Super Fabulous Fun Nephew Retreat Quiz

Today, Nephie is away at some sort of retreat with his high school. (I say “away” as if he didn’t live 2500 miles away from me already.) Earlier this week, Hubby and I received an email from SIL (his mom) asking us to write a special letter for him to open while he’s there. She was writing one, their sister (his aunt), the next-door neighbour who is a close family friend, etc. There were instructions as to what this letter should include.

“Some ideas for letter content that have been used in the past include: childhood memories, qualities you appreciate in your son, hopes you have for him for the future, wishes you have for him concerning the retreat, etc. Please feel free to include letters from grandparents and other family members if you feel they would have a special meaning for your son.”

Part of the reason Hubby and I are so well matched is because we both have the same reactions to things like that. A “special letter”? Naaaaaah. That’s boring. Hubby decided that he wanted to do something different instead. He thought about it for a bit and then suggested to me that instead of writing some trite sentiments that he gets constantly from everyone else anyway, let’s keep the feeling of our letter as a reflection of our relationship with Nephie.

Something that should be noted is what a great kid Nephie is. He is 14 years old but acts like he’s already in his 20s in many ways. (Sometimes, I think, to his detriment.) He’s sensitive and compassionate and self-sacrificing to a fault. He is praised all the time for these qualities. I think this sometimes places a burden on him to keep performing a certain way on that high level. He has a lot of expectations to live up to. I often wish that he had more of a chance to “just be a kid”. He’s funny and goofy and has a wonderful imagination and a curious mind. I think we’d see more of who he actually is as a person if he felt he had more freedom to explore it.

Anyway, Hubby decided that he would make up a silly quiz for Nephie to fill out and we would both include our answers and then he could compare them. I think that was perfect. Both of us have the same approach with Nephie (and people in general, probably). We’re not so in-your-face with telling people what we think. We don’t do words so much. Hubby and I are both show/not tell kind of people. Nephie knows we adore him and think the world of him because we spend time with him, being goofy and having fun. We listen to his ideas and do things we both like to do. Sending a quiz, instead of a sentimental paragraph or two, is like what we do in person. It’s lighthearted and fun but we still put a lot of time and thought into it.

Since I’m all about the quizzes, I’m sharing Hubby’s quiz, with both of our answers here too. Why wouldn’t I? Some of the answers are obviously addressing Nephie specifically, so ignore that part.

I think it’s interesting that Hubby and I have so many similar answers, although maybe I shouldn’t since we’ve been together for so long. I also realized, after he pointed it out, that maybe part of the reason I like filling out quizzes so much is because we did a lot of them when we first started dating. We had a long-distance relationship for the first year we were together and filled a lot of the time with odd getting-to-know-you things like that. Pleasant memories.

This is a copy of our entire letter to Nephie, just for fun (with some edits made to names to protect the innocent):

Hi Nephie.

It’s Uncle and Auntie. Well, not really us in this letter but us in spirit. Hope you are having a great time at your new school and a fun time at your retreat. We are so proud of you and can’t wait to visit you next summer. It’ll be a visit filled with sleepovers, watching movies, bubble tea, bike rides, playing basketball, baseball, hockey, video games, Monopoly and that game where we kick the ball and get extra points for hitting Neph Jr. …Also possibly a trip to Morden to visit the Mo-Po-Po.

Not sure what you are doing at your retreat but I hope you are enjoying it. You will have to call us and let us know what it was all about when you get back.

In the meantime, I composed a fun little quiz for you to do. Write the answers down and you can share it with us when you call us next. Auntie and I will answer it too on the next page but don’t look at our answers until you answer yours. I just made up the questions off the top of my head so sorry if they are weird. Auntie and I always did quizzes like this and emailed them to each other…especially when we first met.

Love you.
~Uncle and Auntie

P.S. Remember to write the answers down. There are no wrong or right answers except for question #41.



UNCLE J: All of them but if I had to choose…Kumi.

AUNTIE K: I don’t know if I could pick one. My stuffies mean a lot to me. They were given to me by people who are special to me or I bought them to remind me of a special time. And they are so cute!


J: Marvel Movies

K: My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away


J: Ironman and Wolverine

K: Hmmm. Can I say Edward? He’s super strong and fast and can read minds. And he’s pretty. Hahaha.


J: teleportation

K: I have put a lot of thought into this already. I think it would be very cool and super helpful to be able to enter anyone else’s mind and see, hear, and think everything they’ve ever experienced.


J: go anywhere in seconds

K: I’d be able to completely understand the other person. I’d do it so that we would be able to communicate better and not have misunderstandings.


J: Ramen

K: mashed potatoes


J: Kiddyland in Japan…like 8 levels of toys, figures and stuffies!!!!

K: I don’t have a favourite store. Do you think Amazon counts? Or…. a bubble tea store? Haha.


J: Oh Holy Night (Weezer version) and Hanukkah Blessings by Barenaked Ladies

K: Carol of the Bells, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, and Once in Royal David’s City


J: Summer for golf

K: I like fall best, I think. I like that it’s cooler outside and the trees are pretty and it’s okay to wear hoodies and boots, which are the most comfy clothes. And fall things smell better and taste better (like Thanksgiving food). I really like winter too but sometimes it’s TOO cold and if it isn’t snowy, then everything just looks dirty and dead.


J: play video games and play guitar

K: Take a nap! Haha. Or watch a good movie, go see a live music performance, hang out with my favourite people, go for bubble tea.


J: Forever Now by Greenday because that’s the album I’m currently listening to in the car

K: That’s a really hard question. My favourites change depending on my mood. I really love the song Aftermath by Muse so I’ll stick with that.


J: Laundry

K: I don’t mind washing dishes. We have dish soap that smells really good.
When I was your age, my mom used to leave polishing the coffee table up to me and no one else because I would put on soft sweatpants and sit on the table and wiggle my bum across it to make sure it was really shiny. Haha.


J: cleaning the toilet

K: Not a big fan of cleaning the toilet.


J: black sesame mochi balls

K: cake


J: Honey Green Tea

K: Hard for me to pick just one! I have several that I rotate through. My current favourite would probably be almond or plain with pudding chunks.


J: Spaghetti Factory

K: Sushi Inn in Toronto. Do you remember I took you there when you were small? You chatted up the old lady sitting next to us. She thought you were so adorable and super polite. (She was right, of course!)


J: Batmobile

K: Well, since I can’t drive, I guess I would pick a self-driving car. Those almost exist, you know.


J: Boo the Dog

K: panda (duh) or wolf or monkey


J: Snow

K: If I was forced to, I’d eat pee snow to avoid being ANYWHERE NEAR a giant deadly spider.


J: Sure

K: No way! I’d get so bored and lonely.


J: Japan

K: I would love to live anywhere in Japan, at least for a little while, or somewhere on the west coast like Vancouver or Portland, Oregon.


J: Star Wars

K: Star Wars, Baby!! I do also really like Star Trek but I grew up with Star Wars. It’s in my blood.


J: Marvel

K: Marvel, for sure


J: Batman

K: Batman (Confession: I don’t like Superman at all.)


J: tough one but X-men… Did you know that in the comics…the teams interchange members sometimes? Like Wolverine was an Avenger recently.

K: X-men


J: Steak

K: Oooooooh. Tough call. Two of my favourites. I think steak, because as much as I do love sushi, steak is more filling and it usually comes with mashed potatoes which is my very favourite.


J: Chocolate

K: Both please? Haha. How about chocolate covered candy? Hahahaha.


J: white

K: Hmmm. I don’t really like either white or dark chocolate. Except I like Hershey Cookies n’ Cream, so I guess white.


J: Sponge Bob Squareshorts

K: definitely pants


J: Sun



J: stuffy

K: Your uncle is the one who is all about the stuffies. I have a bunch, of course, but I don’t sleep with them or cuddle them much like he does. I have several blankets all over the place and I always curl up with one when I’m on the couch. I feel uncomfortable when I’m not under a blankie.


J: cuddles

K: Cuddles. Kisses are slobbery. Haha.


J: Swim in the ocean.

K: I like riding bikes. I strongly dislike swimming. I’m pretty sure I’ve told you before that I failed the first level of swimming lessons 3 TIMES before my mom let me quit.


J: X-mas

K: I like Christmas better. I don’t like to be the focus of attention and Christmas is all about spending time with people you love.


J: Socks

K: Hmmmm. I think I prefer to have my feet covered up (feet are ewwwwwwwww) but I’m VERY picky with the socks I wear.


J: Mario

K: Pokémon! I love watching the old TV show with you. That was fun.


J: Playstation

K: Haha. You know your Auntie can’t play video games at all. Just Rock Band.


J: close one but Basketball

K: Ummmmmm…. neither? Haha. For watching, it depends on which one you are playing. I’d sit through a few of YOUR games to support you and cheer you on.


J: Clown if it’s Krusty but not the “IT” clown… He’s creepy!

K: Lick a bee! I hate clowns. They are so scary.


J: stubbed toe

K: I think I’d rather have a stubbed toe. I’ll tell you something about me you probably don’t know. When I was 17, I went to Disneyworld with my sister. I was invited up on stage for the audience participation part of a comedy show. On my way up, I stubbed the tip of my big toe on the cement stairs pretty bad (but I kept going cause I was excited! Haha). Ever since then, I have sort of a numb spot on that toe. So if so were to stub it now, I don’t think it would hurt as much anymore.




Hi Nephie,

Just one more quick thing…

It was Uncle’s idea to write this quiz for you. He wanted to make our letter extra fun for you to read. He mentioned that the two of us used to fill out quizzes a lot when we were first getting to know each other. It’s a great way to find out things you didn’t know before – so maybe you learned something new about your auntie and uncle that you didn’t already know today too!

But, the more I thought about it, the more I also felt that by doing something unexpected and fun in our letter, it also summed up what I want most for you in your life and for the future. I want your life to be full of fun times and laughter and I want you to really get to know who you truly are and be whatever it is that you want to be.

Always remember, Uncle and I love you a lot and that will never change – no matter what!

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Dark Spaces ~ The 9th Tattoo

I guess I should finally get around to writing something about my most recent tattoo, since I keep saying I will. It’s not even new anymore. I got it in April of last year.

There was a Twilight event that a few of my friends were planning to go to in Gatlinburg, TN and I wanted to go with them, but had no way of getting there ($$$), so since they were already planning to meet up one-by-one along the way, I purposed that they include Toronto as one of their stops and spend a few days up here so we could all roadtrip down together. Lucky for me, they thought this was a brilliant idea!


We did a lot of fun things in the five days they visited, one of which was a stop at the place downtown where I get all my piercings and got two of my previous tattoos, Yonge Street Tattoos. Ang wanted to get a piece on her arm that our other friend Tami had drawn for her. Tami is a fantastic artist so make sure to give her a like and a follow on Facebook and Instagram. (She also writes – and I beta for her. I mentioned her current WIP before. There are only 4 chapters left to post. Don’t miss out!)

Jodi had only one other tattoo – the stars on her ankle that we got together a few years back. We were always hassling her to add another. (Still are, in fact. I’m helping her plan out her third!) Since Ang was getting hers done, Jodi decided she’d get one of the semicolons that several of us already have (including Ang, Tami, and of course, me). She decided to get it behind her ear.

Ames was planning a tattoo for later on (which she came back up to Toronto later that month) but decided that, since we were there already, she’d pierce her nose.

Well, I didn’t want to be the only one NOT getting something that day, so I pulled up my want list and picked the one that held the most meaning for me in the moment.

I should know by now that spur of the moment tattoo plans aren’t the greatest. I didn’t have the art I had worked so hard on with me – only a blurry Instagram picture of it. So I screen shot that and tried to get it big enough to get some detail from. I also did a quick Google search to find some inspiration to add.

That’s what they should have looked like. Meh.

Anyway, against what I should know by now, I went ahead with it. I got a soot sprite (AKA makkuro kurosuke or susuwatari) from my favourite movie, Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro. I’ve been trying to get a video clip up on YouTube where they explain what that is for years, but because of copyrights and laziness, it’s not there yet. (If I get around to it, I’ll link it later.) For now, here’s the quote:

“Normally, you can’t see soot gremlins, but every once in awhile, when you go from a bright place to a dark one, you can catch a glimpse of them.”


I like the idea of that – that there are little creatures who exist in the dark spaces that you usually can’t see. So, like Jodi, I also put my tattoo behind my ear. Get it? 😜


It’s not the exact shape I wanted, and it’s a little big, and it does have that “sticker” look that I was trying to avoid… but it’s still cute. And I get compliments on it more than any of the other visible tattoos I have. That always catches me off guard. (There was one time, while I was going down an escalator to catch a subway with my earbuds in and music up loud, that a girl tapped me on the shoulder and pointed behind her ear and gave me a thumbs up. It wasn’t long after I had it done and it took me much longer than it should have to figure out what she meant. LOL.)

I’m now officially on tattoo hiatus. As I wrote exhaustively about before, I have very strong desires to spend a significant amount of time in Japan. Each and every tattoo I get makes that more difficult (covering up wise). Also… *sigh* I’m in a weird brain space lately where I’m not loving any of my tattoos. I’m kind of actually sort of a little bit regretting getting any of them. I don’t think it’s the tattoos themselves but probably more my dissatisfaction with the person I’ve become in the past five or so years. I thought I was headed into a better space, but… I’ve made many choices I’m now pretty unhappy with.  ~Anyway, there will be no more tattoos until I am away from those feelings, obviously.

That’s a sad note to end this on. Welp. What are you gonna do?

The experience of getting the tattoo done with a group of friends continues to be a happy memory and something I don’t regret at all. That’s what matters.

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kmah’s Tips

I have a tip for you. Or maybe it’s a request.

In general, please be kind. Being an asshole doesn’t serve a higher purpose. Ever.

More specifically, when you visit a restaurant, please be aware of your own mood and mindset before you paint the entire experience in your mind. If you are already cranky, odds are, you’re going to be seeing things in a more negative light than might be reality.

Here’s what happened:

My boss came to me this morning and showed me a screen shot of a comment a customer left somewhere online (IDK where exactly) that they wrote last night after visiting the restaurant I work at. It was a long-winded, inflammatory comment accusing me of basically being a terrible employee. They claimed I was complaining about not wanting to work and saying I wanted to go home early while I was emptying the garbage in the front area where they were standing waiting for their food. Then I supposedly went straight from there to bag their order and touched their napkins and forks with my disgusting, garbage-covered hands. They also said they were waiting for over half an hour for their food.

What ACTUALLY happened was that I went to empty the garbage and mentioned to my coworker that I was doing it early because it was slow and there was a possibility we might close early like we had the night before. My complaint was that I wanted to be prepared because I had very little warning the night before and didn’t want to scramble to get everything I need to do done in order to close. (I’d actually much rather stay and keep my hours.) So they overheard part of a conversation between my coworker and I and jumped to conclusions.

To suggest I wouldn’t wash my hands after taking out the garbage is really odd. (Have we met?) The larger kitchen garbage, where I put the bag from the front, is right beside the sink. Why would I not wash my hands right then? Pretty sure I did! Not to mention, it’s behind a wall where the customers standing in the front can’t see around. There is also a cloth I am constantly wiping my hands on after everything I touch. That aside, I didn’t touch any garbage! I’m not shoving my hands into a garbage can. I lifted a practically empty plastic bag out without touching anything. And, I don’t put my hands all over people’s napkins and forks. I barely touch them either. And we don’t touch food AT ALL.

So, to me, that sounds like a miserable person making a judgement about me, looking for something to criticize, picking something and blowing it up to be something it’s not. They were specifically looking for something to be upset about. That’s what bothers me. IF it had been a legitimate complaint, I’d take it. But this was bullshit.

They also definitely did NOT wait half an hour for their food. It was a slow night. They were the only customers there at the time. It takes as long as the food needs to cook for an order to be ready. Saying that is just an example of how when a person is upset at something, when relaying their injustice back later, things are amplified to sound much worse than they are to garner sympathy. I see people do this all the time! (Not meaning customers, but people in general.)

Anyway, whether they are in the right about me or not, is not my point. My request of people is that, if you feel like you have been wronged somehow or received bad customer service, just stop for a second and try to objectively think about how true it really is and what you hope to achieve by flaming them over social media. Do you want compensation? Do you want the boss to talk to that person so that they can fix their error and/or do better next time? Fine. Do that privately. Or are you trying to start shit and convince other people to boycott the establishment with you? WHY?! What purpose does that serve you? Do you feel better after doing that? Are you just being a nasty person and spreading your miserable attitude around and infecting other people? In this situation, based on the barest partial truth of the matter… sure sounds like it!

Here’s why I’d like everyone to take that moment to consider their actions: Your actions have an impact. When you make complaints like that – which seems to me like the only purpose is to validate your own negativity – you are messing with people’s livelihoods. Most people working jobs like mine need them in order to survive. They are people who serve customers all day long in order to get a pay cheque to pay their bills and take care of their families.

Thankfully, I’m actually pretty good at my job. I do make the occasional mistake from time to time, but I’m only human. And I admit it. So when my boss got this complaint, he was actually very surprised when I told him it was me they were referring to. He took it with a grain of salt at that point. Because it was me, he figured it was the customers who were spouting some crap. Someone else might not have been given the benefit of the doubt.

It’s not for myself that I ask this of you. It’s for those who aren’t superstars but still work hard and rely on their jobs to live. If you NEED to make a complaint, go for it. But first make sure you get all your facts straight and don’t exaggerate to bring others to your side. If your issue is legitimate, you shouldn’t need to.

Basically, don’t be an asshole.


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No Like

Things You Should Be Aware Of If We Are Social Media Friends
(in other words, Why I Don’t “Like” Your Stuff):

1. I will probably never like any animal pictures, your pet or otherwise. Don’t take it personally.

2. I HATE the Boomerang app and refuse to like any post that was created with it, regardless of content.

3. I am annoyed by the style of Tasty videos and won’t like those either, even if I think the recipe looks good.

4. I tend to not check my Instagram feed for several days at a time so when I do, I scroll through so quickly that I miss a lot. Or I just don’t scroll back far enough to see everything I missed.

5. I log in to Facebook with the intent of catching up on my feed but have a reduced attention span and usually give up after a few seconds. I don’t even bother with Twitter anymore.

6. Blame the Facebook and Instagram organizers who arbitrarily decide for me on whose shit to show me and whose never shows up in my feed.

7. I don’t think the like button means “I have been online and am acknowledging that you have also”. I think it means I legitimately LIKE what you have posted.

8. I literally forget to hit like most of the time.


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To PSL or Not to PSL?

I have always been the type of person to hate something outright just because it’s popular. Over the past few years, I’ve been trying to break myself of this tendency towards snap judgements like that. I often use the phrase “50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong“. If everyone else seems to love something, it must have some redeeming qualities, no?


But the REAL reason I try to force myself not to turn up my nose at something just because the mindless masses are all about it is because I “missed out” on the first few years of Twilight fangirling for that reason. It was everywhere so I avoided it. Then I caved, tried it, loved it, and regretted not falling in sooner. That was a life lesson for me, as dumb as it sounds. Stop being so stubborn!

So, with that mindset, I feel it is my duty to honour my own culture – as a millennial white girl – and NOT take a stance again the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte. I figure I should probably try it, right? It’s been “a thing” for several years already. Perhaps resistance is futile.


I very recently finally tried chai tea for the first time and am on board with the millions of people who are in league with Oprah, loving the chai. Hot, iced, or in frappuccino form, tap a vein and plug me in. I love that shit.

Since I don’t drink coffee, apart from the occasional mocha, PSL has never really been approachable for me. Alas, Starbucks just introduced a PS Chai with their annual re-release of PSL. I discussed it with a friend (I never take these decisions lightly, you know.) and we agreed that if I am to succumb to pumpkin spice addiction, the chai version is a good gateway drug.

I’m sitting in a Starbucks right now as I write this, sipping on my very first pumpkin spice beverage.

It’s… not bad.


I’ll probably try the latte at some point, just to fully commit to my personal experiment but… Yeah, I don’t get it. I’m not convinced, Elvis-lovers.

I will go back to my regular chai lattes with no regrets.

There is another aspect to this subject. The whole ‘white girls, wearing Uggs, drinking pumpkin spice lattes’ rage that I see all over my social media feeds. What is that?! My Facebook timeline feels like equal parts “I’m so happy PSL is back” and “the obsession with this shit is the downfall of society”. Why the hell does what someone chooses to drink make other people SO angry? I get it that it can be kind of annoying to see a trillion posts about one thing, but this drink seems to make a bunch of people happy. Shouldn’t that be a good thing? They aren’t forcing anyone else to drink it. Why should it matter to the non-PSL drinkers? Just ignore the posts if it bothers you that much.


It’s like hating vegans for the choices they make about what they want to eat or not and making nasty comments to them or belittling them or judging them. Yeah, there are the few that make it difficult for the rest but none of the vegans I have ever met are like that. Same as not all Christians are narrow-minded homophobic racists. Not all Middle Eastern people are terrorists. Not all Twilight fans are psycho celebrity stalkers. Not all [fill in the blank] are [pick a stereotype]. It’s actually an extremely small percentage of any one group to fit a preconceived idea of them. Yet that is how society treats everyone. I hate that.

Wow. That went off on a tangent. (Just accept it. Love me.)

My point… You go ahead, you pumpkin spice loving enthusiasts, and spread your joy and passion all over the internet. You won’t hear any complaints about it from me.

And haters, sit the fuck down and shut up. Channel that conviction into something you love rather than giving someone shit for talking about what they like. We don’t all need to agree. Don’t be stupid.


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Love and Loss

Sometimes, I say too much. I’ve always been a reflective (self-obsessed) person and I’m very open and honest about my shortcomings. I usually think the worst of myself and am very blunt and brutal when I talk about my own behaviour. I am finally beginning to realize that it can be very off-putting for other people to listen to my self-flagellation. I never really understood that. I guess because the reasons I freely shared those things was not for someone to correct me or turn it back around and compliment me. I was never fishing. And in fact, I’m quite uncomfortable when someone disagrees with my negative view of myself. I suppose I was just putting my thoughts out there as a way to release them from my mind and have someone understand.

More and more, I have come to find that we aren’t supposed to do that. And people don’t understand because I seem to be alone in how I feel about myself and the willingness (or even need) to share it. Most people don’t like to see themselves that way or try to hide it.

When I was younger, I spouted off stuff like that (and other inappropriate things) all the time. As I grew up, I started noticing other’s unfavourable reactions and tried to rein it in. I don’t think I figured out the why part until much later in life, and am still struggling with that. All I knew was that I shouldn’t talk so much, especially about myself.

I learned to be silent.

I gradually stopped telling people how I felt about anything. This has ended up hurting me much more than having some people misunderstand me. At least I had had a handful of people who sort of got me, even if they didn’t fully get my feelings. It’s gotten to the point where I have distanced myself so much from others that when something actually matters, there are only a few people I feel I could turn to.

I lost many friendships. I let a lot of really great people leave my life. I didn’t get rid of friends because I didn’t like them. There were no big fights. I just slowly let them fade away until we didn’t have contact anymore. I did that because I didn’t know how to keep talking. It was never for my benefit, always the other person’s. I didn’t want to make anyone else uncomfortable by forcing my presence on them.

I’ve done this to so many people over the years. One particular case stands out and hurts me the most.


Tara was my best friend in high school. We were pretty much inseparable. I even lived at her house for my last few months before graduating. Her family was like my other family (and in some ways, I was closer to hers than my own). She was like a sister.

After high school, I moved away but we still talked almost every day. We did our best to stay close and keep each other up to date about what was going on in our lives. But over the years, we slowly began drifting apart. We stopped calling each other, we made seeing each other less and less of a priority. It got to the point where we would only send a message or two back and forth once every few years.

I guess that happens with a lot of friendships, but I feel like the reason why is different. I could legitimately say that we just grew up and developed different daily lives and drifted naturally. That’s true. And I am okay with the fact that our priorities changed and other people became more important. But if feels like there was more than that. I always felt like she was upset with me for being such a crappy friend and that she didn’t want to make any more effort if I wasn’t reciprocating. I felt like it was all my fault and if I had only called her back, we’d still be in each other’s lives.

I know this is an immature viewpoint and that I’m probably being a lot harder on myself than reality demands. But I still feel it and can’t help it.

I would often think of Tara and want to check in with her to see how she was doing and what was going on with her, but for reasons I don’t really understand yet, I felt insecure and uncertain of how my messages would be received so I hardly ever did it. I reasoned that if she wanted to hear from me, she’d ask. That if I left the last message, not to bug her again until she responded. I felt like I should reach out, but rarely did and always felt guilty about that. I was sad that I didn’t really know her as an adult. I loved and missed my friend but I didn’t say so. Now I don’t have that chance.

Tara was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. Although we all know cancer is serious, due to the fact that her mom also had cancer several years ago and was fine, I guess I just thought she would be okay. And she was, for awhile. She was in remission for what seemed to me to be a long time.

And then she messaged me at the end of February – only 5 months ago – that the cancer was back and had spread and she was now Stage 4. You hear that and the fear floods through you. We know Stage 4 is not something people live with very long. But the thing about Tara is that she is ferociously positive and it’s infectious. She knew that her time was limited but I don’t think anyone realized how quick her time would pass.

Her battle with cancer ended one week ago.

And now I realize, too late, that regret is a horrible, horrible thing to live with.


I was taken aback at how intense the sadness immediately hit me. I was devastated. Even though I knew it was coming eventually, since we hadn’t been close for the last 10 years or so, I thought, sure, I’d be sad –  but I had no idea just how sad. I was not prepared for the effect her death would have.

I felt like a complete asshole for wallowing in how it affected ME when there were so many people who were still in her life that would be altered completely – her husband, her children, her parents and her brother, and all the friends she was still close to. I felt like I had lost the right to be as sad as I was because I hadn’t made an effort when she was alive. I wasted all this time. I didn’t even tell her when she was sick how much I missed her or how I felt about it. I kept my mouth shut. I think that’s the worst part – she died not knowing that I even cared at all. I hate it and I have to live with that regret now for the rest of my life.


I guess it’s human nature to make shitty things into something we can learn from. I know now how awful it feels to have something you truly regret and wish you could fix but the person is gone. I want to do whatever it takes so that I never feel this again. People in my life will continue to die but I can see now that it must be easier to let them go if you have a good relationship with them rather than to have your grief added to with all the things you left unsaid.


Just a few days before she died, she left these words. She knew the most important lesson of life and shared it with everyone. I’ve taken these words to heart and will be doing my best to live better.

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The First 30

To start my happy days challenge, I wanted to take a picture of the one thing (person) that always makes me happy in any situation and, truthfully, is the only reason I’m still alive a lot of the time. My husband.

I also wanted to do something fun so after work, he picked me up and took me out for bubble tea. I’m sure everyone who reads this will also already be fully aware of my love for bubble tea. We actually went to a place I hadn’t been before, on the recommendation of my coworker. Bubble Tease is the chain that’s found in malls and generally isn’t the greatest. I was unaware that they even had standalone locations until I saw one downtown on Dundas Street. I had no idea there was one in Mississauga but my coworker promised me that it was good, so we decided to “try something new”.

So, day 1 combined two of my favourites. Just look at that face! How can you not love him?! 😛


I noticed the other day on Facebook that multiple people were talking about the TV show 13 Reasons Why. I knew it was a book – back when I was writing about reading more, I had gone to Chapters with my friend Abbygail and she pointed it out as one she had read – but I didn’t know they had made a show based on it. When I heard about the book, I looked it up to see what it was about. I read through the entire Wikipedia page and thought that was enough for me – reading the synopsis rather than the entire book. There was nothing in the chapter summaries that jumped out that made me think I wanted to know more about that. But there were alllllll these posts on Facebook about how great the show was and how everyone should see it. I didn’t want to read it but I could envision it being interesting to watch. I was bored and didn’t want to go to bed just yet, so I decided to check it out.

OMG. So good! And yes, everyone should see it. I actually think it should be something they show in high schools to all students. Suicide is a topic that should be talked about openly. I myself have a million opinions about it~ but I shall spare you and won’t get into them here.

I started the first episode just before midnight. I ended up staying up until like 5:30 or something and then went to bed for a few hours and then came back and watched the rest all day long. The reason it made me so happy to find a TV show I loved so much was because that’s so rare for me! I am so intensely picky about what appeals to me and I lose interest so quickly.

It was a nice way to spend my day off, marathoning a great TV show, eating the leftover piece of Truffle Royale cake I got from Bubble Tease yesterday, and, as always, there’s the ever-present cup of tea.

Plus, I love my living room. I am proud of the way it turned out after we finally painted and got that wall unit. It’s so comfy in there.


It was so nice out. Cloudy and cool. Perfect. Most people enjoy sunshine and warm weather, but I am NOT looking forward to the return of summer. I wish it would stay like this all the time.

After work, I decided that I would take advantage of the weather and go for a walk. There is a pond and a wooded area behind a school not too far from our house so I thought I’d go explore that area further and see what was there. I was delighted to find out there is a paved trail following a creek that leads all the way through this area of the city. I hopped on just behind the pond and followed it for about an hour to see just how far it went. It just so happens to lead almost directly to where I transfer buses for work. I made a plan that I would use this trail for my walks home – much more scenic and peaceful than the busy street.

Even still, I can’t describe how or why it made me so happy, but I was smiling and practically skipping the entire time. Something about being with nature, even just that little bit, is so relaxing and to find something like that so close to home and in a direction I go so often just seemed perfect.

I ended up posting a whole bunch of pictures into an album on Facebook, so if we are friends, you can look at those for more views of the trail, if you’re interested.


I started selling my Twilight-inspired crafty things on Etsy a few years ago as a way to help fund my trips to do Twilight-related things. I made quite a few sales right away which helped out tremendously. There was a point where I had more orders than I had time to make and had to turn some down. It’s something I like doing, but at one point, with the extras I was making to take with me to sell in person as well, it was getting to be where I was sick of it. Each one is a lot of work! So I stopped ‘pimping myself out’ and the sales tapered off. Every once in awhile though, three years later, I still get the occasional order. Since they are spread out now, I am back to enjoying it. Doing one at a time, here and there, is nice. And I’m always grateful for the few extra dollars.

This particular sale I pictured made me smile because the buyer lives in the town I lived when I was little. It’s a small world.


I pretty much explained everything about Kawehi in the caption, but the whole day was a happy day. Hubby and I went downtown and we had bubble tea twice – first at Gong Cha, then again at Chatime, he had ramen and I had gyudon at Sansotei, I got my favourite treat and a matcha latte at Tsujiri, and we stopped by the Toronto sign. It’s always a fun time with him, no matter what we do.

Kawehi herself is adorable. I have been following her a bit on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram since I saw that Nirvana video posted on one of those sites… Buzzfeed or something. I like that she’s who she is without apology. Not that she should have to apologize for anything because she’s not abrasive or controversial. She’s just a “little girl” with a potty mouth and likes to turn famous songs into something new and make them her own, and for some reason, some people have a problem with that.

Because I wanted to document it for Happy Days, we waited around after the show to get a picture with her. I briefly explained it to her and then we had an epic mini-photoshoot. She was hilarious and awesome.

(P.S. The date on this one is off because I posted it at 12:05am. We had to wait to talk to her for quite awhile.)


Another perfect weather day. I’m relishing the temperature and gloominess for as long as it lasts, because I know it won’t be long before I feel like dying in the heat and sunshine.

For the entire day, I sat at my kitchen table, working on my blog and organizing my iTunes while taking long stretches of time just staring out the window, watching the rain. I LOVE rain. I love the sound of rain, the smell of earth when it rains, the colour of the sky when it rains, the sound of tires splashing rain on the street… I love lazy days when I can do all the things I enjoy that “waste time”. I love sitting and staring at nothing, drinking my tea, and being contemplative about life.


I’m really, really lazy when it comes to getting my hair cut. It had been almost a full year since I cut it last. Luckily, my hair is pretty healthy so I guess I can get away with it. It was pretty gross at the ends though. And getting too long again! Since I’m not growing it to donate it this time (too much dyeing going on), I can keep it at whatever length I want. I think it looks best when it’s just below my shoulder blades. The actual process of getting my haircut is extremely unenjoyable for me. I don’t know how people find going to the salon a relaxing thing to do. First of all, the salon is always too bright and too noisy. Then you have to feel awkward making conversation with the stylist. Plus having her all up in my personal space for an hour or two (no matter how nice she is)… It’s draining for me. But the end result is worth it. I like how the cut ended up and left feeling pretty pleased.

Instead of taking the picture at the actual salon (‘cause I probably just forgot to), I took it right in the middle of the mall, with a bunch of people staring at me, presumably judging me, for having a selfie session. But the “chandelier” behind me changes colours and it’s so pretty! So screw them and their shifty eyeballs.


Hubby called me at work in the morning. He was so excited. For those that don’t know, it’s really hard to get tickets for Comic Con. They are given out on a lottery basis. You have to sit in a virtual waiting room and hope you’re going to be able to buy some. I don’t really understand how it works but usually people only get them for one of the days. Hubby “won” the ability to get us tickets for all 5 days. So we’re going to San Diego in July! (For his sake, I’m going to be excited about it and not try to worry too much about how hot it’s going to be.) And I’ll get to see some friends there too, so that will be great.

Hubby asked me what I was going to cosplay as and I laughed in his face. (He was just kidding, ‘cause he knows me. Haha.) I DO NOT, as a rule, dress up. Ever. That’s why I’m wearing a Rilakkuma kigurumi onesie in the picture. To be funny.

I mentioned in the caption how I don’t believe in luck. I think this is going to needs its own blog post at some point. For now, I stand by that statement and I’ll just say that it’s not luck, it’s perspective. I have been working my butt off to see everything in a positive light lately, especially since doing the happy days challenge. I believe that when you put positivity out into the world, it comes back to you. This is one of those instances when something good happened and I feel like it was like a karmic reward.


I said it all in the caption. Change your perspective, change your life.


Vacation! I don’t work that hard, so it’s not like I need a vacation from work but just a vacation from the norm is nice. And necessary. A change in scenery and schedule is a break from the monotony of life and sometimes seems like all that’s worth living for.

Before I went to Japan last time, I am somewhat ashamed to say I had never had actual sushi before. Just the westernized things, like California rolls. Never anything with raw fish. I grew up hating fish (force-feeding is a horrible thing!) and assumed raw fish would be even worse than cooked. BUT~ since I also grew up hating steak and it’s now my favourite thing and because of my experience with avoiding things for stupid reasons (like Twilight), I decided to try it. I had some salmon nigiri at Genki Sushi in Tokyo and was pleasantly surprised. I don’t think I could work in a Japanese restaurant and not feel like a fraud if I didn’t actually eat sushi. Since working here, I’ve tried many things I would have passed up before because they looked or sounded gross. In my experience, you miss out on some great things that way… Just sayin’. It’s gotten to the point where I not only know which fish I like raw and don’t but also how I like them prepared. My current favourite is just plain old salmon as nigiri with no wasabi. (Haven’t gotten to the point where I appreciate wasabi yet.) No soy sauce, no ginger. Just the salmon and a bit of rice. Yum.

I’m not just being biased when I say that Toshi has the best sushi in Brampton. (I’d even say all of the GTA, but I haven’t tried enough restaurants downtown to be sure.) It’s really good. High quality fish, well prepared by experienced chefs with attention to detail. I wanted to have a little treat on my way out the door because over the next 3 weeks, I’m sure I’ll miss it.


I love having all my favourite colours in my hair. It’s just so much work so I don’t touch it up often. Something about looking at those colours in combination makes me happy. Like a mermaid or a peacock or something. So pretty. I wish it would last but I know they’ll start to fade in less than a week.

For those that are curious, I used six different Manic Panic dyes: Green Envy, Enchanted Forest, Siren Song, Electric Lizard, Atomic Turquoise and Purple Haze.


It’s going to be a super busy trip. Our first stop is Winnipeg. Nephie and SIL are getting baptized on Easter and we want to be there for them. There is always way more to squeeze in to our visits to WPG and we never get to it all. I do have to go out to Morden to see my parents and my sister and her kids (and have a filling repaired). From there, we are flying out to Edmonton to see Hubby’s dad and other sister and her kids. Both FIL and my nephew have birthdays then. And THEN, the part I’m most looking forward to, Hubby and I are going by ourselves to Jasper National Park to spend a few days surrounded by gorgeous nature and celebrating our ten years married together. Then back to Edmonton for a few more days before we return home. It should be lots of fun.


One thing I always manage to fit into my Winnipeg trips is meeting up with my friend Courtney (because she leaves me no choice! LOL) and going to Kawaii Crepe, one of my favourite places for a delicious crepe and bubble tea. It’s usually just CW, Nephie and I, but for once, we had Hubby join us. I always get the same thing – a ‘make your own’ crepe with banana, condensed milk, and chocolate chips and I usually pair that with lychee bubble tea. CW always gets honeydew. Always. I don’t think she’s even tried any other flavours in the whole 15-20 years we’ve been drinking it. I like her consistency.


Years and years ago, I was introduced to bubble tea. It sparked an immediate and intense, lifelong love affair. Shortly afterwards, I introduced my friend Courtney and together, we sought out whatever we could in Winnipeg. Then I met Hubby and introduced him. We started in WPG and moved together to discover many bubble tea places in the Toronto area. There, we introduced SIL to bubble tea too. (There have been a ton of other people who we have pushed our bubble tea love on, some successfully, some not so much.) Years later, Nephie came along and we started dragging him with us out to various bubble tea establishments with us. Today, Hubby, SIL, Nephie and I went to a Chatime in WPG and each had our favourites. Neph Jr. was with us. He is not the kind of person you can push anything on to. He’ll try it if he wants to but more often than not, you can delicately suggest something to him, but he’ll turn you down flat. Today, he was more amenable to try something new because he was the only one in a group that didn’t have something. He had his very first bubble tea this morning. It was a proud auntie moment. (I doubt he’ll get another one again for at least a really long time, but that’s not the point right now.)


Nephie and SIL got baptized today. They were both really excited about it and I know it means a lot to them. I have my own issues with church and religion and all of that, but that wouldn’t stop me from being there for them for something that was that important to them.

I am so proud of Nephie and all he is learning about himself and the world. That’s truly one fantastic kid and I’m looking forward to knowing the man he grows into.


We went out to Denny’s for Easter breakfast with SIL and her family. I ate so much and was so satisfyingly full. Then we spent a quiet day at their house before my parents came to pick us up and take us out to their house in Morden. Lots of quality family time spent on this trip!


I only get to spend a day or two with my sister each year. I miss her so much! She’s so fun and my favouritest human on the planet (right up there with Hubby). Time with her is always so short but I look forward to it and relish every moment.

We went bowling with her and her kids. It was a blast. They are all so funny and cute – and really great kids! Well done, B! You are raising some wonderful little humans.


Hubby and I were surprised how often we were able to go for bubble tea on our trip. Winnipeg has way more options than it did when I lived there. I think we were able to have at least one every single day so far. (Don’t judge me. I’m on vacation.) We went out with Nephie and SIL (and Neph Jr. but this time he just had apple juice. LOL) for one last bubble tea before we move on to Edmonton to see other SIL and her side. I had never been to Panda Tea before. It was really good.


We went out for a yummy steak dinner with SIL, BIL, nephew and FIL to celebrate two birthdays. Nephew’s was on the 16th and FIL’s on the 17th. I cannot believe how huge Nephew is every time I see him. I wonder if he’s going to stop growing anytime soon.


Awhile ago, probably somewhere around the time I became obsessed with nature and hiking, I added a new point to my bucket list, which is to see all of Canada’s National Parks. We went to Banff 2 years ago and I grew up going to Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park. Now we’ve added Jasper to my completed list. There are 39 altogether – a lot left to get to but that gives me a lot to look forward to.

Jasper is really beautiful. It’s still mostly covered in snow and we weren’t expecting that, but that also gives us a reason to come back someday so we can see it looking different in the summer as well. It’s nice now because it’s not too crowded and not too hot to walk around and see everything.

In the picture, we are standing on a bridge in Maligne Canyon. I wish photography could accurately capture what I see with my eyes because this view was stunning. Depth is one of my favourite aspects of nature and it just doesn’t come across in the picture. It’s still stunning though.


A few months ago when we were trying to decide how to spend our 10 year anniversary, we came up with the plan to go to Jasper National Park. Our actual anniversary is May 5th but since we were already heading to Winnipeg for the baptism, we decided we would save airfare by flying directly to Edmonton from Winnipeg instead of going home in between the two trips. It meant going 2 weeks earlier than our anniversary, but that doesn’t really matter. We still spent this special time together celebrating us. It was wonderful to be together and doing new things as a couple.

This particular picture was taken in front of Athabasca Falls which was probably my favourite location within Jasper. So gorgeous, even 95% still frozen. It’s a place I had seen in pictures awhile ago and had hoped to eventually see it person. Mission complete. And sharing it with my number one person made it even better.


Hubby wasn’t sold on the idea of ‘hiking’ when I suggested it, but~ he loves me and wanted to make me happy so he agreed to this whole trip thing. We had driven past Maligne Lake and saw that it was still frozen over and completely covered with snow so we were going to skip it but part of me wanted to go and walk around the trail around it anyway, just to say I’d been. It’s actually quite difficult walking a footprint-wide path in the snow, but we made it out to the first lookout point. We saw a few interesting things and had a lot of laughs. It was a wonderful afternoon, in my opinion. I’m glad we did it.


We were going to go to Elk Island, another National Park, but it was like a blizzard outside so that ruined that plan. Instead, we just spent a quiet day with SIL’s family, which included bubble tea. I can never say no to that.


When we were in Winnipeg, we brought Nephie his birthday gift (even though that’s not until November). He had been reading the Tokyo Ghoul comics and was really into it so Hubby thought he might like the anime too. He’s only 13 and Hubby had heard it was pretty graphic (neither of us knew anything about it) so he checked with SIL that it was okay for him to watch it. She gave the go ahead so we got him the first season. After we gave it to him, we cracked it open and tested out the first episode. We quickly realized within the first few minutes that the anime version was absolutely unsuitable for him. I think he felt bad saying so but his discomfort was all over his face. (I felt so bad!) Hubby is awesome and so easily said not to worry, that we’d take it home and keep it for ourselves, and take him out the next day to buy him something else. We took him to Toys R Us and let him wander around to find something else he wanted. He was just going to get some Pokémon cards but instead ended up picking out the Empire version of Monopoly. We ended up playing it all night and had so much fun. Hubby and I liked it so much that we wanted to get one for ourselves. We’re into playing games and have game nights with family every time we visit as well as with a few friends anytime they come over. We decided to wait until we got to Edmonton to buy it (to save room in our suitcases which we still laden with gifts to deliver for (other) nephew and Niecey’s birthdays) and introduce it to them as well.

We own several different versions of Monopoly – most are just themed versions of the original but a few are condensed, “easier” versions for kids with various themes. Apart from original Monopoly, Empire is our favourite by far. It is easier (or at least quicker) than regular Monopoly but has its own complex rules. It’s a unique twist to the original and it’s really fun. It’s based more on chance and less on skill so I’m actually not always the loser either. 😛


Niecey started dance when she was pretty little – maybe 6 or 7? She started going to a dance school that is pretty intense. She does all different kids (ballet, jazz, modern, etc.) and goes to lessons several times a week and to many camps throughout the year. When she was little, it was cute to watch, as little kids often are. As she’s gotten older, I can see a real talent emerge. I hadn’t seen her dance in person for several years so I was absolutely blown away when Hubby and I accompanied SIL to pick her up from her class and caught the practice for a routine her class will be performing in an upcoming show. Her movements are so precise and exact and she’s so graceful and elegant. I took dance for a few years when I was a bit younger than she is now but I was never even close to half as good as she is. I think she could have a future as a professional dancer if she wanted it. It was a treat to watch her and I wish I had the opportunity to watch her perform on stage in person.

Hubby said that the routine, which was modern choreography set to emotional music, actually brought tears to his eyes. And he’s not a crier. Neither of us are really, but I knew exactly what he felt. It was powerful and Niecey is captivating.


By the end of a long(ish) trip, I am always ready to go home. I had a good time, of course, and I am not looking forward to going back to the drudgery of everyday life, but I am looking forward to getting back to my comfort. My home is my sanctuary from the parts of the world that hurt me or overwhelm me.


I think I’ve tried to talk about this before~  It seems simple enough that I just came back from vacation, am tired, and was glad I could spend the day in my bed, catching up. But it goes deeper than that. I am very blessed to be in a position that I can sleep all day if I want to. Hubby is the “bread winner” in our family. I work but only part time and make peanuts in comparison. I’m not really helping. And for many years, I didn’t work at all. One thing I’ve always been aware of and always grateful for was how unusual that is and how, dare I say, lucky I am that I am not in a position where I have to work. And it’s a good thing for ME especially. I have… issues. I think if I absolutely had to work full time hours every day, like most adults… I think it might crush me. I honestly don’t think I could do it at this point. Even though I am working a little bit now, I still have my days where I can spend them doing nothing. I need that. It keeps me from freaking out and ending up hospitalized. So, not only catching up on sleep made me happy but having that luxury where I could is so appreciated. It’s never something I take for granted.


After my fun-filled holiday, where it was easy to find things to post about for Happy Days, my first day back at work was not easy. My job itself is not difficult and, for where I am in my life right now, it’s ideally suited to me. I still don’t want to work though. Like most people, I think, I’d really rather not. I try to stay positive and focus on the good things, but I can’t help wishing things were different sometimes.

I came home from work, feeling low, and just wanted to lie on the couch and do nothing. I couldn’t think of anything really that would be a good option for HD and I was tired and sore and cranky. Hubby didn’t protest when I asked him to rub my achy feet for me. He hates doing it and often refuses because he’s also tired and sore, but I think he realized how I was feeling and put his own feelings aside for me to help me out. I was so grateful. It had to be my picture for the day, even though I hate feet. Haha.


Oatmeal is yummy and I’ve become obsessed with it lately. It makes a great, quick breakfast.

I was so impressed with myself for getting up early and leaving time to eat and relax for a few minutes before I started my day. It might sound strange but I’ve always had this vision/fantasy thing where I’m a responsible, “normal” adult who wakes up in the morning, sits down at the table, eats breakfast and has a cup of tea and spends those few minutes collecting myself on a regular basis. One might say, ‘if you want to do that, then just do it’. Why do I have to just dream about it? Yeah, well, crack my head open with a shrink and maybe you’ll find an answer to why I can just seem to do so many of the things I want to! (I hate to be cryptic in my blog posts and say this so often, but this is something I actually want to touch on at some point in the future. I’ve come to realize a whole bunch of things about myself in the last year specifically that all relate to the same thing… but I’m not at a point where I can comfortably share yet.) Such a mundane thing but to me, it was special.


I love cherry blossoms. Of course, they are a Japanese thing but I also love what they symbolize – the impermanence of life and how fleeting beauty is. Sakura also hold memories for me of the times Hubby and I spent in Japan. But, Japan aside, they are just really pretty. I can’t believe I lived here for so long and never realized there are many parks that have annual sakura viewing events. High Park is probably the most publicized of those. I kept seeing posts on Facebook of people enjoying the blossoms while we were on our vacation and I was worried that they’d be gone by the time I had a chance to see them. Even the night before we went, there was a huge rain storm that had knocked down a good portion. We got there just in time to see the last of them on the trees. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it turned out to be.

Hubby and I spent the morning walking through the sakura (there’s an album on Facebook if you want to see more) and then went out for lunch at my favourite restaurant. A lovely day.


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