Score 76 points in Scrabble with “Ophthalmologist” — The Canadian Ophthalmological Society: See the Possibilities

If I asked most of you what an ophthalmologist does, I’d likely see a lot of blank stares. (Some ocular humour for you there!) But you wouldn’t be alone. Despite a family history of glaucoma, it honestly wasn’t clear to me, either. I mean, I know what my optometrist does—I stop in every couple of years, make sure my eyesight’s still good, and fill a prescription for my latest pair of specs.

But my eyes aren’t all that bad—at -2.00 each, I can live most of my day without wearing my glasses, preferring to have them on for fashion over function. But what about those who aren’t so lucky? Consider the cornea, the transparent dome that covers the front of the eye. With the most densely integrated set of nerves in the body, the cornea requires an immense degree of precision and symmetry to fix it if it ever ends up diseased, and that’s where ophthalmologists come in!

As the only eye care professionals who are also medical doctors, ophthalmologists help navigate Canadians through numerous eye diseases that they’re woefully unaware of. I recently had the chance to scrub in and shadow Dr. Clara Chan, an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Toronto, a specialist in cornea and cataract surgery, and a member of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society who opened my eyes to what ophthalmologists get up to at Toronto’s Kensington Eye Institute!

When I told some of my peers I’d be sitting in on some cross-linking and cornea transplant surgery; it left them with mixed feelings!

I’m not a gambling man, but I’d wager scalpels and sutures are some of the last things that come to mind when you think of bloggers, yet there I was, watching as tissue donation helped restore sight and cross-linking helped maintain it. Sure, it was an experience that might not be for the squeamish, but I have so much more appreciation for why we need ophthalmologists now! Imagine having to sew stitches with sutures one-tenth the width of human hair. Or needing to slice just enough of the cornea off to improve vision and not inflict permanent damage by preserving the remaining half-millimetre of tissue. These are things ophthalmologists need to do every day, and I’m glad that we have such skilled and adept professionals at the helm for this work!

DO ALL THE THINGS: Monthly Wrap-Up — Marchin’ to the Beat of My Own Drum / April Showers

Jeez — has it already been two months since I did a “monthly” wrap-up post? Makes sense: time’s something that means a lot less once you become a parent — everything’s just one big blur.

I’ve struggled with this post for a while now. I’ll look at my life, wondering why anyone would want to read about the things I do — people think I live some glamorous “blogger life”, but I spend most of it at home or work, throwing in time for food, sleep, hygiene and commuting. After blogging for so long, sure I’ve started working with brands to introduce themselves to new audiences, but don’t get it twisted — there’s no one rolling out the red carpet when I sit down at home to get my blog on.

Sarah recently pointed out that I hadn’t taken a break since the two weeks I took off right after our son was born, and six months later — while I deny being burnt out — I definitely feel it. I can feel my annoyance with people I’d usually just ignore. I feel my mind scrambling to finish everything now, nowNOW as I do well with the beginnings and endings of journeys, but I loathe being stuck in the middle. I feel like everything’s in transition, and I can’t wait to make it to the other side with a better idea of the work I’m called to do.

Though it’s a smidge late for my monthly wrap-up, I’ve kept busy both on- and offline, making the most of my life despite an unappreciative work culture and the challenges of parenthood. I entered Tobago’s Division of Tourism and Transportation’s 60 Days in Paradise contest, hoping for some time in the sun and a change of  pace from Toronto’s constant grind. I taught photography fundamentals to up-and-coming women in the fashion and beauty industries, taking a first step toward teaching and public speaking, two things I’ve wanted to grow in for a long time now. I’ve made sandwiches, reclaimed some of my ancient past from my parents’ place and dedicated my son in his first step of being part of our church and the community that comes with it.

Because Easter cards are delicious.

All things considered, I’ve started Spring off in a good place, huddled indoors avoiding The Winter that Would Not End, and if you’re anything like my fellow Torontonians and I, you know that winter sorely overstayed its welcome! But here on the other end of Gore-Tex boots and thermal underwear, my teeth stopped chattering and fingers thawed long enough to tell you what mischief I did get into those 61 days….

Hanging with Team Trolling

Oftentimes, I can’t believe it’s only been 2 years since I started hanging out with these guys. If there’s a constant in my life outside of my home, taxes and a workload that just won’t quit, it’s the Trolls. Chatting daily on numerous platforms, we’re always up to something.

In March and April, the shenanigans happened at three places….

Cel’s Birthday at Pauper’s Pub

Unlike #SavvyMoney or #DoomzDay, we never came up with a good hashtag for Marcel’s birthday. That should be his gift next year!

The birthday boy, stylin’ and profilin’ as per usual!

Notable Events:

  • Marcel’s girlfriend and her roommate convinced me to give Sons of Anarchy another chance after its first 5 seasons left me feeling lukewarm. Glad I did, because Season 6 is ah-may-zing!!!
  • Obtained yet another illicit roti delivery courtesy of Justin and Marie — part of Team Trolling’s Western Division — and all I had to do in exchange was pick some cables up from Infinite Cables. I’d make that trade any day.
  • Val didn’t wind up with credit card fraud on this visit to Pauper’s, which is always a bonus!

The Trolls Hit Pizzeria Libretto, aka Casey’s Favourite Pizza Joint in All of Toronto

If you came here for a food review, might I direct you to Justin’s blog on the matter — I was there to take photos and enjoy the company. But no word of a lie — I haven’t found a pizza in this city yet that can trump Libretto’s Nduja Sausage pizza, and trust me — I eat a lot of pizza!

We managed to use our social media swagger to secure their semi-private room in the basement (sorry, table we bumped — feel free to holla at us if you want to tell us how you really feel), and with our special guest JennJenn of AwesomeJennJenn notoriety fame, it made for an excellent night.

Notable Events:

  • By far the oddest server ever, who not only served us with style, but may have eaten the last piece of Marie’s delicious lemon meringue pie (thus coining what will only be called the “Catchphrase of the Year”), and convinced me to have another beer in the most unexpected way possible when I thought I was already covered!
  • Somehow getting JennJenn’s leftover proscuitto pizza switched with Lily’s… questionable white anchovy pizza. Sadly, neither pizza was eaten, with Lily throwing JennJenn’s out and Sarah throwing Lily’s out after it sat for days. It was probably for the best.

All Star Wings and Ribs

Finally, we made our way to the northern Mississaugan reaches to catch Game 5 of the Raptors’ ill-fated first round playoff series. It’s hard to take photos of the food when your fingers are slathered in wing sauce, but I can tell you that the food, friends, “F Brooklyn” tee that Jo had thoughtfully provided, and a heart-stopping basketball game made for a very fulfilling night.

If only the traffic out of Toronto hadn’t been so horrible.

Notable Events:

  • Most notable, other than keeping our server very amused with our antics, was the game and going H.A.M. as the Raptors blew our minds… and then disappointed… and then got lucky. JEEZ, Raps.
  • Oh, and schooners. Way too much beer in my life, people.

#FordMustang50

Held in King West Village’s 99 Sudbury, Ford threw a bash to celebrate 50 years of the Ford Mustang, a muscle car journeying through cinematic time from 1964’s Goldfinger from the James Bond film series all the way to 2014’s Need for Speed (starring the likes of Aaron Paul and Scott Mescudi).

For me, #FordMustang50 was an excellent case study in what happens when you make yourself scarce, suddenly reappearing after a bit of a hiatus.

Okay, not exactly true — I popped in at ReGiftTO, I managed to hit the Canadian International Auto Show, but it’s all different now. Any time I go out, it’s like I’m trying to make up for all this social time I missed in one big bang. I still need to learn a lesson about taking things in stride, but I’m not there yet.

Since 2013’s Blue Party, Ford’s helped me grow my appreciation for vehicles — but for me, the night wound up being less about the cars and more about reconnecting with the friends I’d seldom seen since my son made his début, and meeting new people who had all sorts of stories to share! I talked frugality and storytelling with an elementary school teacher; discussed the relatively new trend of urbanites who see no value in having a driver’s license; and even did okay in the trivia they held to award prizes (despite knowing almost none of the answers!) For a better look at the night’s events, I recommend hitting Christine’s blog on the matter 🙂


The 2014 100: Updates

Life isn’t simply some template for you to slot your experiences into — life evolves along with your relationships, environment and personality. With that in mind, maybe it’s foolish to compile a 100-item list of things to accomplish when a year’s barely begun — it’s good to have goals, but over a year, our interests and opinions can change. Much like I said last year, while the list won’t change by the year’s end, the person behind it definitely will.

All things considered, I did knock a few more items off of the list in the last bit….

6 – Open an RESP for DoomzToo


The maximum annual RESP contribution that the federal government will top-up is $2,500, which may seem like a lot, but between gifts, tax refunds and Universal Child Care Benefits, you can make it work. I won’t go over the rules and regulations behind them, but when you get a kid, it’s smart to get on this as soon as possible to take advantage of the magic of compound interest.

So with Sarah’s help, we got an RESP open, and in another couple of decades, hopefully we’ll see a return from the investment 😉

STATUS: Finito!

26 – Guest blog more often

Sometimes my ambition extends beyond my ability, and that conundrum presented itself repeatedly throughout March and April!

In 2014 alone, I’ve picked up gigs writing for:

As a general rule, if you’re already struggling with content for your site, perhaps you shouldn’t be writing for others.

But despite that two-month slump, I’m coming back swinging for the rest of the year, ready to tell the world exactly what’s on my mind.

Get ready.

47 – Finish the family tree to the best of my ability

Thousands of entries and hours of research later, the family tree’s as far as it’ll get without going to Jamaica for more information. I remember struggling with making one when I was young, as much of my family history wasn’t documented or too muddled by generations of assumption and oral history. Perhaps it’s that feeling of frustration that drives me, never wanting my son to experience the same and giving him everything he needs to know about where he came from.

I’d love to eventually take this a step further and dig up some church records from all over the Caribbean, but until free time and a whole heap of money intersect paths in my life, I think I’ll consider this one done.

STATUS: Finito!

74 – See a doctor about the mysterious pain in my side

The mysterious pain in my side’s been solved — turns out when you’re unaccustomed to bending over to grab your kid from his crib, your body can react in unexpected ways.

When I pick things up, I bend with my knees — I’m better off with a bum knee than a bad back, after all! That, though, is not an option when grabbing a baby from a crib, as I’d often do with our son in the earlier days before sleep training.

The more I got him, the less it bothered me, until the pain had gone. Also, carrying a 20-pound baby around makes you stronger, like it or not. Yeah, I think my physical can wait ’til 2015.

STATUS: Finito!


So I did it — I finally did it. I wrote this post without putting too many people to sleep! It’s over a week into May, and things aren’t getting any quieter. The summer’s the busiest season for all the social activities in Toronto, and even with a baby, I have a feeling that this one’s will be a year to remember!

Catch you on the flip side,

–case p.