March 4, 2017

Dear Residents of Manitoba,

How the hell do you do it? And by “it” I mean, how do you survive winter after winter of snow and cold and brrrrrr?

This winter in Vancouver has been challenging for us West Coasters. We are, as you know, complete light weights when it comes to cold weather and snow. We don’t know how to drive in it and we don’t know how to deal with it.

You do it every year. Every year. How?

The past two or three months I have spent most days counting the hours until I could (without judgement) put on my fleece pjs and crawl under my feather duvet. Time not day dreaming about this is spent surfing the travel websites in search of a super deal to a beach vacation spot.

So, is it alcohol? A sun bed in your bathroom? On line shopping? Do you have heated underwear? What keeps you sane during those frigid months?

The forecast for the next three days in the Metro Vancouver area is snow.  Sure, it will probably be less than three inches. But for us that’s the equivalent of three feet for you prairie dwellers.

The Best Thing in Life is that all my flannel pjs are clean and ready to go.

What’s In A Name?

my name is

When we are born we are given a name.  Our parents select it and we live with it for the rest of our lives.  So what’s in a name?

It’s the first thing we tell people when we meet them.  It’s printed on our business cards.  It’s on our drivers licence.  It’s how we find people on Facebook.  For our entire lives it is our identifier.

My given names are Susan Mary.  My parents are British and, as such, chose traditional names for all of their children.  My brother’s names are Andrew Paul and my sister’s names are Cynthia Helen.  Not sure how she got the exotic name.  You know your from a boring name family when “Cynthia” is considered exotic.

My mom’s name is Jane.  Just Jane.

Last week at work I had to contact some clients to follow up on their accounts.  A couple of the names I came across were Francois Chevallier and Fantasha Kassam.  I imagined Fantasha answering the phone in flowing robes surrounded by candles and exotic looking furniture.  Casbah music playing in the background and perhaps a strange animal or bird following her around.  Francois probably has his assistant answer the phone for him while he adjusts his ascot in the mirror and pours himself a goblet of red wine.  The names, for me, emote images of glamour, mystery and excitement.  I lead a fairly sheltered life.

names

Of course there are also those endowed with what can only be called “unfortunate” names.  When my husband lived in Memphis years ago there was a player on the local baseball team named Stubby Clap.  I would consider that unfortunate.  When I googled unfortunate names their was no shortage.  Just to name a few.  Dick Assman, Uranius Johnson, Phat Ho and Yolanda Squatpump.  I did, for a moment, wonder if some of these were fabricated.  But if they weren’t…..whoa.  The ability to legally change your name was created specifically for these people.

But maybe….they don’t mind their names.  What’s to say that they don’t look at my boring name and think. “How does she live with that name?”

Plenty of famous people who have changed their names for the sake of their careers.  Elton John was once Reginald Dwight.  Marilyn Monroe was Norma Jean Mortenson.  Faith Hill was Audrey Perry.  What do you think their parents thought about these changes.  Did they wonder why the names that they had pick for their kids weren’t good enough?  Faith Hill is a lovely name.  But so is Audrey Perry.

If you had an opportunity to change your name, would you?  To what?  Why?  I remember a friend in high school who wanted to change her name to Angie.  Who wouldn’t want Mick Jagger signing about you?

It would seem that what’s in a name is different for everybody.  The Best Thing in Life is my name.  Because it’s my name.

 

 

A Good Dose of Reality….and sarcasm….lots of sarcasm

reality

Every year a friend of mine and a team of other women put together an online store to raise funds for a needy family.  They ask for and receive donations of crafts, baking, gifts, candles, gift certificates and jewelry and then sell them through a private on-line “store”.  It is a great way to get into the spirit of the season and give back to some people who really need it.  People who are struggling financially and perhaps emotionally.

This year we are the needy family.  I would like to take a few minutes to tell you why we are struggling.  Here goes.

In August my husband and I made the decision to cancel our planned two-week Christmas vacation in Hawaii.  His work contract would be ending in December and while we had no reason to think he wouldn’t get another contract, we both felt it was the financially responsible thing to do.  Still, it was a dark day when I emailed the agent and told her to cancel our condo reservations and the flights we had booked on points.  I was the one who had to tell the kids that despite just spending three weeks in Southern California we would not be flying to Maui in December.  They were real troopers.

It’s been almost eighteen months since I quit my job.  It did take me a few months to get used to being at home during the day while our daughter was at school, but I think I adjusted well.  Yoga had never really been my thing but I learnt to embrace it as it helped stretch out the muscles I was now stressing on longer daily runs in the woods with my friends.  Now that my husband isn’t traveling as much there really isn’t any reason for me not to return to work.  I’m going to have to adjust my running schedule and won’t be able to help out at school hot lunch days but I know it needs to be done.  My yoga instructor will miss me, but I’m sure with some serious meditation she will be okay.

Public transit may well become a part of our future.  One of our SUVs has decided that it is tired and after fifteen years it has become…..temperamental.  So that leaves us with just the one truck.  My husband has been great about walking the half mile up to Starbucks in the mornings to get his morning mocha and we have been able to coordinate our schedules so that when he needs to get to the gym I can go with him and get the shopping done.  Fortunately Whole Food is only a few block away.  We have been researching bus route on our iPads and we think we can make it work.  Have you ever looked at a bus schedule though?  Super confusing.

Earlier this summer we had the kids bathroom renovated.  It had been stuck in the eighties and was looking a little um…..yellow.  A friend of ours helped out with the design and after a month or so my vision became reality.  But now the other two bathrooms in our house look a little shabby.  I’ve been forced to take my bath in their bathroom as the tub is deeper and well, the floor is heated.  Our bathroom does not have radiant heating.  Or a toilet seat that closes itself.  Or drawers that hold plush towels.  It’s sad really.  Doesn’t everyone deserve a nice bathroom?

So there you have it.  It’s been a rough couple of months but we are staying strong and hoping that with a little help we will see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Or maybe a Hawaiian sunset.

The Best Thing in Life is a good dose of reality.