Scrubbing our Space and the Odd Found Treasure

As mentioned, we’ve been spending a few hours every Saturday to sort, organize, clean and chuck. Scrubbing our space, so to speak.

It’s not the most exciting thing but it’s a necessary evil.

The nice thing is, we are finding some ‘lost’ and ‘forgotten’ items we need and have been looking for. But happily, we’re recycling or donating 97% of everything we are going through.

I asked to call it quits today after about 3.5 hours. I had enough. And so, my husband and I cleaned up, got changed and practiced some yoga together. Then we poured ourselves our choice of beverage – beer for him, sparkling cava for me – and just sat in our living room to unwind.

During this ritual, I unearthed some bags and boxes of things we had tossed aside many years ago when Chaeli was young and therefore had no energy to deal with whatever mess we piled up in our storage space (out of sight, out of mind, of course), I found a single CD which is of great importance to us. It was, after all, the one audio short story called Dave and the Bike by Stuart McClean.


Stuart Mclean: April 19, 1948 – February 15, 2017

We first heard this story during one of two of his live concerts we were fortunate to experience – it was part of his annual cross-country tour before Christmas. And it was starting to become our tradition. Not every year, maybe, but we had hoped every 2-3 years. The third time we bought tickets – with best friends – never happened. It was back in 2015. We were notified the tour was cancelled due to McClean’s health problems. We soon learned he was battling skin cancer. Earlier this year, he lost this battle. May he rest in peace.

While my husband worked on his model train village (currently putting together one of the buildings his future train will pass by), I popped the found CD and pressed play. As soon as Stuart’s voice was heard, my husband laughed out loud and said, “Right on! Oh – I’m going to cry…”

I know I’m so very late in writing about our beloved, Canadian author, yet I do need to document how much impact he has had on our lives. He welcomed us into what I can only described as a fictional living room – one of which felt so real to many of his readers. The Vinyl Cafe was home to Dave, Morley, Mary Turlington, Kenny Wong (from the Kenny Wong’s Scottish Meat Pies store) and so many more. A fictional family with fictional friends in a fictional neighborhood. But of a community that could be real – to many of us, not just us Canadians.

And so we sat there, laughing our arses off while not just taking in this short crazy story we’ve heard so many times in our home and during our many road trips, but also remembering the good times we’ve had brought on by McLean’s stories, shows, books, podcasts and so on.

Thank you, Stuart. You gave us so much.

You will be missed.


Easter weekend 2014 (and checking in)

I feel like I’ve been neglecting my space here. And I miss it. I miss it very much.

Time is difficult to find these days – or I should say, making time is difficult these days. I’m up at 5:15am to workout, off to work long and sometimes very intensely busy days (more days than not), back home for the after work/after school daily grind and then, hoping, to be in bed by 10pm. Though most nights, I could easily fall asleep at 9pm.

But how am I, one might wonder?

I’m doing fine. I wouldn’t say I’m filled with constant happiness. But I do check in with myself once in awhile. I’m actually not use to be going on for this long without suicidal thoughts and sometimes wonder if all those dark days of are of the past.

Are they? Or are they just lying dormant? It’s difficult to say. I suppose, I’m being cautiously optimistic. I’m partly being hopeful that the worst is all behind me. But realistic that I’m not cured, by any sense – just that I’m able to, perhaps, manage all this.

A part of me wishes that I could steer onwards with a heart full of hope and charity. Another part of me realizes this is not completely realistic. Not to say that I am without hope or faith – I do continue to strive for a full heart. But sometimes, a certain level of being guarded is part of survival of this world we live in.

It’s knowing who to trust and who needs more time to be trusted (rather than jumping to the conclusion of who not to trust). The latter usually requires much more space and distance – at least at the beginning of whatever relationship I may or may not have with that person.

Anyway, we had a beautiful but busy long Easter weekend, full of egg colouring, food prepping and dinner hosting, seeing Captain America – The Winter Soldier, an egg hunt, a bike ride and walk under the sun, pub wings and some organizing/cleaning in between everything.

leg of lamb with prosciutto

image courtesy of

Our traditional Easter dinner menu for my family:

  1. Spinach, Egg and Bacon Salad
  2. Smoked Trout
  3. Roasted Lamb with Sage and Prosciutto
  4. Spaghetti Squash Casserole
  5. Roasted Asparagus
  6. Applesauce Cake*
    • Modified ingredients:
      • 1/2 cup coconut flour
        1 teaspoon baking powder
        1/2 teaspoon baking soda
        3 teaspoons cinnamon
        1/2 teaspoon ginger
        1/2 cup reduced-calorie margarine
        2 whole eggs
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        1/3 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
        1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

* The dessert was modified (and I’m still working on perfecting the modifications) to make it diabetic friendly. The original recipe asked for 1/4 molasses (pure sugar) and 1 cup Splenda. I normally reduce the sugar by 1/2 or 2/3rds anyway. As I’m not big on the artifical sweet taste, I’m working on reducing the Splenda but will also look into natural agave to substitute the sweetness. The unsweetened applesauce already has enough natural sweetness to it, though. And coconut flour, which has a higher absorbancy over regular flour, is much lower on the carb count and glycemic index. It’s nutritional value is higher as well.The above recipe is gluten-free – just make sure the baking powder and soda have no additives that would be problematic for those who have certain food intolerance.

a day of domestication and geek-dom

i spent this sunday pretty much all on my own. well, except hobbes was with me.

with the kid at the grandparents’ place and doug on shift, i had actually a pretty busy day.

mind you, a part of it was catching up on the big bang theory, the walking dead as well as uploading the first 92 the walking dead comic books series from my hard drive to my ipad (see? geek-dom). i also hit some sales online for a bit of spring/summer clothes shopping for chaeli and i.

but it was a busy day making this delicious breakfast (and yes, it was very delicious), doing dishes both by hand and by dishwasher, doing three loads of laundry, finally taking down all our chinese new year decorations (i completely forgot they were still up) and preparing lunch for next day. oh – and running to the grocery store to stock up on veggies and fruit for the week.

so no – not exactly an exciting day. i didn’t even talk to anyone aside from the lady at the cashier. and that was only because i had to give her a coupon. other than that one moment, i was at the self-checkout stations. in a sense, i really didn’t talk to anyone.

what a huge contrast from yesterday – where we first went over to tai and B’s place for their boy’s 4th birthday party. ada, hoa were there, as well as tai’s cousin and B’s sister, BIL and neice.

it was such a great way to spend the afternoon! there was so much going on but peaceful in a different way from hearing people having conversations here and there – either as a group or broken up to smaller groups – and of course, the kids playing and laughing.

in fact, when we got there, we hung outside first to give hobbes a chance for a potty break. the little birthday boys saw chaeli through the front window. with their faces all lit up, they motioned chaeli to come in. it was such a blessing to see the huge joy in their little faces!

following the party mid-town, we went north-east to my parents’ place for dinner. we didn’t get home until 10pm, which might as well have been 11pm since we lost an hour last night.

you know what? i highly recommend everyone do this from time to time. while the tasks of getting food, preparing food and other house choirs does not seem fun, there is an extreme sense of accomplishment not just from being productiv, but to be in complete solitude for the whole day.

no interruptions – just alone with my thoughts, of which i tried to keep light as i took this mini-me-vacation.

i’m about to go downstairs, empty the dishwasher, get the last load of laundry to fold and then make a snack as i watch tonight’s latest episode of the walking dead.

birthday gift to myself

my 41st birthday is fast approaching.

once in a very blue moon, i’ll buy myself a birthday gift. with everything that’s been going on in my life, i’ve been needing whatever it takes to help get me through many bad days.

dealing with diabetes has been very up and down. i know i am lucky in that most people have it far worse. but it’s still been hard to digest everything.

with the winter months, my anxiety and depression is far more vulnerable. i think i’ve been feeling extra down more often than not because i’ve also been trying to come to the realities of my diagnosis. while it’s not the end of the world, there are just a string of days i feel tired about having this disease at all.

anyway, i have spoken to my doctor, as well as the rest of my diabetes team, and have my name out on the list for the next available psychiatrist. it may be a bit of a wait, though. the process can take awhile as the waiting list is long. the key is that i will definitely want a psychiatrist as certain medications are not friendly for diabetics. everything is just more complicated now.

it’s not just the diabetes that’s the underlying cause of my depression – there’s something more and i know i need help.

anyway, i happen to see two great sales online at chapters. one is a beautiful 2014 agenda planner (that fits into my purse). i know, i’m old school. with smart phones and tablets, who needs a archaic planner like this?

well, i’ve had some inner-struggles and battles about this for a couple of years now. while i do mostly everything online and electronically, i love having a page-by-page agenda planner. it’s great for me to keep notes, receipts or coupons that i need to retain for awhile. and i like writing in it. with ink.

doug bought me a group of seven one last year because he didn’t get a chance to get me a group of seven calendar. i didn’t think i would like it but now i can’t imagine being without it!

i also bought myself this alice munroe collection. the box set contains five of her following works:

  • Friend of My Youth
  • Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage
  • The Love of a Good Woman
  • Runaway
  • The View from Castle Rock

out of the above five, i’ve only read Runaway. i’ve read other works of hers so i look forward to having some of her work as part of my collection. yes, i am going old-school again. as much as i do make use of my ipad for ebooks both borrowed from the library or bought, i still like to hold books in my hands.

back from the land of mickey ears

we’re back from our vacation! and therefore, hopefully, ends my 2 weeks haitus.

not that it was a planned haitus, but the week leading up to our trip to disney world was not onlyy chaotic due to all the packing and planning… but i had a pretty bad and stressful week at work. that week began with ten lay-offs… three of them from my team alone.

i had the unfortunate task of being involved with these three layoffs since i was their team lead. not something i ever want to do again. having said that, i reminded myself that no matter how terrible it was for me to lead them to the meeting room, sit in on one of them, and then having to escort them out, it was 5 times worse for them. the shock, anger, fear, hurt and sadness was all elevated because they were on the otherside of the wall.

the “why me?” side.

i can not even begin to mask how bad i felt for them.

anyway – there’s more to write. about these lay-offs, as there are things i feel i need to get off mychest, and these past several days we spent under the warm sun.

but today, i have the lovely pleasure of doing 4 or 5 loads of laundry. and only 3 hours now to finish all the unpacking and organizing before my parents come over. fun times!

finally… happy lunar new year to all those who celebrate it!