s going to be like herd immunity. As long as the majority of people wear one it will help those few of us who can’t. People to that will than tell me I have no business being out in public then. Damn that sounds familiar, that’s what disabled people have faced since the dawn of time. We are always forced in to darkness and kept indoors, being told we are not welcome because we are different. Well, I’m not having that. I have JUST as much right to be out in public as anyone else. I will not be held up in my home when I need to go out. Of course that means more when things are opened up. Not quite at this point where everyone is still staying indoors. So please if you see someone without a mask just keep going about your day.

What has changed for you.

See you tomorrow!