Takeout food almost killed me!

Hello my friends and I hope you are all doing well. So let’s talk about home cooked meals. As a mother of 6 children I have been challenged with coming up with quick and easy ways to feed the family. During this current pandemic and the most recent 4 week lockdown here in my city, even ordering food can have risks. A few weeks ago, I had a fight with some food poisoning after ordering some takeout. Some people may have slight fevers and other not so pleasant discomforts in the stomach and bowels. However, due to my ever complexing Multiple Sclerosis disease, food poisoning can be a full on battle.

Yes I had tons of life stress that contributed while also concealing what was happening with me. My stomach started feeling and looking swollen. I noticed but wasn’t too alarmed as my disease, meds, stress etc. can cause some bloating. I started feeling fatigue, also a common symptom of MS, and my stomach had a burning feeling and THEN the real pain began. My lower back started hurting, I could hardly walk. The pain was so bad and I was so weak I opted to buy a wheelchair to help. I was mostly bedridden and I was tired of staring at the walls. I started feeling hot and cold chills and with the state of the world as it is, I did not want to go to the hospital unless it was absolutely necessary, but something was urging me to do something about it. I called my neurologist because I was going downhill fast.

After having so much pain walking and simply moving my legs, my neurologist asked me questions, did some physical tests. Before I go on, I would like to point out that these physical tests are freaking hard! There’s pulling, pushing, walking, eye testing, coordination testing, balancing, reflex testing and trying to remember all the concerns I had.. I digress. We looked at my recent brain MRI and he didn’t see any new nor active lesions. At the end of it all we discussed steroids.

As much as I love to be pain free, I take steroids with my Ocrevus infusion every 6 months and I really wanted to avoid the side effects as much as possible. For example, “roid rages”, eating like a bottomless pit but most importantly over time my bones will become brittle. We discussed our options and decided to do a full panel blood test, get a new spine MRI and then decide what the next step is pending the results. The wait sucked really hard, but what the blood test revealed was pretty shocking.

Are you ready for this one?! I had E.coli poisoning!! My nurse called to check on how I was feeling and tried to assure me that it should clear up on its own. My neuro said the small infection is exacerbating my MS symptoms, kinda like hiding in plain sight.  We went ahead with getting another spine MRI just to be sure.  My family physician and nurse contacted me and prescribed 1 dose of fluoroquinolone.  A few weeks later, my spine MRI showed no new nor active lesions and I was starting to feel better each day after.

What this whole ordeal came down to is food.  All the risks and trust we put into others to prepare our meals is incredible.  It made me really think about my family and how we have all consumed this food and could have ended up in a full disaster if my children were effected.  Now I’m a lot more cautious of what I and my family eats.  I’ve gone back to my roots, cooking, baking and creating different recipes that my kids are so happy with.  My most recent creation was a 5 layer lasagna.  I made the noodles and layered the dish while I watched Dr. G Medical Examiner.  Perhaps watching her show made me hyper aware about what goes on inside our bodies and contributing factors to deaths.  The best thing that I’ve done, as a direct result of using quality ingredients and home cooking, is leading by example.  My children love to watch and help me cook and bake.  Their eyes brighten up when I make their favourite treats and dishes, but even more so when they know they helped me.


I hope this post gives you some cooking inspiration and health awareness.

Take care!

SS

Canine Exercise

Alright! The warmer weather is slowly creeping in and it’s time to physically condition my dogs. Dog shows in Canada are still in question however if you’re a dog lover like I am, putting my dogs in their top condition is a major goal. Showing dogs is not just about their coats it is about bringing out the best of the best out of the show prospect. Usually within the first few months to 2 years of my show prospect’s life, I have a better idea of what they can do in the ring and whether they will be part of my breeding program.

Structure is so unbelievably important to me so I tend to choose my puppies that are of show quality. To me, that means that the breeder has used their professional knowledge, time and effort to ensure they produce dogs that best represents the breed standard be it from the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kingdom Kennel Club (UKC) etc. Yes, the breed standard is up to interpretation, so make sure you find a good mentor in your breed club or your kennel clubs to help guide you. One thing to keep into perspective is what showing is about. As the names suggest “Canadian Kennel Club”, these are dog kennel clubs. As a member of these clubs I can openly admit that we are dog enthusiasts and most members are breeders. In my last post about dogs ( Purebred or Not ) I explained why I choose purebred dogs, so you can get a bit of my reasoning.

Watching a dog’s gait or the way the move while they walk is another way that I condition my dogs. Much like horses move or “gait” the same is true for dogs. No matter how big or small, the dogs are they should look effortless as the move around the ring. For a show dog, this can be the most important 5 minutes of the show day. I remember my first time in the ring, a total rookie but I did take handling classes ( a handler is the person that takes the dog in the ring and presents the dog to the judge, this can be the owner or a professional handler ). My adrenaline was pumping and it was only a practice show. My fellow students were just as nervous.

We all lined up, stacked our dogs ready for our once around the ring. All I kept thinking is “I hope I don’t fall on my face”. From application forms, show entries, different formation patterns the judge would request, it made all us students sweat as we were all preparing for a weekend show. At the time, I showed my female Boxer who was full of energy, but she turned it down a touch and I won third place. Several years down the road I showed a male Lhasa Apso. This guy was the easiest dog to show. He loved moving around the ring like he owned it. His flowing long hair made him look like he was floating. It was so much fun but a LOT of work. Taking him to different shows and getting his Championship at 9 months of age was a group effort but it was so exciting taking a Best Puppy in Show win! Yes it was a proud moment to know I ran around the ring with my dog and I working as a team. There’s something magical about the bond I have with my dogs an unspoken quiet understanding that we’ve got a job to do.

Babbette has been my sidekick and my shadow for 2 years throughout this pandemic. Babb let me cuddle her when I had a loss in the family I literally cried into her coat while she licked my hand, she helps me stabilize when I walk or when I stumble she’s so quiet and kind. Babbette and dogs like her are why I choose to show and breed the best dogs humans can bond with. Dogs have been bred to help us humans for more than a century and I see responsible dog owners now more than ever.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll see our human-dog team in a show one day. For now, I will be out and about bonding with my dogs and getting myself conditioned as well. Bring on that Spring weather!

Babbette’s favourite frisbee is a Kong Flying Disc from RenPets. I am currently using a soft rope slip collar similar to this one on Amazon, I do not recommend this type for smaller dogs or puppies. Happy canine exercising!

Post Mortem

I have been intrigued by true crime which you know. I am not alone in this fascination but in going down that rabbit hole of videos I had more and more recommendations of documentaries. I let my YouTube algorithm choose my videos and BAM I was hit with a 3 minute clip Dr. G Medical Examiner. I was like, “Why the heck haven’t I been watching her shows?!” I immediately used Google-magic to find all her shows. I am on season 4 of 7 and let me tell you guys. This show ticks off all the boxes for a fast paced and a “who did it?” type of feel. I find myself shouting out guesses of the cause of death with her examinations. It’s a thing.

Some bodies were on the floor of the funeral home. Two decomposing, unembalmed corpses were in a battered brown hearse. One was wrapped in sheets; the other was in a plastic bag. Days later, more bodies were found stacked in a closet. One body had been in the funeral home 10 years.

Orlando Sentinel, Funeral Fiasco –Why No One Knew

One of the breakthroughs of her career was in 1988. A government funded funeral home, in Jacksonville, Florida, was found using poor embalming and body preservation practices. Dr. Jan Garavaglia had a huge task of not only identifying quickly decomposing bodies in the Florida heat, she also had to contact each of the families as well as provide a long list of evidence to help prosecute the weirdo who committed such heinous acts.

Most of the dead had been poor or did not have relatives. Despite finding funeral home owner Lewis Howell’s performance “marginal,” the city had continued to pay him $100 to $450 to have some of the bodies cremated or buried. City officials said they were not aware that the state also had problems with Howell.

Orlando Sentinel, Funeral Fiasco –Why No One Knew

The clock never ends for the many medical professionals who do the jobs we don’t always know about. In 2015, Dr. G. retired and married her first love. She has not only contributed to the education in medical forensics, she has also taught many young budding medical examiners how to keep searching for answers within each case. She has also opened my eyes to my own health. I will make more of an effort to keep my arteries clean and organs hydrated. I’ve had some recent bloodwork and MRIs done so I’m taking this opportunity to wipe the slate clean and create a healthier me.

The beauty of being alive is that you can reinvent yourself and start over as many times as you want.

Cheers to a clean slate!

Full Article: Funeral Fiasco –Why No One Knew, Orlando Sentinel

Snappy Decisions

I heard my neighbourhood Robin Red Breast bird, Mr. Robinson, singing his beautiful song while I woke up and stretched. The sun was shining and as I stood in front of my glass paned door, there sat a squirrel. I’ve since named him Mr Cooper.

We all stood quietly staring at each other. Mr. Cooper impressed me as he stood his ground and I’m sure he was mildly taunting my wolves with defiance. Tootsie shifted her weight from paw to paw waiting for a command. Babbette stood ready looked up at me briefly anticipating her command. Vinny quietly started to growl, I responded with, “Leave it” and he looked up in acknowledgement.

Mr. Cooper sat on the post of my fence, standing still on his hind legs, his “hands” held across his exposed white haired belly. He’s a bit big, a sizeable grey furred body which makes me believe that he’s a pretty old dude. With my trusty indoor wolves by my side, I slowly opened said glass paned door.

Suddenly, I heard a rustle from my neighbour’s backyard. From the corner of my eye, I saw 2 small black furry tails disappear in the branches of the snow covered tree. Mr. Cooper tilted his head as if he read my mind and now knew I could be a serious threat to his family. I nodded to, Mr. Cooper dismissing him from our stalemate. I told the wolves to sit and closed the door as Mr. Cooper continued on his way to the tree.

I just thought I’d share this moment with you.

Cheers for a happy day!

A Dog Story: Purebred or not?

While trotting through the internet I read articles about rescuing versus purebred dogs something that I’ve been asked many times before. To be clear, I have experience with training and raising both rescued and purebreds.

So let’s start with some common ground. If you’re a dog lover you get me. I have loved dogs since I was a child. My aunt owned this great big beautiful mixed bred dog, named Nina, she and my uncle rescued her from the shelter when she was just a pup. I couldn’t wait to visit her and play with her. She was the size of a German Shepard with hair as white as a Samoyed and a beautiful face like some kind of terrier. She also must have had Collie in her too as she loved to herd my brother and I to protect us from Geronimo, the young German Shepherd who lived in the neighbour’s house. He was her nemesis after he let us ride him like a horse and she had to watch from behind the sliding glass door. She lived to the age of 18 and passed away peacefully in her sleep.

I rescued and adopted many dogs over the years and I can’t picture my life without one. I have had successes in Shutzhund (protection & security) training 2 Boxers, 1 I bought from a breeder and the other a rescue who was found deep in the northern bush close to an oil well.

My first time at a dog show I instantly fell in love. Every breed of dog you can think of under one roof. Handlers magically making their dogs look like they are gliding through the air. I entered my first dog show with my Boxer. I took a handling class and there was so much to learn. Long story short she loved working security way more than dog shows and she let everyone know by jumping around trying to get me to play. However, even though I looked foolish it was too late, I was already hooked with training a dog how to show.

I’m sure by now you’re still asking “ok so you’ve had different dogs, why purebreds?”

It comes to this.. my children. I need dogs that are temperamentally sound in my home. Being “sound” means a better chance of predicting their personality. I’ve had show dogs in my home I have done extensive research of breeds, breeders and clubs. I have picked out dogs from breeders who have many years of experience. Their litters are deliberate and my relationship with the breeders I choose is already established way before the pups are born, in some occasions.

I left the show ring a few years ago due to medical and family issues. I’ve missed it ever since and was getting back into it right before the pandemic hit. I am still conditioning myself and my dogs in hopes to get in the ring again.

I agree with ethical breeding, training and rescuing dogs. Maybe you could call me a walking contradiction, but I consider myself a dog enthusiast. Rescue or not I don’t regret any of the dogs who have shared their lives with me. Mixed or purebred dog, I’m taking a page out of my furry babies’ life lessons and live in the present.

My current indoor wolf pack consists of a one-eared hairless Chinese Crested dog who doesn’t know he’s supposed to have 2 ears and 2 poodles who think they’re human. Ahh, it’s a beautiful life.

NEWS! Dog sniffing for coronavirus?


I came across an video article about dogs sniffing for coronavirus among the patrons at all home games. I had to watch it about 5 times until I could put all the words and procedures, I was seeing in my eyes, together. The video raised questions and thoughts as to if this option was a real thing. I had to slice this bit by bit and figure this out. I mean this is going way beyond what I was even thinking. Let’s start slicing..

The first layer is that the Miami Heat representatives have considered extra precautions to ensure the safety of their patrons at all their home games at the American Airlines Arena. I have to commend their efforts in being proactive during this pandemic. The video shows people formed in groups all faces are masked. The first checkpoint you are lined up 6 feet between each other and you must go through a metal detector. Layer 1 is complete.

The second step is a visual check and the scent sniffing corona virus dogs come out. If you are ok you and your group is lead to your seating area. If anyone in your group has been alerted by the dogs, you and your entire group are denied entry. As I watched the whole procedure play itself out I was in awe. Guys this is really happening. Ok so I digested that video and was, yet again, perturbed about something I still can’t put my mind at ease about.

Here are my questions: How does a dog know what corona virus smells like? How does one train a dog to detect the virus? If dogs can smell it, is there a way we can smell ourselves and know we are virus free? What if you’re sneaking treats into the stadium and the dog smells that and alerts to you but it’s too late because your group can’t get in because beef jerky was your fave snack? Will they blast you online and you try to explain about the jerky but everyone is pissy? These are the questions we should really be asking.  Or maybe I just need some answers.

Original ESPN Video reference 🎥

A Beautiful Day

I woke up feeling fresh. It’s a new day with new opportunities. The weather has been strange but I can’t help but feel like it’s Spring. The birds are chirping and squirrels are all around taunting my dogs. Everything has changed in my world for the greatest. Making hearty meals from scratch and now I find myself making patterns for baby clothing. I am totally filled with nostalgia remembering all the dresses, outfits and costumes I made for the children. There was is a lot of math and fabric knowledge so I have to get going.

Everything seems to be coming together, once again, in full circle. I am so grateful for the wisdom I have gained in order to grow. Becoming the person you are meant to be isn’t the easiest to see nor accept sometimes. Very similar to creating a dress you have to observe how each piece fits with each other. The measurements are definite and integral to the structure of the garment, but what it can’t control is the flair of colour and texture of the fabric. That is me. I am fabric.

Having fun with Resin!

My son and I recently got into creating some resin dominoes. Board games and games like dominoes are all the rage in my house. I’m learning more and more about this sticky substance and I plan to make more art pieces. These are his first set of dominoes and we have another set waiting to cure.

This is such a fun product. I’m still doing some testing on different brands of resin so I will post more info once my trial runs are ready. If you are interested in trying some resin projects, please do your research on different brands and follow all health and safety precautions as resins can be very toxic.

Enjoy the satisfying demolding!

Demolding Dominoes IG video

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It’s Monday!

I’m trying to get to know my current relationship with Monday. I feel like over the many many Mondays of the past I have been conditioned to expect a different outcome with the same attitude and belief that said Monday would end up in any way other than shitty. I have found so many ways to distract myself from facing a Monday. Let us look at what and where Monday is located; who it represents: and how effective it is.

Here is the definition of ‘Monday’ :

mondandaeg – Despite being the dreaded start of the work and school week, Monday is actually the second day of the week. Monday gets its name from the Anglo-Saxon word “mondandaeg” which translates to “the moon’s day.” The second day of the week in Nordic cultures was devoted to worshipping the goddess of the moon.

I was today years old when I realized that I have hated the second day of the week by thinking it was the first day of the week but it was named after the Moon and I have always believed that Mondays smelled like ass and now this is all making sense. I digress.

Well, no wonder why I have been through some tumultuous times! I have been inadvertently disrespecting a whole day that was dedicated to the moon. Smh 🤦🏻‍♀️ Anyway, I also noticed that my disdain for Monday is shared by many. Like hordes and hordes of us really don’t like Monday. Now that there is no physical hustle and bustle of the world, does Monday still have that odour that I dislike so much?

Monday is the one that moved the door a half an inch closer to you and you bump into it, or the time when you stub your toe on your stairs that you’ve been up and down a billion times. That is who Monday is, it reminds you that you forgot to do that thing that was super important.

Monday has successfully managed to hold my ass accountable, dammit! It’s that one day that I have no choice but to follow the rules. It has highlighted my shortcomings and disorganization, ok fine, I admit it. Monday has proved the downfalls of my procrastination. So yes, kids, Monday is my To-Do checklist that I have completed 90% of. I’ve learned through self reflection that I am a master of self sabotage. Monday has taught me that.

I’ve decided to take this time to accept the inevitable. Monday represents the negative reactions of my inaction. I’m imperfect, I make mistakes, I misunderstand, I forget.. but I will no longer subject Monday as the target of my good ol’ simple humanity. I officially apologize to Monday and I thank you for keeping my proverbial ducks in a row.

In moving forward, I will no longer hate on the Moon day, I will no longer blame Monday for my shortcomings. I will praise myself for the 90% done and the 10% just needs more time to complete. Simple. That’s it, that’s all.

Happy Monday! 🌝 😊 🗓