How do you Brunch?

Sunday Brunch is a favorite activity amongst many. I love the idea of sleeping in, dining out, and eating with company.

My favorite brunches are the ones with make-it-yourself-Muesli bars. Muesli is a typical breakfast dish that includes raw oats or other grains, dried & fresh fruits, nuts & seeds, topped over yogurt and added milk. Then all drizzled with honey or condensed milk. (Mine may contain both!) I love how creative you can get with this dish and I could have it every single morning and still get a variety of nutrients.

My other favorite indulgences at brunch are any type of Middle eastern spread. This would contain a bunch of small plates with boiled eggs, dates, apricots, fresh cucumber, tomato and onion. Garbanzo beans that are seasoned as well as processed into a smooth hummus, a garlic yogurt sauce and of course bread!

You can find all sorts of Sunday Brunch deals with all different types of ethnic inspirations. I try to change it up week after to week but I get extra excited for any type of Mediterranean meal time.


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Diaries of Lola

He isn’t the same person anymore. It pains me to have fantasies of a life without him. A life where I can go to dinner without the haunting feeling that he’ll embarrass me by one of his accidents in public. Yesterday, he laughed hysterically at a waiter who dropped another parties entree all over the floor. The poor kid turned brighter than the Lobster Thermador that now saturated the sandstone tile. Then I too, felt the blood rush to my own cheeks as Justin’s roaring laughter pierced that silence that often follows after porcelain dishes crash to ground.  

“Lola! “Lola! I need to use the toilet!” Justin calls from the couch.

“Coming!” I hollar from the patio. I put my pencil in my notebook and rush to husband’s assistance. As I walk down the hall, the bright smiling faces of the newlyweds that was once us stare back at me. I find myself searching for the familiar emotions of love and undeniable lust that radiated in our body language.

As I prepare Justin and ease him onto his throne he looks up at me. The look is met by my own gaze and in that moment I see no wrinkles, I feel no aging mind, I only see the promise of love “..through sickness and in health”.

“Plug your nose.” he whispers and winks his eye.

While the “now” Justin is far from highly respected, elegant, charmer I fell in love with he gives me a different type of butterflies.

Breaking out of the cocoon is growing process, but no matter how mature I get those tummy flutters make me as giddy as a child.



Sunday Funday / A Happy Heart

“Rise and Shine, & give God your Glory! Glory!!”

I could hear her voice getting louder and louder as she repeated that phrase in a sing-songy tone.

I heard the doors of my sibling’s bedrooms swing open and before I could even open my eyes to the sun blaring through my window, it was my door being opened and that phrase being sung to me as I groggily rubbed my eyes, dragging myself out of bed.

My mom would wake us up every Sunday in the same fashion for a typical Sunday in our household. For me, this day included an early mass with my entire family. After, we would all go eat at a restaurant where my Mom would force each us to state a personal goal for the week.

“To master my 9’s times tables” My eldest brother would say with a mouthful.

“To beat Pokemon Gold on my Gameboy” My other brother would say with determination.

“To pass my ship’s inspection!” My military father would proclaim.

“Um, to finish all my dinner this week?” My little sister would try.

“To do something selfless, for someone who may seem undeserving” My mother would preach.

I always struggled as it came to my turn. My answers usually revolving around memorizing a cheer, or perfecting my comp routine.

Not too long ago, I was chatting with my siblings  and our mom about this little exercise. She told us that it was important for her to understand what our focus of that week was going to be. For her, these conversations were her way of recalibrating to each of us. With these small insights to every individual in her family she could connect to us about something we valued.

As a young adult living on my own, my Sundays now usually consist of football, home cooked meals, and being surrounded by friends in a comfortable setting. I do this because it’s my own way to recalibrate my week and nourish the relationships I value.

“Your glass is empty, you want another beer?”

“Do you even have to ask?” I laugh, taking the ice cold pint glass from my best friend. Then joining the boys on the couch who have their eyes glued to the T.V while talking about the horrible call that the referee just made.

The whole room smells of fall vegetables roasting in the oven, and there’s a comfortable warmth of the setting September sun.

Sunday rituals are my favorite way to start off the week with a happy heart.



The Growing Need for Home Care

The Ottawa Citizen just released an dynamic blog post on the need for a more sustainable home care system – read the articles below: 


In the last few years, I have spent a lot of time talking to seniors and those who look after them. That’s what happens when your parents reach their 80s, and you run for office in the riding with the highest percentage of seniors in the province. What I have heard is that home care for seniors is characterized by confusion over what’s available and a severe lack of resources for both the elderly and the family members who care for them.

This city is full of heart-breaking stories of aging spouses and adult children who are providing huge amounts of help for their family members while trying to negotiate a care system that is complex, seemingly arbitrary and often unreliable. Citizen columnist Hugh Adami’s article last week about a blind 96-year-old who has had her personal care assistance cut back to twice a week from twice a day is sadly typical of what’s happening. 

A new report on home care, commissioned by the provincial government, bears out what I have heard. Chaired by former University of Toronto nursing dean Gail Donner, the expert panel concludes that Ontario’s home care system just doesn’t work and that urgent action is needed to fix it.

The report’s primary conclusion is not very nuanced: “With no coordinated system strategy for home and community care, these pressures are creating challenges that need urgent attention. There is too much variability in access to services and too little accountability for outcomes. Everyone – clients and families, providers and funders – is frustrated with a system that fails to meet the needs of clients and families. Stakeholders may not agree on what the solutions are; however, no one thinks the status quo is an option.”

The report recommends that the province spell out what services are offered, who is entitled to them, and how they go about getting them. Expected service levels and outcomes should be measured and reported on, the panel suggests. The Community Care Access Centres were started in 1997 on the premise that dealing with a single agency would make it easier for people to get service. That’s still a good theory, but the execution is lacking.

This is doubly frustrating. Providing comprehensive home care is not only the right and humane thing to do, it’s the most cost effective. Helping a senior remain in her own home with home care services is far cheaper than the cost of a long-term care or hospital bed. Hospital budgets have been frozen and long-term care expansions put off on the grounds that people can be looked after better at home, That’s true, but only if we have a well-organized, accessible, fully-funded home care system.

The fact that the government appointed an expert panel to review the sector might be taken as a sign that it knows things need to be fixed. Health Minister Eric Hoskins says the report will be an important guide as the government transforms the sector. However, the government also has a track record of seeking expert advice, then not taking it. The government’s main talking point about home care has been that spending has doubled over a decade. Unfortunately, so has the number of people seeking home care help. Taking into account inflation and the increased level of care required by aging seniors, it’s difficult to think there has been any real gain at all.

How much will government do to respond to this new report? Not to be overly cynical, but spelling out what people should be getting and making it easier to get will raise both expectations and costs. This is not necessarily desirable for a cash-strapped government. Like it or not, the provincial government has a responsibility to tell Ontarians what it can afford to offer, and to deliver the service. Government can do many things poorly and not necessarily harm people, except in the pocket book. When the care just isn’t there for our seniors, real people actually suffer. Who supports that?

March 18,2015




Vulnerable Elders have no Access to Dentists in Care Homes

Dental Care is crucial for optimal health. Many seniors in Care facilities do not have access to a dentist. Seniors suffering from Dementia/ Alzheimer’s are exceptionally neglected when it comes to dental care. Everyone should be entitled to receive regular dental check-ups.

Research has shown that poor oral health can have a negative impact on seniors’ overall health and well-being, but for many, there are significant barriers to visiting a dentist. People suffering from dental pain need somewhere to turn for help. Frequently the place they turn is the emergency room of their local hospital. According to the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the number of dental ER visits in the U.S. increased from 1.1 million in 2000 to 2.1 million in 2010.

A separate study shows that in 2009, dental caries (the disease that causes cavities) and abscesses alone – almost entirely preventable conditions – accounted for nearly 80 percent of dental-related ER visits. While emergency rooms can provide pain relief and treat infection, few hospitals have dentists on staff so they aren’t able to provide comprehensive dental care.

Offering dental care in Senior Care facilities should be a mandatory service provision in order to deem the facility as a Care Provider. In order to keep our fragile citizens out of the hospital and in their own homes – proper dental care is a requirement.