19 Mar

Creativity and Grief

We’ve been on hiatus here at Make it Bittersweet.  Not a planned hiatus, but Mary and I have both suffered losses recently and have found it incredibly difficult to be creative and “on” while grieving.

Creativity and Grief - Wilting Tulips

Grieving can be such an all encompassing thing.  Riding that wave up and down…feeling a bit OK and then absolutely NOT.  You always hear that time heals things.  I’m not quite sure about that.  The waves of grief come less frequently, but I think that they never go away.  That’s just the cost of love.

Creativity and Grief - Wilting Tulips Closeup

It’s only been recently that both of us have started to be ready to dive in and get creating again…in fact, we’re both craving it now.  We’re both excited to get back and see what new and beautiful things are to come.

Creativity and Grief - More Wilting Tulips

25 Nov

What to Drink When You’re Sick

Cough.  Cough.

It’s been a sneezing and sniffling filled couple of weeks here at Make It Bittersweet.  I’ve had a nasty cold, just in time for the start of the cold weather.   In honour of finally feeling better, I’m going to share my “what to drink when you’re sick” recipe.  Let’s call it a “healing tonic”.

What to drink when youre sick - Boubon

This is a very “scientifically” crafted drink recipe.  It contains all of the essential ingredients to help you get better:

– Honey to sooth your sore throat

– Lemon for the Vitamin C

– Hot water to warm you up and sooth that sore throat

– Bourbon…also to warm you up, make you feel better and all that other important stuff that Bourbon does

In a small mug, pour about an ounce of Bourbon and add a spoonful of honey and the juice from half a lemon.  Top with boiling water, stir to combine and sip slowly.

What to drink when youre sick - close up

Hope that you don’t need to use my healing tonic over the winter, but you’ll appreciate it if you do.   Remember not to mix with any medications that you can’t have alcohol with!

p.s.  Other whiskey’s also work well in this drink if you don’t have Bourbon kicking around.  Just don’t use the super good stuff!

12 Nov

Ambulance Etiquette Lessons

A siren pierces the air.  Emergency! An ambulance hurtles down the road at top speed, the people inside it feverishly working to save someone’s life.   A firetruck races against time towards a burning building.  Every minute counts.  Sometimes,  every second counts.  You call 911, your beloved lies dying in your arms.  Why are they taking so long,  you desperately think,  why aren’t they here NOW?

I’ll tell you why. Because drivers on the road who don’t pull over for emergency vehicles are 100% selfish.  I was walking down the street today and encountered this very phenomenon.  Literally in a full and busy street of cars in the middle of the afternoon,  one person pulled over to the side.  ONE PERSON.  ONE.  ONE PERSON ONLY.  SERIOUSLY.

Ambulance Etiquette Lessons - Traffic

What is wrong with people?  Are they texting? Talking?  Figuring that it doesn’t have to do with ME so I can just ignore it?  This is one of those things that makes me weep for human kind.  It’s only a few seconds to pull over and let an emergency vehicle through and it means SOMEONE’S LIFE.

Oh well,  the guy in front of me didn’t pull over and so I don’t have to either.  Oh well, I can’t quite see where the ambulance is so it’s probably not behind me.  Oh well,  there’s room in the other lane,  they can just go around me.  Oh well,  I’m in a hurry and I don’t have time to pull over and then get back out into the road.  Oh well,  I’ll just stop right here,  that’s as good as pulling over, right?

LISTEN UP.  This is not a hard concept to grasp.  Stop over thinking.  Stop justifying.  STOP.  PULL OVER.  PULL OVER RIGHT AWAY. THAT’S IT.  YES I AM YELLING.

I think it’s because there are no direct repercussions for these drivers to deal with.  After all,  firemen and paramedics aren’t going to stop to get a license number or punch someone out.  They’re busy,  oh,  SAVING LIVES AND SHIT.

Ambulance Etiquette  Lessons - Light

We should get cameras out there on the trucks.  And every one who doesn’t pull over when it’s lights and sirens time gets hit right square in the wallet.  The money goes straight into the relief fund for first responders. It doesn’t mean they don’t still deserve a punching.  THEY DO. Before you know it someone’s going to put together that when someone dies because of the delay caused by the driver who doesn’t pull over, there’s a chance that they could be found to be culpable.

It would seriously warm my cold, icy stone of a heart if someone knows of a place where people are still decent folk who give the slightest crap that an emergency vehicle needs to get through? Please don’t let that place be the past.  Or the future.  Or Michigan.  Please,  pull over.  And then you can think to yourself,  Hey I just did my part for saving someone’s life.  Isn’t it wonderful that in just a minute or two,  I could help someone that much.  I’m awesome!  I should buy me a drink!


Ambulance Etiquette Lessons - Sign

29 Oct

Most Embarrassing Moment

Day 29 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Here’s Mary with epic tales of her “Most Embarrassing Moment.”

Oh,  once again how to choose,  how to choose… Even leaving out the multitude of painfully shame-filled moments involving drunken escapades,  bodily functions or ex-husbands,  there’s still plenty.  The time I was in Mexico and the hotel clerk asked me in English for my credit card and I responded with ‘no habla espanol’.. twice…  (Rasa had to step in and save me on that one)  Or the time I called a cat owner by her cat’s name (to be fair I had spent more time with the cat than her).

After a quick poll,  I’ve decided to go with this oldie-but-a-goodie, from my Mexico trip when Paul and Rasa tied the knot at Chichen Itza.

Most Embarrassing - Mary and Paul

It was a beautiful vacation,  hanging out with my friends was wonderful and witnessing  their wedding was one of the highlights of my life.  We drank out of fruit,  we ate delicious gazpacho,  we went to the ruins,  the gorgeous,  spectacular ruins.

At the end of my trip,  Paul and Rasa drove me to the airport and I was heading up the escalators thinking about how lucky I had been,  to not be clumsy at all during the entire time,  I didn’t fall down,  or trip or anything and I was not wearing good shoes!

Most Embarrassing - Mary and Rasa

Daydreaming,  I tripped stepping off the escalator into the small waiting room for departures from Merida.  I fell like a ton of bricks and threw my arms out in front of me,  my bags on one arm flying off to the left and my suitcase flying off to the right as I flew off the top of the elevator like Super-girl.  In a panic and grabbing instinctively to cushion my fall I latched onto the rear end of the woman in front of me.  A buxom,  rotund older woman whose upper half whipped around to stare shocked at a bizarre Canadian woman grabbing her ass and shouting “gracias gracias” over and over again, which  was the only thing I could remember amidst the sensation of my knees slamming into the floor  the gasp of the collective waiting room and the woman herself.

An eternal moment of embarrassment later,  she scurried away and I shamefully limped about the waiting room collecting my things and moaning from time to time about the state of my scraped and bruised knees.  The stares eventually subsided.  When I got home,  my husband at the time took one look at my wrecked knees and quipped,  “I thought I said no pool boys!”

The Daily Tay
28 Oct

Things You’re Superstitious about

It’s Day 28 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here with today’s post, “Things You’re Superstitious about.”

I  can be a bit of a superstitious person, but that seems to increase exponentially when I’m at a Toronto Rock Lacrosse game with my family.  Collectively, we all get pretty weird.

Superstitious About - Ellie and Iggy

Honestly, if one member of my clan leaves to get a drink or something and The Rock starts scoring, they are asked to not return right away.  It’s gotten to the point where if you’re away and see that The Rock is scoring, you KNOW not to come back.  I’ve seen my sister trying to watch the game at the door rather than come back and be cast away.

Superstitious About - The Rock Game

Heaven forbid that Mr. Fox say something like, “well, they’ll win now for sure.”  Which he does just to see how wide my eyes get…you never say that.  Never.

Superstitious About - Paul

I’m not sure what it is about a sporting event that really brings out that superstitious  “you can’t say that!!!” side of me…but it comes out.  Big time.

The Daily Tay
27 Oct

A Letter to your Younger Self

We made it to Day 27 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Here’s Mary with today’s post of “A Letter to your Younger Self.”

Dear Younger Me,

I know a lot of people do a ‘give advice to my younger self’ sort of thing, but I never took anyone’s advice when I was younger, least of all my own.  So, I want to take it back to a much younger self.  For example, this younger self, this 2 year old self at my dad’s company picnic in Ottawa, circa the summer of 1978.

Letter to your Younger Self - younger-mary-1

First of all, check out how adorable you are, little me! And I still stand in that terrible way with my knees pushed forward like that. I also still sport that charming “surly/confused” look on my face most of the time. Obviously I am about to deliver a powerhouse effect to this tug o’ war game, just as soon as I figure out what’s going on.

I don’t remember that game. But I do remember that bathing suit. Isn’t it awesome little me?  The paperclip chain pattern is still compelling. And you can’t tell in this photo, but it was red and the chains were white and gold. CLASSIC.



Little Me, you just keep doing your thing. I mean, check out that belly. Its proud and probably full of hot dog. Ketchup only. Mustard comes later.  Its going to be quite a bumpy ride to 38, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself, you crazy nut. But you’re going to make it!

You still have all your hair on top, so you must not have lost your blankey yet. That’s the first trial. Its probably the worst of it though, you’ll end up pulling out all your hair for months and months, throwing tantrums and being a wild thing. It’ll be okay, pink teddy will become a solid replacement over time and be a very faithful friend, even after an operation to remove his defunct music box. I still sometimes want to buy myself a replacement blankey. It was yellow and special.

Letter to your Younger Self - younger-mary

You’re in a pretty good place young toddler me. Even though technically where you are standing is a terrible place for a toddler when the tugging o’ warring actually begins. I mean, the middle of the rope will move all over the place and people will be going back and forth. Look at me standing there, I have no clue!  Well, it must be alright since I don’t remember being trampled and it does seem like the kind of thing one remembers.
Anyways, small me, I’ll leave you with something to dream about… one day you most definitely will get to pet all the cats you want. Promise.


The Daily Tay
26 Oct

Who’d play you in a movie

It’s Day 26 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here with today’s post, “Who’d play you in a movie?”

A movie about me?  I’m a little afraid of that.  It’s not going to be the most interesting movie right now.  Rasa:  IT Geek, Blogger, Likes to Cook and Shop.  No, I think this movie is going to need a little embellishment…some fun.

For the epic “all about me” movie, I think that I should be animated as a cartoon Fox, a la Disney’s Robin Hood.   For those who haven’t seen it (and why haven’t you??), here is a clip:

Mary would be my animated Bear companion (albeit, a much smaller Bear than in this movie.  Mary’s tiny.)

Who'd Play you in a movie - Mary

We would roam around on adventures, doing brave and noble deeds and generally getting into trouble, but the good kind of trouble.

Who'd Play You in a movie - Rasa

Whose with me?  What animated animal would you be?

The Daily Tay
25 Oct

Favourite Book(s)

Wow!  It’s Day 25 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between and we’ve been doing it everyday so far.  Go us!  Here’s Mary with today’s post of “Favourite Book”, well books…

Oh dear, I’ve really been quite stumped for this one. I read so many books and I love so many books, how could I possibly choose a favorite? I really couldn’t. So, here’s a few of my faves… in no particular order…

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

This book was the first Christie mystery I ever read and it hooked me good. I must have reread this one a thousand times and its always such a treat.  One of the best things about Agatha Christie is that she wrote so many books, so once you’re a fan you have a huge library of great mysteries to choose from.  This book really launched my love for mysteries and gave me a first glance and one of my favorite detectives of all time, the inimitable Hercule Poirot.

Fresh Wind Blowing by Grace Campbell

Gotta shout out for the family on this one. My great grandmother wrote a number of books that were popular back in the day, but this one has always been my favorite.  Set in World War 2 and following the life of a young Canadian woman dealing with the loss of her twin brother and her continued acceptance of hope and life in the face of grief, this book was written after my great-grandmother suffered the loss of her twin sons both shot down over France within a month of each other.  My great-grandmother died before I was born, but in this narrative and her other books as well, I hear her voice ringing through loud and clear. It sounds like mine!

Favourite Book - Pages

The Chains That You Refuse by Elizabeth Bear

This is a relatively new collection of short stories. The book was a gift and I have read it again and again and I am always finding myself thinking about one or another of the strange and delightful and even horrifying stories in this collection. I loaned it to my mom for about 6 months and I’ll be damned if I didn’t regret it fairly regularly and then became ecstatically happy when she returned it. The Kit Marlowe story in particular I find captivating and have spent many hours thinking about. Its full of interesting ideas.

Whale Music by Paul Quarrington

Here’s another book that is on my short list simply because I cannot stop reading it. I stole my brother’s copy and read it and then refused to give it back. Eventually, I had to buy him a replacement.  It sticks in my head and will not let go. Its the kind of book I like to read and reread, and then listen to the Beach Boys and read their biography, listen to copies of SMILE on youtube and then go back and read Whale Music again.  Yes, I do that.

Slaughterhouse 5
Vonnegut. Pure, unadulterated human being who knows the secret of life. For real. Brilliant. I read this book in high school and never stopped… these days its an annual affair usually.  I really love Vonnegut. I had the entire collection of his works once, but I also had a nasty ex-husband who wanted them because I loved them. Ah, well. So it goes.
Favourite Book - Books
SO MANY OTHERS… oh man, this list looks so paltry. I mean, where’s Gormenghast? Or Jane Eyre?  Or anything Tana French writes?  Or Charles Todd’s amazing Inspector Rutledge series?  I LOVE RUTLEDGE.  I just read The City & The City, too and that was brilliant, thank you China Mieville. I was chewing on that for days and days. Le Petit Prince, Siddartha, The Razor’s Edge, for the seeker in all of us. Hilary Mantel’s series about Thomas Cromwell.. oh god, read it now!  And get ready for the third instalment… I think I know how this one ends.


The Daily Tay
24 Oct

One Beauty Product You Can’t Live without

It’s Day 24 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here with today’s post, “One Beauty Product You Can’t Live without.”

I love beauty products!  If you want to read about what beauty products I consider essential for everyday use, you can see them in my beauty bag post, but picking only one that I can’t live without?  Here are Make It Bittersweet, we agree that if we have to pick just one thing, it can only be SUNSCREEN.

One Beauty Product - Sun

We both wear sunscreen everyday.  If you don’t, watch this video – we’re willing to bet it will convince you to start.

Favourite sunscreens?  I personally love Kiehl’s Super Fluid.  It’s SPF 50 and doesn’t break me out (that’s huge.  Really.)  Mary loves Neutrogena’s Healthy Defense Moisturizer SPF 45 with Helioplex.

One Beauty Product - Sun2

What do you think?  Is it fair to make us choose only one beauty product when it obviously has to be sunscreen??

The Daily Tay
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