Category Archives: Fun

Eleventy Eleven

Tamzin has tagged me to 1) provide 11 things about myself and 2) answer 11 questions she made up for me. I don’t usually do these things (even though I love reading facts about other people) but I figured it might be fun since I’ve gotten a lot of new readers over the course of my cancer treatment. I’m not all about cancer all the time!

11 Things

1. I collect elephant figurines. I’ve got dozens of elephant trinkets from all around the world.

2. I know how to Highland dance. My older sisters were more competitive with it but I still remember the basic steps. I remember using metre sticks to practice the sword dance and wearing rubber bands at the top of my knee socks to prevent them from falling down while I jumped up and down.

3. I love the smell of second hand smoke. I smoked for six years and quit purely for health and vanity reasons. I never turned into one of those ex-smokers who wrinkle their nose at how “gross” it is. That’s why I haven’t touched a cigarette since I quit, because I could probably easily become a smoker again.

4. The first dog I ever owned was named Prudence. I believe she was a shephard/beagle mix. She died near Parlee Beach after choking on a shell.

5. I didn’t get my license until I was 22. I failed my beginners written exam when I was 16 and never bothered with it again until my boyfriend in university insisted that he teach me.

My first car - a 1993 Dodge Shadow. Bought in 2008.

6. Speaking of cars, I dream of owning a Vespa someday.

7. The only reason why I learned how to play harmonica was so I could play this song:

8. The first recipe I ever tried was stuffed tomatoes from Jamie Oliver’s old show The Naked Chef. I was 13. I turned out awful.

9. Even though I’m not sure if I’ll even ever have children, I love picking out names for these fictional children of mine. Right now my favourite girl’s name in Rosalie while my current boy’s name is Simon.

10. I really dislike horror movies. I claim it’s because they typically have bad plots, but it’s mostly because I don’t like being scared. Although, I do kind of love Evil Dead.

11. I spend a lot of time going between really wanting a tattoo, and wanting to keep my body tattoo-free. Currently, I am in a wanting a tattoo phase. The main thing that keeps me from ultimately getting one is that I’m cheap.

11 Questions

1. What is your favorite Pop song?

I don’t listen to a lot of pop, how about some Britpop?

2. What is your first ever memory?

Bothering my sisters while they were playing a board game in the basement. I was 2 or 3 years old and they were yelling at me to go away because I was knocking around the pieces.

3. What food are you most addicted to?

Peanut butter. It was the only restricted food I had while on chemo that I just couldn’t 100% give up. Chocolate and cheese were easier to resist!

4. The best place you have visited?

Banff, Alberta. I feel like I should say one of the cool European places I’ve been to, but Banff is beautiful without all the manmade stuff. I’m not much of a city person and when it comes to the great outdoors, Banff is wonderful.

5. The book you’re currently reading?

I haven’t read a book since… October? I usually read a book every couple weeks, but I have a hard time concentrating on and retaining information these days thanks to chemo brain.

6. A life goal you have yet to achieve?

Make homemade croissants.

7. Smoothie or Juice?

Neither.

8. Favorite App?

Instagram!! I’m balancesusan on there.

9. What did you want to be when you were little?

Veterinarian. I’ve always loved animals.

10. Top ten fruit and veg?

Apples, oranges, grapes, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, blueberries, artichoke hearts, potatoes, mangoes.

11. Favorite way to drink coffee?

Black and strong. There is a joke about men in there somewhere.

26 Years

I kind of forgot to mention it on the blog, but yesterday was my birthday! Thank you to everyone who took the time to message me good wishes, but don’t feel bad if you missed it!

I actually never throw myself birthday parties because I hate being the centre of attention. Yes, I realize the hypocrisy of that because I write a blog centred around myself. I just prefer not to see the eyes looking at me. Also, if we’re being really truthful here, I have a small fear that if I were to throw a party no one would show up.

Instead, I spent January 23rd my favourite way – low key with just a few good people.

That included a lunch out with friends. We checked out a newer gastro pub in Moncton called the Tide & Boar. Apparently they have famous poutine made with boar meat, but I didn’t want to fill myself up for the day at noon.

I instead ordered haddock breaded in panko and parmesan with a fennel coleslaw (that had amazing fried capers) and a house salad with roast veggies and granola. I can’t wait to come back and try out the rest of their unique menu!

The girls got me flowers among other things! So sweet. I’m not a girly-girl on many levels, but I love getting flowers.

One thing I wanted to do on my birthday that was a non-negotiable was take my dog for a walk.

I’d say 37% of the reason why I got a dog was just so I would have something to walk! Buster and I did our usual 3-mile route. It’s always one of my favourite parts of the day.

And then what’s a birthday without my MOM? Who would tell me the story of my birth for the 26th time? She said she’d make me anything I wanted for dinner and now that my food restrictions are over the first thing I requested was CHEESE. Since it’s not the best idea to eat a pound of old cheddar with a fork, we decided on a lasagna instead.

My mom’s lasagna is the best! This time around she used kamut noodes, bison meat, and packed it full of veggies. With a Greek salad (my favourite) on the side.

But the cake? Making that was entirely up to me. Making my own cake every year is one of my favourite traditions! Here’s what I made in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

I’m not a fan of traditional cakes, I always go for something a little different. This year it was chocolate chip cookie cake.

I used this recipe to make the cake. I even screwed up the directions and it still turned out great.

I went to make little decorations on top with vanilla bean buttercream frosting, and the ziploc bag I was piping out of exploded all over the cake!! So full-on icing it was.

Guess I should buy a proper piping bag with some of my birthday money.

Chocolate chip cookies are hands down my favourite dessert, so this was an easy sell. I actually liked the thin layer of icing and the cake is choc full of chocolate chips.

Dinner was followed by plenty of talking, yelling, and laughing with my family. All while the dogs played and played and played.

Buster and my mom’s new puppy already love each other.

Overall, it was the best kind of day I could ask for. My energy levels are still low so I took care not to cram too much in. Instead I’ll do other bits of celebrating throughout the week. It’s funny, because usually I turn a year older and am amazed by how time passes and how I’m suddenly so old. Not this year. Having cancer made me realize just how young I really am. 26 years is just a fraction of the life I hope to live.

A Blogger’s Travels

Surprise! I’m blogging on a Saturday. Truth is I just have the time this morning to sit down and write. Weekends are typically my favourite time to catch up on blogs, e-mails, and various other things. While listening to CBC radio and drinking coffee out of the largest mug I own… of course.

Anyways, I wanted to note that today, January 21st marks one month since my last chemo!! Officially the longest I’ve gone without chemo since beginning in July 2011. Before this, it was common to wait three weeks in between treatments.

A lot of people ask me how I’m feeling now that it’s been so long. The answer, as always, is complicated. I feel great and yet I don’t feel great all at the same time.

With each week that passes, I find I have more energy than the week before. I’m getting out of the house more, exercising more, I’m even doing a few more chores. But with the bouts of energy, still come the crashes. While my “ups” are much better and longer than they used to be, they are still much more short-lived than that of a normal person. And my “down” energy times are still borderline crippling.

The best way to explain it is to use the spoon theory. I’m not sure if I really have any more spoons, but instead it just takes a little more to use one up. When I run out of spoons, the feeling is no different than before. I’m stuck to lying in bed so fatigued I can barely move. This first month without chemo has made me realize what a long process recovering from the poisons is going to be. Now I really understand how people can say it takes months to get any semblance of normalcy back.

With that said however, I’m bound and determined to get some things done in these months as I recover. Namely, TRAVEL!

I would have never labelled myself as an avid traveller before, but having to go a year without going anywhere made me realize how much I really do travel and how much I rely on it! I have a few things on the horizon that I am super stoked on.

1. Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Source

Okay, so Halifax is only a 2.5 hour drive from Moncton. But my friend gave me a Garrison growler (ie. jug o’ beer) and we made plans to go to Halifax to get it filled to celebrate when I’m cancer-free. If I get a clear scan next week, the trip could be very soon! I love Halifax (my mom grew up there) and have a handful of friends there, so I think it will make for a perfect first trip.

2. Toronto, Ontario.

View from the CN Tower!

Ideally, I’d like to take a long weekend trip to my old stomping grounds in March/April depending on how I’m feeling and how work is going. I’d have taken a trip back a looooong time ago had I not gotten sick. I miss my friends there! And the food!

3. Boulder, Colorado. 

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Ever since travelling to the Canadian Rockies with Holly and Karen, I’ve had an itch to go south and see what the Rockies are like in the U.S. Coincidentally, when a group of bloggers decided to arrange a weekend of hanging out, they chose Colorado as the location! The BLEND Retreat is May 4-6 and will basically be one big blogger party. No sessions or conferences to get to, just spending time together and tackling some mountains! Some of my best blog friends are already signed up to go, but I know there are spots left. I encourage any bloggers out there to check it out! As Lindsay says, you can always make more money, you’ll never be able to replicate this kind of weekend. If you’re worried about not knowing anyone, you’ll know ME. And we can be awkward together.

4. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

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Ever since being diagnosed with cancer, I’ve been reading about these survivor retreats and wishing I could be a survivor already and go take part. Well, by July I should hopefully still be in remission so I signed up to take part in the Young Adult Cancer Canada “Retreat Yourself” on the East Coast. Registration was free and I’m lucky that it’s close enough I can drive. I’ve never been to Cape Breton, so I’m excited to check out its beauty, get some outdoor activity in, and of course connect with other cancer patients/survivors my age who will get my cancer jokes. If you’re a Canadian young adult cancer survivor, you should check this one out!

Well, I wanted to share some of the treats that have been coming out of my kitchen, but I feel like I’ve written enough, so I will save that for another post. Instead, here is a picture of Buster carrying around his much-too-big-for-him teddy bear.

Have a great weekend!

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