Costa Rica 2023, Rio Celeste


Rainforest number two, volcano Tenorio and Rio Celeste, the blue waterfall. We had a great breakfast with Orlando and Flori and more conversation with Miguel at the table this time. the bagutees here are crispy and light on the outside and pillowy in the center. Crack open a chunk and slather it with lactocrema, which tastes like butter only far creamier. We also had some pate for the baguette and these cute little pastries that are little o‘s the size of a loonie. Dip in coffe and YUM.

I showed my mosquito bites, yes I got another one last night, and the parents thought it was common but I should see a pharmacist.

Time to say goodbye and we won’t be back to Tilaran on this trip. Orlando looked like he didn’t want us to go but adventure calls. We hit the pharmacy, got some cortisone cream and antihistamine and BUG REPELLENT.

The drive was about two hours. We stopped by a river where Mickey used to fish with his father. It was a nice moment he shared. We found wild sensitive plant and played with it which is where I got bit by an ant. Fuck that hurt. At least I didn’t have an allergic reaction like I did the mosquito bites.

I saw something that took my breath away and made Mickey turn around so I could take a picture. It started to rain but I didn’t care. It was this amazing palm tree. I mean, I was beyond thrilled when I saw my very first palm tree five minutes from the airport but this, this was on a whole nutha level! It was shaped like a fan and was so freeking tall. It was a tower of fronds!

It rained all the way to the Rio Celeste. If you ever go, be sure to bring a good raincoat. If you don’t you will have to pay 4 colones for a dollar store raincoat that does jackshit for you in a rainforest.

The hike was mostly uphill with a few new species of flora to oogle and google. But the pathway down to the massive and beautiful blue waterfalls was a vertical staircase. I heard both knees yelling at me , “ you gotta be shittin me, right?” I told them that we would go slow and easy and everything would be fine. Problem is, going down was ok, coming up, laboured. You have to remember, the elevation makes the oxygen lower soooo, ya it was hard.

I was resting on one of the landings along with another group who were encouraging a woman to go slow and breathe deep. I looked one of the men and said, ” I know how she feels.” He said, yes my mom is 79 years old. She is strong. I was instantly humbled and took the rest of the stairs in silence as I breathed deeply and prayed for the top.

The same group was resting at the top and we all cheered and I yelled bravo and they all laughed, clapped and echoed, bravo!

We finally made it out of the forest and wouldn’t you know it, the rain stopped. I felt my blood sugar was a little low so we stopped at the fruit stand where I had some agua de pipa, aka coconut water, from a green coconut and then ate the soft pulp. Electrolytes reinstated! I also tried some guava. Was very good. Fuzzy but refreshing.

Then it was off to La Fortuna and Arenal. But that story will have to wait. It’s past midnight and we rise with the birds around here. Not because we want but because the are so noisy! Not a complaint, just a fact. So goodnight. Enjoy the show and excuse the typos.

Costa Rica 2023, Monte Verde


Rainforest/Cloudforest number one, Monte Verde. Incredible experience. On the drive up, up, up we stopped at a teeny cafe on the edge of the mountain. Stunning view, great empanada and then the owner gave us a tour of the sugar cane processing done on the premises. I made a new friend, tiny little dog who stuck to me like glue.

Finally, the cloudforest was reached after much climbing up and down and up and up. Word of warning, the roads are not only winding, on the edge and scary, but they are also in terrible condition due to, yup, you guessed it, the rain. And the locals drive super fast, weaving in and out because they are accustomed to every twist.

At the top, we did the self guided tour as it gave us more time to explore. Still zero sloths sighted but an abundance of amazing flora and walking inside a cloud is fantastical. I used the term, “just like the movies” a few times. The suspension bridge was near the top of the canopy so we were able to look down on some of the tree tops that have not reached the height of the bridge yet. Breathtaking view looking down. I was disappointed we didn’t see any animals but we definitely heard them. The climbs felt like 90 degrees in some places going up and down. All in all, after three hours exploring we were graced with the rare sighting of, wait for it……a fucking squirrel !

Costa Rica 2023, Santa Elena Orchid Garden (Monte Verde)


Quick edits from the orchid garden in Santa Elena, which is home to the world’s smallest orchid. Most of the tiny orchids which are millimeters in size grow underneath the leaves for protection. Many fascinating facts and events were gleaned from this excursion. Some of the flowers smelled like Nivea cream, others like pina colada and then there are some, when wet, smell like blood. The giant tarantula killing wasp is attracted to the spider orchid when the flower gives off a fake female wasp pheromone. The orchid does this achieve pollination. Fascinating tour and very knowledgeable guide. She loves her orchid. We also got to meet the resident agouti which is a Costa Rican rodent that resembles a tiny capybara.

Other native flowers showed up throughout the gardens and it was fun to try and guess the face of the orchid before the guide told you. See if you can identify the tiny ghost orchid.


Cost Rica 2023


This trip was my birthday present to myself. I turn 60 years old on the first day of summer and I earned my first ever tropical vacation. I was fortunate to travel with a Native Costa Rican and even more fortunate that he is young and adventurous. I posted daily on Facebook but I wanted to memorialize this epic vacation on my personal website. Getting reconnected with another one of my creative art forms, writing, has been eye opening. I gained new fans of my stories on Facebook. Some day I’ll mature enough to leave that platform but it still serves a good purpose in keeping touch with family and friends.

Without further ado….

April 12th,

Landed in Libera, Costa Rica around noon. Sun was super hot, air was sweet smelling and completely different from any air I breathed before. I was excited to see my first palm tree, and the firsts that followed were a multitude of squeeeeeee’s and squeeks and giggles.

The view from the plane and lunch in Liberia was soup at a Soda (Mom and Pop food stand or shop) and fresh Papaya sold outside someone’s home for 2000 Colonnes which is about $5 Canadian. Look at the size of them!

It’s about a 40 minute drive from Liberia to Tilaran, where we would be staying with Mickey’s Father and Step-Mom, Orlando and Flori (I’ve probably spelled her name wrong but that’s how you pronounce it) . Tilaran is super windy and for that reason, it is one of the most important wind farms in Costa Rica. It was my first taste of the winding and steep roads of Costa Rica. Some of the sheer drops as you look out your car window can take your breath away and make you grab onto the “holy shit!” handles of the car. The trees only grow branches on the side of the tree that flows with the wind. Nothing grows on the side that bares the brunt of the wind. Perfect pictoral example of “going with the flow.”

The most gracious tour guide, host and best friend a person could ask for.

Tilaran from lookout hill. My first, but far from my last mountain hike.


My Funny Valentines


Sunflowers for the Motherland


My Gido (grandfather) came to Canada as a young man from Kyiv, Ukraine. His name was Myroslaw Nalesnyk, which he later changed to Maurice to fit in better. He met my Baba (grandmother), Nelly Chomyn, in Saskatchewan and they were married and had four children. My mother, Olga was the oldest. Then there was John, William and Orlene. They’ve all passed away but one and he has been astranged from the family for so long that I don’t even know where he is. That is the historical information about my Ukrainian roots.

There is so much more I’d like to say about my grandparents. They lived in Toronto while we grew up in northern Ontario. They would come to visit and bring a trunk full of presents for us. Mostly, I remember the dark, fresh cherries and the Toronto Kovbassa (kielbassa) that you can only find in Toronto. Any other sausage just doesn’t measure up. One time, my Gido was working in textile factory and he brought a trunk full of suede scraps for my mother. She worked for weeks to sew together full length suede coats for all five of us girls. With fur around the collar and cuffs, we felt like little queens. I wish I had a picture of them because they were just so lovely.

These are the good memories I have of my grandparents and they are the reason I have a fierce connection to my Ukrainian roots and a heart full of sadness and anger for what the Russian army is doing to the Motherland and my people.

Earlier this year I raised $500 by crocheting and selling blue and yellow hearts. I still don’t feel like I ‘ve done enough and I want to continue crocheting for Ukraini. In the previous post I mentioned the sunflowers I was working on. I made 250 of them and installed them at the Ukrainian Embassy in Ottawa, Ontario. My heart filled with joy in bringing joy and sunshine to the gates of the embassy. Staff were appreciative and thanked me and I told them it was for them and my Baba and Gido and for all of Ukraine.

A week later and all of the sunflowers (save a few in a dark back corner of the fence around the embassy) have remained where I placed them. It is highly unusual for a yarnbomb to stay intact for over a week. I want to attribute it to respect for a war torn country. I won’t make it mean anything about me because, none of this is about it. It’s about solidarity and frustration over a situation that I cannot change. BUT I can stand with the people and express my camaraderie, compassion and hope for a better tomorrow.


Hooking and Ramen


I’ve made art my entire life. I’m really not myself or grounded if I am not creating something. But my art alone has never amounted to me sustaining myself. I’ve always had to hold down a day job that has very little to do with my creativity. I love my job, I just would rather spend as much time on my art as I do on my day job. We all have our drathers.

Lately, I have seen a surge in sales from my creativity. I feel good knowing that people love what I do and are willing to pay for my time and effort. I’ve really loved the crochet Easter Parade and have sold 90% of everything I’ve created. That is a new level for me and I can’t ignore it.

I also can’t ignore that I’ve been able to find a balance in creativity. I almost always feel guilty for not painting as much as I should. And, tonight I’m working on crocheted sunflowers and also a homemade ramen with crab, chinese greens and thai basil.

I want to include all of my creativty in the kitchen, in the studio and sitting hooking in the living room. Just to be clear, hooking is endearingly referred to as the act of crocheting as well as working in the sex trade. I’m of the chrocheting genre, just to be clear. Now, the trick is to sneak in a painting or two and feel even more balanced.

So tonight’s blog, after two glasses of wine is entitled, “Hooking and Ramen”. I really went all out in the kitchen and am currently working on a Ukrainian sunflower yarnbomb. Could life get any better?

Crochet forces woman out of my coma


I am coming out of the funk that goes by the name of “Pandemic. You would think with all the extra time I had to myself that I would have painted more, crocheted more, created more, but I barely did any of that. Sure I crocheted 500 lollipops in 2020 but because of the pandemic I couldn’t pull off a yarnbomb safely for me and others. 2020 proved to be a very grief filled year for me in that I lost my Mom in May and my dog on Christmas Eve. Looking back, I can now say that I need to cut myself some slack and not worry about how productive I was. I came through it all and now….

Now that restrictions are lifted, my fingers are ferociously hooking up a storm. I’ve created an Easter parade of larger amigurumi and I’ve also raised over $500 for Ukrainian Humanitarian Emergency by crocheting blue and yellow hearts.

I always get pulled back to crochet and people seem to really love it. They’ve loved the Easter Parade so much that I can barely keep up but I will do my very best.

I am working on a Spring yarnbomb because those lollipops have to go somewhere! If I get the go ahead from the location I want, you can look for Lollipalooza sometime in May. In the meantime, enjoy the parade. And yes I do take requests but remember, I only have 4 fingers and two thumbs and I hold down a day job soooooo, it won’t be a fast amigurumi fix for anyone. I’ve said this for years but it holds so true since 2020, “patience is no longer a virtue, it is a necessity.”


Ukrainian colours for Ukrainian Aid during $10 each/shades of blue and yellow may vary according to yarn availability but they are all blue and yellow. (100% of proceeds go to Canada Ukrainian Foundation)
The making of this 3 foot beast kept me sane during the Convoy Occupation. I lived the month of February completely surrounded by angry, honking, obnoxious and delusional truckers. I was basically a prisoner in my own home and that is why this creature is amply named Occupus. SOLD


Occupus guarding the first three bunnies SOLD
Mr. McCluck SOLD
Winter Bunny $60
Sheer Joy $30

You can view additions to my Easter Parade and other collections in my Facebook Album



You have seen the posters, heard the buzz and now I’ll fill you in a little bit more. Otown Bombers will be doing a yarnbomb in downtown Ottawa on May 22nd.

The object of their affection? Yup…crocheted lollipops. These will not give you cavities or a sugar rush but they will lift your spirits after yet another lockdown. That is our hope and intention.

We will add some colour to the drabbiest downtown neighborhood. Yup, I love my hood but it has really taken a beating during the pandemic. We will be yarnbombing mostly Bank Street and sides streets off Bank.

One place in particular that doesn’t need much improvement is High Jinx but we are bombing them anyway just because we love them and they have a perfect front garden. You’ve been warned Karen and Leigh!

If you have a suggestion of a place that is just screaming for a little colourful love just reach out to Justy and we will see what we can do. Also, if the lockdown is not lifted then Lollipalooza will have to be rescheduled, again 😦

The hooker in me


I’ve tried and tried to quit hooking but something always draws me back to it. It’s like an addiction that can’t be fixed. It’s like an itch that can’t be scratched. And when I get the idea to hook again nothing , and I mean nothing, can stop me. And, it goes on for ages and ages and I can’t seem to pull myself out of it. Thankfully I can be easily distracted by bigger, shinier things, but, don’t kid yourself…I will be back to hooking in no time at all.

No, this is not the confession of a secret sex worker. This is the admission of a highly skilled and addicted crocheter. As many of you may know, I am the founder and creator of the Otown Bombers, a yarnbombing group that took the city by storm way back in 2012, when we covered a bus in crochet. Since then we have created our own projects, almost been arrested twice, and have been hired to yarnbomb places such as the National Arts Centre and shops like A Curious Thing. We’ve all been pretty scattered for the past few years but we are still avid hookers and bombers. We annually yarnbomb Dundonald Park because it is where we did most of our hooking as a group on sunny Sunday afternoons.

I had an itch to bomb in January so I began a private endeavor in my apartment building. Our building has been through so much in the past year but the icing on top of it all happened in December when we were subjected to daily false fire alarms and mostly very early in the morning, 3 am to 7 am. They finally caught the person pulling the alarm as an act of revenge on an ex who lives in the building, but the moral and energy levels of tenants was evidently depleted.

So, I hooked. I crocheted 110 different appliques with magnets, attached them and instructions to a game I invented called, Doorsy, and just launched the game yesterday, February 26th, 2021. So far, I have had a lot of positive feedback. The goal of this game is to boost the moral of my neighbors and collectively bring us closer together in trust and love of play!

I guess I should clarify, that the relationship between hooking and crochet is the crochet hook itself as the implement for the creation of such vibrant and delectable yarn projects. You know, just in case you’re still scratching your head about the opening paragraph.

Here are some of the various magnets I made.