The Burden

SEPTEMBER 27th, 2016


Hello everyone. I know it has been a while since John and I have been posting regularly but hopefully that will be turning around soon. We had wanted to write these articles about our interests and day trips as a bit of fun and to possibly entertain you, as well as ourselves. We soon began to realize that we were beginning to stress over getting articles out and what direction we were going to take Carbon Lilies; it was starting to take a toll on us and that was the last thing that we wanted. We decided we would take a short break and, well, that break lasted a bit longer than we intended as life seemed to pile up and one thing led to another… the timing to come back just never seemed right. Sure, we started a few articles (which I’m sure we will finish now that we are back in the saddle, so to speak) but they just seemed laboured.

As I was flipping through our feed on FaceBook, I came across an article from our friends over at Outta. Sally Goncalves, who started Outta, has been friends with John for a long time. In fact, way back in March, John wrote one of the first guest blog articles for Sally (Supporting Those We Love with Mental Illnesses - March 10th, 2016). I can’t even recall now which article it was that caught my attention, but I know it inspired me to write about the tough times I was having and the things I was trying to do to overcome the dark feelings I was experiencing. You see, that is what Outta does. They promote self care awareness and help fund mental health initiatives by selling activewear and donating a percentage of the proceeds to worthy charities.

Below, you will find the article that Outta so kindly posted on their blog on Aug 26th, 2016 by yours truly, Lana Carbon.

The Burden

Let me preface this by saying that I have trouble verbalizing. I can write my thoughts, and somewhat my feelings, but to get into an actual conversation horrifies me. I have always had difficulty expressing myself so this may be a jumbled mess by the time I am done. If so, please forgive me.

The last year and a half has been a little rough. At the end of January 2015, I was in a car accident just as I was preparing to make a huge move to be with the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. I received whiplash, a concussion and bruised ribs. It could have been much worse I suppose. A couple of weeks later, I had started my new job but after only two months, I was stricken with some kind of dizziness and headache that sent me home halfway through my shift. Over a year later, even as I write this now, these symptoms continue with little relief in sight.

In June 2015, my father was diagnosed with stomach cancer, which led to surgery in October to have it removed. The doctors seemed happy with the results and he appeared to be improving rapidly. In April 2016 however, he was admitted to the hospital because he was having difficulty walking. He only left the hospital for one day after that, before a fall sent him right back in. His condition quickly deteriorated and we lost him on June 9th.

Through all of this I have tried to be strong. I don’t want to burden my loved ones with the pain I have been feeling. I feel that I need to be strong for them. I didn’t think that I had time to let myself deal with my emotions. So what did I do? I pushed them back deep inside and ignored them. Then more and more piled on top and the weight of the burden was harder and harder to take. I could feel myself slip further and further into frustration and a growing dark place. That dark place can be really tough to escape.

So what do I do now? Luckily for me, my partner is super caring and patient. She encourages me to talk to her on my own time…once I am ready. Of course, she always hints that I am already there if I would just realize it myself. I can tell you that I still deeply dislike talking but I have begun trying with her…a little bit. That is a start, right? Every step forward, no matter how small, is still a step in the right direction. At least, that is what I have heard.

If you are interested in helping out a worthy cause in your city, looking for some activewear knowing your purchase will be aiding others, or even have a story to share that someone might find inspirational, educational, entertaining or (as it was for me) cathartic, visit the website or reach out to Make sure to check out their shop… John is a huge fan of the hair ties.

A Tale of Two Mothers and a Bonus Mommy

SEPTEMBER 18th ,2016


[John] This article is a fair bit later than we had originally intended to post it, however the last few months were a bit harry, and we decided “better late than never”.

[Lana] For Mother’s Day weekend 2016, John and I wanted to do something special for our mothers. We decided that we would spend Saturday with Ma Carbon and Sunday would be dedicated to Ma Lilies. First, we needed gifts. John, an amazingly creative person, crafted some beautiful Inukshuks out of some stones that we had on hand for just such an occasion.

John wanted me to stress that these photos were taken while the art was still in progress.

John wanted me to stress that these photos were taken while the art was still in progress.

[John] I had only recently made my first Inukshuk, for a dear friend in Germany, and that felt like a big risk but was such a personal statement referring to his visit with us in 2015, that it was also very important to do. For Mother’s Day, this still felt like an experiment for me and I was terrified that the outcome may not be fit for the mommies. After much convincing from Lana, I decided to take another risk and after some days of letting them dry, carefully packaged them up and prepped them for their new homes.

[Lana] We always try to make our gifts when given the opportunity; we enjoy the creative outlet and also feel that homemade gifts are more meaningful than their store-bought counter parts. With a framework of an idea in place, we set out Friday night so that we would be in the company of Ma Carbon before Saturday morning, and the festivities could then begin bright and early.

[Lana] Now, to set some context, my mother rarely (if ever), lets anyone do anything for her regarding meals. Perhaps, in the later years, we might be allowed to set the table. When I was growing up, I was often shooed out of the kitchen as meals were being prepared. After my first job as a short order cook in my teenage years, I was allowed to assist with a few breakfasts now and again but so seldom were these chances they were nearly non-existent.

So this Mother’s Day, I knew that one of the things I wanted us to do for Ma Carbon was to get (and when I say get, I mean force) her to sit and let us do the cooking. Brunch went off without a hitch. We were able to have Ma sit at the table and allow us to complete the whole meal. It may not sound like much but it was a wonderful feeling to be able to give back to her for a change.

[John] It really did take a lot of convincing to have Ma Carbon stay seated and not take over. Ma sat at the kitchen table while we worked and we made sure to do things just as she wanted. Ma finally had to pick up some shop flyers to peruse, to keep busy at the table (thank you Brother Carbon, for putting the flyers in front of her!). I was very proud of Ma.

[Lana] We weren’t so lucky when it came to suppertime. Ma had chosen a roast chicken with dressing and all the fixings, so we were excited to prepare everything and make this fantastic meal for her. We prepped the veggies and dressing, cleaned the bird and placed it in the oven. That gave us over an hour of visiting time before we had any more prep work to do. My sister had arrived by then and we were looking forward to some quality time with everyone.

One thing led to another and I began helping my brother create a birthday gift for our niece. As I was working on it, sneaky Ma Carbon slipped away and finished preparing our meal. John did try to wiggle her way in to help out but my brother and sister were in there already. So, it didn’t work out exactly as we planned but at least Ma Carbon didn’t do everything herself; and we did manage to take care of breakfast. It was a wonderful day being able to spend that quality time with her.

The following day was our time to spend with Ma Lilies. We started out without any finalized plans, knowing only that we were going to go for brunch somewhere, pick up John’s “Bonus Mommy” and then head for a drive. John had the idea of going to this wonderful restaurant called the Olympia Grill. As we approached and saw the full parking lot and the line up outside of the building, we thought there might be better options somewhere else. John then thought of Turtle Jack’s, which should be opening in only a few moments. 

[John] Brunch plans quickly switched to early lunch plans as none of us had really thought out the restaurant plans very well, thus had not made reservations anywhere. 

[Lana] If we were lucky, we would be able to get a table before it became too busy…and lucky we were. Not only did we get a table and excellent food but Ma Lilies and John received gift cards for future visits as a Mother’s Day promotional offer. 

[John] Ma Lilies ended up using her gift card just a few weeks later, going out with her best friend, the Bonus Mommy, for a nice dinner.

[Lana] We then set out to fulfill another request of Ma Lilies’. We headed to the cemetery to place some flowers to pay homage to her mother.

[John] Usually for Mother’s Day, I include a visit to the graves of my grandmother (in one cemetery), my aunt (a second cemetery) and also a dear friend of mine (buried just a few strides away from my aunt). When Ma asked if we could make sure to do this together this year, I had no hesitation. We picked up flowers for each gravesite and set out for our visits. Tough though they may be, Ma & I are very attached to these visits and are grateful for having relatively easy access to these sites. I hadn’t been to my grandmother’s gravesite with Ma Lilies for quite some time and it was nice to share that moment with her on this special day. We also hadn’t gone together to her sister’s gravesite in a long time and she had never seen my friend’s site, so this really was an important moment for us.

[Lana] From there, we picked up the “Bonus Mommy” and set our sights on a back roads journey to the Elora Gorge (the destination we agreed on in the “north-westerly direction”).

[John] When the four of us settled in the car, all we knew was that we wanted to go for a drive but none of us could decide on a specific place, so I asked in which direction the mommies wanted to head and “northwest somewhere sounds good” was the answer. 

[Lana] The countryside was gorgeous, the farmhouses were beautiful and the conversation hilariously engaging. We only stopped in a town long enough to grab a coffee before continuing on our way.

By the time we reached Elora, most of the businesses had closed up shop for the evening so we decided to take a quick stroll by the Gorge. We didn’t stay long but what we did manage to see was magical. 

We thought we might grab a bite to eat at the local pub. John and I remembered it had pretty decent food. What we didn’t remember was the number of stairs to get down to the dining area. Not wanting to put the mommies through that, we decided that we would try another venue.

We took a leisurely drive heading in the direction of home. We reached Guelph and knew we would find somewhere to stop for supper. Now it was just a matter of choosing what type of food we wanted. Ma Lilies noticed a Boston Pizza and decided that would do the trick. It was a… shall we say…interesting experience.

[John] By the time we were getting into Guelph we were all hungry and I think that we were at risk of spending time driving around in circles trying to decide what to have and where to go (which only leads to the hangry and as Lana has mentioned in posts past… we all try to avoid the hangry digging its claws into me). I do not blame Ma at all for quickly saying, “That’s what it will be!” when she saw Boston Pizza as an early and easy option. 

[Lana] I don’t know what it is about going to Elora but every time we go there, we crave an éclair when we make our way home. This time we had learned from our prior experience that we should seek out a Country Style. Wouldn’t you know it, the first one we went to had no éclairs left. “What is going on?” I thought to myself. But I didn’t get worried… not really. The mommies were both excited to have a treat by this time and as devoted to the éclair idea as we were. John and I both knew the Country Style not far from us ALWAYS had éclairs no matter what time it was; they wouldn’t let us down. We pulled into the parking lot and I rushed over to the window where you could see the full display of sugary goodness and… no éclairs. 

The mommies insisted we still go in and get something; so we went inside and ordered our hot beverages and desserts of a non-éclair variety, before returning the mommies to the “Bonus Mommy’s” home where we enjoyed our last treats of an exciting day. 

[John] Hanging out at the Bonus Mommy’s apartment, enjoying tea, coffee and treats has really become a lovely and comforting time for us. While Ma lives some hours away, the Bonus Mommy is not far at all and it always feels nice to get cozy in her apartment (often with a hockey game playing on the TV in the background) after a long day. This was quite a nice way to end a great day with the mommies and Lana and I could not have been happier that we managed to have quality time with all three mommies in one short weekend. 

[Lana] We would really like to thank our Mothers and those wonderful people in our lives that we consider our Bonus Mothers, on this day dedicated specifically for you. We do hope you know that the love we have for you is not reserved for just this day and that we love you all year long.

I Wrote an Article for an Online Magazine

SEPTEMBER 7th, 2016


I don’t know what possessed me (no pun intended) to submit an article to an online magazine but it felt like it was something I just needed to do. Here is the resulting piece that was posted by

I hope you enjoy it.

Ouija Boards: What is in a Reputation?

The Egyptian Portal Talking Board created by Lana Carbon

The Egyptian Portal Talking Board created by Lana Carbon

The "It" House

SEPTEMBER 6th, 2016


[John] It’s been a while since we have posted an article. Summer has been a heavy and busy one and it has progressed quickly. We are back now with a new adventure and hopefully we will begin to place ourselves back on the old tracks, moving forward. Happy September everyone… may the months ahead bring us all happy times and great adventures!

[Lana] On August 5th, while perusing through our Facebook feed as I am doing perhaps more often than I should be, I came across an interesting, semi-local piece of news. In the not-too-distant community of Oshawa, Ontario, a set was being built for a movie that, whether good or bad, is a must-see movie for me. That movie is the remake of Stephen King’s It.

I remember seeing the original way back in 1990. It was the first film I had ever seen based on the works of the author who is the master of horror. Yes, looking back it is super corny and the special effects are kind of cheesy but, you know what, I love cheese popcorn. It was one of those movies that made me feel like I could find a home in it. I was a part of the Loser Club. Plus, Tim Curry’s Pennywise freaks the crap out of me. Clowns are just wrong.

[John] I don’t remember when I first saw It. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever sat through the entire movie. However, with the news of this remake coming out next year it sounds as though I will be refreshing my memory of the original as preparation for the new version. As much as this idea may not thrill me, I will take a clown over a doll any day. As I have now sat through Annabelle, I feel that taking on Pennywise may not be the scariest thing in the world anymore. Lana… this is no indication, nor in any way is it a positive affirmation, that I am looking forward to or in any way curious about or agreeing to in any fashion, even the most remote suggestion of watching any other clown movie or doll movie… or TV show for that matter, or miniseries or documentary or YouTube video… Just sayin’.

[Lana] *whispers* Until Hallowe’en…

[John] All that aside, I do enjoy the behind the scenes aspects of the film and TV industry. Set creation and design does pique my curiosity and so it was a bit of a cool idea to have access to seeing a set prop in a town not too far away. As we tend to drive through Oshawa on a somewhat regular basis, I did not hesitate at all when Lana suggested that we check out the house on our next trip through. I’ve had a lot of exposure to filming and recording and so the idea that parts of the movie were being shot in Oshawa didn’t excite me as much as the opportunity to see part of the outdoor set.

[Lana] Not just any part of the outdoor set either…no, no, no. This is to be the abandoned home where Eddie first sees Pennywise in his clown form, under the porch. So on August 13th, off we set to find the house and believe me; they have recaptured the creep factor with this set.

[John] They truly have created a house that incorporates the traditional sense of creep and fear. I only wish we had been able to walk around the area and explore closer to the house itself. As it was, we did visit and we stayed on the legal side of the boundary and took our photos from slightly a-far.

[Lana] It would have been great to get a closer look but until we get our press passes…

In the meantime we are going to have to let our little teaser hold us through until the movie comes out on September 7th, 2017; and hope that Bill Skarsgård can even come close to as memorable a Pennywise as Mr. Curry.

P.S. Just to give the house a little atmosphere (as if it wasn’t spooky enough), I did a little editing on it and some of the other set pieces.