Thursday, January 05, 2017

Simplifying 2017

So in my last post, I mentioned that I'd chosen the word simplify as my word for 2017. I thought I would share a bit about why.

Almost 2 years ago, we moved, downsizing from a three bedroom house to a one bedroom condo. We cut our living space by about two thirds. Before we moved, I went through each room and purged things we no longer needed-some was sold off at a garage sale, a ton was donated to charity, some was re-homed with our son and then there was a small bit that was actual garbage. The idea was to not move anything that we didn't need or want.

Even though I eliminated a ton of stuff, once we moved, there was still a considerable amount of things that ended up in our small in-suite storage room (which is essentially just a small narrow closet with a few shelves) and in the two double closets in our bedroom and the front hall. After a year, I decided to go through the boxes in the storage room because I hadn't opened a single one the entire year and I was beginning to question if we did in fact need anything in those boxes badly enough to keep storing them. In that purge, I managed to eliminate 6 additional boxes of random stuff.

So here I am, two years later and still feeling like I could free myself of more stuff. And let me tell you, it really is freedom. I have less stuff to dust and take care of. My home is neater and more organised. I spend less time looking for the things I need because almost everything is where it needs to be. That said, there are still boxes in all the closets, most of which I think I can now let go of.

It's been an interesting process. I am certainly far more mindful of bringing anything new into my home and when I do, I make sure that if it's replacing something, that I remove the old item immediately. I don't have a ton of nick knacks now either-I hated dusting them all when we lived in the house but I didn't have a choice because I have allergies. That's not to say I don't have a few, but I am far more selective about it. This has allowed space to display actual art that either I've created or have been given to me by artist friends, which I love.

Another thing that I worked on over the fall was creating a capsule wardrobe. Essentially it's a small collection of clothes that mix and match and serve your life better. I always hated opening my closet and having to sift through clothes I didn't like for whatever reason, clothes that needed repair or that didn't go with anything else. It took me awhile, but my capsule wardrobe is almost complete for the colder seasons. I will have some work to do in the summer, but it should be minimal. I might sound a bit of an odd exercise, but doing this has gotten rid of the daily stress of thinking I don't have anything to wear. I can reach in and pull out an outfit immediately, without having to give it much thought. I'm a busy person, so this is a win in my book. 

My capsule wardrobe isn't expensive or fancy-I built it around what works for my life. Here's a quick run down:

-Jeans (blue, black)
-Dress pants (black)
-yoga pants
-capris (black, grey)

-T-shirts (in a variety of colours, mostly v-neck, short, 3/4 & long sleeved)
-Tank tops (for summer)
-Dress shirts (a couple for wearing over t-shirts & tank tops)
-Cardigans (one dressy, one casual)

-Runners (2 pair, in 2 colours)
-hiking shoes
-rain boots
-winter boots

-winter coat
-rain coat
-polar fleece jacket

-Scarves (The accessorising kind!)

That's it! As I said, I will have to add a few things in the summer, but not much. I don't have dresses or high heels because I would never wear them. At some point, I do want to add a blazer, but I haven't found one I like yet. If you're interested in the idea of a capsule wardrobe, do a search on Pinterest-there are tons of articles about them. I recommend thinking about what your day to day life really looks like and choosing pieces based on what you know you'll wear. Go through your closet before you shop and get rid of clothes that are worn out, stained, badly out of style, (like say a neon crop top-if you have that hiding in your closet, BURN IT!! The 80's are gone and no one ever looked good in that anyway!) and things that just don't fit and don't make you feel good when you wear them. Once you've done that, you will be able to see where the holes are in your wardrobe and can shop accordingly. It's helpful to make a list of what you have and what you need.

I am also working on purging my studio. I did a big purge last spring, but I still feel like I need to weed out a bit more. My biggest weakness is ephemera. I confess I am a paper hoarder. I have several small boxes of ephemera and while those boxes are small, do I really need several? I want to make a concerted effort to use up some of the contents of those boxes in the near future and then limit myself to a single large box. If I'm going to do that, then I will need to make a bunch of journals! I'd better get my sewing machine set up!

Recently, I downloaded an app called "Any List" to my phone and I love it! I am a list maker from way back and it's helping me keep track of my grocery list, but you can use it to make (and share!) lists for just about anything. It remembers the grocery items I've entered before, so once a list is populated, you can call it up and just cross of anything you don't need each week. As I am shopping, I can tap on each item I put in my cart and it disappears from my list. Super helpful!

So there are just a few ways I am simplifying my life in 2017. I've been looking at the things that are challenging or stressful and figuring out how I can make them less so. Like anything, it's a work in progress, but for me, minimalism is really my way of practising self-care. 

Did you choose a word for 2017? I'd love to hear all about it!

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: Year In Review

Hello to those of you who have hung in, waiting patiently for my return to blogging. It's been a tough year for me physically, so that's why the extended absence. Anyway, not being one to dwell, here's what 2016 looked like:


-My friend Sam Bradd spoke about life as a graphic recorder at Creative Mornings Vancouver.

-I returned to Toronto to do my second term as the Community Representative for BC. This time I was doing grant reviews for Community and Population Health for the MS Society of Canada. I got to have dinner with my NMO sister, Jenna, which was a bonus.

-I won a class with Vivienne McMaster on iPhoneography. I took this shot, which she like so much she used it to promote the class since.

-Inspired by that class, I dove back into photography. I took this shot shortly after and I love the odd perspective.


-I won a class with Tara Leaver called Oracle Cards and made a deck of mindfulness cards from gelli prints I made.

-I won tickets to the premier of Race about Jesse Owens from the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

-I got new ink-my campersand tattoo which was an Xmas gift from my son. Every time I look down and see it, it makes me so happy.

-Husband and I enjoyed the warmer temps with a trip to Granville Island. (The tree was decked out for Chinese New Year.)


-I flew to LA for 3 days for the NMO Patient Day. I had a great time connecting with my community. I also tried Uber for the first time.

-I screened for a clinical trial. After jumping through extensive hoops, I was excluded from the trial, which was very frustrating.

-For my birthday, I took an online class with Roxanne Coble called Creatures. Playing with paint is always so much fun.

-My husband and I celebrated with surf and turf at the Keg.


-My friend Isabel treated me to an evening at the VSO featuring Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield. This goes down as one of the best musical experiences of my life. I am still listening to Holst's The Planets: Jupiter.

-We started taking Indy up to the lake-it was finally warm enough.

-We went to a belated birthday dinner for me at Storm Crow Alehouse. Love Han Solo in carbonite!!

-My Health Mentors students and I did the annual symposium.


-I spoke at UBC at the Operation Med School about the work the MS Society of Canada does and about NMO. I did an interactive piece where students could experience some of the symptoms people living with MS and NMO deal with on a daily basis which was a huge hit.

-I also gave a short speech to Port Coquitlam City Council and accepted a proclamation from the Mayor on behalf of the MS Society. My husband came along and this was the first time he's heard me do public speaking. Afterwards, he said "I could never do that!" It gave him a quick glimpse into some of the advocacy work I do all year long.

-I started a lettuce and herb farm on my patio.

-I took this wheelchair photo on False Creek, which is one of my most favourites this year. I call it "Gone Paddling". It speaks to ability.

June & July:
(Lumped together, because by this point, I was very unwell.)

-Another most favourite photograph of Indy up at the lake. I love that it's partly out of frame and shows him wildly swinging his water Kong and his teeth. He is in utter bliss retrieving and swimming.

-Vivienne gave a talk on self-love at Creative Mornings Vancouver. Even though I was feeling terrible, I wanted to go to support her.

-I won a class with Bella Civoric, Holy Hush. This was the kit that went with the class.

-We made a few quick trips to the Farmer's Market to get fresh veggies. I always love supporting our local farmers.


-After suffering with brutal tendinitis in my right arm for 8 months (at this point) the brilliant arm surgeon decided I just needed a custom moulded brace. *sigh* Here it is now the last days of December and I am still in pain. *SO* not helpful.

-Spending 14 weeks in bed over the late spring and entire summer had one bright spot-the Olympics & Paralympics were on. It cheered me greatly to watch our women's footie & rugby 7's win bronze medals and to watch WC Rugby.

-At the tail end of August, I started on Rituxan infusion to treat both my RA and NMO. Making the shift in treatment was weird.

-I actually managed to eek out a wee bit of art during this time, inspired by Mandy Stewart.

September & October:

-Husband and I went on a date to a new local bakery, Gabi & Jules who do amazing pies. They sell at our local Farmer's Market and just opened their brick and mortar store. It's great to have such a nice place to have tea and pie when the mood strikes.

-I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Anthropology at UBC for free and to take a tour that talked about activism and art through the Creative Mornings Vancouver Field Trip program. I have had a visit to MOA on my life list forever and this seemed like the perfect time to do it. I left feeling super inspired by everything I saw. It's the kind of place you can return to again and again and see something new or see something in a different light each and every time.

-Autumn weather finally arrived and with it, cooler temps, which I was grateful for.

-We celebrated my husband's 60th birthday, which given the last few years of very serious health issues, is a milestone that at times I didn't think we'd see. A week later, we celebrated our 26th anniversary.


-I started off the month with a few days in Seattle with my best friend, who was having cornea transplant surgery. It was interesting to see how the US health care system works. One tiny bottle of eye drops cost over $200 down there. It would have been $35 at home. *boggles*

-I volunteered at the Women Against MS (WAMS) annual luncheon and got to meet Canadian soccer two time Olympic bronze medallist, Christine Sinclair. I am a huge fan of women's footie! Loved crossing that off my life list!

-The MS Ambassadors had their annual forum at UBC. It was a great day connecting with fellow ambassadors, learning about the changes being made to how the MS Society operates and to hear about some current research being done.

-UBC NMO Patient Day was also held in November.


-The first week of December I flew back to Toronto because I was invited to attend both HEARMS Day and the ENDMS conference. It was an incredible opportunity to connect and learn with researchers from across Canada and from around the world. It goes down as one of the best experiences of my life. I will be writing more about it in the new year. 

-I finally got a chance to meet my fellow blogger, Juan Garrido. We've been writing for the blog for together for over 4 years, so it was really wonderful to finally spend some time with him. 

-I also reconnected with Dr. Sam Davis, who is a professor of neurology and neurosurgery, as well as a researcher at McGill University. Sam was the Chair of the first grants review committee I served on (Personnel) and is such a kind and lovely man. We caught up over breakfast. 

-I also got to catch up with the fabulous Dr. Karen Lee, Vice President of Research for the MS Society of Canada. She's expecting her first baby in the spring and I'm so excited for her!!

The rest of my December was snow, (which is unusual for Vancouver and the surrounds. It started the day I left for Toronto and pretty much has continued ever since. We are more than ready for it to be gone.) baking & celebrating. 

New Year's Eve will mark 27 years since our first date. (A hockey game-what else? We are after all, Canadian.) It seems crazy to think it's been that many years.

 All in all, it's been a challenging and very full year.

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to 2017 being kinder, gentler.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Long Time, No Post!

It's been ages since I've update and you're probably wondering if I fell off the face of the earth. Almost. I am hanging on by a thread. I became quite ill just over 9 weeks ago and have been either in bed or off having specialist's appointments, MRIs and blood tests ever since. This week alone I had 6 appointments in 3 days. It's still up in the air what exactly is wrong and how it's going to be treated and no one is more anxious to get this figured out than me, so I can recover and get my life back. This is the worst attack I've ever had, whatever it is and it's been brutal.

 As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans."

Let's talk about other things, shall we?
Okay so here are the things that are rocking my world right now:

Listening To:

Spotify! First of all, why didn't anyone tell me about this!?! You guys have been holding out on me! I am late to the party, but I am loving it. It replaces what was Pandora for Canadians. (I had Pandora years ago till some bright light decided to block it in Canada. We still don't have access.)

My go-to play lists include the wonderful Mandolin Orange. Worth checking out if you enjoy mandolins and folk music. (I love both.)

Little Words
Jump Mountain Blues
 Of Which There Is No Like
Wake Me
 Clover Tune
Haste Make
 Bird of a Feather
Little Worlds

I will be adding more of their music when I get a spare minute because honestly, it's all wonderful. Great tunes to make art to. I listen on an endless loop and never get tired of it.

I also love acoustic guitar and there just happens to be a play list called "Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals" that I've subscribed to. That one is also really good for getting into my creative groove. When my husband heard one of my other play lists that I compiled myself he said "You were meant to be born in the 60's." I laughed. He's right. 60's & 70's music is what I tend to listen to the most. Probably not too surprising, since I was named for a Donovan song.

Artsy Inspiration:

I've known about Brian Andreas' art for some time now, but lately, I've rediscovered it through Instagram. He's been posting such beautiful, uplifting work in the face of all the ugliness that's we've been bombarded with as the world seemingly goes off the rails. If you need a break from all that, I recommend following his feed.  (@brainandreas) It will make you feel better. We need more people like Brain in the world. Love needs to be louder. Let's get LOUDER people!!

Brian posted about this project he's started where you order a print of Help Wanted and he will also send you small packet of 3x3 mini prints to give away, as a way to put some love and inspiration out into the world. When I saw the print, it spoke to me so strongly. It was the perfect way to commemorate my 40th year of volunteering. I totally understand what this magic is he's talking about-when you open up your heart and say "YES!" to the ways in which you can serve, the universe will keep presenting you with amazing opportunities. It's the law of attraction. I have experienced this over and over throughout my life. Volunteering has both enriched and informed my life in countless ways.

Yesterday, I covertly gifted my first mini print to one of my specialists who has been working really hard to advocate for me. I put it on her desk and then just tucked it under a bit of her paperwork so she wouldn't find it till after I was gone. I want to leave one for her receptionist who has been very kind to me too, but I didn't get the chance to leave it secretly yet. Next time, hopefully!

I need to see if I can get my hands on some of Brian's books. I'll have to see if our library system has any of them.

Dawn DeVries Sokol has a new instructor video out via Creativebug. I watched it the other day and I just loved how she not only talked about, but showed all the colours, shapes and textures she encounters in her every day life that inspires what she creates as an artist. The video is so infused with colour and I thought it was a really smart way to share what she does.

Later that day, I had time between appointments, so I popped into the big book store downtown and came across three of Dawn's books on the shelves. I always like to try and get photos of friend's books in the wild. I know if I had a book out there in the world, (someday!) I'd love to see it on shelves in cities far away. I also "face" the books, if they are spine out on the shelf so others will notice them. (Shh! Don't tell! I volunteered in the library growing up, so old habits die hard.) It was nice seeing they had a copy of Artists' Journal Pages, which I have work published in.

I had a $20 gift card which was was a thank you gift for consulting on a study UBC is doing about patients who have participated in the medical grant review process. I didn't expect a thank you, so it was a very nice surprise. After seeing Dawn's video, I was inspired, I treated myself to Year of the Doodle. It's got a sort of zine-like vibe and I think it would be a good thing to keep in my bag to help pass the time when I am sitting in the waiting room for medical appointments. All I need is a pen of some sort and I'm good to go. I'm just going to jump in at this point in the year and carry on. It cost me a whopping 94c after the gift card. That's a deal any way you slice it!


Since I have been stuck in bed for weeks, I've watched a lot of good stuff on my iPad. The list is goes:

Game of Thrones-The last two episodes were jaw dropping. It was more like watching a movie than a tv show and it deserves all kinds of awards. It was absolutely epic. The music, the story lines, the multiple moments of shock. WOW! Tyrion made me cry. He is my absolute favourite because he just tries so hard and there is always that sense of him feeling "less than". The vulnerability of that character played so beautifully by Peter Dinklage tears at my heart. If George R.R. Martin ever kills him off, I'm DONE.

Orange is the New Black-I watched the newest season, but somehow I can't remember parts of the previous season, so I need to go back and review. A few of the story lines had me confused about what came before. The snoring girl cracked me up and all the references to current TV programs were killing me. They made a comment about Monopoly that had me in stitches.

Wentworth-It's like an Aussie version of OITNB, but not funny-it's very dark in the most delicious way. That's all I'm going to say about it. Watch and see.

Wayward Pines-This is a post-apocolyptic series that is filmed right here in Coquitlam and also out in the Fraser Valley. One of the places they film at, Riverview Hospital is a place I drive by regularly. It's a decommissioned mental hospital, which is used in all kinds of TV and movie filming.The driver of the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary medal bearer van, (whose blog I started following back then and then eventually met) is a driver (teamster) on Wayward Pines. He's been blogging about the series here. (There's a bunch of posts.) The premise of this show is interesting, especially in season one where they have you wondering what's really going on. M. Knight Shyamalan is the producer.

Alone: Seasons 1&2 were filmed on the northwest end of Vancouver Island. The premise is they drop 10 people off, each on an isolated beach with film equipment and they have to survive and film at the same time. There are bears, cougars and wolves. There is also weather. Weather is always a factor in Canadal The last one wins half a million dollars. Season 1 was hilarious-the whole time people are complaining about the rain. People! You are in a temperate rain forest in the late fall. Of course it rains. I guess no one told them. They really should have named it "BC Weather Kicks Butt"! 

The Last Alaskans-This is filmed up in the northeastern corner of Alaska on a wildlife reserve where there are only a handfull of families whose cabins have been grandfathered in until the current owners last child dies. The people are really interesting.

Port Protection-Another Alaska series about a remote port where the community members rely on one another. 

Bering Sea Gold-Mostly guys and one woman prospecting for gold on the sea out of Nome, Alaska. I watch to see how someone is almost going to kill themselves every episode. It's pretty silly.

Life Below Zero-Yet another Alaskan series set in Northern Alaska. (Are you sensing a theme here?) Everyone lives off the grid and subsistence hunts. There is an Inuit family on the show and I enjoy seeing how they are passing down their traditions to their children. The girls are all learning how to hunt and trap. It's really cool that this young girls will have survival skills most of us will never have. 

The Amazing Race Canada-Because I love TAR and the Canadian version is just as good. Plus it's hosted by Jon Montgomery, 2010 Olympic Gold medallist in Skeleton and a fellow Manitoban.

Master Chef (US version)-Because Gordon Ramsey amuses me and I've watched every season since it started. I am glad the grumpy chef isn't on there anymore. 

 I haven't watched too many movies in the last while-I just don't have the energy to stay awake for them at the moment, but I did see Concussion which was unbelievably good. I will never watch football or any contact sport the same way again. It explains a lot about how much brain damage athletes are suffering and many of them don't even know it. It sure opened my eyes. Well worth watching. (I rented it via iTunes.) I have rent The Witch and I need to watch that one in the next couple of days. A couple friends have seen it and enjoyed it. I love creepy movies!

Tomorrow my best friend and I are going to see a new Viggo Mortenson movie, Captain Fantastic. It will be good to get out for a bit for sanity's sake, hang out with my bestie and of course eat popcorn! It looks like a really great movie. 


Reading has been tough. I am having both blurry and double vision from side effects of the medications I am on, so most of the time, it's pretty impossible. I have small windows of time where I can manage. Right now in the queue on my bedside table are Robert Dugoni's In the Clearing and Linda Castillio's Among the Wicked. I am hoping to be able to make my way through both of them before they are due back at the library. The last pile I had, I had to return unread. I've put them back on my Goodreads "want to read" list so I don't forget about them. 

A number of people have suggested audio books, which I am authorized for at my local library, but to me, reading is an active, not a passive thing. My brain likes to read, not to be read to. I did try it out the last time this happened and I find sometimes the person narrating can be really annoying, which is distracting. In a perfect world, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, John Corbett, Jeffery Dean Morgan would narrate books for me. (Harrison Ford would always be my first choice!)

Okay, I think that's it for now. I have art to share-yes, I've actually been working on some art when I've felt up to it and doing some photography in my travels.
I'll save that for my next post. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Major Milestone

I had planned to write a post about National Volunteer Week on Monday, but ironically, I was busy volunteering that day. Really! I spent the day out at UBC having my 6th blood draw for the CIRCLES study for NMO and having a brain MRI for a study on NMO and cognition. I do these things because they are important and relatively easy ways that I can help researchers and clinicians learn more about NMO and hopefully find a cure for this devastating disease.

I wanted to post about National Volunteer Week because this year marks an important milestone in my life:

I have officially been volunteering for 40 years! 

Yes, you read that right. When I was just 5 years old, I began volunteering by visit a fragile senior in my neighbourhood. She was living with angina which had made her both house bound and bedridden. She and her husband were lovely people. I visited her a couple times a week for 10 years until I moved to the west coast. We bonded over our love of art, (she was a gifted artist) writing, reading and poetry. She introduced me to The Group of Seven and thanks to her, I fell in love with the work of Emily Carr. I learned at a very young age that I was happiest and my best self when I was helping others and so my life evolved into one of continual service. When you find what makes you happiest, you want to keep on doing it.

My volunteer resume is extensive and diverse. I have given of my time to all kinds of causes and events that I felt passionate about. Through all my varied experiences, I have developed skills I wouldn't otherwise have and learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of, often surprising myself. For example, who knew I could effectively manage a fleet of 30 vehicles and drivers for VIP transportation for major sporting events? I didn't! I walked in the door, sat down and BOOM! I was in charge. I just did it and because I am really good at multitasking and organising, things ran smoothly. I walked away from that experience pretty proud of myself and then went on to run dispatch for three more events. I loved the challenge.

Over the years, volunteering has given me the opportunity to interact with a huge cross section of society. I've worked with children, seniors, people with physical and developmental disabilities, people in crisis, future health care providers, various boards and advisory committees, city council, politicians, tourists, Olympic and Paralympic athletes, professional sports figures, festival and events committees, medical researchers and clinicians, radio and television hosts and so on. I have learned something from every single person I have crossed paths with in the last 40 years. I've made some of my closest friends through volunteering. My best friend Lisa and I met through the crisis line. When we first met, we took an instant dislike to one another, which, in her words meant "We were destined to become friends." We were both elected as Volunteer Representatives and as we worked together, we got to know and respect one another. We've been best friends ever since.

I have always believed that volunteering is the rent we pay as citizens of this planet. The beautiful thing about giving is that the more you give, the more you get to keep for yourself-my life has been blessed and informed in countless ways through service. Rick Hansen gave some great advice about volunteering. I am paraphrasing, but essentially he said we should find the thing we are passionate about and then do it with all our might. I couldn't agree more! Choose opportunities to do the things you love, because then you will be giving from a place of happiness and joy. I promise you, it will change your life. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Rocket Man

Saturday night I got to experience something really special. My friend Isabel invited me to the symphony and it wasn't just any symphony, but the VSO with CMDR Chris Hadfield! Being a huge fan of space exploration and this exceptional Canadian astronaut as well, I jumped at the chance.

I have to say this goes down as one of the most amazing experiences of my life. First of all, there was the music. Having lived with a hearing impairment my entire life, when I listen to music, it's very one dimensional to me. The Orpheum where the concert was played was built for sound so it felt like I was enveloped in the music. Usually I am all about the strings, but the epic scores they were playing really made the percussionists shine. I was fascinated by the endless variety of sounds they could produce. I couldn't take my eyes off them!

The highlight for me was hearing John Williams' score for the closing credits of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. His music is unmistakable in the way he layers sound and hearing that piece performed by classically trained musicians was incredible. My other favourite piece of the night was something I'd never heard before, but instantly fell in love with Holst's The Planets: Jupiter. Such a gorgeous piece! They paired it with photographs from outer space that were projected onto two big screens. It was really cool. Here's a link to a sampling of it. (The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is performing this version.)

CMDR Hadfield performed a number of songs from his album, including I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing) which is my personal favourite. It was originally recorded with The Barenaked Ladies. Here's the video:


At one point, he was singing a new song, Beyond the Terror and I was sitting there thinking "Why is he singing about terrorists? That's a little harsh." The next day I was reading through my program guide and saw the song was"Beyond the Terra". Uh...yeah...okay that makes more sense! This is what happens when you have a hearing impairment. Fun times! 

CDMR Hadfield also performed David Bowie's Space Oddity. He talked about the emails he exchanged with Bowie leading up to the video and cover he did while aboard the International Space Station. He said that Bowie expressed such joy that this song he'd written about how he imagined space travel to be was being recorded in the very place he he'd written about. CMDR Hadfield said it meant so much to know that he'd given Bowie joy in the final weeks of his life, when no one knew he was dying. Very poignant.

The UBC Opera Ensemble performed a piece from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace that was super creepy and dark. It was pretty powerful. I had no idea that UBC had an opera ensemble.

I had such a good time with Isabel and I feel so lucky to have seen this concert. It allowed me to cross two things off my life list-1. To hear CMDR Hadfield play live and 2. To hear John Williams' music played live by a symphony. Two things I will treasure forever. THANK YOU Isabel!!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Things I Am Diggin'

Gratuitous photo of a palm tree from my trip to LA. 
I am kinda diggin' shooting trees on this funky angle.

Other things I am diggin':

-I'm signing up this morning to take Roxanne's class as a birthday gift to me. If you're not familiar with her work, you seriously need to check it out. It reminds me of NYC graffiti, which is probably why I like it so much. I am intrigued by her use of black and I'm looking forward to adding to my mixed media layer-making knowledge. Playing with paint makes me happy. Signup begins at 8 am PST. Can't wait!

-Tim Horton's frozen lemonade. It's the perfect blend of cold and tart.

-Starbuck's almond croissants. YUM! They did away with the almond tart, which was my favourite, so this is the next best thing.

-My new Onyx stainless steel bento box from Delish General Store. The container actually holds (for me) enough food for both a lunch and a snack. I love how compact it is and it's a great way to practise self-care on days when I am having to spend a lot of time at the hospital. It saves me sugar crashing and getting a whopper of a headache.

-The new Atom Egoyan movie, Remember starring the brilliant Christoper Plummer. So, so good. (You can rent it for $5 via iTunes.)

-This song, Say Something by Great Big World & Christina Aguilera.

-Jonathan Kellerman's latest novel, Breakdown, which I just finished. He's far and away my favourite writer. I started reading his Alex Delaware series back in 1997. It's a crime serial and if you've never read any of his books, I recommend starting from the beginning- there are 31 books in the series and they are *so* worth it!

-Star magnolias! They are blooming here in now and they are my favourite thing about spring in western Canada...well that and all the cherry trees that are also blossoming. Vancouver is so pretty in the spring.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

And So It Is Done

This humbling letter just arrived in my inbox:

Dear Lelainia,

We would like to acknowledge the tremendous contribution you have made to the health professional programs at the University of British Columbia through your role as a member of the Office of the Vice-Provost Health Patient Advisory Group. We have been privileged to work with you in the development of curriculum for the health and human service programs. Over the past two years, you have shared both your valuable time and personal experiences in order to improve the education of health professional students, expecting nothing in return.

Your role on this advisory group has helped ensure student education is patient-centred and relevant. Your contribution to the Certificate in Collaborative Practice for Health Professionals and the Integrated Ethics Curriculum, among other initiatives, will impact health professional students for years to come.These programs are being used with health professionals from a wide range of disciplines and have the potential to change the way health care is delivered in the future.

We look forward to working with you in the future through the Patient and Community Partnerships for Education and other initiatives.

Louise Nasmith
Associate-Provost Health
Office of the Vice Provost Health
The University of British Columbia

Victoria Wood
Curriculum Manager
Office of the Vice Provost Health
The University of British Columbia


Tuesday afternoon, we wrapped up the work we were doing on this advisory committee. I am kind of stunned to realize that was 2 years of work together. It didn't feel like it-that's how much I enjoyed working with this advisory and the faculty. I am still doing advisory work, (in fact, I am heading back to UBC for to a dinner meeting in a couple of hours) but the certificate in collaborate practice and iEthics work has been completed.

It has been such an honour to do this work with individuals who are so deeply committed to improving health care education in British Columbia. I have learned so much from each of them and I believe that I received in equal measure to what I gave. I am just so grateful to have been invited to join them at the table and to have been able to collaborate and create with them. 

 I too look forward to whatever's coming next.