2020 In Review

So. 2020. What a year, right?

What can I say that hasn’t already been said by pretty much everyone, myself included? Given that this is more than two paragraphs long, obviously I have something to say. And since I’ve decided to make this year in review an annual thing, clearly I’m going to go over it.

This has been a crazy year for everyone. A lot of it has been exceedingly difficult. A lot of it has been heart breaking. There’s also no way I’m going to be able to encapsulate everything in this one post. I can’t even hope to cover everything major. It’s been that sort of year. But I’ll cover the things that impacted me the most. And, yes, a lot of it isn’t good. But there is one bright and shining thing that is absolutely wonderful, and I’ll save that for the end because if you read my stuff, you know I like to end on the positive.

It’s funny, in a way. This time last year, I was full of optimism. As a gamer geek, I was particularly enamoured with the number 2020. In D&D, where you roll most things on a 20-sided die, rolling a 20 is a critical success (a really good thing), and I remember saying that this was the year of the double critical success. Sheesh.

I was, of course, peripherally aware of the Corona virus early in the year, as that sad thing that was going on in China. At first, that was it. It was like the sad thing going on in Australia with all those wildfires… it was awful, but didn’t really effect me on a personal level. I felt bad about it, yes, but what could I do about it?

And then it began to spread. Or, to be more precise, I began to hear about it spreading. It hit Europe, especially Italy. Then, it jumped across the ocean. It was in the US. Crap, it was in Canada.

It was in Nova Scotia.

I think it was mid-February when I really got worried. I had family contemplating a trip to Italy. I had a step father travelling to California to visit his daughter and grandkids. I worked in a job that saw me all up close and personal with people. The numbers grew as we entered March.

And then lockdown. I, like so many others, found myself out of work. Everything was closed that could be closed, especially massage therapy. But only for a few weeks, right?

Nope. Weeks dragged on. I barely left the house, aside for going for drives with my mother. I don’t even like going for drives as a general rule, unless it’s just to spend time with people, scenery is lost on me, but those drives got me out of the house. Then those ended, too.

Now. Let me state right here that I consider myself to be very, very lucky. Lucky to live in Canada. Especially lucky to live in Nova Scotia. My provincial and federal government have both been stellar at handling this. Yes, there was a brief time wen I thought I wouldn’t qualify for the emergency funding my nation decided to hand out as I was self-employed, but I was wrong. I was taken care of financially. I also live in a place where there were services such as grocery delivery that I could utilize without having to even come face to face with my delivery person. I am so lucky, and I am so grateful to those people who did the delivering. However, I also couldn’t leave the house. I have to touch too much to just go for a walk.

Then came April, and devastating tragedy. Here in Nova Scotia, a madman who I still flatly refuse to name went on a shooting rampage. Moreover, this happened in a place near and dear to my heart, close to the cottage where I spent every summer and a majority of weekends growing up. Too close for comfort to where my father and step mother lived. Terrifyingly close to where my step brother lives. It was awful, it was senseless, and it’s left scars that that community will bear for a very long time. It was the worst mass shooting Canada has ever seen, and it happened in a place of peace and beauty. To those who lost family or a friend, I grieve with you still.

And then came the news of George Floyd. Not the first black man shot down by police. Not even close. What was it about this one? Was it the straw that broke the camel’s back? I’m not sure. I don’t pretend to understand why it took this many senseless deaths for the world to start paying attention. But we did. Has it been enough? No. Not yet. Do I think things have changed? I’m not sure. It’s changed me, though. I’ve gotten more vocal about my support for black people, which in turn has led me to being more vocal in my support for people of colour, for trans rights, for LGB rights. For disabled rights. I haven’t forgotten. I hope you haven’t, either. These are lessons we need to hold onto.

In June, here in Nova Scotia at least, the lockdown was lifted. This meant a return to work. For me, at least, this came as a simultaneous huge relief and also was a cause of stress. There were a lot of changes to how we did things. More work, with a lot more stringent cleaning, a lot more caution with client intake, wearing a mask all day, making sure that my clients wore masks, making sure we didn’t leave clients waiting out in the lobby for long, different start and end times. Plus, of course, the constant fear not so much of getting sick myself (though I am terrified of that, too) but accidentally passing it on. After all, I spend an hour at atime in a small room, physically touching someone else. It’s stressful. On the other hand, I love my career. I love my clients. Getting back to helping them was fantastic.

So the summer came, and it was odd. I cut back the time I spent with my father at the cottage – which I would have cause to regret, but more on that later – and spent only one weekend there, and then a few hours later on. My sister who lives in England always spends every August here with her two precious girls and – for part of it – her husband. This year, that didn’t happen, and it was hard. I already don’t see them as much as I would like, now I didn’t see them at all.

Then came the fall. And here, we enter the part that is the hardest to write about. My father had been having back and leg pain for a number of years, now. He had been diagnosed with a condition that meant the area of his low back where the sciatic nerve (the one that goes into the leg) exits had narrowed. His pain came and went, but when it was there, it was bad. He’d been waiting on surgery to open this area up. The pain came back in September, and he moved his surgery up to October. It happened, and for the first few days his pain was gone. And then it came back.

And then it got worse. And other symptoms began popping up. Dad had also been battling what seemed like a minor case of cancer of the bladder, in so far as any cancer could be called minor. We thought it was under control. We thought it was being successfully treated. He’d even had an MRI in January and a CT scan in May in preparation for the surgery, both came back clear. Until that pain got bad.

In an MRI to check if what he had was something very different, but still serious, they discovered a large mass on his sacrum (that’s the solid bone just beneath your moveable spine). This was in mid to late October. He had to wait longer than I liked for a biopsy, but in time he got it. In more time it came back. The mass was cancer. The bladder cancer had spread. After that, everything happened fast. So terribly fast. I watched him go from being able to get around and do most of the things he did, albeit with pain, to him hardly able to get out of his chair, to him not being able to get out of bed. We were told it was Stage 4 cancer. We were told there was nothing they could do. We were told that my sister had better come home.

She did. She came home from England and got a compassionate exemption to her two week quarantine. She got to see him (though that was as far as her exemption went, she spent any time she wasn’t with him in full quarantine for the full fourteen days). I got to see him. That final week, we both visited him. We had our last fully coherant conversation on a Tuesday. I saw him twice more. On Friday, November 20, we lost him.

And it all happened so fast. It’s been a month, and there are days I still catch myself thinking things like “Oh, I need to tell Dad this” and “Crap, I haven’t gotten Dad’s Christmas gift yet” and then it all comes back.

Still. I am grateful that my sister got back. Grateful that despite a very abrupt and frightening spike in local Covid cases we were able to make it to the funeral, and so very grateful for the support from family, friends and coworkers. I truly have some wonderful people in my life. Especially the wonderful, compassionate, kick-ass clinic director I am blessed to work with.

Ah, yes, the spike. Nova Scotia had done so well. For awhile, it was one of the safest places in the world. That ended abruptly, especially here in Halifax. Numbers skyrocketed, right around the time we were planning the funeral. They’re coming back down now, but it was scary and the timing couldn’t have been worse, personally. All of this coming at the worst part of the year for me, as I do struggle with seasonal affective disorder even in the best of years.

That was a lot of doom and gloom. Earlier, I said there was one thing that keeps me from considering this year truly, unendingly awful. Given all the above, you would be correct in assuming it would have to be something major, and it is. It also happened, or started, early in the year. I just left it out because, like I said, I want to end this on a good note.

Earlier this year I made an amazing discovery. Prior to now, you will have heard me speak of my sister in the singular. Only it isn’t singular. It’s plural. In February, my father sat me down and told me that I have an older sister. Technically, half-sister, but that is not how I think of her. She is my sister. To say this came as something of a shock is rather an understatement. To some of you, I know that reading this is going to be a bit of a surprise. Imagine how I felt? I was curious. I was also absolutely happy. At no point during any of this have I felt anything but genuine joy. I gave Dad time to tell people about it, immediate family and such, and then I wrote her a letter. I explained who I was, that I had only just found out, and that while I very much wanted contact, it was entirely her choice and that I would abide by her decision. I put that letter in the mail just before lockdown.

And she replied. We began to chat via text on messenger. Slowly and cautiously at first, but with increasing regularity. We spoke via voice. We met. I met my amazing, talented, wonderful nephews.

They are family. They are loved. I am proud of each one of them. I am overjoyed to have them. The only reason I am not outright naming them here is because I try not to do that. Their presence in my life will always keep this year from being sheer awfulness. I will likely write more about them, with their permission, in the future.

And. There you have it. What a roller coaster. 2021 is, of course, right around the corner. I don’t think that the turning of the year will mean that our problems magically disappear, but I am choosing to enter this new year with hope. A vaccine is coming. And perhaps, just perhaps, we’ve all learned over this past year to be a bit more kind and a bit more wise.

Which brings me to my usual closing statement. Please be kind. Be kind to one another, be kind to yourselves, be kind in the comments. We still need as much kindness as we can get.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog.

In Memorium – Frederick Morash

What follows is what I wrote for the euology of my father who passed away on November 20 of this year after a battle with cancer. It isn’t precisely what I said when I got up there as I had to more or less wing it, but I got a lot of it out.

I’d like to, first of all, thank those of you who were able to join us today and those who are joining us virtually in this troubled time. I know that Dad would have appreciated it a great deal. I know that his sudden passing has come as a shock to many of you, but the outpouring of love and support that you’ve shown to Linda and the rest of us is appreciated.

My father was many things. Driven, hard working, dedicated to his faith, and loving. He showed that love through his actions more than anything else. Not that he never said it… he did say it, and often, but actions were his primary way of expressing his love. As I grew up, he worked long hours to provide his family with the things that he, himself, didn’t have access to as a child. Yet whenever I was in the hospital, and that was quite a lot, he’d still make time after working often ten hour days to come and sit with me late into the evening.

My sister and I were never spoiled growing up, but we also never wanted for anything. That was how Dad showed his love.

His career was vitally important to him, as well, and I have always taken pride in what he accomplished, rising from the lowest ranks of the accounting department at MT&T to retire as president and CEO of Island Tel, after helping to shepherd in the merger that became Aliant.

Dad also dedicated his time and talent to some very good causes, serving on the boards of organizations such as the CNIB, IWK Children’s Hospital and Christian Blind mission as well as helping with the accounting of the churches he has attended. It has never been lost on me how many of those groups related to me, either. That was also how he showed me how much he loved me.

While he loved to travel, and was fortunate to see quite a lot of the world, his favourite place on earth was the cottage at Bass River, a place he’d been visiting since he was a teenager himself. The cottage was built the year I was born, and while it has changed and even been moved, it has always served as a permanent anchor for him, and for me. When I picture my father in my mind, I picture him there, puttering around in his beloved vegetable garden or, more recently, relaxing on the screened in porch. Bass River is where his heart really lived. It’s where mine lives, too. A part of him is always going to be there.

Dad has left behind family who loved him, and are left shocked and baffled at his passing. His loving wife Linda, his daughters, his grandchildren and step-grandchildren and his sister. It’s hard for me to really wrap my mind around life without him, I’ve already caught myself a few times thinking that I’m late for our weekly phone call. Dad never did like it if I went more than that without talking to him on the phone, and neither did I.

I am blessed to have enjoyed a close relationship with my father, and am an unashamed Daddy’s Girl. I have so many, many memories of him that sharing them all would be impossible. From being carried on his shoulders across the rocky beach at the cottage to riding Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disney World to trailing after him as he went down to fish to his pride in my becoming a Massage Therapist. I will treasure those memories for the rest of my life, and because I have them, I haven’t really lost him.

I’m going to end this with what I said to him at the end of our last conversation. Words that he repeated back to me. I love you, Dad. I always have, and I always will.

Letter To A Fifteen Year Old Me

Before I actually share this letter, let me put things into perspective, since let’s face it, few of you knew me as a fifteen year old (some of you only know me from reading this, after all). At fifteen, I had just moved from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island. I was, and always had been, visually impaired, but my vision had held steady at 20/80 in one eye. That was enough to read, ride a bicycle, etc, though it did make school harder as I couldn’t quite keep up as fast as everyone else. I was anxious, lacked confidence, and had been bullied quite badly up to that point. And I was just so very, very awkward.

So, here goes.

Dear Me,

Yes, it’s true, I’m almost thirty years older than you right now. Yes, yes, I know. You think I’m old. I’m older than your parents are right now. Trust me, your perspective is going to change by the time you’re me.

And you? You’re so full of uncertainty. You moved to a new province not all that long ago. New people, new school. New everything. You think everything has changed. And it has, but hold on buttercup, because you don’t even know what change is.

You’re on the verge of something. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but let me tell you this. It’s going to be scary, you’re going to think your life is over. But listen. It’s going to be okay. I promise. It really, really will. There’s so many good things after the scary things.

You’re going to learn some things about yourself. First and foremost, you’re going to learn that you’re so much stronger than you think you are. You’re going to learn that when push comes to shove, you can and will stand up for yourself. I’m not talking about those idiotic bullies in junior high that made you so miserable, because they don’t matter. I’m talking about adults. Dumb adults who don’t have your best interests at heart. People in power over you. They’re going to try to mess with your education and you? You, you brave, smart young woman, you’re going to stand up and say “No. This isn’t going to happen.”

Oh, and stop that. That thing you’re doing right now, where you’re reading this and thinking “But I’m not smart”. Yes. You. Are. I know you don’t believe me, I know the educational system has taught you to think that you’re stupid. You compare your grades to your sister’s, and think she’s the smart one. You are wrong. Well, you’re not wrong about her, she’s got smarts for miles and miles. But so do you. Given the right environment and the support you legitimately need, you can and will rock the sciences. You read that right. Sciences, not just English.

A few other things. You are loved. Your family loves you. Other people are going to love you, too. Again, I promise you that this is true. They’re going to find you attractive. You may not always know it at the time, though. I’m afraid that the ability to actually notice that someone is into us is still vastly underdeveloped in your forties. Actually, right now you think that no one finds you attractive and no one ever will, but if my calculations are right you’ve already met at least one person who does. Sadly, you’re going to miss those signs and only realize they were there about, oh, fifteen years later. Sorry about that, kid.

Friends will love you, too. The kind of friends that, once made, are going to be there for the rest of your life. Some may dip out of sight for awhile, but your paths will reconnect in time and it will be glorious.

And about your parents, treasure them. Yes, I know, you’re fifteen years old and you think you know more than they do about so many things, and that they don’t, and never can, understand you. Kiddo, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong on both scores. Turns out, they’re pretty smart. They love you. Tell them you love them. Tell them how much you appreciate them. See them for who they are. Treasure every moment you have with them.

You’re going to discover hidden talents that you haven’t even considered having. You are a gifted person, it’s just going to take you awhile to find out how. When you do, though, you’re going to love those gifts. They’re pretty cool ones.

And you know what, kiddo? You know who else loves you? I do. I love you. I see you. I understand you. I see your foibles and your faults and your potential and I god damned love you. One day, you’re going to love you, too.

Life’s not always going to be easy. No one’s is. Yours will resemble a roller coaster sometimes, but the thing to remember about roller coasters is that there’s a whole lot of ups as well as downs, and also that they’re a thrilling, exciting ride. Try to find the joy in that ride. You’re in for one crazy adventure, darling, and you’ll do things that right now, you can’t even imagine doing.

Oh. One last thing. Your hair? It’s purple now. I thought you’d love that.


(So. If you could say something to your fifteen year old self, what would it be? That self deserves kindness, just like you do, so be kind to them. And to yourself, and those you encounter.)

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.


How on earth did it get to be mid-fall already? This is the fastest slow year I’ve ever experienced. Nonetheless, it is, in fact, fall.

And while this isn’t really a recipe blog, I think I’m going to share one of my very favourite recipes with you. It is slightly modified from the one I initially started with, and I love it. Now, I’m calling it “chilli”, as that is what it was called when I encountered it, but if I’m being honest it’s more of a chilli stew.

You’ll find notes on modifications under the recipe, and also some more thoughts below that.

Happy cooking!


  • 6 green jalapeño peppers (less for a milder heat)
  • 6 cloves garlic or less to taste
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt (taste later and add a bit more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoon honey. (or sugar)
  • 3 sausages of smokey style or regular
  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 3 onions cut up
  • 1 cup or 1 can of beer
  • 2 cans of drained red kidney beans
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of beef broth- more if needed
  • 1 half cup of coffee


  • Sauté onions and garlic until soft, stirring over medium heat. Remove from
    pan, set Into slow cooker
  • Fry sausages in same pan then remove and put with onions in
    slow cooker
  • Brown beef in same pan, drain fat, and add to slow cooker, deglaze
    the pan with a little beer or beef broth and add to slow cooker
  • Add all spices, all liquids, kidney beans and tomatoes to the slow
    cooker and stir well.
  • If there is not enough liquid, add more beef broth, then slow cook 8-10 hours.

Modifications and notes:

The original recipe called for six slices of bacon, and you certainly can add these, but I found that they do not really add anything to the taste.

The original recipe also called for stew beef rather than ground, and you can certainly revert to that for an even more stew-like result. Just use the same amount.

Less jalepenos make this less spicy, though I find it doesn’t tend to be tongue-searingly hot. If worried, try it with less and see what you think.

Yes, I know, coffee in the chilli sounds strange. You can’t taste coffee when you eat it, but it absolutely does something to the taste. I don’t suggest leaving this out.

Beer doesn’t have to be alcoholic to work. My best results were with dark ale.

I once tried a version of this made by someone I had shared it with who used venison sausage instead of regular and I declare it to be awesome.

Do not try this with a small slow cooker. If that’s all you have, cut the recipe in two. I don’t have a yield for this, but consider it “a lot”.

I believe you could also cook this in the oven for two to three hours, but I haven’t tried it.

Final thoughts:

I love this recipe. Anyone I’ve made it for loves this recipe. For you chilli purists out there… look, just think of it as chilli stew if it makes you feel better.

Be warned, the smell of this thing cooking may drive you mildly insane with its goodness.

If you try it, please let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

As always, be kind. Feeding this to other people is absolutely kind.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Like What You Like

There’s an expression that I’ve heard a few times that I really like. “Don’t yuck someone’s yum.” Essentially, it means that just because you don’t like a thing that someone else loves, you shouldn’t mock or deride it.

While I would add the caveat “so long as it isn’t hurting anyone”, I wholeheartedly agree. It’s cool to have no interest in what someone else is into, but how about we all just go ahead and let them like it?

For instance, some people think it’s funny to mock those who like pumpkin spice everything at this time of year. It’s apparently so very basic or something. But I love pumpkin spice everything. Well. Almost, anyway. Maybe it is basic. It’s also delicious.

Then there’s a certain series of vampire books for young adults. I, personally, don’t care for this series. I’m also not the target audience as a woman in my mid-40’s, or one who was in her late 30’s when it came out. I may not agree with those who adore them, but I shouldn’t mock them for their taste in literature, just because their taste and mine don’t match.

Now, more than ever, there is a need to find things we love. We all can benefit from a bit of enjoyment. So perhaps it’s also a good idea not to destroy even the tiniest bit of enjoyment of those around us when they find something they like. Instead of laughing about it, why don’t we instead try enjoying their enjoyment?

Just be kind, as I keep on saying, to those around you. And to ourselves… don’t mock what you like, either. I did that just last week. I shouldn’t, and neither should you.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Not Your Angel

This post has the potential to offend some people, so let me start with this: I am not calling out any one individual here. I have seen many, many good people say something along the lines of what I’m about to talk about, and I can tell you for a fact that I, too, have been similarly thoughtless in some way. I am only talking about things like this because the best way to push back against ignorance is to shine a light on it.

That out of the way, let me say this: I, as a disabled person, am not your very own, personal angel whose purpose in life is to teach you a lesson about hope, perseverance, kindness or any other virtue. Neither is anyone else with any kind of physical, mental or cognition based disability.

We were not put on this earth to teach the fully abled folks anything. I realize that you mean well when you try to say this sort of thing, but do you know how it sounds to us? It sounds like our only true value is how it makes people without our challenges feel.

It’s already hard enough for us. We already have to face obstacles that most people don’t even consider. Everything is already more difficult for us to do. Do people really need to come along and make us feel like we’re just vessels to further enrich the lives of those who don’t have the same sort of struggles?

The part about this sentiment that gets me the most irate, however, is that for some who post it, it’s virtue signalling. Not everyone, no, I know some of the people who have said this sort of thing and know that that never even crossed their minds, but for some? It is absolutely a case of “look at how kind I am to say these nice things about that special needs child or that veteran in a wheelchair or that deaf person”. Stop using me, and others like me, to make yourself look good.

I have value on my own. We all do. You do, too. No one needs to try to broadcast their own value by making mine be as a tool for their glorification.

Now, again, let me just say that I am not trying to point a finger at any one person, and if this post has made you uncomfortable I am sorry. Sort of. It’s good that it did, but the best course of action is to take that discomfort and use it to change. You don’t need to wallow in guilt, you don’t need to apologize to me, I only ask that you please try to change. Making people feel guilty about past actions is not why I write about these things, I’m not out to shame people for past deeds. I want to educate. So all I ask is that you think about what I’m saying and try to change if it has hit a nerve.

And that you be kind to everyone, yourself included, regardless of their abilities, ethnicity, sexual preference or gender presentation. Just be kind without qualifiers.

Let’s Talk About You

The process of blog writing kind of means I talk about myself a lot. Pretty much all the time, really, barring a few posts where I’m talking about something like how to massage the face. Even if it’s just my opinion on something, it’s kind of written into how blogging works.

But this week, I want to talk about you. By you, I mean you, the one currently reading this. Whether you read this the day I post it or a few years down the road (in which case… hi, there, how’s the future?)

First of all, I want you to know that you are appreciated. This is a solid, incontrovertible fact. While I can say that I’m certain others appreciate you, I can absolutely tell you that I do. I appreciate every second that you spend reading my work. I appreciate every time you’ve ever clicked the “Like” button, whether you did that on the actual blog or on the Facebook post. I appreciate any time you’ve taken to comment on a post. All of that stuff genuinely helps me, and I appreciate it. Even if this is the first time you’ve read one of my blogs, thank you.

Secondly, you are important. You matter. Right now, our world is more than a bit crazy, and it can be all too easy to feel insignificant. You are not. You matter, the things you do matter, and you can make a difference. Even if it’s just improving one person’s day, you have the power to do that. That’s a pretty awesome power, use it responsibly, as this one goes both ways.

You are loved. Someone out there loves you. You probably know who most of the people who love and appreciate you are, but I’m willing to bet that there’s at least one person out there who thinks the world of you and you don’t know it. If you find yourself wishing that they would tell you, then maybe consider doing that yourself for someone you hold in high regard that you’ve never told. They may not know, they may also wish someone would just tell them that.

You have your own unique talent. If you’re lucky, you know what you’re good at already. Some of you may not. That’s why it’s good to try new things. But I believe that everyone has the potential to be quite amazing at something. I can’t promise that you’ll discover that you’re a violen virtuoso, but maybe you make the most amazing blueberry muffins. Maybe you have the knack of growing perfect carrots every time.

Finally, you are worthy of all of this. You deserve to be appreciated, you deserve to be loved, you deserve to not only be good at something but to have that talent recognized and celebrated. You may not always feel that worthy of these things, but you absolutely are.

As always, be kind to yourself and be kind to those around you. You deserve it and so do they.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Things That Won’t Surprise Me In 2020

It’s been a crazy year so far. I mean, yes, the pandemic, but all the other things, too. Murder hornets. The government releasing and confirming UFO sighting videos (note: i mean the acronym literally, I’m not trying to tell you that aliens came a-calling, just that there were flying objects that could not be identified). Dust storms from the Sahara hitting the US. As I write this, there is not one but two potential hurricanes brewing in the Gulf of Mexico.

I think I’ve reached a point where my suspension of disbelief is at an all time high. So here’s a few things that, if they come across my news feed, might not make me do much more than shrug and continue on with my day.

Big Foot comes down out of the hills and wanders into Los Angeles. Just make sure the guy has a super sized mask and keeps six bigfeet away from everyone else, okay?

Psychotic Beavers on the rampage. Well. We already have murder hornets, what’s one more creature with a scary name? Watch out for the big teeth.

Atlantis rises from the sea. Someone should probably tell them to go back down for a few more years, though, until they don’t have to worry about quarantine.

First contact with aliens. Just because I told you that I wasn’t claiming this had already happened doesn’t mean that I’d be surprised if it did. Well. I might question their poor timing, but other than that, not so much.

Snowstorms in September. Actually. This one isn’t so far out there when you live in Nova Scotia. I’ve never seen it, but I think I’ve seen snow in June once. Either that, or I’m remembering a dream. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised, we’ve had some bizarre weather this year.

Tropical Christmas in Canada. Oh, wait, never mind, that one happened just a few years ago. AC and open windows and everything.

Lizard People take over world governments. I’m not naming names, but I can think of a few places where that sounds like an improvement.

My phone develops independant artificial intelligence. So long as it doesn’t try to tell me about 5G, scamdemics or other conspiracy theories, I’m okay with this.

Obviously, I’m kidding. Sort of. Mostly. Still, I have absolutely reached a point where news that might normally have struck me as being really noteworthy is just another thing on the pile. And I don’t even read the news religiously. What strange happenings would you fail to blink at? Let me know in the comments.

(Note: my mother told me to write this one after I made a wisecrack comment along the lines of the Bigfoot one. I was also instructed to inform you all that she told me to do it. This week is her birthday, so she’s getting what she wants.)

Be kind to yourselves, and be kind to those you encounter, even if they’re aliens, lizard people, psychotic beavers, Atlantians or a very confused sasquatch. And especially if they are your suddenly intelligent phone.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Inclusivity

I’ve written a lot about the importance of recognizing things like racism, ableism and the like. And it’s true. All the ism’s, all the phobias should be recognized and worked on eliminating.

So I would like to shine a spotlight on a television series that, in my opinion, is absolutely doing it right and having a great time doing so.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is a series that ran on NBC, starting in January of 2020, with twelve episodes. The premise is, essentially, that the protagonist Zoey suddenly develops the ability to know people’s mental state/what’s on their minds, but only via an elaborate musical number (including dancers and backup singers) that only she can hear.

It’s hilarious. It’s often touching. And it’s also one of the most inclusive things I’ve seen in awhile.

For a one season, twelve episode show, it has managed to include a wide diversity of race, mixed race relationships, homosexual relationships, transgendered people, both women and men in positions of power, disability, mental illness, and terminally ill characters. Moreover, most of what I listed above fall into the realm of regularly occurring characters.

Let’s address the disabled character. She is one of the only ones on the list that was not a regular character, but even so I think they handled her story well. The character in question was a deaf young woman who was the daughter of one of the supporting cast. Her story showed her attending a prestigious school, kicking serious scholastic backside, and the plot revolved around her trying to convince her father that she was a fully capable individual completely able to follow her dream, which is an issue that many of us with disabilities do, in fact, face. I have, from more than one person who loved me and meant well.

The character was portrayed by Sandra Mae Frank, a deaf actress, and they did give her a song, one which she performed in sign (as did the backup performers), which I loved despite not being able to fully appreciate it. Now, I may not be able to fully understand what life is like for those with severe hearing impairments, but I do know what it’s like to be blind, and I absolutely identified with the character. I didn’t feel as if I was being pandered to, I didn’t feel like we were supposed to pity her, and they showed her intelligence and strength.

I feel like they did the same for all aspects of diversity that they included in the show, though as a white woman, I can only surmise on that score. Even more respect is given for appropriate casting. Alex Newell, who plays Mo, Zoey’s gender fluid next door neighbour and emotional sounding board, is themself genderfluid, in addition to Sandra Mae Frank actually being deaf.

The show is a fun romp that handled inclusivity and diversity as if it was no big thing. As if it were just normal. It should be normal.

Honestly, I love this show and can’t recommend it highly enough. Unless you hate musicals. You won’t like this if you don’t like people breaking into song suddenly. The only jarring aspect is that they do state outright in dialogue that it’s 2020, and what with the writers not actually being psychic there’s no pandemic, but that’s small.

Keep on being kind to yourself and to those you encounter.

Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.

Dear Me

Dear Me,

Hello from a year in your future. For you, it’s July 22, 2019. For me? It’s July 22, 2020.

I know you’re feeling a bit under the weather right now. All that stuff with your thyroid. Then that radiation treatment you just got. And right now, you’re feeling a bit sorry for yourself because you’re stuck in a two week long quarantine until you stop being radioactive. Actually, you’re feeling a lot sorry for yourself, stuck inside for two whole weeks. No work, no socialization, no going out.

Oh, you sweet summer child.

Okay, so, let’s start with the good news. The radiation is going to work. I mean. More or less. You’re not really done with this, you’re going to lose some hair, but in a few months they’ll get you onto the right medication, and it will be better. So that’s good, right? Oh. And don’t freak out too badly about the hair, it’s just a bit of thinning, it’ll grow back. A year from now, you’ll see that it’s not important or particularly worth fussing over.

Oh, and your writing career is going to go somewhere unexpected, but I won’t spoil the surprise for you. Just be prepared to go for any opportunity that pops up.

Aside from that, you’ll find the rest of 2019 kind of uneventful. Girl, you enjoy that uneventfulness. Just… just trust me, okay?

2020 sounds like such a great year, doesn’t it? You like to play D&D, and hey, that’s two critical rolls. You’ll even make that comment on New Year’s day. Well. I did. Maybe… don’t. Or don’t make too big a deal out of it, okay?

While I’m giving some advice, can I suggest stocking up on some toilet paper in, oh, mid-February? And hand sanitizer. Oh, and lysol wipes. You might also want to try to sock away a bit of extra money, if you can. But not in cash.

And maybe don’t make any big plans for the year. Especially travel related ones. But you could look into streaming apps that you haven’t tried yet. Only don’t sign up just yet if there’s any sort of free trial. Just, you know, be aware of it. Except Disney Plus, I know you won’t be able to wait on that one. Yes, it’s as awesome as you think it’s going to be.

Try to brace for change. But also kind of brace for monotony. Look. Just trust me on this stuff, okay?

Oh, I forgot something in the good news front. You actually find a new D&D gaming group. On Zoom! Oh, wait, you’ve never heard of Zoom, have you? Trust me, you’ll learn. Hey. You don’t have any spare funds for buying Zoom stock do you? Shame. I joke, I have no idea if they even have stocks. Also, you’re going to join a choir for the first time in over twenty years! So that’s fun, right? I mean. It’s also on Zoom, but it’s fun.

Listen, me, it’s kind of going to be a bit of a rough ride. You’re going to get used to some crazy stuff happening. A lot of it’s bad. Some of it is really bad. Things you never thought you’d live to see. Generation defining stuff. Some of it is super sad. Some of it is going to lead to some changes that the world needed to make, though.

So I guess you can ignore all the earlier advice and just go with this: be kind to people. Be kind to yourself. Kindness has never been more important than it is now. You might want to start reminding other people of that, too.

Hang in there. You’re going to make it through.


Want to follow or interact with me on social media? Find me on Twitter by following @jennifermorash or head over to https://www.facebook.com/jennifermorashblog. I post blogs every Wednesday.