Maverick; the best cat I could have wished for


When Phil and I first started dating 15 years ago, he was extremely vocal about how badly he wanted a dog. He had always had a dog growing up and he missed that companionship.

So naturally, we got a cat.

When we found Maverick, he had just been brought in to the SPCA with several of his brothers and sisters. He was 3 weeks old. As Phil and I wandered through the cat room, not surprisingly, I gravitated toward the kennel full of teensy, tiny balls of fur. I opened the door to pet one, and those sneaky, little kittens seized the opportunity.

Before I could register what was happening there were kittens running wild all over the room.

I yelled at Phil to close the door and then he started gathering them up. But, like a classic comedy, every time he opened the kennel to put one back, 2 more would escape and he would be back on the chase. As he frantically chased the kittens around the room, however, I never moved a muscle.

While every other member of his clan executed their escape plan, Maverick walked out of the kennel and looked right at me. When I picked him up, he burrowed into my neck and there he stayed, purring loudly the whole time.

He chose me.

We adopted that sweet little boy that night and brought him back to Phil’s house. Phil and I had been dating 4 months and that night, when Maverick moved in, so did I. He was the best cat I could have ever wished for.

My 2 boys


My 2 boys - 14 years later

I love how when he wanted to snuggle (which was often), he wouldn’t just knead and lay down, he always needed to be touching us. Maverick would reach out and rest his paw on us, often tenderly stroking our faces the same way we would to his.

I love how Maverick was always waiting at the door for us to come home. It didn’t matter if we were gone 5 minutes or 5 days, we would open the door and there he would be, greeting us, happy that we were home.

sometimes "greeting" looked a lot like "napping"

sometimes “greeting” looked a lot like “napping”

I love how Maverick could get comfortable anywhere, any time and in any position. Like most cats, he loved to sleep, but I was often amazed at where and how he slept. No matter where he settled, he was just unbearably cute.



This is probably more “pay attention to me” than “comfortable anywhere”


I love how, unlike many cats, Maverick actually liked other animals. This sometimes caused him grief when he would try to befriend other cats who wanted nothing to do with him and would, invariably, send him to the vet – my boy, a lover, not a fighter. His best friend growing up was our pup, Maya, even if that love sometimes looked a lot like annoyance.

When Mav would come home from the vet, Maya would always help him get out of his cone. Maverick would return the favour by knocking food onto the floor for Maya.

When Mav would come home from the vet, Maya would always help him get out of his cone. Maverick would return the favour by knocking food off the counter and on to the floor for Maya.

I love that, like me, Maverick had major shoe fetish. If you came over to our house for a visit, chances are you were leaving with cat hair on your shoes because Maverick would spend the entire time rubbing all over them, often sticking his face right up in them (its possible he loved shoes even more than I do).

I love how open he was with showing us affection.He never played coy or acted aloof, he was all about the loving. And, damn, could he purr! He had the loudest purr, and could keep it up forever (especially if we rubbed his ears). I loved falling asleep with him curled up with us, the sound of his purrs filling the room.


I love how I could talk to him about anything, whether it was a big problem or just random pleasantries. He never really contributed much to the conversation, but he would listen without judgement and look me with those big, loving eyes. Then he’d head butt me. That was the best.

Two weeks ago, I noticed he had a large lump under Maverick’s chin; it was hard and immovable. He couldn’t close his mouth fully and had been drooling for a couple of months (we just looked at the drool as a minor irritant when he would sleep with us and drool on our pillows) but when I felt the lump I figured something was wrong. When we took him to the vet, she confirmed our worst fears – our baby had cancer. Osteosarcoma – aggressive and unpredictable. The tumour was already big, and it was growing rapidly. We wouldn’t have much more time with him.

Mav has been by our sides for almost our entire relationship – for every celebration and every sadness, he was there to offer a cuddle and a purr and to let us know that he loved us no matter what. So the decision to put him down was hard. Like, really super crazy hard. In the end, he died in my arms with Phil beside us – our little family, whole for one last time.

I miss him, more than I thought possible.

He was the best cat I could have ever wished for.

Simple Sugars – simple goodness

I have had issues with my skin for over half my life so buying skin care products have always been a bit of a crap-shoot for me: they must be gentle enough to not irritate my baby-sensitive skin, they would, preferably, control my oily T-zone while not over-drying my cheeks and, most importantly, not cause breakouts.

I have spent a lot of money over the years on products that promise to do at least one of those things and I am, most often, disappointed. Cleansers, toners, exfoliants and moisturizers clutter my bathroom cabinets; all purchased with the hope of certain beauty and all discarded when they failed to live up their guarantees. The only thing that has worked consistently is Proactiv, which is so hard on my skin, but I figured it was a trade-off for keeping the pimples at bay.

When I heard about a tweet up for the launch of Simple Sugars – a natural skin-care line – my interest was piqued and I couldn’t wait to try it out. I didn’t know much about Simple Sugars except that the woman behind it scored a big deal on Shark Tank, but I was excited to find out more.

Simple Sugars Green Tea Facial Scrub

Simple Sugars Green Tea Facial Scrub

When I walked in to the tweet up, Sonja, the owner of All About Flowers (the local retailer for Simple Sugars), was passionate about the product and couldn’t wait to share her knowledge and she encouraged everyone to try out some samples of the body scrubs for ourselves. Unfortunately, when I used the lemon scrub on my hands, I grew skeptical of how this would work on my face.

Everything about it seemed wrong – this scrub, regardless of how natural, would surely irritate my sensitive skin, and the mere thought of rubbing oil all over my face had me breaking out.

After hearing my concerns, Sonja assured me that Simple Sugars was made for people with sensitive skin, and that the facial scrubs were gentler than those meant for the body (she didn’t have any to sample).  The scrubs are all natural, made from cane sugar and essential oils and had all been tested out on the creator’s family and friends (who have various skin issues). She also walked me through the natural properties of the facial scrub lines and how they would be beneficial to my skin. Despite my skepticism, the driving force to find that one perfect skin-care product had me excited to give it a try and I was convinced to buy the Strawberry Facial Scrub.

Now, 2 months later, I am just finishing up the jar and I could not be happier.

My now-almost-empty Simple Sugars Strawberry Facial Scrub

My now-almost-empty Simple Sugars Strawberry Facial Scrub

I don’t want to be all intofomercial-dramatic and shout how MY  SKIN HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED…but I really have noticed a change in my skin! The overall oiliness is less – much less than usual – and the occurrence of breakouts has been very low; my face – normally ruddy and blotchy – has become more even toned and there has been no stinging or burning, which are common after-effects of exfoliation.

My skin feels better and I think  it looks better too! For the first time in many (many!) years, I don’t feel the need to cover my face with concealer and powder before I leave the house.

I am shocked at how well Simple Sugars has worked for my problem skin and I couldn’t be happier about it.

It is not the cheapest skin-care out there – the 5oz facial scrubs are $30-$35 and lasted me approximately 2 months (I use it 2-3 times/week), but I also haven’t had to spend money on any other products.  Using the Simple Sugars facial scrub has eliminated the need for toners, exfoliators and moisturizers which certainly helps bring down the overall cost.

I stopped in the other day to see Sonja to restock my supply, and I walked out with the Green Tea facial scrub to try. The green tea is supposed to help control acne AND protect against free-radicals which can cause fine lines , because when you’re an acne-prone 40 year-old, you need all the help you can get!

My brand new jar of Simple Sugars Green Tea Facial Scrub

My brand new jar of Simple Sugars Green Tea Facial Scrub

The Green Tea scrub doesn’t look as appealing as the strawberry, and it doesn’t smell as heavenly, but after only a couple of uses, I think I may actually like it better – my skin seems even less oily and even more glow-y than with the strawberry.

If you’re in the south side, pop by All About Flowers and check out the selection of Simple Sugars scrubs for yourself. I can’t say enough about how much I love the facial scrubs and I’ve heard that the regular body scrubs are great for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, not to mention everyday dryness, which we all experience to some extent during the winter.

Lord knows we need all the help we can get to make it through an Edmonton winter intact.

just your everyday, commonplace street harassment

A couple of weeks ago,Phil and I were walking downtown Calgary, in search of some late-night eats. The streets were still fairly busy and we passed several bars with long line ups and groups of people huddled outside establishment doors, smoking.

When we were a couple of blocks from our destination, a drunk man passed us and slurred something unintelligible.

Phil and I both stopped and turned around, and Phil asked the man to repeat himself.

The man asked if some bar up the road had a line-up.

Phil and I both shrugged, said we didn’t know and turned back around. As we started to walk away, I heard the man say something behind us.

“Geez, lighten up, Bitch.”

I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking to Phil.

Even though Phil and I gave almost the same response, he chose to direct a nasty comment to my back as we walked away because, as a woman, I am an easy target.

I just shrugged it off, rolled my eyes and kept walking.  He wasn’t overly aggressive and I didn’t feel threatened, mostly thanks to my 6’2″ husband walking beside me, but it was street harassment, plain and simple. It was an unwanted comment directed at me because of my gender and its something that women have to deal with on a daily basis.Regardless of what time of the day we’re out, what we’re wearing or, apparently, who we are with, women are routinely subjected to wisecracks, remarks and judgements from men.

It’s sad that we live in a world where such insults are so commonplace that they barely register; where some men think nothing of tossing a hurtful aside to a woman.Like its no big deal.

Except that it is a big deal.

Every time a comment like that is made, however innocuous it may seem on the surface, it tells a woman that she is lesser. Even “compliments” given, or shouted from a passing car, create the impression that women don’t deserve the same respect that men give to each other. And then society just starts to believe that shit is OK, and it becomes an accepted part of behaviour.

I didn’t say anything that night, and I should have. By not saying anything I, essentially, told him that what he did was acceptable. I can only hope the next woman he says something to won’t be so passive. And I can only hope that the next time something is said to me, I won’t be too rattled by confrontation or too concerned with being considered shrewish or too worried about seeming  not nice to say something.

These men certainly aren’t concerned with being nice, and it’s time I’m not either.

what 40 feels like

my chocolate doppelganger

my chocolate doppelgänger

Yeah, so…I’m 40 now.

Wow.  Shit just got real.

I have never been one to focus on numbers, “I feel great! I’m happy and I’m living a good life! What does age matter?”

Let me tell you, that bullshit is so much easier to believe when you’re 39.

OK, that’s not entirely true, I don’t really feel defined by my age – 40 is the new 30, after all – I’m just having a bit of trouble reconciling that I am at the same stage of my life as many 19 year olds.

Here I am, recently unemployed after working in a café, starting my Bachelor of Arts degree at the University, and drinking beer on the patio every chance I get.  I am, basically a teenager with over 20 years experience.

But, what wonderful experience I’ve got…

I have an amazing husband who loves me and supports me through my every whim.

I have a wonderful circle friends; I am surrounded by fantastic people who I love to eat and drink with, talk about the world with, laugh with and learn from.

And that circle grows every day.

At the heart of my circle are 2 incredibly strong, funny, intelligent, and beautiful women that I am truly blessed to call friends.

I have a home that I love in the neighbourhood I have always dreamed of living in a city I am proud to call home.

I am happy.

I have found my place in the world.

And I know that regardless of age, some people never find that.

If this is what 40 feels like, then I am all for it.

People say that going to University is the best time of your life and, right now, I am inclined to believe them.

happiness is the truth

Some of you may have noticed that my #100HappyDays fell by the wayside around day 66. I am proud to say that I did complete every single day! All 100 of them.

Just not on my blog.

If you’re interested (and you haven’t already) check out my Instagram feed to catch up on days 67 – 99.

Day 100 culminated in a few of my favourite things:

the perfect day

the perfect day

Day 100 – Deck beers with Phil, holding Maverick and eating marshmallows.

I’d say I just about nailed it.

My #100HappyDays experience was incredibly eye-opening, and could not have come at a better time.  About the time I stopped posting the pictures on my blog, some bad shit happened in my life. Knowing that xray was not for me, I dropped out of school, and then my sister died.  It was really hard to find something that made me happy each day when it mostly felt like things were falling down all around me.

But I did it, and I am better – and happier – for it.

And then something happened around Day 90 that I never anticipated…I ran out of anti-depressants, and I didn’t feel the need to refill my prescription. That was 5 weeks ago, and I am still blessedly happy without any chemical assistance.

Do I owe my newfound happiness to #100HappyDays?  I know that it certainly helped, but so did therapy…a LOT of therapy.

One has helped me deal with long-held beliefs from my past that were holding me back, and the other helped me recognize the good things in my life on a daily basis.  I am thankful for both, and while I still have the normal ups and downs that come with life, for the first time in longer than I can remember, I am truly, unquestionably happy.