Archive for the 'Travel' Category

List of 26 Great Life Experiences

Posted by on Jul 29 2016 | 26 great life experiences, Aphasia, Life at home, Speech-Language, Travel

1. Camp Latona

2. Little Flower Academy – high school

3. Solo trip to Europe

4. Purdue University — SLP study, work as a staff resident, trips to Chicago, Toronto, and New Orleans

5. Marshfield Clinic — clinical fellowship in Speech-Language Pathology

6. SLP work at GF Strong Rehab Centre — community outreach service, outpatient program, special, memorable clients

7. Volunteer at Vancouver Writers Festival — picking up writers at the airport, including Rohinton Mistry (his first trip to Vancouver and I showed him around Granville Island on the way to his hotel) and hosting a couple of memorable events, including ones with Alberta Manguel, Michael Moore, Sherman Alexie and many others

8. Went to a Harvard Continuing Education week in Boston on “The Neurology of Behavior” hosted by Antonio Damasio. Also managed to squeeze in a Vancouver Canucks vs Boston Bruins game at the old Boston Garden. Pavel Bure scored the overtime winning goal 4-3. On that same trip, I took the train up to Stamford, Connecticut to see very good old friends (Martha and Phil) and had a personalized tour of the highlights of New York City that included an elevator ride to the top of one of the World Trade Center towers.

9. Travel to visit good friend in Vermont and drive through several states and see the fall colours in Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine as well as Vermont

10. Finding my biological family in 1997 and a new cousin in 2014.

11. Daniel and the summer of 1998

12. Buying my dream house in 1999

13. Many trips to Merville, Vancouver Island and Saturna Island, thanks to generous friends

14. Road trip to Yosemite National Park via Washington, Oregon and California coasts in 2000

15. Trip to Helsinki, St. Petersburg (Russia) and the Baltics (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) in 2001

16. Trips to Haida Gwaii — first one solo in 1996 and second one with Daniel in 2002

17. Winning media award from national SLP organization and going to St. John’s Newfoundland to receive the award in 2003.

18. Founding of the BC Aphasia Centre (2000) with lengthy article by Daphne Bramham in the Vancouver Sun (2003), Volunteer Vancouver Award nomination and CBC National Radio interview with Shelagh Rogers, June 24, 2004 (see media page)

19. Provincial jobs — great opportunity to learn new skills and learn more about the diversity of British Columbia with two contract positions: Coordinator for “Strengthening Families and Youth” with Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division, and Provincial Consultant for Pediatric Therapists, contract through the Ministry for Children and Youth. The website I started is still there!

20. My dad’s death — I wrote a special letter to my dad on his 75th birthday to make sure that he knew how important he was to me in my life. When he declined suddenly with aggressive cancer two years later, I was glad that I had done that as we had little time for quality conversation. A talented friend help me make a beautiful funeral card for him.

21. Politics – I enjoyed getting involved in federal politics and went to my first national convention in late 2006. Being involved with the election of our local MP last year was also a life highlight.

22. I got involved with the Women’s Campaign School with the Canadian Women Voters Congress. I was president from 2008 to 2011. I met a lot of interesting people and learned a lot in that time.

23. Florida and astronauts. We were invited to the launch of STS-125 by a Purdue colleague, Drew Feustel, in 2009. It was a great and memorable experience. The year before I had a chance to meet Marc Garneau, Canadian astronaut through politics, (I found myself in a foyer alone with him and told him about Drew Feustel whom he referred to as “the half-Canadian”); John Herrington, the first American Indigenous astronaut, through a friend who was working on a children’s show through APTN. And then we got to meet Drew’s crewmate and space walk partner; John Grunsfeld, when he was giving a lecture at UBC about repairing Hubble and his experiences as an astronaut. Drew’s wife Indi let him know that we were attending the lecture so it made it easy to approach and chat with him before the talk.

24. Being present for my mother’s death in 2010 and organizing a funeral with her ahead of time and having it work out so beautifully.

25. Being well enough to travel again with Daniel, with a trip to Washington, DC, Long Island (to see my sister) and NYC.

26. Being well enough to enjoy life — good food, riding my bike, seeing friends again after changing my diet and becoming inspired and a follower of Dr. Terry Wahls and having the chance to meet her!

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Fun in Portland

Posted by on Sep 20 2015 | Life at home, Travel


In my August 11 post, I promised to write more about our trip to Portland. It was very hot on the Saturday drive down – about 37 Celsius or 98 F when we arrived. I was a bit cranky (no AC in our car and the line up at the border took about two hours to get through, being a long weekend in BC) but I was grateful that I could sweat and survive the heat.

The next day we hooked up with my friend Marc and his son Connor. In the photo above we were messing around in Washington Park pretending to pose for a 70’s rock album cover. After that, Daniel and I went to Powell’s Books, Wink’s Hardware, as well as Rejuvenation.

Portland OHSU Marc Gosselin 036

Portland OHSU Marc Gosselin 062

Portland OHSU Marc Gosselin 077

Eating in Portland was also amazing. With all of my dietary restrictions, it was actually pretty easy to find good food. We found kombucha everywhere — even on tap in some restaurants, as well as at food carts.

This is a sample of the food we found at Harlow. The food was incredible and the service so friendly . . . and kombucha on tap.

Portland OHSU Marc Gosselin 055

The lunch I had at Cultured Caveman was also great — maybe doesn’t look the best but it was delish!

Portland OHSU Marc Gosselin 024

On Monday morning, we arrived at OHSU early. Marc was speaking before me and I wanted to hear his talk and get comfortable in the room.

Portland OHSU Marc Gosselin 043

After my talk, Marc took us out for dinner at a most amazing restaurant called Ox. If you are lucky enough to get to Portland, go there for a really special experience.

So . . . short and sweet blog post. We had a good time and I am so grateful for the ability to travel again and enjoy food and life again.

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A trip to Québec

Posted by on Sep 28 2013 | Facial Pain/Trigeminal Neuralgia, Life at home, MS, Travel


Daniel and I got back three days ago from a week-long trip to visit his family in Québec. This photo is a character named Monsieur Rigolo that his dad made from wood scraps who greets visitors at their place on the banks of the Chaudière river.

It was important for me to go because it may be my last trip to see them. The last time I was there in July 2010, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t eat. I was eating a bowl of soup with a bit curry in it when I had 3 consecutive very strong and painful shocks in my mouth. From then on, brushing my teeth or eating anything mildly spicy or acidic caused me pain.

[I called my dentist when that happened and she told me not to see any other dentist until I got home as she was afraid I’d get unnecessary work done. I remember telling her that I would be OK if somebody could put a cap on the tooth #14 in my upper right. I then referred to that tooth as ‘curry tooth’. When I got home, my dentist observed that the tooth was loose and she replaced the amalgam filling with a composite. She adjusted my bite as the previous dentist had messed up a crown. Things were pretty good after that until we discovered some gum disease in the lower right.]

I blended most of my meals after that and drank with a straw. I am the only person who has spent time with the family and gone home weighing less than on arrival. My mother in law is a great cook.

It was important for Daniel that I be there as there were two family events. His older brother celebrated his twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. And his father’s side of the family held a large reunion at Île d’Orléans, a picturesque island southeast of Québec City. The next day we explored the island with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.


A couple of days later, we also spent an afternoon in Quebec City, then had dinner with old university friends of Daniel’s at beautiful Lac-Beauport.

I seemed to be in the midst of a mild relapse while there. I was a bit slow on my feet and my hands were very numb at night. I was also constipated.

I’m doing better this morning. I’ve continued with the Tecfidera and I’m tolerating it quite well. I understand that it takes 3-6 months for the full effects to be realized.

Travelling is hard now and I used to really love it. Now, I have to watch what I eat, I can’t drink wine, so there is much less pleasure. I have a lot less energy.


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Strudel Sisters

Posted by on Jun 12 2013 | MS, Travel

Strudel Sisters from Minnesota

After the Facial Pain conference in Richmond, Virginia, I drove up to Washington, D.C., where Daniel was flying in to join me. Our plan was for me to check into our Bed and Breakfast, then drop off the car rental and meet him at baggage claim so we could take the subway back to the B&B together. I gave myself lots of time but had no idea that the traffic could be so bad on a Sunday. Daniel’s flight was scheduled to arrive at 5:35 pm and I checked in and connected to the wireless at 5:10. I was convinced I was going to miss him as the traffic in the city was so congested. I sent him a message that he would be able to pick up on his Blackberry after getting off the plane telling him to meet me at the car rental return. Then I jumped in the car and headed in the general direction of Reagan National Airport. Within a few minutes, I was on Rock Creek Parkway and shortly after a sign appeared directing me to I-395 and Reagan. I dropped off the car, ran like OJ Simpson through the airport to get to the Air Canada baggage claim by 5:45. Surely, he’d be there if the flight was on time. The arrival board said it was on time. But nobody I asked who was standing at the carousel had flown in from Toronto.

This is when the MS fatigue hit me. I broke down crying in the terminal. I looked for a sign to help me get back to the car rentals but didn’t see one. There was nobody at the information booth. A man stopped to help me but he was unable to think of a solution other than to go to the Air Canada desk and ask about the flight. I went over but there was a long line . . . I melted down again. I went over to the information desk hoping to find a phone or some way I could get in contact with somebody to help me.

It was at the information booth that three women from Minnesota decided to help me get connected with my husband. They had been in D.C. to demonstrate making their award-winning strudel. The called themselves the Strudel Sisters. One of them let me use her cell phone to leave a message for my husband on his cell phone. Another one gave me a medallion of the Virgin Mary to keep with me. They encouraged me to go over to the Air Canada counter again and that’s when we learned that my husband’s flight had been delayed and had just landed. I breathed a big sigh of relief. As we talked, I told them what Daniel looked like and then proceeded to tell them how much I liked Minnesota, as I visited Minneapolis several time when I lived in Wisconsin. After a few minutes, one of them asked if a man behind me was my husband and yes, it was! He had no idea what I had been going through. We did have a back-up plan which was to meet at the B&B if we didn’t meet up at the airport. But I was reaching a level of exhaustion that would have made it a bit challenging to do it on my own.

As we said good-bye, I learned that they really were sisters, even though they didn’t look that much alike. But I could start to see it in two of them. The third one said that she takes after their father . . . at least I think that’s what she said. I wanted to write about them because it was so reassuring to meet such nice women who decided to ‘take care’ of me when I was in distress. I took their e-mail addresses as I wanted to thank them. I thought it would make a nice blog post. As soon as we left them, I realized I hadn’t taken a photo! So, I googled them and came across some information about them and their trip to D.C. as guests at the embassy of the Republic of Slovenia for the EU Open House.

Thank you, Strudel Sisters — Nadi, Albina, and Rose — for helping me when I needed some friends.

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