Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A last note

My mom wanted to write notes to my sister and I. To say goodbye, to give advice, to say just one last time that she loved us. She never had time. By the time she realized that hope was gone so was her energy. She was just too sick.

I received an email from her on Christmas day. Part of our Christmas gifts every year are a Gift of Hope from Plan Canada. Something that will help a family given in our name.
I wasn't expecting it because we weren't doing gifts this year. It was beautiful. It was heartbreaking. It was her last note to me. I have no idea when she might have organized this. Directly after Christmas last year? I imagine so, months before she got sick.

Dearest darling daughter

I know you will be happy to keep those crazy mosquitoes away & and give the kids a chance at a longer and happier life. So, we're donating some nets. Love you always.

Love forever, Mom and Dad
You've just received a Gift of Hope – the gift of 12 bed nets.

Oh boy... here come the tears...

I hope Mom and Bailey are playing together somewhere

So today is New Year's Eve. I'm torn, like I seem to be all the time. I want to put 2014 behind me and let go of all the fear and pain. But when that clock ticks over it will be 2015 and I'll be in an entirely different year than my mom will ever be. And that breaks my heart all over again. I think it will never stop breaking.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Christmas miss

It's hard to be peaceful and joyful in this season where you're supposed to feel that way.
This was not Christmas. This was a day to cry and cry and cry. A day to feel that all is lost and lonely. A day to miss my mom with such a violent longing.

On Christmas Eve night I dreamt that I was in a very familiar place but couldn't find my way. I was lost when I shouldn't have been. And every step I took, the ground was precarious and I was afraid to move forward or backward.

I'm stupidly almost offended by all the Christmas carols that are playing. Angry that people are happy and celebrating. Saddened by all the Christmas greetings that people are sending out. I hope Santa was good to you... How dare you be happy. How dare you act like everything is fine and wonderful and that there is something to be thankful for. This was not Christmas. No stockings. No presents. No singing. No lights. No tree. But people who love us? Who loved mom? Yes, we have those.

We are so lucky to have family and friends and neighbours who took care of us during this difficult season. Who made sure we weren't alone. Nothing looked like Christmas but it was very nice all the same. Except that she's not here. Except that she'll never be here...



Friday, December 12, 2014

One month

One month one month one month. 

I hear this screaming in my head building and building. One month. It feels like years. It feels like no time at all. It's a quarter of the time that mom had. 

My auntie asked what helped when I was feeling low in the past. Talking to my mom, of course. It's the only thing that ever was. 

There's a hole in my heart and it's empty and I am lost. 



Saturday, December 6, 2014

I won't let you down

My mom loved anything really neat.

But she especially loved kaleidoscopes.

I think she would have loved this video because it's just so cool.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Let's turn our fears into our strength.
Let's take care of each other.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

The greatest loss

My heart is broken. I thought that maybe the body would just run out of tears but it doesn't.

When people ask me how I am, I say "fine" but what I mean is "my insides are shaking, I feel like I've been sucker punched and my heart is broken".

On June 29 my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she had found a small lump two weeks prior. We were shocked because I guess we thought that we were invincible. She's young and fit and strong. She was riding her bike 35km a day. We did Zumba together, she went to boxing and swimming with my sister, she ate healthily, she had longevity in her genes.

On July 14, she had a football sized tumour removed. The doctor said that he didn't expect her to ever leave the hospital, didn't expect her to live out the week. The cancer was too aggressive, the prognosis not good.

God, she is so so beautiful

Mom was so strong and so determined. She surprised everyone. She did laps around the ward, she walked outside, she brought smiles to other peoples faces. We got her home. She started chemo. She did wall pushups to keep up her strength. She was so strong and she fought so hard. Finally, there were no options left. We are so grateful for the wonderful staff at Palliative Care and the hospice. Thank you for caring for our very best person.

We lost my beautiful mom on November 11. 135 days since diagnosis. Too quick...

I'm so glad that her suffering and struggle is over. I understand that the sick person is gone. I'm just having such a hard time understanding that the vibrant, fun, smart, creative, giving, caring, loving, goofy person that I spoke to every day is gone too. She was the only person that I wanted to talk to when anything good or bad happened. I want to keep all the emails and texts and notes that she ever sent. I want to hold on to every photo ever taken. I want to punch holes through the walls and scream that it's not fair that she's gone. It's not fair, it's not fair.  I love you, I love you, I love you.

Mom was such a giving person, always putting others first. I feel like she died on November 11 as a final gift to us. We never have to go to work that day as it's a holiday. Remembrance day is for remembering those who gave their lives and every year we'll be able to be together. Look at her still spreading kindness. She fought so hard to give us the extra time to come to terms that she was sick, that she would die, that we would be left behind. She gave us time to celebrate my sister's birthday, my birthday and most importantly, my parent's 40th wedding anniversary.  Oh, we love her so so so much. If you want to know how much my dad loves this woman just listen to their wedding song.


Mom asked to hear it a couple of days before she died. We played it at her funeral. Mom and dad have taught me so much about love; that it's work, that it's wonderful, that you take care of each other.

Cancer is so terrible. It just takes everything that you have and the treatment is horrible too. She struggled every day. Too many people I know and love struggle every day with this horrible disease.

I don't even know what to do next. I don't even understand how the world can just go on, how everyone can think that it's a normal day. Nothing will ever be the same again. The universe has shifted, the world is less bright. How do we carry on? How do I stop crying? How do I stop being so angry at cancer?
Our beloved Sheree Ann O’Byrne passed away on November 11, 2014 at the age of 59, after a brave, brief battle with cancer. Sheree touched everyone she met by making everyone feel important and well cared for. She created special events out of ordinary days and helped us all believe in the goodness of people and of God. We learned to celebrate small moments and the importance of family and love. To her friends and family she provided the right advice at the right time, always with care and kindness. When you were Sheree’s friend, you knew you had someone who would care for you for life. Sheree’s unrelenting support allowed her husband, Paul, to chase his dreams and her daughters to believe that anything is possible for them. Sheree is survived by her husband of 40 years, Paul; their daughters Danielle (TJ) and Gillian (Rob); her parents Lou and Helen Schmidt; her siblings Shelley Schmalenberg (Jim), Brent Schmidt (Maureen), and Greg Schmidt; her nieces and nephews Michael (Ashley), Chelsea, Katelyn, and Brayden. Thank you to the wonderful staff on 5E at the General Hospital, 3A (Palliative Care Unit) at the Pasqua Hospital, the teams in the ERs and Allan Blair Cancer Clinic, Dr. Aspe Lucero, and the caring team at Grace Hospice. Your compassionate care and attention to the person we love most made our difficult journey more bearable. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Regina Palliative Care, Wascana Grace Hospice, Allan Blair Cancer Centre, or, if you are able, please consider donating blood at the Canadian Blood Services. Each of these places truly help people every day. 


Monday, October 27, 2014

Window shopping

It seems that all of my friends are buying houses. This makes me want to make my little space even more cozy and wonderful.

I want a fabulous gallery wall that includes:



My kitchen needs more storage. And why shouldn't it be cute?

We have very comfortable couches that are very ugly. These would help. A lot.  Or this one.

And if I had this pillow?

The Gentleman Caller has been keeping an eye open at estate sales for a bowling set. This might work. 

If I bought this, I'd have to buy stuff to store. But I like its vibe.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Oh Melbourne.

I miss you.
Reasons why living in Melbourne will ruin you for living anywhere else. 


Monday, October 20, 2014


Sometimes you see things on Pinterest

 and you're just like

aug 2014

Even if you have to shimmy your sparkly mini-dress down around your waste and you spend the majority of the day rather concerned that you won't be able to wiggle your way out of it again.

jacket: Old Navy
top: Joe Fresh
necklace: grandma's 
dress-skirt: Ricki's
leggings: Joe Fresh
shoes: ?

PS Don't worry. I got out of the skirt-dress thingy... but it was touch and go for a minute. 


Friday, October 17, 2014


My friends got married and it was so so lovely.
A cathedral and the fanciest hotel in town is a genius way to commit to love.

July 26, 2014

Plus I had an inbetweenie party. Over 20 people crammed into my tiny apartment between the ceremony and the reception. I cannot confirm or deny that we snuck jello shots into the dinner.

cardi: Joe Fresh
dress: Ricki's 
necklace: Gma's 
shoes: Fluevog

We danced our faces off and celebrated love and those are two of my favourite things to do!


Thursday, October 16, 2014


The Gentleman Caller and I signed up for Run of Dye at the beginning of the summer. Apparently, it's a fun run... which I think is a misnomer.

I am not a runner. In fact, I cannot figure out why people like running, like, at all. But still maybe if people like it, I could too? If I keep trying?

Ok, Ok... It was pretty fun. 




Wednesday, October 15, 2014


As life carries on, I was wondering if I should continue with this blog. What is the point of writing and nonsensing if no one is reading it? But maybe it's like a tree in the forest...
And it turns out that I like having a blog. I like taking photos and bullet pointing my life, even if it's just for me. Because, honestly, I can't remember what I wore last week without taking a photo of it. And even before I ever had this blog I kept of record of what I wore by drawing paper dolls.

June 2014

So maybe I'll try to update, if only just for myself.

top: Joe Fresh
leggings: Joe Fresh
skirt: Forever 21
shoes: ?
necklace: beach in Vietnam
glasses: Dolce & Gabbana 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Today is my 33rd birthday.

I haven't done much yet. But there is still time. 


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Show and Tell

These places from above put a whole new perspective on familiar sights!

I love to travel and see new places. Here are 25 best cities to go to. I've been to 15 and would love to go to all these places!

This guy has got it right. This is what I believe about the world!

This is proof that it's not too late!

If you ever wanted to practice your Scottish accent (and let's be honest, who doesn't?) read this definition of Bairn out loud. The best.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sending out so much love

I haven't been writing because I don't know what to write. I don't know what to say. I don't know what to do. I find making even small, inconsequential decisions almost impossible.

What do you do when the person who means everything is literally fighting for her life? How do you help? What can you do? Other than giving lots of hugs and holding hands and making food and brushing hair... Really, though. What do you do? What can you do that will make a difference or help at all? I guess you can pray and visualize cancer melting away, hoping and praying and working on being positive. The thing is I wish I could give my strength away. I wish that all the protein that I eat could be magically transferred to her. I'd take it on. I think we all would.

What does daily life look like when you're mind is occupied with fear? What is the point of dressing up cute? Does anything even matter, other than love?

                          I don't know what this graffiti is about. I like that it's emphatic. And also Fuck Cancer. 

Is there a how to manual? Does anyone have any insight on balancing hope and reality, fear and love, day to day life with everything else? I know this isn't unique. I know it's not just us going though this. But it also feels so so big.

Love and bright light to everyone. So much love. 


Monday, July 21, 2014

We are lucky for the days we have

“Real life, I’ve finally learned, is created by stacking normal days, one on top of the other, for decades, and living each of those days as fully as possible, embracing whatever each day brings.” Richard Dahlstrom


Thursday, July 10, 2014

The best of me

On Wednesdays the Gentleman Caller and I go for sushi. It's a nice tradition. We always go to the same place and order the same thing. They know our order and it's nice to feel like regulars.

Tonight the guy taking our order said to me "You're always so happy!"

And that really got me thinking (and that sentence makes me feel like Carrie Bradshaw). The only side of me this sushi guy sees is my public, happy I'm about to eat my favourite food side. I reserve the best of me for strangers and the people I love get the brunt of the rollercoaster, overly emotional, stressed out, grumpy bump Danielle.

I might want to take better care of that. I might want to be more mindful that people I love need love too. Maybe I need to be generous enough to my self to chill out and offer the best of me to me. Maybe I need to make more of an effort to see the world in a more lovely light, even when things are hard, to behave in a more lovely manner.

Today I'm grateful for my life the way it is. Although there are really hard things, although I'm lost most of the time... I'm lucky. 

Fitbit report: 12, 582 steps, 9.83 k, 7 floors


Monday, June 30, 2014

Sometimes there are days when time stops. When you heart catches in your throat and you stomach clenches and you go cold. These are days when everything you know changes. The world is a different place and it's not ever going back. That my kitchen is dirty, my laundry isn't done doesn't matter. All my little worries about who I am and where I'm going and how I'm going to lose my sugar belly are inconsequential.

It's been raining for weeks. The streets are flooded, the sky is angry and there isn't anywhere for the water to go. At the moment it's pathetic fallacy, the never-ending onslaught of water and gloominess that goes along with it are exactly how my family feels. I guess it just wouldn't be right to get terrible news on a bright, sunshiney day.

I'm so angry. I'm so angry that cancer is such a bitch and has come for us. I'm so angry that it wasn't caught before. I'm so angry that word was thrown at her like a grenade by a non-expert and then we were put in a room to wait for a specialist that never came. I'm so angry that there's nothing I can do except call people to make sure they are moving on this, to get a bossy advocate, to ask everyone I know to send the good energy of whatever belief they have to her. Until then I'll just flood the streets more with my tears.

Even the duck is confused and thinks a lawn is a pond.


Thursday, June 26, 2014


I'm restless. I'm not sure if it's just because it's spring (slowly edging towards summer) and I always get a little this way. Or maybe it's just that I have no plans.

All my life I've known what comes next. You go to school, then directly to university. As I was finishing university I had my eye on the prize. I was working towards moving to England for two years. I was focused on making money and saving money and working out who I would be and how I might make friends. For those two years I grew a heart, I developed a sense of adventure, finally knowing that I belonged many places, knowing that I had a story and deserved to play a starring role in it.

Coming home from England was rough because I really didn't want to be in Canada. I wanted to be the person I was, doing fun things, going interesting places with crazy friends. It was certainly an adjustment to rebuild a life and that took all my energy. 

Then I met the Gentleman Caller and LOVE! SWOON! All my time was spent cuddling, drinking wine and eating cheese! Also, when we started dating it was understood that if he wanted to date me, we were going to Australia. So that was the goal. That was the direction.

Now that I'm back from travel, with no long term travel on the horizon, a job that is fine but not thrilling, an apartment that is cozy and lovely... Now what do I do? What is there to look forward to? In which direction do I place my feet? What am I working toward? Is this just normal life? You get up, go to work, get paid a marginally decent wage, feel exhausted, go to the gym, make dinner and go to bed? That's it? 

I'm having a hard time seeing the small adventures when there aren't any big ones. It seems like a lot of my friends are looking for houses at the moment. So I actually spent a Saturday evening looking for houses that we could buy. I don't even want to buy a house! I'm no where near ready financially or emotionally. I love my little apartment and I never thought that I would end up living in this city. I'd like to buy in Spain! Or New Zealand! Or Vietnam! Or an English coastal village!

Oh boy. That's what lost looks like.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pasteler Shade of Pale

I would love this dress more if it were a more vibrant colour.

june 12 2014

Still, with some accessories it's possible to punch it up.

In the hopes of making my cubicle even more ridiculous, I left these shoes at work. Use your imagination.

dress & jacket & scarf: ricki's
shoes: Red or Dead Maxa

Today I'm thankful for dresses that come below the knee. No worries about accidental flashing.

Fitbit summary: 12,234 steps, 9.24km, 16 floors


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Just a little off

This dress is a great colour but cut very strangely. Still though, pretty.

june 11 2014

My popped these shoes into a bag that I was picking up from her house. She bought them in a market in Spain and has never worn them. I think they are also made a bit funny. One seems significantly larger than the other so that was a bit tricky but I only fell off them once at work so it was pretty much like any other day.

dress: Joe Fresh
tank: Ricki's
cardi: Suzy Shier
necklace: grandma's
shoes: mama's

Today I'm thankful for thoughtful people. 

Fitbit summary: 11, 864 steps, 9.19 km, 12 floors