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!

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

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!

The 2017 100 — It’s Not WHAT You Do, It’s How You DO It.

Unless my life sees some major changes this year, 2017 may mark the last list of 100!

It’s January 13th—I’ve spent nearly two weeks of my new year agonising over 100 items that matter enough to hit a list of goals and aspirations for the year ahead. And that’s a key difference from the lists that came before it.

Before it was a task list—I’d look around at everything that needed doing and jot it down, because my life would obviously be better with them out of the way.

But task lists aren’t inspiring. They’re not motivational. As a creative, that’s like dropping a pile of 100 things I dread on my lap and nagging myself to get ’em done by the year’s end.

Once I realised what I was doing to myself, so much so that I just went through my least successful year yet for my list, I knew I needed to make a change for 2017.

The 2017 100 — It's Not WHAT You Do, It's How You DO It. — New Year, New Perspective

I’m particularly proud of the list I’ve put together for The 2017 100. I didn’t take any shortcuts—I wrote out 100 things that’d help me live the life I’d like to lead and prove instrumental along the path there. Rather than hurriedly scrawl out a list I’d likely ignore ’til December, I wrote one that I’d happily check off, knowing that each accomplishment would take me a step closer to a far better 2018. I feel like I’m finally getting it right this time, and I hope that shines through as you give it a look for yourself!

But that’s enough of my chatter—I’ve already made you wait long enough. Here for your consideration is The 2017 100—because it’s not what you do… it’s how you do it!

The 2016 100 — or — How to Build a Better Casey

I can’t even lie, guys — coming up with a list of 100 goals for the fourth year in a row was hard — ridiculously so. I’m a very different me than I was when The 2013 100 came out, back when free time was still an abundant commodity I didn’t even know I was taking for granted, trying to fill it with countless things that’d keep life interesting.

A problem I most definitely don’t have in 2016!

As I work at surviving the upcoming year — especially with our second child’s imminent arrival — I needed to make the list a lot more realistic; I’m all too skilled at chasing ambitions that exceed my lifestyle’s capacity, and I’ll need to keep wary of that in 2016 if I want to see myself make it out the other side!

So without further ado, The 2016 100. It took a couple of days to polish off after recovering from the gauntlet that was 2015, but I feel like it’s a list that will really make waves in this life o’ mine should I see it finished!

But hey — that’s what I say every year ????

Thanks for reading!


1) Write an amazing series for Black History Month
2) Win a vacation for my dry cleaner
3) Watch Creed; Mad Max: Fury Road; The Martian; Ant-Man
4) Take Eric to a sporting event so he can stop complaining about getting left from sporting events
5) Phase my old 3.5″ hard drive out
6) Get rid of my old electronics
7) Stop biting my nails
8) Get rid of the wedding thank you cards I never sent
9) Clean out the basement crawl space
10) Build shelves into the crawl space
11) Give my FWD Powershot 2 to my old manager the hockey coach
12) Do the CN Tower Edgewalk
13) Sort out my old TD employee RSP
14) Consolidate everything down to a single notepad

Though a chiropractor I started seeing late into 2015 told me I’d developed some mild sciatica in my back, I didn’t need him to tell me I carry too much STUFF. In a digital age where we can pack mountains of information into a single device, there’s really NO NEED for me to carry all the draft posts and note that I do — save the fact that working from hard copy’s the way my brain’s WIRED.

In 2016, I need a little more focus to keep all my ideas stored in one place so I’m not constantly carrying EVERYTHING in my house made of paper, knowing that I probably scribbled SOMETHING on ALL of ’em.

15) Sort out the Internet situation at home so I can stop relying on tethering to LTE data
16) Learn enough Spanish to understand my sister-in-law’s Mexican wedding in May
17) Find time for date nights, which will involve finding someone who wants to babysit two kids… how about we just find more awesome things to do at home, just in case?
18) Try Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake
19) Get to 0 drafts on CaseyPalmer.com by converting everything into live posts
20) Install the growth chart for my kids that we got at my office baby shower
21) Update all the old content on CaseyPalmer.com
22) Upgrade the site infrastructure to better support contest traffic
23) Redesign the heck out of the blog (Twenty Sixteen, what up)
24) Find the time to pack more lunches for work
25) Clean up and optimize my Pinterest account (I still have that copy of Pinterest Savvy lying around somewhere)
26) Shave more regularly
27) Hand out my remaining business “cep” cards so I can put in a new order (wait — do we still do business cards?)
28) Clear out the bookshelves to prepare for Baby #2
29) Replace the lost key to our 2011 Ford Edge
30) Figure out what I ACTUALLY need to run my site and invest in THAT.
31) Replace our bathroom sink
32) Meet with the people who I never seemed to schedule in through 2015 (Aaron, Emma, Ria, Adrienne, Dianna)
33) Get a Brookhaven Computer Cabinet

The 1% of the Casa de Palmer workspace I use to do all the things isn’t the best — in fact, it’s falling apart. As I get older and start formalizing my #BloggerLife, Sarah and I agree that my workspace should evolve to show that. It’ll take some saving to make it happen, but it’d be a nice addition to the home.

SPONSORED POST: In It to Schwinn It — How the Biking Behemoth Got Me Back on Two Wheels!

It was the summer of 2000, and I’d enrolled in a Grade 12 Physics class at a nearby summer school to make up for the poor grade I’d gotten in the school year that’d just come crashing down around me. I was turning over a new leaf, but swapping my convenient downtown lifestyle for a more suburban routine — and without a set of wheels to call my own, I took to biking the 20 minutes to school to keep things simple.

I figured I could get used to this — I’d finish my last year of school in The Credit Woodlands, a school where many of my Grade 6 classmates wound up and had the program I was looking for. As I spent my summer days there under the tutelage of Mr. Burnham, I made my peace with its windowless interior and started filling my transfer form to make it all final.

That is, until I walked out from class one day and saw nary but a cut lock where my bike should’ve been.

GIVEAWAY POST: Learning Healthy Life Lessons with Subway Canada x Carl’s Crew!

I respect my friends who’re all about their workout regimens, dietary plans and paradigm shifts on how they can lead lives that benefit their minds, bodies and souls. It’s almost like a religion for some, their daily exercise like a sanctuary where they’re one with themselves, shedding the woes and frustrations from the rest of their lives away with the sweat equity of their workout routines.

Even well before the #BloggerLife and fatherhood, the only exercise I’d ever get was through competitive sports. Sarah tried to get me jogging, but I’ve never been one for going anywhere without a destination in mind. A number of friends have asked me to try their gyms, but I’ve never seen the appeal of paying money to run in place or lift lots of heavy things ad nauseam when there’re so many other things I could do with my time.

No, my friends, I suck at fitness, and it’s slowly taking its toll on this body that ain’t as young as it used to be.

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.

Palmer Family Photo

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.

Casey's Life as a Dad — March and April 2014 — Om Nom Nom
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!

Marcel's 28th Birthday — Pauper's Pub — Marcel
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.

Team Trolling Does Pizzeria Libretto — Team Trolling Group Shot

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.

Team Trolling at All Star Wings and Ribs — Featuring Craig Silva

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

Ford Motor Company of Canada — #FordMustang50 — 2015 Ford Mustang — Yellow

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.

DO ALL THE THINGS: The 2013 100 Wrap-Up 61-70: Education, Exercise and some Effervescence for Ingenuity

Never expect to get anything done if you’re not giving yourself the time you need to do it.

That’s the theme I’m seeing in my wrap-up of The 2013 100.

Though my list was ambitious anyway, there are things I could’ve done a little less to make way for some things on this list.

Some of my less admirable accomplishments in 2013 include:

  • making it to level 465 in The Candy Crush Saga
  • followed by making it to level 145 in Jelly Splash
  • watching all of The Office, Friday Night Lights and the first five seasons of Mad Men on Netflix
  • easily playing 200+ games of Words With Friends
  • reading The Hunger Games Trilogy
  • surviving the Batman trilogy upon the release of The Dark Knight Returns in a room of the smelliest, sleepiest fans you could ever imagine

…maybe DoomzToo distracting me from my usual habits isn’t such a bad thing.

On to the list!

DO ALL THE THINGS: The 2013 100 Wrap-Up 51-60: Tradition, Tailoring and Tilling My Land

What’s struck me so far as I write these year-end wrap-ups is that I’m dealing with the list of a maniac. At 100 items, that’s 3.65 days to get each item done, or 8,760 hours.

But if I sleep 6 hours a night, that’s suddenly 6,570 hours.

And with a 40-hour work week (not including my 3 weeks of vacation), that brings us down to 4,610.

Put in a couple of hours per day to eat, shower and other essentials and you’re suddenly down to 3,880 hours, or a mere 161\frac{2}{3} days worth of time (or perhaps, a mere 8 hours per weekday, with the hope that the weekends don’t find themselves suddenly overloaded) to do 100 things. And that’s, of course, on top of going out with friends, being a good family man, and perhaps finding time to do things that were never on the list in the first place.

Unless you’ve somehow bought yourself the luxury of unlimited time, a list of 100 goals is best achieved when attainable. You can’t be everywhere at once or do everything at once — sometimes we need humility and a reminder that there’s simply only one of us!

It’s what we do with that one that makes all the difference.

So let’s chalk this up to a learning experience. Let’s figure out what really matters, what’d be nice to do, and what’d be inane to expect with a wife and kid at home, needing me to play my role as a father.

Once more unto the breach!

The 2K11 24/7 CCCXVII: Taking Care of Self

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Logically, we all know that we need to take care of ourselves to get the most out of life. if we’re sick, we won’t have the strength to do the things we normally do; if we’re exhausted, we won’t be able to learn anything new. We’ll only get worse unless we make the decision to make ourselves better.

But you can’t just talk the talk — having a desire to improve yourself without putting the effort out to make some real change in your life is as bad as not caring.
Let me tell you a little tale about how I knew it was time for me to change my act.

The 2K11 24/7 CCCVII: A Slave to Addiction

“Why everything that’s supposed to be bad make me feel so good?
Everything they told me not to is exactly what I would
Man I tried to stop man I tried the best I could
But (You make me smile)”
–Kanye West, “Addiction”
I’d say I have a bit of an obsessive personality at times — it operates in short spurts; I latch on to something for a little bit, thinking that it’s the best thing ever, but my short attention span will have me move on to the next thing as soon as I get bored of it. It’s probably part of the reason why I have bits and pieces of so many different kinds of projects scattered all over my office. I get so addicted to one thing at a time that I neglect all the other things that I could — or should — be looking after!
If there’s one thing that can vastly change who you are, how you act and think, and the things that drive you day in and day out, it’s an addiction. We throw the word “addiction” around so casually nowadays that it leaves one wondering if anyone knows what it really means. To quote from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an addict is someone who will”devote or surrender to something habitually or obsessively”.If we break that down further to observe the definitions for obsessions and habits…

ob·ses·sion

noun äb-ˈse-shən, əb- 
Definition of OBSESSION
1: a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; broadly : compelling motivation <an obsession with profits>

1hab·it

noun ˈha-bət  
Definition of HABIT
7a : a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance 
  7b : an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary <got up early from force of habit> 
  7c : addiction <a drug habit>

So in looking at these, what can we learn about an addiction?

  • One is ruled by an addiction
  • One does not act when they are addicted, instead they carry out actions as governed by their addiction

How do you battle an addiction When you simply can’t help yourself — when your actions feel less and less like they’re your own and more like an unseen force is guiding you to do things — even though you might get less and less enjoyment from them as time passes — what can you do to regain control of your life?