YouTube with my Mom: we’re making whipped body butter

When I showed this to my husband he said, “I don’t know where to place this.”  I assume he means he doesn’t know what to make of it. Fair enough, Mr. Scientist Husband. But I’ll tell you what I make of it: This video is awesome! And it is awesome for two reasons: 1) The body butter is a beautiful thing. And 2) It’s a little time capsule of my Mom and I having fun together.

So here is our first attempt at a video. It’s a little all over, a little quiet, a little rambling .  . . but it was fun. So watch and enjoy! Around 2:11 Zsolt, while watching, groaned from total embarrassment. He said, “I was thinking I had the most beautiful wife, and then you go and do that!

(And speaking of all-natural body butter, I have a far more serious and racy post in the mix for Bumpyboobs. This week, I actually interviewed AnneMarie of Chemo Brain Fog on her project regarding sexuality post/during cancer. Okay, it was just an email interview – I sent about four questions, but it’s going to be a good post for opening conversation, so stay tuned for later this week. We are talking about S-E-X, etc. 🙂 

P.S. In the spare wisps of my days, I’m trying to work on this newsletter. About a  month ago, I had this great idea of making a choose-your-own-adventure style short-story using Aliza from my novel, and some ridiculous character she encounters. My idea is to write the story, then create it as a trail you click through online, page to page as you make your choices in the narrative . (And maybe with an Easter Egg here or there.) So this little idea is actually a lot of work. But it’s coming, so if you want to see it, sign up here and get on the mailing list. Considering the time it’s taking me to write the first newsletter, you won’t become a nuisance to your inbox. 🙂

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

This weekend is thanksgiving in Canada, and I’m writing this post today because I’m so incredibly glad for the occasion. It’s a little bit ridiculous to be so glad for thanksgiving, particularly since my family long-ago gave up on the turkey and cranberries and mashed potatoes in exchange for Indian food . . . but the weather is just so lovely, and it’s always a pleasure to get all together. I can’t help feeling good about giving thanks.

YEAHA friend of mine recently said to me that it’s great to be a big dreamer, but even better to be a big DOER. And she’s so totally right. I love to imagine sunshiny weather when it’s raining, but it’s even better to actually get outside when the sun does shine (I say while looking at the window and typing on on computer from inside the bedroom – okay, from between my bed covers.)

So I dreamed about self-publishing my book, and now it’s really going to happen. (I wonder if I dream of it getting accepted by some huge publisher, if that would happen as well – I guess the lesson here is to actively make these things happen.) I dared to ask people to help, which is actually rather intimidating – so I don’t know how Terri of A Fresh Chapter manages it time and again.

BUT you know what?  Last year at the Mirror Ball in Toronto that raises funds for Look Good Feel Better and Facing Cancer, the hostess said something about asking for money that was so insightful and so valid, I still remember it. Tracy Moore stood up there on the stage and said that people suggest it must be hard for her and Sherry to go about asking for money during the night. But no, she asserted, it wasn’t hard to ask for money because it was going to a worthwhile cause – helping women navigate the emotional hurdles of cancer. It’s not hard to ask because the intention is good.

So that’s something I’ve kept in mind. Now, with the kickstarter I feel much less entitled to ask because while the intention is good, it’s impact is also small. There’s just me and my book. Though I really hope it resonates with those who read it, and that is how the impact can become larger – hopefully!

But anyhow, all that aside, today I’m thankful for being a DOER. It’s not easy, but it’s happening.

I’m also thankful to feel so much love and support. It is amazing. And I really mean it, too. It was amazing (Causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing) to receive such an outpour of support. Now we’re putting the book together bit-by-bit. I ordered more material for the tea towels yesterday, and am receiving edits, and have the cover with Ian, and am trying to learn more about ebooks (with some advice from Opal Carew). It’s overwhelming, it takes all kinds of time, and it’s fantastic. I’m grateful so many people gave their support to this happening.

* I am grateful for my breath. Air comes in and out of my lungs, and I love that sensation. Ever since the doctor said “there are spots” I have had trouble in my chest. Trouble like pain, wheezing, etc. Whether it is psychosomatic or cancer-related, I don’t know exactly. All I know is that it is uncomfortable, and comes on and off. The past week or so I’ve had some strong wheezing, and living with that sensation is truly challenging. Today the wheezing has backed off, and I am grateful for the ability to breathe in and out without that internal crinkling sensation. My mom gave me some drops, and I did some steaming stuff – honestly, I don’t know what helps, but so long as something helps, I am so incredibly grateful.

I am grateful for the tears, because they are easier than the stress.

I am grateful for butter chicken, which I’ll be licking of my  plate in a few hours.

I am grateful for family and friends and love.

I am grateful for an apartment that has been repaired. The handyman came by yesterday (and is here again today) and pulled out all our cupboards. Oh my goodness! You should have SEEN the MASSIVE holes behind our cupboards. So  of course the neighbours’ smoke was pouring into our apartment.  I am not grateful of an inconsiderate neighbour who won’t take his smoking outside. But if I talk too much about that my wheeze will return. Let’s just say that the holes are fixed and I am glad.

And last but not least, I’m grateful for this blog, for the leaves falling from trees, for my husband’s beautiful smile, for the tea we drink each morning, for the sunshine through the window, for hot showers, for friends and family, for the cottage we’ll escape to later this upcoming week, for the support I’ve received in all kinds of ways, for chocolate chip cookies made without much sugar (little bit of coconut sugar) and no grains or gluten . . .

You know what else, I’m grateful for feeling happy right now. It doesn’t always happen, but right now I am – Thank God – feeling good.

So Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a wonderful day whether or not  you are celebrating the occasion.


P.S. My “Catherine Brunelle Writes” facebook page has a very small number of likes. It was pointed out that maybe I should give it more attention, so if you are in the mood for a little “liking” (and want to follow writing adventures with pictures, thoughts, etc), please do click here and like the page. Thanks!

Sexism Surprise!

Today I went with my best friend to the Ottawa Cookie Jam. This is a local event, and I think this was its very first year. Overall I’d say there were pros and cons, but the idea and the vibe have so much potential. I look forward to seeing this cookie party growing bigger and richer as each year passes.

sexism surprise

Anyhow, so we went to look at cookies. Of course, the only problem was that most cookies were already gone by the time we arrived – which was 25 minutes after the doors opened. So no pretty cookie pictures for you, because I was too busy running around trying to get the cookies before they all disappeared!

(Maybe next year they should stage the servings, or have more cookies. There’s so much cookie potential!)

Mind you, I’m not meant to be eating cookies in the first place. Since the diagnosis of stage IV, I’m really trying to cut all the sugar. My latest vacation wasn’t too helpful in this area, but I guess God was looking down upon my friend and I today, and said: No MORE SUGAR! So that I restricted my cookie temptation.

However, we did get our 8 cookies worth, and we brought them back to her brand new home in Vanier for a tasting. I mostly just ate one cookie – maple walnut, which was gluten free, lovely, and not too sweet at all . . . but overall it was lovely. We met some more friends and had dark tea with cookies.


But to backtrack slightly, as we left the cookie event we decided to walk home from downtown. This meant we had to walk pass one of the best schwarma places in Ottawa. [Schwarmas are like gyros, pitas, kabobs, donairs etc.] So I thought, “Hey, I’m gonna get dinner and lunch for me and Zsolt.” Their chicken platter is so big, it can stretch two meals for two people eating ‘not too big’ portions.

Right, so my friend and I go into the take-out place on the way back home. And we go in, there’s no line-up. We go up to the counter where two men are standing.  . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

And eventually one of them says, “Hi.”

So I said, “Hi,” and then—

THEN he turns back to the other guy, both of their backs to us, and keeps talking to his buddy.

So my awesome friend says very loudly, “Can we get a chicken platter?”

And this dude behind the counter turns back and says something like, “Okay.”

He makes the food. I go and pay.

. . .

. . .

. . .

After I pay, I am waiting for my food to be passed over. But he’s helping the next people, a couple. Finally, he gets the chicken ready for my order . . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

Then eventually passes it to me.

And as this is all happening, at some point during this exchange since it’s taking SO much time, the less naive side of myself wakes up from her nap and thinks: he is doing this because we are women.

It’s true. I mean, he didn’t say anything like “You Are Women, Therefore You Wait”. . . but he was quick enough in serving the couple behind me and both my friend and I came to the exact same conclusion.

So where does that leave me? In one of the best schwarma places in town, I encountered something I’d never expected to encounter here in Ottawa .  . . sexism from a guy who isn’t even yet my age. And it wasn’t even your expected body-objectification type sexism . . . it was, ‘you aren’t good enough for me to notice you’ type sexism.


Of course, since he didn’t hold up a sign saying “I’m one heck of a sexist jackass” I can’t prove the situation was 100% sexism, but it did feel 100% like sexism.

So it makes me wonder, are we being naive to think sexism isn’t happening all the time around us? Well of course it is! And maybe we’re sexist to men, maybe men are being sexist to us, maybe it’s a cultural thing, or an age thing, or a class thing, or a media thing, or a one-individual-who-can’t-get-his-head-out-of-his-ass thing . . .  maybe it’s a lot of things. But it really leaves me extra unimpressed when it’s an intentional thing.

Anyhow, that schwarma shop isn’t quite so attractive to me anymore. That’s okay though, we’ve got many of these shops in Ottawa from which I’ve received excellent customer service when with girl friends. I love schwarma shops for the relationships you can make with the people behind the counter. Today was just ridiculous – so ridiculous it surprised the heck out of me.

And so there’s a little story about my sexism surprise. Plus, of course, the cookie jam. It was a wonderful Saturday, absolutely perfect in every way despite the dude whose head was too far up his ass. I loved today because it had nothing to do with the drama that has otherwise cast a shadow over my life. I loved the freedom of being with friends, going to events, walking through town and now writing it all down here.

So that’s all there is to that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dance with my husband.