Expressive art show sneak peek – you’ll be amazed at what Abby creates with her smart phone

The art work keeps pouring in for our Beauty + The Beast: The Good + Bad of ABI Expressive Art Show – happening Thursday, April 26 4-7 p.m. at Christ Church Deer Park. And while we are already knew BIST members are a talented bunch – and this year’s art show submissions are truly amazing!

To give you a taste of what is to come, check out our Expressive Art Show co-curator, Abby Schnurr Mongkonrob’s amazing work, which she creates using her smart phone.

Our Expressive Art Show & Community Agency Fair is a FREE event, but some of our Expressive Artists will be selling their art, which includes: greeting cards, photography and other crafts – so you’ll want to bring your wallet!

Abby Schnurr Mongkonrob

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BIST Community Agency Fair & Beauty + the Beast: The Good + Bad of ABI Expressive Art Show | Thursday, April 26, 4 – 7 p.m.
Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge Street (North of St. Clair) www.bist.ca/community-fair

 

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15 things you don’t know about: BIST volunteer of the year, Ambassador Category, Tanya Flaming

The reason I began volunteering for BIST was:  While I was still a discharge planner at SickKids I was asked to join the awareness committee and I jumped at the opportunity.
Tonya Flaming holds up an #areyouaware button

If I could pick any job in the world, I would:  An actor – I love the idea of taking on different characters and pretending to be someone else for just a little while.

I have an (irrational or otherwise) fear of: Bears – although I go camping every year.

Picture of a sign that reads:

My greatest assets as a volunteer are: My flexibility, enthusiasm, and my ability to jump in where I am needed.

My friends would describe me as: Kind, fun loving, up for just about anything, and someone who loves to dress up!

If I could invent a super power, it would be: To be able to touch people and fill them with compassion and the inability to be mean to or hurt others.


What inspires me most about BIST is: I have been involved with BIST for quite a few years now and it has been incredible to see to the organization grow and expand their reach to help even more people. BIST is filled with amazing people are constantly coming up with innovative and creative ideas to create awareness and help those living with the effects of a brain injury.

If I won $1 million dollars I would: buy a big country home and fill it with children in need and rescued animals.

My personal hero is: Would have to be my Opa – Roelof Spikman.  He was a young married man with young children living in the Netherlands during the war. In reading his memoires there are stories of being taken prisoner of war, biking 250km to get home and then joining the Underground – or the Dutch Resistance movement. What he lived through and fought for was incredible. After the war he then packed up his young family and moved them Canada and started a brand-new life. Opa Spikman was someone who was loved and respected by all who knew him.

My celebrity “crush” is: Jensen Ackles aka Dean Winchester…Carry on my Wayward son, there’ll be peace when you are done.

dean winchester wink GIF-source

My favourite BIST event is: The Halloween Bash in support of BIST. I know I helped organize it – but I love to dress up (hence the actor side of me.)

A quote/motto I try to live by is: There are two mottos’ in my life – “It is what it is, but it will become what you make of it”. And the second, which my kids always hear me say – “There is a solution to everyone problem.”

If I could volunteer anywhere in the world I would: Join Animal Hope and Wellness and help to put an end to the dog meat trade.

Tanya Flaming dressed as a cop, red background

One time, as a kid, I:  I lived out in the country just outside of Guelph. My brother and I (I was around six and my brother was around ten) left the home at the crack of dawn with a saw and chopped down our own Christmas tree, dragged it home and decorated before my parents even woke up. Apparently, it was an ugly tree, but my parents kept it up anyway 😊

I am most proud of:  My children. Sometimes I sit back and look at them and think, wow, I have really good kids. We all try our best as parents but when you see you children emulating the characteristics you are trying to model you can’t help but feel proud (and a bit relieved!)

Tanya F- Halloween Bash

My favourite BIST moment from this past year is: The Inaugural Halloween Bash in Support of BIST. It was a fantastic evening filled with great costumes and we were able to raise money for BIST. Can’t wait for next year!!

 

This Fresh Tomato Day: make your own ketchup

BY: JANET CRAIG

Did you know April 6 is Fresh Tomato Day?

Bowl of Homemade ketchup

And did you know ketchup can be so much more than a bottle of what you get at the grocery store?

Our favourite chef Janet Craig knows ketchup has so much more potential when you make it at home. Here’s her recipe, all you need to do is combine the ingredients below and blend in a food processor.

And think beyond the fries: Janet’s recipe a great topping for grown up food, such as chicken or other meats.
    • 2 cans drained mandarin oranges
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1 large shallot, peeled
    • 1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
    • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger
    • 1/2 cup White Vermouth
    • 1/2 cup Maple syrup
    • 1 tsp Five Spice powder
    •  1 tsp hot sauce
    • 1 tsp salt ( optional)

Use your food processor to blend together and enjoy!

a plate with green beans, pork dressed with homemade ketchup, squash and potatoes
PHOTO: JANET CRAIG

Chef Janet Craig recipes are simple, healthy, delicious and ABI friendly.  You can find out more about her HERE.

The waves of ABI-related trauma

BY: MARK KONING

If you ask me, any type of brain injury is traumatic, whether it is acquired by a motor vehicle collision, an aneurism, a viral infection etc.

Living with the challenges of ABI, which can include headaches, nausea, fatigue, chronic pain – among other countless symptoms – can be brutal, and this brutality often comes in waves. Brain injury is often invisible, episodic, and quite often, not understood.

Sometimes I think the real trauma of acquiring a brain injury comes after the actual injury itself. I think many survivors of brain injury handle the initial challenges of their injury better than the ongoing aftermath, the reactions from others to their injury, and their own mental well-being.

Sometimes I think the real trauma fo acquiring a brain injury comes after the actual injury itself - Mark Koning

I am happy for those that try, for those that don’t turn away. I am lucky to be in the position I am and to have the support I do. Nevertheless, at times, it feels as though the trauma continues.

There are times I think it is my fault: for pushing myself too hard, or for not saying enough. There are other times I simply want to yell and scream. Sometimes I even get confused and scared simply by looking in the mirror and questioning my own feelings.

I don’t want to explain what fatigue means for me, I don’t want to justify why or how it is that I just know my headaches are not the same as yours, I want to stop feeling stupid every time I forget something and I see that look on the faces of others.

The trauma lives on.

I am doing the best I can.

I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, I just want them to understand. Because if others can start to do that, perhaps I can keep moving forward without feeling like one step up means two steps down.

Then maybe, I can put the trauma to rest.


Mark’s passion to lend a helping hand, offer advice and give back has developed into a moral and social responsibility with the goal of sharing, inspiring and growing – for others as well as himself. His experience as a survivor, caregiver, mentor and writer has led to his credibility as an ABI Advocate and author of his life’s story, Challenging Barriers & Walking the Path. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Koning or go to www.markkoning.com

Need some music in your life? Recollectiv Music Group is coming to Toronto

BY: ROBIN LY

Toronto’s Recollectiv is not your typical musical troop.

It is a group where people living with conditions such as dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acquired brain injury (ABI), Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease can come together to create and experience music.

But it’s also about improving group members’ quality of life, what Recollectiv’s founder, Ilana Waldston, says is about, “Rediscovering joy by making music.”

Waldston’s mother lives with dementia – and like others living with chronic conditions – her mother spends a lot of her time with doctors, social workers, and other professionals.

“[My mother] was a very vibrant, active woman,” Waldston said. “As her disease progressed, she lost so many of the activities she loved … singing [is] one of the few things left we can share that makes us both happy.”

Waldston sees Recollectiv as a way for individuals to focus on what they can do, as opposed to what they have lost.

“The main takeaway of Recollectiv [is to] touch others’ lives through group music making, something so fundamental and universal that elevates everyone’s quality of life,” Waldston said.

Recollectiv is inspired by the California band The 5th Dementia, created by couple Carol and Irwin Rosenstein.

Irwin Rosenstein, who practised real estate law, lives with Parkinson’s and early dementia. After his diagnosis, the couple realized Irwin Rosenstein’s memory, energy, and well-being improved when he played and taught music to others. This is backed by research, music therapy alters the chemistry in the brain by stimulating the release of dopamine, which effectively increases energy and improves mood.

In addition to The 5th Dementia, the couple created the non-profit MusicMendsMinds (MMM) whose mission is to support the mind and spirit of those affected by neurological disease, cognitive decline, and PTSD through musical groups. There are currently nine MMM affiliated bands in the U.S., mostly based in California, with other bands forming in the Philippines, other U.S. states, and the organization has been a supportive partner with Recollectiv.

The organization has also inspired a documentary, to be released this summer:

Back in Toronto, Waldston says finding activities for her mother has been difficult.

A trip to the symphony, an outing both Waldston and her mom previously loved, became challenging when her mother began to sing or talk along with the music, something generally not appreciated by fellow audience members.

It’s that stigma and feeling of non-belonging surrounding neurodiversity that Recollectiv  hopes to neutralize in the future.

“I want [the public] to realize that people with cognitive challenges are just like them; they deserve to feel good about themselves, have friends around them who care and, above all, have some fun,” Waldston said.

Waldston hopes Recollectiv, which is a project of Smile Theatre Company, can lead to the creation of new groups and communities where people can access support and share a joyous activity together.

“I have lived long enough to know that life is short and unpredictable,” Waldston said.  “You can’t fix a lot of things that cause people pain but if you can bring happy moments back into their lives, that’s a huge achievement.”

Recollectiv will meet in Central Toronto on Saturday afternoons in an accessible and barrier-free location. There is no cost for participation, and anyone who wants to sing and or play an instrument, regardless of any physical or neurological diversity, are welcome to join.

For further information about Recollectiv and to register go to: http://recollectiv.ca/home.

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Robin Ly is a Bachelor of Social Work student at Ryerson University graduating in spring 2018. She has been completing her fourth year placement with BIST and loves that she’s able to get back into writing to talk about advocacy, awareness, and transformative change.

On Homemade Soup Day: cream of roasted garlic & onion soup

BY: CHEF JANET CRAIG

It’s Homemade Soup Day! And Janet Craig has a great, hearty homemade soup for you – enjoy!

  • Ten whole cloves or two whole heads, cleaned
  • Four cleaned, washed leeks, chopped
  • Three yellow or white onions, peeled and chopped
  • Two large white potatoes peeled and cubed
  • One tetra pack of good quality chicken broth
  • ¼ cup butter
  • Two cups Vermouth
  • One cup milk
  • One cup whipping cream
  • Fresh parsley, chives to garnish

3 images: Cream of Roasted Garlic and Onion Soup, bottom left,garilc, bottom right, red onions

  1. Place all cleaned vegetables into buttered roasting pan.
  2. Cover with broth and wine. Roast 1 hour at 350 F.
  3. Put cooled vegetables and remaining fluid into a food processor and pulse until rough chunks.
  4. Add cream and pulse more. Taste and season with white pepper and salt then add milk to thin, if needed. Garnish with fresh herbs
  5. Serve hot with a dollop of cheese, either Asiago or Stilton, in the bowl.

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Chef Janet Craig recipes are simple, healthy, delicious and ABI friendly.  You can find out more about her HERE.

Baked Cocoa Wings

BY: JANET CRAIG

Just on time for Super Bowl Weekend – or if that isn’t your thing – a Valentine’s / Anti-Valentine’s feast – our favourite chef Janet Craig brings you Baked Cocoa Wings!

This is a ‘rub’ that could be used on chicken wings or drumettes. The recipe could be doubled or tripled and stored in a glass jar for future meals, it’s also great on ribs so go ahead and enjoy!

Plate of chicken wings

  • Three tablespoons chili powder
  • One tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Two tablespoons flour – this can be gluten free or cornmeal. The fat in the skin of the wings will make them crispy.
  • One tablespoon garlic powder
  • One teaspoon cinnamon
  • Two teaspoons cumin powder
  • One teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 1teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 13 lb chicken wings per person (appetizer portion)

1. Mix all the rub ingredients together and dust the wings well.

2. Cut off the wing tips, reserving them for another use such as
stock if desired, and halve the wings at the joint. Pat the
wings dry, season them with the rub mix .

3. If using the oven, place on the parchment lined cooking
sheet, under a preheated broiler about four inches from the
heat for ten minutes. Turn the wings and broil them for ten
minute more, or until they look crisp.

Lime Mayo Dip
One cup mayonnaise
Juice and zest from one lime
One clove of garlic minced
Two tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped
½ small seeded jalapeño-finely chopped (optional)


Chef Janet Craig’s recipes are simple, healthy, delicious and ABI friendly.  You can find out more about her HERE.
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