Friday, February 3, 2012

I Apologize & New Plan

First off, terribly sorry that I straight up forgot to blog today.
A bit embarrassed and ashamed.

It's Friday, and Troy has Fridays off work, so he's home and it seriously throws me off!


So! New plan!
My new intention is to blog on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
I may blog on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, just please don't come to expect it.

I expect my schedule will be changing very soon, as I recently got a letter from SGI, saying that more testing and assessments with a medical doctor, a psychologist, an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist are currently being arranged.

More Tests! My favourite!

Basically to find out exactly what I can do when I get back to working, like an adult. Should be interesting.
I also just signed up for an American Sign Language level one course, so that will be starting soon(February 16th). It's put on by Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services. I'm really excited because it's immersion learning, so no speaking!
I am curious of how I'll do.
  1. Formal learning of ASL(as opposed to Signed Exact English, learned informally)
  2. How I'll cope(energy & attention) with being in a group
  3. How much I've bastardized the language
  4. How much sign language I actually know

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

Holy YUM!
I have several of Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero's cookbooks, and they're all really delicious! Okay, not the books themselves, I haven't tasted them, but the recipes!
Simple instructions(which is important to me and my brain injury), and fairly common ingredients. Although only recently have all of the ingredients been easy to that's AWESOME!

Yeah mainstreaming veganism!

The book starts with 'Cookie Science', which goes over the different ingredients we may not be familiar with(such as sucanat and brown rice syrup), tools, substituting and troubleshooting.

I have to mention that I love their writing style!
Reading over the instructions is like baking with a friend. You know, that fun, but annoying friend that seems to know how to make everything(bitches!).

Then there are the recipes. Wow. There's a lot.
Nice variety of different types of cookies. There's(and these are just the categories) drop cookies, wholesome cookies, bar cookies, fancy cookies, and sliced & rolled cookies.

I've had this book since mid-September 2010, according to, and I have made a couple recip, okay several recipes.
You can really tell where my heart lies(chocolate & peanut butter). Boy howdy, I love that stuff!
I have made:
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Chocolate Fudgy Oatmeal Cookies
  • Chocolaty Crinkle Cookies
  • Peanut Apple Pretzel Drops
  • Peanut Butter Crisscrosses
  • Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Caramel Pecan Bars
  • Peanut Butter Blondies
  • Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Brownies
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows
  • Chocolate Chip Chai Spice Shortbread
  • Roll-And-Cut Sugar Cookies
  • Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
  • Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies
  • Swedish Chocolate Balls

    All really good!! 

    I completely recommend this book to any cookie-lover, vegan or not!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reflecting: Revised

When we are close to death, we tend to re-evaluate our lives.
I'm not sure about people with something terminal, but from what I hear they do. 
I know that I certainly re-evaluated my life, looking back, you know, after I was able to remember anything from my life prior to the hospital.
When I can remember, I reflect.

I found this to be especially true when learning to navigate with my new brain. 
Correction. My old, slightly-damaged, 'new' brain.

I get access to my 30 year catalogue of memories with different smells, or even just the way the air feels. It's very sci-fi, and surreal feeling.
Like Dali, but with an iPad.

I'm told that my brain had to find new pathways to deliver information because the old pathways were destroyed when my brain was rammed to and fro in my skull.
It is finding new pathways, all of the time! 

There was a short time that I would get confused by smells. I was sure our breakfast cereal had been contaminated by fish(this was pre-vegan). Troy assures me, our cereal was never fishy. I do remember not doing well on the smell identification portion of my first neuro-psychological assessment. It seems to have fixed itself, I don't misidentify things through scent anymore. Hooray!
Let's also remember that I had double vision for a short period of time.
My vision and scent messages found new pathways. <shrug> Why not memory?

After reflecting, it became clear to me that I had entirely too much going on in my life.
People told me this all the time, I just never saw it till I was literally knocked out, and was forced to truly slow down.
I was working a full time job at Great West Life and a part time job at Metro Pet Market, I had weekly belly dance rehearsals with eXalta6, and I was taking an online pet nutrition course. Add in painting and reading for fun, taking the dogs out and being, generally, a really social person equals a girl that needs a break.
I get anxiety just reading about my past life.

I will not become that again.
Luckily(?), fatigue won't allow for that, which is probably good. Although, as my brain heals more, I find myself doing exactly as I did before. Too much. Troy has to ask me daily, "is that crucial?"
I am completely guilty of taking on too much(I hear that's common). Then I play myself out, and I miss important things because I'm sleeping.

This is what I came up with after much thought:

  • Veganism is where it's at. 
I don't want to participate in the violence inherent in these industries: meat, dairy, eggs, honey, wool, fur, leather, silk, vivisection, circuses, zoos, etc. So I'm not.
  • Slow Down.
Silly story!  While at Wascana Rehab, at my various therapies, Troy would bring a little sign that said "SLOW DOWN!", and he would place it in front of me each time I was trying to do something too quickly. We even talked about Troy getting that tattooed on his fingers.
  • Exercise.
Not only is this beneficial to your body, it helps your brain function. You know, since the brain is part of the body. Studies show that physical activity improves cognitive function.
  • I have the BEST friends and family. EVER.
This became crystal clear once I was able to see what everyone has done for us.
Not to mention to emotional support. First off, there was a guest book in my hospital room that everyone wrote in that came to see my family and I.
I still get weepy, only not uncontrollably now, when I read that book. Our friends and family also helped care for our dogs and cat, our family cooked meals, Tyler stayed with Troy while I was in the hospital, I'm sure there's way more I can't think of right now!

Reflecting after nearly dying has been good. It has allowed me to really look at my life, and  my decisions.
It does beg the question though: Was a coma necessary? 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Eating Animals

I read this book because I heard that it turned a lot of people vegan.
I wanted to see what the fuss was about.
Plus I was really enjoying reading about the different perspectives from different experts. I like having my thinking challenged.

I hear, that the author, Jonathan Safron Foer, is not vegan.
I know that I couldn't know any of this stuff without feeling compelled to do something about it. Which, I guess he did.
He wrote this book.
That inspired others. So that's something, I suppose.
I just know that I can't willingly pay for someone else to do my dirty work. Therefore, I'm not.

It was a really good read! Lots of facts about the different industries within animal agriculture.
Basically it was about Jonathan Safron Foer exploring these industries because he wanted to know what to feed his newborn son, as he got older.

I was really taken aback by the fishing industries, and their numbers!

"One study found that roughly 4.5 million sea animals are killed as bycatch in longline fishing every year, including roughly 3.3 million sharks, 1 million marlins, 60,000 sea turtles, 75,000 albatross, and 20,000 dolphins and whales." EVERY YEAR! Original source here.

How is there any life in the oceans with those numbers?!?!

The answer:
There won't be any life to take out of the oceans in less than 40 years. Scientists and experts agree that the rate we fish life out of the ocean today, by the year 2048, "catches of all the presently fished seafoods will have declined on average by more than 90 per cent since 1950." The Telegraph.

For awhile, I thought that I could sneak some salmon or crab to eat, but when I learned that, I knew I couldn't. I mean, how could I?! I'm not that selfish!
Ha! Should've written shellfish!
        Bada Bah!

Anyway! I hear that Natalie Portman wants to make the book into a movie, because it inspired her. Should be exciting. I'd like to know how they'll do it, so hopefully it will get made!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mannie aka Mannipuss

This is Mannie.
We also call her Mannipuss.

♫ Hip hop-a-Mannipuss!            
Flight of the Conchords)

We fostered Mannie for People For Animals, starting at the end of October 2009. I had somehow convinced Troy that we should foster a cat.
Never mind that our dogs want to eat them.
I am told that she's from La Ronge. As a kitten, she was bashed in the head with a hammer, as a solution to her being alive.
She didn't die, but was rescued.
Her new person ended up with terminal cancer, so had to find new homes for her cats.

Mannie was very nervous and scared for the first while.

I did my research and from what I read, to get a cat used to her new environment, start her in a little room, and gradually allow her access to more and more.
We did just that.

Sadly, as mentioned above, Chaos and Mayhem are not 'cat-friendly'. At this point the dogs and cat are still living separately. We keep Mannie in a bedroom, with her dishes, litter box, scratching post, beds, and some toys, while the dogs are out of their crates. When they are in their crates, Mannie has run of the house.

She is the sweetest cat.
She isn't declawed, thankfully, so she's very careful to keep them in when she bats at you.
Very kind of her.
She's pretty vocal, but not to the point of being annoying, just wants to let you know that she's around. Or hungry.
She even let me cut her nails.
Mannie always goes in her litter box and she doesn't destroy the furniture with her nails.
There was a short period when she would claw the coach, but we got her a scratching post and she stopped. Simple solution.

Mannie is the same colours as this female cat that was on my grandparents farm while I was growing up.
She always had kittens.
We called her Grandma-Cat. She was the friendliest cat on the farm. One winter, her tail got caught in a vehicle door, and it fell off.
Poor kitten.
She's a blue merle, I later found out.

We started fostering Mannie in late October 2009, and we got in our crash on December 5, 2009.
While I was busy being in a coma, Troy and our friends and family looked after our furry friends. It did take Mannie a little time to get used to me again. I think she was a bit mad that I abandoned her for that couple of weeks. She refuses to let me cut her nails anymore.

Mannie and I both suffered brain trauma! We're Same-ies!

Needless to say, we fell in love with Mannie. We adopted her.
Troy sometimes calls her The Curse Cat, because she was bashed in the head, then her adopter died of terminal cancer, then we got in a terrible car crash. I don't believe she's cursed. Just has had a really shitty life.

Troy and I want to get her and the dogs good together, it's going very slowly. Mostly because I don't want the dogs to have her strewn about the house, and then try to love them again after they murdered my sweet cat. Troy doesn't think that'll happen.
It's been decided that Troy will be introducing them, while I am out of the house.
I am so nervous! But I really think Mannie's life wouldn't be so lonely if she and the dogs could chill together.