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!

Awesome business cards

Good things happen every day, some of which – and my particular favourite good thing – are in anticipated delights. Anticipated delights, those little things to which we look forward: a hot mug of coco, reading in pyjamas, a letter from a friend, eating good food, snuggling in bed. Not to forget flying home to Canada at Christmas. That was a big one, but still – delightful.

Yesterday something very good happened. A package arrived in the mail and when opened, even before seeing the contents, I was instantly transported into the land of ‘good moods’. There they were, all snug in a tiny box – one hundred Bumpyboobs in a rainbow of colours. These things are gorgeous!

It started last week on some random evening. Zsolt’s Amazon package arrived with a flyer promoting free business cards.

Free, did you say? I was all over it.

But you know what, free business cards aren’t even an 1/8th as cute as non-free business cards. I went to this site called Moo.com and started to play. The internet is amazing when it comes to designing books, cards, photo collections etc. It’s easy and accessible. Now, I firmly believe that pre-made templates will never trump a talented graphic designer – because I’ve seen some awesome graphic designing in my time – but for late evening online crusing, they fit the bill perfectly. (Side note: you can upload your own designs, so customize the card as much as you like, but I’m a bit lazy and thought the text-only approach much easier) I started to play with designs and words and colours. It was good fun.

You may ask – why do you need business cards, Catherine?

To which I’d answer, I don’t know . . . they looked good? Why do women buy $500 shoes? Certainly not because it’s practical. But cute is cute, and that’s hard to resist.

So yesterday my Moo.com package arrived in the mail, presented in a tiny box with bright orange lining – 100 mini cards with BUMPYBOOBS on one side, and my name and website on the back.


Next up: what the heck do I do with 100 mini cards? Zsolt has one, and I’ll keep a few . . . and after that, hmmm. . . one idea is to leave them in places where women dealing with breast cancer may find them.  Another idea would be to hand them out personally. But where and who and when, I have no clue.

But – if you build it, they will come. The cards now exist. Surely a circumstance of use will eventually materialize. Here is hoping, otherwise that’s £15 wasted on impulse.

No, I take that back. Even if these little gems stay in their box for the rest of their lives, the cards are representative – they are labelled with a declaration to ‘screw breast cancer and get on with the show’ – and somehow, in a sense that is deeper than pretty colours and printed cardboard, they represent this past year of my life.

So that was my good thing. Amongst others. Thinking about it makes me smile all over again. 🙂

Small things for now

When mortality is thrust into your face like a lemon cream pie, a certain heaviness descends with that awareness. It’s a cloud, or maybe better – it’s a fog: thick, obstructing, enveloping. And that fog is what gets me on the bad days.

Somehow with all this cancer crap, it feels like I’ve aged about 30 years beyond my time. Or maybe 20. Before the bump (btb) there were no aching joints, no grey hairs, no empty nest to trigger a life crisis . . . now, however, I’m a 28 year old who is far too aware.

It’s funny how you read in the news about breast cancer survivors. We’re all survivors so long as we’re here, survivors and fighters, but the threat of breast cancer doesn’t disappear. Women can have reoccurrences (granted it becomes less likely as more time passes, but we’re still checking over our shoulder for quite a while – plus there’s that bloody 50% stat which the doctor was so kind to gift me with). I self-examine my boob every day because of the paranoia.

But even worse than the awareness is how it creeps into the good times – that fog of mortality, of possibility, of reoccurrence. Totally ruins the picnic.

So, talking this all over with my mom I’m telling her how it’s difficult to enjoy like I once did. Sure, I can enjoy a conversation, a cup of tea, a lovely day etc., but when thinking about the present those past enjoyments don’t seem relevant. The real question is: How am I feeling now? And when it’s bad, it’s bad. And when it’s good, I worry about losing everything.

My mom works with many people who have gone through cancer. She says the fog is something everyone struggles with, something we need to work through.

She’s absolutely right. I’d rather be living than worrying. Not only physiologically living (because yes, I like living in the physiological sense too), but LIVING – steeped into the world, feeling the vibes, sharing the love, dancing in pyjamas.

First however, I need to manage this fog. Anyhow, it’s a big goal and won’t happen immediately. However, Marcelle suggested a first step: little pleasures.

Therefore, while typing this post, I’ll ask: What am I enjoying right now?

Answer: Typing – love to type! Sitting – this sofa is amazingly comfortable. Talking – I love talking with you, those who so kindly read this blog.

Here is another question worth asking: What can I do to enjoy this moment even more?

Answer: Open the front windows.

And so I have. Outside it’s white and beautiful; a very perfect Canadian Christmas.

When that heavy fog rolls it can feel nearly impossible to clear my head. Things are difficult, fears are strong and it’s damn hard. But this is a start. Micro steps to bigger goals – and my ultimate goal is to be happy, healthy and living well. In the meantime I’ll look out the window.

PS  – secret pleasure for the NOW. Eating from the hidden stash of mocha chocolate pecan ice cream. With three men in the house, it’s good to hide these sort of things.