Saying goodbye to people and photos

I was in Ottawa last week from Wednesday to Sunday for a funeral and a quick mini-family reunion. My sister is the family historian and since she has recently moved to Ottawa she has been searching out all the spots where my mom’s family is from. Both the Cassidy and Corkery sides of the family (mom’s father and mother respectively) were from the Ottawa area – both sides going back to the 1820s I believe. Other than our small 5-person unit growing up I didn’t have any family around. Sometimes my mom’s brother Bernie (one of four brothers she had) would come and visit. He was also my godfather and a truly funny and fun guy. It was his funeral for which I made the trek out east.

Uncle Bunny, as I called him, was a salesman for Catelli pasta and Habitant soup. Habitant pea soup was probably my favourite meal as a kid (but not the kind with pork chunks because even back then that grossed me out). Bunny gave me my first camera. I ruminated on this on Instagram the other day. I hadn’t seen Uncle Bunny in years so I don’t think I ever told him how much that camera meant to me. How much I loved it when I was younger and how much I still love taking photos. My life started to be well documented from fifth grade onwards. I have piles of photos of houses from vacations, piles of photos of ducks from when I thought it would be really cool to have a pet duck when I was little. I also took many photos of the first love of my life.

Dumb Belle the beautiful.

One of my main goals for this year is to organize my photos (seriously – in the top 3 because they are hanging over my head like my own personal Sword of Damocles). When I was young I had no problem keeping them organized. People could only afford to print so many and I was a kid and had nothing better to do than stick them in photo albums with a nice highlighter designed cover page. I could often be seen with my camera in hand doing what I needed to do to catch the photo I wanted.

A very attractive photo of 16-year old me lying on the ground to get a photo of  flower gardens while on a choir tour in Aberdeen Scotland. Photo taken by a good friend who thought I was crazy but stuck around anyway and married me 12 years later – so who’s the crazy one?

As printing got cheaper the amount of photos I had to deal with got bigger and bigger and then things went digital and now I have thousands of photos that haven’t been organized, or (and this is the big one) printed. My mother used to complain that I never to photos of people but I guess I just needed to create my own people to overcome that obstacle. I plan on getting my shit together this year in regards to photos because I just don’t want to leave them for someone else to deal with when I am gone. I know that sounds rather defeatist but I don’t mean it that way. I just want to be organized for when the cancer decides to take a final stand. Dumbledore did say: “After all, to the well-organized mind death is but the next great adventure.”

Yeah, my mind is really not organized so I’m not ready for that step.

Taking photos is still fun and I love posting them online and being able to capture memories that way – but things on the internet have a tendency to get lost in the ether. At this point I’m starting with the photos I don’t want to organize. The other day I threw out a big stack of photos from my trip to Burning Man in 2001 because while I thought they were amazing and artistic at the time now they don’t really mean anything. And I can only remember the name of two of the people I went with anyway. These photos are going to mean nothing to the people I am leaving behind and I don’t want to burden them with them. (Also, some of them are not child-appropriate. It was Burning Man after all.)

Artistic shot of a stop light on the Playa as opposed to a not-so-artistic shot of mummy wearing more makeup than clothes. I will keep those photos though – my daughters will need to see that I had a life once before them.

Re-wiring my brain

In love with the winter sun.

My goal for this month is to post two blogs a week on Monday and Thursday and I have already fallen down on that goal. But my other goal is to tell myself – repeatedly – that my goals don’t have to be all-or-nothing. I am very much an all-or-nothing person and I’m trying to re-wire my brain and teach myself that each day is a day to start again. So even if I don’t know what to write about OR if it is Tuesday instead of Monday I am going to post a blog.

Warning. Today’s blog post is rambley and talks about parking again.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my oncologist for 10:10 in the morning. We arrived at 9:55 and paid for two hours of parking. I saw the doctor at 12:10. This is pretty standard. The oncology department was busy this morning and we knew there would be a delay (there always is). I don’t really blame the oncologist for this either – there are just SO MANY of us with cancer these days. Anyway. I stayed around afterwards for some X-Rays and left shortly after 1pm. One of the things I noticed while I was walking around the waiting room was that the hospital provides all these “free” programs and support groups for people going through cancer but I wonder how many people don’t go to them because they don’t want to pay for parking? I know that is always one of my deciding factors when it comes to any activity.

I did tell my oncologist that I need to be fully fit and healthy by mid-June because we have bought five plane tickets for Ireland for a month starting on the 14th of June and I want to enjoy this trip as much as possible. My oncologist said she often thinks about how terribly sick I was when we first met (I refer to it as “actively dying”) and what a difference she sees in me now. Then she said this: “I can’t cure you but I can try and give you as much quality of life for as long as possible.” Which is exactly what I am trying to do. I’m glad we are on the same page.

Today I was supposed to volunteer for an all-day field trip with Fionnuala’s class. But due to back and hip pain I cancelled. I think I was being overly ambitious by hoping that I could survive a day like that but if I’m not overly ambitious I’ll never get anything accomplished in this life, right? Fionnuala was very disappointed though and that’s just one more thing they are going to remember when I am gone.

I leave tomorrow for a quick trip to Ottawa for the funeral of my godfather whom I affectionately called Uncle Bunny. It’s a bit of a family reunion and I am more excited than I probably have the right to be since it is for a funeral – but I will take adventures where I can get them these days. You know what else I’m excited for? Four hours of uninterrupted reading time on the plane BY MYSELF! I’ve already downloading Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean At The End of the Lane on audio since it is next month’s pick for book club and now I just need to nail down a knitting project I can do on the plane for maximum child-free enjoyment. Plus the two other books I am currently reading. The possibilities are endless.

Trying to get outside every day.

Parking anxiety

I’m in between hospital visits right now – literally. I had an appointment at 7:45 am to get an injection and have to be back at 10:30 for the bone scan and possible X-Rays. This is all related to the back injury I gave myself in June that just won’t go away. Although it has been a lot better lately so I’m feeling hopeful. I don’t really have scanxiety yet because my scans are always clear (this will change someday). What I do have is parking anxiety. Mostly I get mad at how much we have to pay for parking and I am very grateful that I can come home between visits and not have to pay any more than necessary. I’m going to rant a bit here about parking so feel free to close down this window if you aren’t interested.


At the hospital/cancer centre I go to they have (what I call) a “predict pay” system of parking. Before they shut down the parking lot right beside the cancer centre you could pay when you were done – but that lot is currently under construction (to make it bigger). All the other lots ask you to pay for how long you need. But here is the thing. YOU NEVER KNOW HOW LONG YOU NEED. I often have oncology appointments around 9am. Sometimes I see the oncologist within the hour. Sometimes I see her at lunch time. If I pay for three or four hours and then am done in an hour that is one free parking spot the hospital gets to charge to someone else while still making money off me. I’m not going to lie, I’m totally incensed by this. I don’t understand why they need to charge so much. It cost me $4.50 this morning for an hours worth of parking. If I stayed for my 10:30 appointment I would need to pay for at least 4 hours of parking. Very few people can leave and come back (and then fight to find a parking spot again but that is a different issue) and I have the luxury of being dropped off later and then either get picked up or walk home. But when I was going through chemotherapy I would consistently be at the hospital for 2 to 4 hours a couple times a week. Nothing says compassion like making money off of patients and their families. It regularly cost us $13 or more to pay for parking on treatment days.

I have a good friend who, when her brother was in the hospital for a month following a serious accident, paid hundreds of dollars for parking to be with him. This is what you do for loved ones. What about the people who travel hundreds of kilometers for tests and treatment and also have to pay for hotels? (I once met a couple who drove 7 hours for tests.) What about low income families? People go into debt to pay for parking. I’m pretty sure there has to be a better option out there.


Start as you mean to go on

I mean to get outside as much as possible this year and since it warmed up to -12 degrees Celsius that is exactly what we did.

It’s my 42nd birthday today. My third birthday since being handed a terminal cancer diagnosis just over two years ago (one month shy of my 40th birthday).

I’ve written about this before but it is worth repeating: having your birthday on the first day of the year is stressful.

Don’t get me wrong – I love New Year’s. Or more specifically I love a new year and all the hope and promise it brings. I realize that it doesn’t necessarily need to bring more promise than any other day of the year but I like a fresh start. I like to begin things anew – probably because I’ve been so terrible at completing things since I started having children.

I love making lists and resolutions and dreaming about ways I can become a better person – not because I’m a terrible person but I feel there is always room for improvement. But as the old year comes to an end my list gets longer and longer and it starts to stress me out.


Needless to say I have MANY goals for this year. One of them, of course, is to stay alive but isn’t that everyone’s goal whether they have cancer or not? It isn’t enough for me to just be content with being alive, that seems like a cop-out.

You know how people like to pick one word that is going to represent the coming year for them? I keep thinking about that and what I would pick. This isn’t my word for the year but if I were to make one major goal for myself this year it would be to start feeling things again. I find that with all the emotions unleashed when I was diagnosed with cancer I just shut off my feelings. Obviously not entirely. I still feel things. I still love my children and my husband above all else and show them all the time. But I have avoided writing anything with feelings (or much of anything to be honest), or reading books that were too emotional or watching movies that would make me feel things. Some people love to cry. I hate it. I can’t even remember the last time I had a good cry and I’ve got freaking terminal cancer! I did get a little weepy when we were cutting down the Christmas tree because it was such a beautiful day and I was just so happy to be alive and out there in the woods – but even that I shut down quickly.

So I guess that is one of my words for this year: FEEL all the things. No matter how uncomfortable those feelings may make me.

The other phrase that is kicking around in my mind is NO EXCUSES because I am terrible with creating busy work for myself in order to not get things done. And so much needs to be done. SO MUCH. This could be my last year you know? (I don’t actually believe that but so many women I sort-of knew with cancer died last year that it is, in fact, a possibility.) Although maybe a better word would be FOCUS.

Maybe that will be my mantra for this year: Focus and Feel. (Sounds a bit like a sex manual.)

The rest of my goals I’m keeping to myself for now.

Do you pick a word for the new year? Make resolutions?


This is 42. Not quite as glamorous as someone in a bathing suit showing of their amazing body on their birthday but hey, I’m Canadian and it is January. I won’t actually see my body until late spring.


(Also I should probably clarify that there has been nothing stressful about my actual birthday – it has been rather wonderful with a lot of love from my little family and amazingly thoughtful presents. All other stress is completely self inflicted.)

Best moments of 2017 – a small sampling

How does one sum up a year? Especially how does one sum up a year in nine photographs? I did the “best nine” on Instagram but that is based on the number of likes each photo gets so it was mostly me and my hair. Don’t get me wrong, I have great hair – now that it has grown back – but it doesn’t represent moments.

So here is a brief summary of the year that was.



1. Mum and I in Iceland. It was a wonderful, magical trip. Not only did I get to learn more about writing and meet some truly fabulous writers at the Iceland Writer’s Retreat (both giving the workshops and attending them) I also got to go on vacation with my mom – I think the last time we did that was when I lived with my parents in Scotland in 2000. I feel pretty blessed to have the mom I have – we are great travel companions and always have a good time no matter where we go. I truly hope we can do another trip together again soon.

2. Taking Moira out to our favourite vegetarian restaurant (The Coup). It isn’t so much that single moment that sticks out but it was a good one and illustrates how much our girl has grown and matured over the last year. This photo also represents playing PokemonGo together. The broken arm sucked but didn’t hold her back at all.

3. Family road trip to Salt Spring Island, BC. We loved it so much in 2016 we went back for a longer stay. I really love it there and friends from Victoria came and stayed with us over the long weekend which made it extra special.

4. Kelowna, BC. Mister’s brother and his wife live within spitting distance of Knox Mountain and we try to visit them once a year.I was feeling so good at that time that I was hiking and running up the mountain. The weather was beautiful (although the lake was flooding and we did end up coming home a bit early). One of the things I love to do on vacations is take lots of photos of snails and moss – which were in abundance in Salt Spring and Kelowna. Our road trip this year was shorter than in 2016 but it is still great that we can pull the kids out of school and just take off for a while. I’m pretty sure they learn more on these trips than they do at school.

5. Moira and I visiting Kerry Clare and family in Toronto. Initially I had thought it would be fun to travel to Toronto by myself and have a couple days break from my children but then when I stopped to think about it I realized that I didn’t want to travel by myself when I could travel with sidekick #1. Moira and I took the bus from Kingston (we were visiting my parents), the two younger girls stayed with my parents, and we had a great time. Moira was a wonderful traveling companion and was up for anything and was fine when I wasn’t up for anything. We walked and walked and walked instead of me trying to figure out transit and consequently really got to see pockets of the city. Moira and Kerry’s daughter Harriet have been pen pals since before they could write and it was fun for them to get together. Harriet passed on her love of Archie comics to Moira.  We also got to have lunch with Teva Harrision and see my friend Chris in his studio and it was a couple days of pure artist inspiration.

6. Family. My sister, her husband and youngest son Thomas moved to Ottawa shortly before we arrived in Ontario and so for the first time in a while we were (mostly) all able to get together. Her middle son Sam came down from Toronto and the girls got to have some cousin time (and the boys got to experience what life is like with a bunch of little girls around – my sister only had sons – I’m pretty sure they were exhausted afterwards). The girls loooooooved seeing their Uncle Mano and Auntie Amanda but mostly wanted to spend all their time with their cousins.

7. Fionnuala. This is my favourite photo of Fionnuala from this year. She is such a funny kid. She’s playing PokemonGo here which she would do all day long if we let her. The other photo that didn’t make the cut was of Fionnuala in her soccer uniform after getting herself put on the team after we told her she wasn’t playing soccer this year. Fionnuala is many things and is definitely my most challenging child but one thing we always say about her is that she Gets Things Done!

8. Oonagh and her violin. Oonagh fell in love with music this year. She asked to learn to play the violin and while I think she likes the idea of playing the violin more than actually playing it she is only four and it is early days yet. This summer we listened to the Hamilton musical Non Stop (that’s a Hamilton joke for those who are in the know). Every morning in Ontario Oonagh would put on her headphones and listening to all of disk one before doing anything else. I have great memories of driving around this summer (and Fall and Winter) listening to Hamilton and singing along.

9. Moira. This was a great night. During the last hazy, and extremely hot, days of summer we had a family potluck with all the cousins (Mister’s side of the family) over. Because this was such a great night I was inspired to volunteer for us to host Christmas dinner this year (also a potluck). That night was so much fun I had one of the worst “fun hangovers” I’ve ever had the next day. (We call them fun hangovers because I don’t actually drink alcohol but still suffer when I stay up too late or socialize too much.) It was worth it. I picked this photo because I look at it and I am in awe that I helped create someone so beautiful.


2016 was a year full of fun and travel – at least according to this small sample of photos. Of course there are things that can’t be seen. At the beginning of the year I was feeling quite sick and tired and sore a lot. I hurt my back in June and spent months in pain – some days being unable to walk properly. Even though my cancer is stable it is still Stage IV and still very much present in our lives. Some of my fondest memories of the year were never captured in photos. Date nights with the Mister where we would just walk around the city playing PokemonGo and laughing and talking are probably my favourite part of the past year. I feel so extremely grateful to be married to my best friend that we don’t need to go out for a fancy dinner or even spend money to be together (except for a babysitter). We often joke that even time spent in the Emergency Room (which seems to happen at least once or twice a year) is also a date night for us. Any child-free time together is a date! If there is one thing this cancer has made me focus on it is finding ways to spend quality time with my family. I hope when my time with them is up they have fond memories of me: nature walks, playing PokemonGo, reading stories, driving them crazy with my singing, passing on a love of musicals (or maybe instilling a hatred of musical in them), and just being present. I think I can work harder on being present for them in 2018 (can’t we all?) but I think I did a pretty good job of it in 2017.





I’m super sad about all of this

I had just finished going through chemotherapy when the country found out that Gord Downie was sick. The summer of 2016, while the Tragically Hip were having their final tour, I was going for early morning walks in my parent’s village on the shores of Lake Ontario where the halfway point (2.5kms) was right outside a house the Hip owned… Read more →

Nobody talks about upsizing

I know they are cute, and tiny, and probably take no time at all to clean but my life goals go in the opposite direction of the tiny house movement.

When I dream of houses I don’t dream about the five of us tripping over each other and worrying about each and every item that comes into our home.

I dream about us each having our own room, with adjoining office/library and a large fireplace.

There is a lot to be said for personal space.

A couple years ago we upsized and it has been wonderful. We moved out of our small one bathroom home into a larger one. We have a kitchen that more than one person can stand in now. We have a finished basement where we can stash all the kids toys (of course, that doesn’t prevent them from being spread all over the house).

The Mister thinks the house is too big and having a bigger house makes us accumulate too much stuff. And this is probably true.

But when in my room and the girls are in the basement I can’t even hear them and that is worth the price of admission.

Plus we are slowly getting rid of the things we really don’t need but I don’t see him getting rid of all his CDs or Magic Cards and so my books are staying and so are Moira’s 41 Shopkins and Oonagh’s army of dinosaurs.

So sure, the houses I dream of are ridiculous by today’s standards. They are probably drafty, impossible to maintain and, hopefully, haunted.

Call me crazy but I would much rather have this:

Photo credit: For the Love of Old Houses Facebook page. c.1888. Randolph Avenue, Peoria, Illinois was listed at $289,900 a couple years ago.


Than this: (no matter how cute it is.)

Taken from this article in Country Living Magazine. This house is 296 sq feet of usable space.

That would be cute if I didn’t have to share it with anyone except maybe a dog.

I guess I take the saying Go Big or Go Home a little too literally. Because while many aspects of minimalism appeal to me that doesn’t apply to my living space.

So here is the thing about getting older. You start realizing how many things you are never going to be able to do (maybe this is just me and my terminal issues, but I doubt it). I used to think… someday. But at no point am I ever going to get to move to a small town in Illinois just so I can live in a Victorian mansion for under $300,000 dollars US. Nor am I ever going to own my own bookmobile or bookstore. I guess this is why I am so interested in fiction writing these days whereas I never was until I started having children. It answers the question of What If.

What If I wrote about someone who threw caution into the wind and bought one of those huge houses.

What If I wrote about someone who gave it all up to travel around in a bookmobile. (Two stories I have started but put on hold.) Writing gives me the opportunity to live lives I would otherwise never have the opportunity to live. Imaginary lives in giant homes where everyone leaves me alone and stops wiping their dirty faces on me.

Because I am an enabler here is a link to all the photos of that Victorian mansion. And there goes the rest of your day scrolling through the For the Love of Old Houses Facebook page. You’re welcome.

My children come home for lunch

And I love it.

And I hate it.

This muffin is going to get me through the afternoon.

And I hate it.

And I love it.

Sometimes those feeling oscillate within the very same moment. Most of the morning I fret about what I am going to feed them and so hardly get anything done until I start cooking. And it isn’t enough to just give them a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter and jam sandwich because I am the worst sort of food snob: the vegan-ish food snob. Sometimes they come home and are extremely grateful for whatever I have put on the table. Today it was homemade nut yogurt with fruit and pumpkin millet muffins. Except one of them was then annoyed that there were kiwis in her yogurt, didn’t like the muffins and washed it all down with leftover pizza.

I made myself kale soup and washed that down with leftover pizza.

The girls come home for lunch for various reasons: 1) We live across the street from the school and it makes sense. 2) No one likes making a packed lunch in the morning. 3) Money. Not the biggest reason but at $300 a kid to stay for lunch supervision and with me being at home, it is the wisest choice. 4) My cancer. It’s one of those “I want to spend more time with my kids” things that I feel I should do – even when they come home and do nothing but fight with one another and I wonder why I bother.

I remember when Moira was little and would spend the day at her grandmothers so I could have a break. I would be so happy for her to get away from me for a while – but even when your children are gone they are still right there. As the hour approached for her return my anxiety returned. Did I use my child-free time wisely? Will she have missed me? Will her return instigate a full-blown tantrum. (Answers were usually: no, yes, and every time.)

It’s been 9+ years and I still don’t have the whole balance of being a mother and a writer down. Hell, I don’t have the balance of someone who is a mother and has actual other hobbies that I don’t immediately give up because my children take up my every waking thought. I have given almost every single moment of the last decade to being a mother and wife and it has sucked almost every ounce of creativity out of me. And yet I love my daughters so much that sometimes I wish we had more of them because (I’m crazy) they are all so brilliant and gorgeous and I am in awe daily that half my genetic make-up could create such beings.

I did it all willingly and I’m pretty sure I would do it all again given the same circumstances.

Plus I think they make me a more interesting person and a better writer when I actually manage to put some words on the page.

Anyway, I keep saying “I’m living the dream now” which is sort of tongue-in-cheek but not really because the dream has always been to live long enough to have all three children in school at once. So that is finally where we are. All my worries that Oonagh was too young for school and would be exhausted by days end have been squashed by a little girl whose answer to “How was school today?” is: “fantastically awesome!”

Things are finally getting easier but to borrow Meg Wolitzer’s term, how do you wake up from your 10-year nap? I feel like I have option paralysis now and I need someone to come in and organize both my office and my brain.

Meanwhile, the girls will continue to come home for lunch, and I will continue to both enjoy it and dread it. They will be happy with my food choices some days and hate them other days. They will continue to fight and make me crazy. The earth will continue to rotate around the sun. I will, hopefully, start putting more words on the page.

Go away death

I know, I know. We can never get away from death but some weeks just seem harder than others. Not only have women been dying on the private metastatic cancer Facebook pages lately but:

Maryam Mirzakhani, only woman to win math equivalent of Nobel Prize, dies at 40

She died of breast cancer that had metastasized to her bones. I think there are very few women math geniuses out there (I have theories about this but that isn’t what I want to talk about) and even though I knew very little about Maryam Mirzakhani it was nice to know that she was around and getting acclaim for her work and something she was passionate about. I often think that it is women like her who should be the celebrities and the role models that our children look up to – not the fucking Kardashians who are polluting our minds and contributing nothing to society. But now she is gone and has left behind a young daughter.

Today I also found out that Michael Stone passed away suddenly (and tragically) yesterday. Michael was a meditation teacher/Buddhist/yogi and really freaking funny guy. I had the opportunity to attend one of his workshops a couple years ago and have thoroughly enjoyed his writing. Two years after attending the workshop I am still chewing over – and laughing about – the things he talked about that weekend. He leaves behind a young family as well (I believe he and his partner just announced that they were expecting another baby).

Sometimes it seems like the deaths just keep coming. These aforementioned deaths are the ones that make me really sad – not only because these people were young but because they were touching the lives of other people. I know death is happening everywhere, all the time and I honestly try not to focus on my own death too much (which is much easier when I am feeling well than when I am laid up in bed on pain medication) but sometimes it seems hard to get away from.

I have a quote on my phone lock screen by Rachel Carson. It isn’t so much the quote that is important (although it is a beautiful quote) but it is a daily reminder that Carson worked at something she was passionate about up until the moment she died (of breast cancer). She sat in bed writing Silent Spring while the cancer ate away at her.

All these deaths are reminders of the life is short and you need to do all the things now variety that I still can’t seem to wrap my mind around. I try and focus on what is good around me – like new fern shoots coming up out of the ground or a 4-year old who is really excited about learning something new. But sometimes it is hard and all I want to do is hide away and wish I could feel the urgency that is supposed to come with being told that your time is going to be cut short.

So I guess all I can say is hug your people. And celebrate real people who are doing real things, because they are far worthier of our brain space.

Breaking up is hard to do

You wouldn’t think, after all I have been through in the past couple years, that the thought of turning my phone off for a while would terrify me – but it does. I think this goes to show just how addicted to my phone I am. I’ve known for a while that I have social media burn out, that my attention span is at an all time low, and that I scroll and scroll these days and retain nothing – but it is getting worse. I’m tried of people trying to constantly sell things to me, or coach me into living my most authentic life. I’m tried of all the great outfits I covet on a daily basis or all the beautiful spreads of books that I can’t afford to buy.

I’m tired.

In the spirit of full disclosure I will admit to some things I am not proud of: I can’t read a book without checking my phone every couple of minutes. I use an obscene amount of tags on my Instagram photos just so other people will come along and see what I am doing and maybe even “like” them. But while I spend this time “maintaining my feed” or whatever you want to call it I’m getting nothing done.

I mean that – nothing is getting done.

I had already decided a week ago that I was going to bite the bullet and take a break from my phone but then this article came out today: 6 Reasons to Unplug Your Phone This Summer.

The average adult in the UK spends nearly 9 hours on digital devices each day. That’s more time than we spend sleeping! In the US, 84% of cell phone users claim they couldn’t go a day without their device, with some of them checking their devices every 6.5 minutes.

I believe this to be true for myself. And while I have made some amazing friendships through the world of social media I’ve also lost a big part of myself. There used to be a time when we would wake up in the mornings and turn to the person next to us – now we wake up and turn to our phones.

And I am honestly nervous. Like, what if my children do something really cute and adorable or smart and I don’t photograph it and immediately post it online to show the world? How will I get my validation if I make a fantastic meal and only my family knows about it? Yes, I’m joking – but the sad truth is that I am only half joking. Because that is reality these days, our whole lives are played out on social media and it is EXHAUSTING.

I keep thinking of all the things I can do this summer if I’m not checking my phone every 6.5 minutes but then I immediately think about how I am going to want to post about all those amazing things I am going to be doing. Sad fact: no amazing things, or even non-amazing things get done when I am busy hanging out with my phone.

So for the next month I am going to have my husband physically remove my phone from me. Maybe he will take it to his office? Maybe he will hide it somewhere in the house? I don’t know. I don’t need to know. I’m going to have to revisit this when the girls and I travel to Ontario at the end of July and I – hopefully – take a couple days break from them and head to Toronto to visit some friends.

Also, you would be surprised how much work goes into trying to get rid of your phone for a while. Some people only communicate via texting these days and I have had to let them know that I have a home phone and an email (we are old fashioned like that). I’ve had to write down a ton of phone numbers, but I’ve also asked for addresses so I can send some letters. If I didn’t ask for your address feel free to send it to me – I’ve also been heavily medicated this week due to back pain so I’m sure there are a billion things I’m forgetting. Either way, the phone gets turned off at midnight tonight and I don’t want to see it again for a while.