Listening to one of my fav Podcasts (Distractible also available on Spotify) and the topic for their April 10th, 2023 selected by Wade was “Firsts” and seeing as I haven’t written a blog in a while I was inspired to right by my answers to the questions posed in this amazing episode. They do have a Reddit <insert link> so feel free to take a peak. I’d be interested to know some of your firsts so spam those in the comments. If they do another episodeI will do another blog because these are fun.

First Day Of School: I don’t think I’m alone in saying MOST of my memories from being in school have long since faded. Some memories peak through. I have a vague memory of visiting the classroom before school started. To meet the teacher and just know the space. I also remember being in class and playing with some of the kids at the water / sand table. I’m pretty sure this is pretty early in the school year because I missed most of that school year as I was in the hospital. I remember my first day of high school a bit clearer. The smell of the school and just walking not knowing if I would remember where things are, like my classes and such.

First Ever Performance: I have a solid memory of our Kindergarten Christmas concert. We were all dressed up as presents. So they took boxes wrapped them in fun wrapping paper put us in them and we went on stage and sang. I was the TINIEST student they had ever had; SO small. They had us go out biggest to smallest. I remember my box being wrapped in shiny silver wrapping paper. I remember going out on stage and everyone ooo-ing and aww-ing when I came out. If it was a contest for cutest, I won that hands down. I was fussed over and I remember loving the attention.

Cartoon style farm pic. Pigs, cow, a duck, and sheep are shown. Red barn with chickens in the background.

First School Trip: I don’t know if this was my first but it’s one that sticks out. Mostly for what happened. My first trip I remember was to a farm. The night before, my sister who is two years older but was only 1 year ahead of me in school was talking about when she went. Telling me about the animals or something, honestly don’t remember much of that convo. It was either the night before or the day of my sister decided to say“hope you don’t fall in manure!”. I had on my cute pink rain boots; and not sure what else. As a kid (heck even now) it didn’t take much for me to just kind of fall over. I wasn’t the most steady on my feet and almost always came home with a new goose egg on my head or scrape or some kind of injury. So it wasn’t a BIG shocker when I did end up tripping and falling straight in to cow do-do. I stunk to high heavens. I wasn’t well liked as a kid and this did NOTHING to help that. Even the teachers made me sit as far away from everyone for the rest of the day. We had lunch there and I sat at a table alone. I didn’t really attend any school trips after that.

First time you realized you didn’t like something about yourself: I’m going to take this in a similar direction as the guys did in the Podcast. It isn’t so much that as I was growing up I realized there was some aspect of how I was that I realized I didn’t like. It was more so that I came to the realization that I was different than everyone else. As I mentioned earlier I didn’t really have friends but it wasn’t until I was older that I understood why that was. Two memories / events stick out in my mind for this one; that REALLY hammered it home that I was different and the way in which I was different was profound. The earliest: when I was in grade school so grades 1-6 they would have dentists come in and give everyone a check-ups. I had a few and just sat there; I had been seeing someone at Sick Kids so I knew what to do and just again just sat there. The dentists were different each year from what I can recall because it went about the same every time. I don’t remember any specific words said by the dentists but I do remember mine taking the longest, and remember the feeling that they seemed to be confused. EVENTUALLY they just decided not to have me participate in these after the first few years since I was being taken care of by Sick Kids. The fact it took longer and then they just decided to exclude me made me feel “other”.

The other memory is more vivid. It was a realization that hit me like a lightening bolt and to this day still has me shaking my head. It was report card day. My sister and I had our respective cards out ready to hand to our mom. We were going to her place of work which we often did after school and stayed until she was done work. Sometimes it was dark out by the time we walked home. We were going up an escalator and we looked at each others report card. Sister had passed to the next grade; the word choice on mine was different. I realized it had always been different and it remained different every year from grade 1-6. Instead of saying “passed” or “failed”, mine said “placed”. Meaning that I didn’t “pass” but they were sure as heck not keeping me behind so they are deciding me to “place” me in the next grade. This was back in the day when they did keep kids behind grades if they felt it would be worth it. I don’t think they do this now which I find odd but hey what do I know. But on that upward escalator reading those words and realizing that word had appeared before I knew it meant I was different. It wasn’t until I was older that my mom told me they did it to get me through school as quickly as possible so that I wasn’t subjected to further bullying and ostracization from my peers. So instead of I don’t know DEALING with that they just saw fit to run me through grade school as quick as possible. I’m sure if my mom was a stay at home mom they may have pushed for her to home school me or if there was a “special” school they could have put me in maybe they would have. I don’t know but knowing on that day that I was “placed” that I didn’t EARN the right to advance to the next grade made me feel things about myself that I still grapple with to this day.

My dream to be a maker

All of my life one thing has been constant. My love of making things. When I was a kid that was art. I got really good at being able to draw what I saw. To the point that I would do any art for my sister for her homework. Loved colouring and being abstract with how we took on colouring pages. My sister and I had a giant metal tub thing that had a lid. We would each close our eyes grab a pencil crayon (coloured pencil) and colour a tiny part of our respectful pages. Then we would exchange our and colour a new small section. We would do this for hours. Neither of us had many friends (me less so) so we figured out how to have our own fun. I wish I had some of those colouring books with me.

As I got older I started drawing, and writing. In high school I took classes that let me explore my creative side. Art class remains my fav memories. Getting to do so many different types of art, Lino printing, silk screen, figure drawing, etc. If there was another class that I could explore art further I went all in. For an English class book report I spent hours drawing a map for the area in a book we read, teacher was so impressed he asked if he could keep it. I let him, it lives in my brain.

What I lacked in my youth was confidence, even though I got the most praise and positive feedback when I created something I still never felt I was good. Didn’t think it was so thing I could continue. Being poor it was also hard to keep up with it. As I got older my self confidence continued to fade.

As a full grown adult learning new things is not as easy, but proud that I’ve learned to knit (huge shout out and thanks to my friend Laura D.). Getting more comfy with complex patterns as I go, even if I am still slow AF. I’ve continued my creative writing, poems and such. I’ve enjoyed doing paintings of all kinds.

Why am I writing what could be described as word vomit? I dunno, I feel like we all have these aspirations, this other life we wish we could have. Where it’s not as easy as everyone says when they say “just go for it” or “do what you love”. For a lot of people going back to school, or just quitting their job to peruse their dreams, really isn’t realistic. Yet all over social media, what our friends say, the expectations we put on ourselves gives us a sense we are failing. When that isn’t the truth, we are surviving, putting one foot in front of the other because that’s all we know how to do. Branching out and doing what you love often has barriers too big to overcome, wanted to share this because I want others to relate to know they are not alone.

There are small steps that can help, for instance, I know the ability to get better means practicing and practicing and practicing some more. I’m guilty of not doing this. I get so exhausted just by existing it’s hard to take time out to do this. I’ve pushed myself this past year to do more creative endeavours, painting more, knitting more and when the inspiration strikes, writing . Heck I even had an amazing idea for an animated short film!

I wish I had the ability to make a living by creating things. I would love to try my hand a pottery, I wish I had a bigger space to do paintings. Which I could afford to buy better paints and other materials. I really want to get a sewing machine, and get my basement in order to create a space to create.

Anywho those are just my thoughts and dreams. What are you thinking about today?

2022 Year in Review

I’ve been quiet on here. 2022 has not been a great year in this household. I’m not confident that 2023 will be any better. I know people see the new year as a new beginning, I’m much more pragmatic, it’s going to be much the same. I can’t honestly name one fun or extinguish that happened this year. The only good thing I can say is that I’m still employed and can for the most part still pay the bills.

2022 started with a loss, my senior pup Daka passed in Jan and I haven’t recovered. He followed his son who passed in Nov 2021. In March our Ellie came down with something and we spent most of 2022 struggling to get her to eat. I’m happy to report that although still sometimes a struggle she has improved. Sure she misses Daka and Dorje, she is a very senior pup herself so we are loving on her every day.

Daka in the background Dorje in the front. Miss my babies so much

June I had an endoscopy which didn’t reveal any bombshells but it was not pleasant. July saw me having to have a few teeth taken out at the hospital, since they didn’t do the hard way right off the bat I was left to suffer with tooth pain for SIX weeks. Leaving me to have to do it again in late Aug which had me react to the meds, have an asthma attack and netted me a two night stay in hospital. At least the teeth are out.

Shortly after I got home and recovered our mom ended up in the hospital. She stayed for about a week, about a month later I was in the ER with her, which wasn’t fun, she didn’t have to stay which was good, we got ho,e pretty late. About another month or so after that she landed back in the hospital spending a few days in the ICU. Was a very scary time. She came home and so far has avoided the hospital since, we shall see how long that lasts.

Had the first in person appointment with my Neurologist as I had some issues with my hands and legs. Had normal MRI and was fine, he did a physical assessment and def came to the conclusion something isn’t right. So I won myself another MRI of my spine in Jan. Currently I often drop things, do not have the same feeling in my hands and face I used to. I have always had sensitive teeth but now I don’t feel much, have to be extra careful when eating or drinking hot things. Makes eating ice cream handy. I have issues with walking, if I got at a faster pace I have to THINK about walking my legs don’t move as they used to.

In November my Uncle died, didn’t get a chance to visit him before hand and I’m sure my cousins are cross with me because of that. I. Cross with myself. Miss him so much he was a big teddy bear and such a kind human.

To round out 2022, we all ended up sick. Sister got COVID and stayed at an provincially funded isolation centre (a hotel) where she could rest. Mom and I seemed to get the same strain of cold. So while I had my period and a cold I had to take care of mom, not get paid for 3 days and lose out on a monthly work bonus of about $650 which I could have used. The cold has also made my back issues worse, my lower back now requires multiple times, daily extra strength Advil but that only helps for short periods, really can’t wait to see the Jan MRI.

I hope your 2022 was much more positive. Happy to see 2022 go.


Coffee & Cats

I asked on Twitter what I should write about. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted a blog and I wasn’t sure what best to write about. I tend to write when the mod strikes me, when I have an idea or a rant. But I DO feel like writing, just a little light on what to write about. The only response was from someone who suggested “Coffee and Cats”. So here we are; a random blog about coffee and cats.

I DO really love coffee; I was introduced to tea first; at an early age. I was probably 9 or 10; I remember we were at my aunts house and she offered to make my sister and I a cup. With milk and sugar; being young I liked it on the sweeter side but still loved the taste of tea. I remember my mom protesting to my aunt; but my aunt had this way of shutting my mom down and my aunt got her way. From then on we drank tea at her place. I’m sure we started drinking it at home not long after. Unlike tea I’m don’t remember my first cup of coffee; I just remember somehow just drinking at some point. Pretty sure like my tea I drank it on the sweeter side; double double. For all you non-Canadian readers this means 2 cream and 2 sugar. As I got older I realized I wasn’t in to cream, it was kind of gross to me so I switched to milk. I went to 2 milk, 1 sugar. This is pretty much still my standard coffee order when I’m out for a normal coffee. When I’m at home and I make a normal cup of Joe I actually don’t put sugar in. I drink it with just some milk (lactose free milk). As I mentioned I DO love coffee so I do enjoy the fancy stuffs. The lates, cappuccinos, Americano, all that jazz. If I can get it with lactose free milk all the better; otherwise regular milk will do. I’m not a fan of any nut milks so I tend to suffer for what I love. We have here at home a few different coffee machines; (ok we have 3…geez don’t judge me). So we can enjoy a normal coffee or go all out and be fancy AF (which we do love to do). What I don’t love about coffee…glad you asked, I really dislike flavoured coffees or artificial, chemically tasting flavour liquids. I also will and can drink it black but find that really makes my GERD harder to deal with so a tad of milk is <chef’s kiss>. That’s pretty much my view of coffee. I love getting coffee as a gift or gift cards for places like Starbucks or Tim Horton’s. What is your fav coffee place and or how do you like your coffee?

Now on to cats (this is prob going to be a short blog). I LOVE CATS! OMG they are such crazy little beings. I love rescue kitties the best but if I could have a specific breed I’d really love to adopt a rug hugger of a Munchkin; have you seen one? They are so stinking cute. I’m not sure I told the story of my cat I had when I was a kid. I’m not sure we really asked for one, lord knows my mom wouldn’t have let us. What happened was we went do a pet store, no clue why; someone that was involved with our family for a while took us. We went and there were two kittens in a open roof cage thing and next thing we knew we were taking both of them because we couldn’t leave just one. Plus there were two of us (my sister and I); so we each took one. We were told they were sister and brother. Crystal took the girl and I took the boy; they were tiny little things with no tails. Both were black and white; and in the car on the way home we tried to think of names. Since they were girl/boy we settled on Pebbles & BamBam; we though we were being cute; but we clearly not that inventive. We were young! I don’t remember my mom’s reaction but I’m pretty sure she was pissed, she was not told about them and here they were in her house. The first night was something with these kittens, we ended up having to sleep with the light on as every time we moved the kittens would ponce and attack us. It was never that bad again but MAN that first night was filled with laughter, yelps of pain and cute kitten cuddles.

After a small amount of time we took them to a vet for a check-up, since they were purchased at a sketchy pet store we were not confident they were in the best of health. Pebbles got a clean bill of health; when it came to BamBam the vet informed us that he was in fact NOT a he, but a she. So for some reason I felt I needed to change the kittens name but wanted to stay with a name that started with a “B” so BamBam became Bubbles. I don’t have easy access to pictures of them because we had them way long ago before cell phones were a thing. The breed we found out were Manx and wow could they jump. Bubbles used to jump from the floor to the top of the fridge with easy even as a kitten. Sadly they have both long since passed but we were lucky to have them for roughly 22 and 25 years respectively; with Pebbles passing first and Bubbles following. Both passing in their sleep of old age. I miss having a cat but I don’t miss the litter box! I’d have all the animals if I could. What was/is your cat’s name?

Well that’s it; a nice short blog. Thanks for reading!

Stop making fun of people, full stop!

Yesterday just before filming the latest episode of our podcast BoldFaceFriends I saw a tweet from the Toronto Star which was highlight a person charged with tax evasion. Just looking at the tweet I knew EXACTLY what I would see. The world, society has jaded me, condition me. I have defensive system where I imagine conversations, go through all possible scenarios. I wasn’t wrong the tweets below were exactly what I feared.

I’ve talked before, on this blog, on my YouTube channel, and now on out Podcast about the harm caused by portraying villains with facial differences. The tweets I saw are the embodiment of that.

Here is the link to the story. It is most likely behind a paywall but you only need the picture to get where we are going.

Now let’s highlight some of the tweets that appeared under the story posted on Twitter. I didn’t include their Twitter handles as this isn’t relevant.

See a theme? Still think “but they are just movies”? They will always defend themselves saying “this guy is a criminal “ or whatever. But what the person did or didn’t do is irrelevant. I dislike the current leader in the U.S. with every fibre of my being. But I still won’t make fun of his looks. Making fun of someone isn’t funny and it isn’t a joke. Movies have normalized this behaviour. People do not believe that it has real world consequences.

These next few tweets were in response to me calling out their bullshit.

There goes that defence system, I can hear what you are saying as you read this. “Why even respond to them?” “You are beautiful.” “They only says these things because they are insecure”…. I also was surprised by a couple of people who did acknowledge what a shirt thing it is. Here is one example.

You are right, I don’t/didn’t have to respond. My mental health would be better off. However I vowed a long time ago that if I see something, to say something. This couldn’t be ignored. A statement from a great Doctor on her YouTube channel is something I decided to incorporate in to my everyday life. “If what you put out hurts just one person, that’s a net negative”, to me this means I will always try to ensure what I say or do hurts no one directly. I’m not perfect, but I would and never will make fun of anyone. I hope the people who tweeted will get on board.

I took today off Twitter because I honestly needed to recharge. It is really hard to just shout at the void and no one seeming to care.

You are also right, I am beautiful.

Starting a Podcast

In January 2020 I had an idea to start a Podcast, a specifc one, I wanted my podcast to be about facial differences. Diving deep and talking about all the things I think people should know about. Moreover I wanted to make something I wished had been around when I was growing up.

The phrase “nothing about us without us” is something that rings on so many levels. I’m always advocating for represntation but I know I’ve not always been proactive in my approach. I have horrible sense of self and I always feel like I’m not good enough, that no one will care, that no one would understand, that I will be laughed at. And even if all thouse things are true I need to try to be better at just being. Being me and trying new things.

I knew I didn’t want to do a solo podcast, I have nothing against those who do, but the subject matter I wanted to explore would work best with more than just my voice. I had wanted to do it with a friend who is local but it just never panned out, which is fine. I dropped the matter but continued to think about it.

About a month or so ago I approached my friend Kelsey and asked if she had wanted to join me. I was SO thrilled to learn that she also thought about doing one, and even had an outline and all this detail sorted out. I was very impressed and knew I found the right person.

I did a google search for podcasts that were about/for/from those with facial differences and I only came up against one with the last episode being released back in Oct 2019. There are not a ton of voices out there that really represent me or my expereince. Who better to be a voice in the void than Kelsey and I. We can offer a unique voice, tell our truths . We hail from differnt parts of the country, she is younger by 9 years, our expereinces have been vastly differnt yet similar, and our conditions are not the same. I know that we will not have the same views on all the topics we discuss and I think that’s why I think having Kelsey with me along this journey is a great thing. Not only for me but for our audince. It will continue to foster that just because you share a giant thing in common you won’t always see eye to eye.

under construction –

In terms of making the actual thing a reality our biggest obstcle is that She’s in Calgary, AB and I’m in Waterloo, ON.; a time difference of 2 hours. Our next obstcle was editing…how does one go about editing. We knew we wanted to do both an audio as well as a visual version of our podcast. This means editing a video, something neither of us had done. I’ve done basic editing for my own YouTube channel but nothing as involved as editing a podcast. I’ve watched quite a few videos and practiced on a practice video her and I shot togheter. Lets say my editing skills are thus far not on fleek (as the kids say). But it’s something I’ve wanted to learn so I figure best to jump in two feet in the deep end and just learn.

It’s not ging to be easy, the editing I mean but it’s a skill that I don’t think anyone is really good at until they actually just start doing it.

We hope that this podcast will be popular, that it will find an audiance not just with those who have lived this shared experince but with the wider public as a whole. To breakdown the barriers that currently exist for those with facial differences. We plan on launching a patreon to help us continue to make content and my hope is to find and pay an editor who will be MUCH better than I! 🙂

I hope you will join Kelsey and I on this journey. You can find our YouTube channel here.

You can find our Facebook page dedicated to our podcast here.

When we do set up a patreon we will let everyone know most likely in the podcast and Facebook so please like, subscribe, share, all the things! Our first podcast should be dropping this coming Monday as long as I can edit the thing…wish me/us luck.

Third kick of the can?

Yesterday’s appointment is still weighing on me so to help me work through that, here’s a public blog post.

To get to present day I want to share how I got here. 5 years ago I had a lower left molar removed. It had to removed because there was only about half left, the rest had cracked and who knows where it went. So an oral surgeon was tasked to help me. Since dental work is expensive I opted for just freezing, it remains the single worst thing I’ve ever been through that’s after 30+ surgeries. It wasn’t the doctor’s fault, it’s just how my jaw is. He couldn’t take out the whole thing, he got the roots out but to this day there are bits of that tooth poking out. The healing from that wasn’t great, took a long time and was pretty painful.

About a year after that he took out my sole wisdom tooth. I got fully knocked out with that and that was so easy. Healed well and with little pain. I went on my merry life. Throughout the years my teeth have shifted and with each time it’s been painful.

That pretty much gets us to present. A about a month or so ago I started getting pain in the area where that tooth is. It was low key and I just dealt with it, it got worse, and again I ignored it. It got to the point where it was pretty swollen, really painful and I couldn’t open my mouth enough to put a cracker in. Eating became a challenge, and I finally decided to get some help.

I tried to make an appointment with a new dentist who ignored me. However knowing me, my jaw and from past experiences a regular dentist wasn’t going to help so I didn’t get too angry. I decided to try the surgeon who had taken the tooth out that I felt was giving me problems. His staff is just as great as he is and let me come in. He took a look and said he needed a CT X-Ray to determine if he would be at risk for breaking my jaw in the attempt. Got a script for some heavy painkillers and amoxicillin and waited until I could get this scan done.

CT X-Ray, 4 views of my jaw.

The scan was yesterday. It was quick and easy. The amoxicillin has done its thing and has greatly reduced my pain. The painkillers are a no from me. Tried half a pill and, nope.

I sat across from him, he looked at the scan and I knew from the look on his face he wouldn’t be able to help me. Those with disabilities will most likely understand that look, we tend to get passed around like a hot potato. It’s why I don’t seek help very often, because I either hear “I can’t help you” or “no, there is nothing wrong” in either I feel like I’m a bother, what was the point in even trying.

The doctor I saw yesterday wanted to help, I appreciate that he admits that some things are beyond him. It’s not a money grab for him. But it didn’t surprise me, it didn’t even frustrate me. He did ask me about the last reconstructive surgery, which was in 1996. I won’t go in to a lot of detail about it, but it failed. It was the second attempt and with this one I lost a lot more than I gained. The comment/question he asked is if I would want to try again.

That one question has been rolling around my head since yesterday afternoon. Do I want to try for a third time? Do I want to go through the pain, the recovery, for what?

I haven’t had a lot of success with major surgeries. Most times I get some sort of infection or complication. As I reflect about my times in the hospital it would explain why I seemed to need way more time in hospital than other people. I’m getting older and I assume that you don’t heal like you did when you were young.

I think it would be nice to be able to eat without as much trouble as I do now. I don’t much care about how it would change my appearance but I would welcome any positive changes it would have. It I’m realistic, the chances of having a positive outcome would be low.

With all that said I will be going to the doctor he is referring me to and I will go with an open mind but with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Wish me luck.

Death Positive

I was in the progress of writing another post related to this one but I really wanted to dive in to this one. So the other one is safely in my drafts folder to be completed at another time. I also feel that people who follow me on twitter and/or Facebook might think this post is dealing with a recent rant, it’s not. But since there is interest in my views on that subject, guess I will go down that rabbit hole…..eventually.

TriggerWarning: this post is about death. If this is something that isn’t your thing, please continue to read. I hope that it will help you. But in all seriousness I won’t be offended if you don’t want to read this post. But if you do, I don’t want any negativity.

DISCLAIMER: I’m fine. This post is not some secret post that I’m doing that references my imminent demise. I just want to share my thoughts and hopefully help others. Pretty much the whole point of this bog. So don’t read between the lines, there are NO lines!

Image Credit:

I am no stranger to death, if you’ve read my posts before this isn’t surprising. A Disney movie wasn’t my first death experience as it is for a lot of kids. Death has been my constant companion. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of people I’ve lost. Death is a part of life.

On the flip side, I don’t want to die, I’d be cool to live forever. Im not afraid of dying, I think. Im curious about life, I want to know what the future has in store. Will humans stop killing themselves in pointless conflicts? Will we explore more of space and colonize another planet? Will we meet other intelligent life? You get the picture, I just really want a time machine to see how or if this story ends.

I’ve never had to plan anything for someone that has passed. All my experiences with death have been with going to services. The most profound experience was with my Aunt June, who passed 11 years ago this past June. I had visited with her a number of times prior to her passing. She HATED hospitals and wanted to die at home. My Uncle Denny called us to advise she passed, he came to pick my mom and I up. We got to their house before the funeral home. I got to say goodbye to her. Other than that we were not involved she was taken away and we just hung around and were there for each other. It was an odd night and I don’t think I will forget the way my Aunt looked. That’s not a bad thing, I’m glad I was able to see her and say goodbye.

flower garland

The idea came for this post came from a YouTube channel I recently discovered. I don’t know what video I watched for one of her videos to show up in my recommended but whoop one day it was there. I didn’t click on it right away. Like most people I shy away from anything death related. But I’m SO happy I jumped right in.

Let me introduce you to Caitlin Doughty.

Her YouTube channel goes by the title “Ask A Mortician”. She is delightful. Brings the conversation of and about death to an easy to consume thing. She is an advocate for death positivity. before her I’d never heard those two words together in the same sentence. It’s about time that everyone thinks those two words belong.

I’ve learned a lot. I learned what adipocere is. I’m not going to ruin that for you. Google at your own risk.

I also learned that you don’t HAVE to be embalmed. I could see myself believing a not so great funeral director who said it’s the only option. I’m not a fan of confrontation and during a stressful time such as loss of a loved one I’d be apt to go with whatever.

From what I know about funeral, they are COSTLY AF, What I learned is that they don’t have to be.

Having a plan and having conversations about what your wishes are is super important. My sister and I have had fairly informal conversations. I love that we’ve even had that. So many people shy away from that. I will be making sure that I have a plan written out that I can share with the people I trust and I hope you do as well.

At the end of the day however you feel about death is ok, what I hope by writing this and helping people find this amazing channel is that people will get more comfy with just having that conversation while we are healthy.

Here is a link to a great video of hers to jump in to. You can find her on Facebook.

Caitlin has also written a bunch of books, all of which I hope to get.

What do you think, what is something you are or are not comfortable with when it comes to this subject matter?

What do you want me to write about next?

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.

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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.

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.