Thursday, March 20, 2014


I have a lot of strangers in my life lately.  Folks I don't know have offered me hugs, food, and money, all of which I accept with the most gratitude and humility I can reasonably express without bursting.  Today seems to have been particularly filled with strangers.  For breakfast we ate Bruegger's Bagels that a stranger left on our front porch.  Normally the rule is not to accept food from strangers, and it seems that accepting food from a stranger you did not meet should not be an exception to that rule.  It was, however, a delicious exception.

Did you leave the bagels for us?  We'd love to give credit where it is due.  Next time, please stick around and have a bagel with us.  

Another stranger has presented itself via a thoughtful parcel from Ian's cousins.  Among other fun things, they sent several different bottles of scented lotions.  They are fancy lotions, too, and my skin loves to drink them up.  I have been using them every day, but I am not used to scented lotions.  I usually buy the unscented kinds.  The first day I wore these fancy scented lotions Ian gave me a hug and said, "You smell like a stranger!"  Then he watched me apply the new lotion to my chapped nose (my chemo cold has been a doozy!) and commented that I would be smelling a stranger all day.  He was so right!  But my nose was so moisturized that it was totally worth it.  Plus, I like the smells of the lotions.  They smell nice.

One reason I'm liking the lotion smell is that I don't like my own Heather smell anymore.  Everyone has a non-perfumed smell, right, ranging from just-out-of-the-shower to when-was-your-last-shower.  Well, my normal just-out-of-the shower state is altered.  At first I wondered if my olfactory system is what has altered rather than my bodily odor, but in preparation for this blog post Ian confirmed that I have a different smell.  The chemotherapy makes my sweat smell differently, I guess.

I smell like a stranger even before I apply the scented lotion, so I may as well be a moisturized stranger.

In other updates, I've worked six hours per day for three days this week.  Huzzah!  It has been marvelous to interact with colleagues and to engage my brain.  I work with some amazing folks who, in my absence, executed a new and intimidating protocol to prepare some DNA for sequencing.  Other amazing folks started a rebuttal for resubmitting a manuscript, making it easy for me to jump in and finish it off this week.  They are also understanding when I get tired and need to take care of myself by heading home early.

I love my science family!  I love my friend family!  I love my family family!  Apparently I also love my stranger family!  You all are the best.  


  1. I think "Moisturized Stranger" would make a great band name!

  2. I'm trying hard to come up with a "smells like teen spirit" joke but its too early in the morning.

  3. Dear Brueggers Ferry,

    Please also deliver to the following address:

    750 W 16th Ave
    Vancouver, BC V5Z0A3

    Kind Regards,

    Envious Expat

  4. Heather, anyone who has ever met or interacted with you has never felt like a stranger in your presence. Your smile, sincerity and inspiration captivates all, even before they can smell you :)

  5. That's a lot of family! We can never have too much family though, right? ...friend, science, animal, family, and yes stranger family all fit in the little puzzle piece holes of our lives. <3 loving you heather...sending you positive vibes.