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.

Advertisements

January 4, 2017

I always look forward to the day I get my hair cut. I think subconsciously I chose my hair dresser for the sole reason of her salon’s location. I get to go to that special place where hip people go. Downtown.

It’s like a teeny mini very small cool vacation.

I always try to wear something that might be considered fashionable and definitely make sure that my hair looks good. Which really makes no sense as it’s just going to be washed and cut anyway. I never want my hairdresser to see that my hair occasional looks like crap. Even though it does pretty much every day except his one.

Why my hairdressers opinion is important I am not sure.

I have also decided to go back to coloring my hair. Going grey is cool and all but I’m just not quite ready to be the lady with the grey hair. Plus I saw some pictures from over the holidays and I didn’t really match the rest if my family.

I’m just now realizing how shallow my day was.

A Magic Kingdom?

I’m not a huge Disney fan and I’ve just spent a week in Disneyland.  I’ve got some thoughts.  I know, shocking isn’t it?

I don’t dislike all things Disney, but I’m not squealing with joy every time I see Mickey, if you know what I mean.

My daughter was involved in a dance program that included a couple of days of dance camps and then the opportunity to dance in two parades.  One in Disneyland and the other in California Adventure.  It was something that she will probably never forget and my husband and I will never forget the smile on her face as she danced her way down Main Street with her friends.

parade

(On a side note I now know that I can do a high curly ponytail and full stage makeup at 6:30 am and then sprint for the monorail all without breaking a sweat.)

elevator

Putting that aside…..there were a few things to dislike about our time in the magic kingdom.

We’ll start with the whopper of a visa bill we will get in a few weeks.  The US dollar is not our friend right now.  And Disney is not a cheap day out.  Tickets, food and “stuff” can add up very quickly.  And if you think you can do it without the “stuff” by all means message me with your ideas.

Then there are the people.  Thousands of people.  No, hundreds of thousand of people.  Lineups everywhere you look.  For security, for food, for rides.  Seriously people,  have you not heard of the fast pass?

crowds

Add in sore feet and a mild sunburn and a “staycation” in Vancouver is looking very appealing.

But there were also some positive moments that I will never forget and hopefully my daughter will remember too.

Just as we arrived at Big Thunder Mountain with our fast passes the ride closed due to mechanical problems.  It’s sucks, but it does happen and really, when you are hurtling along at lightning speed in a tiny open cart you are grateful for checks and measures in the safety department.  But it did leave us with three very hot, very disappointed kids and a limited amount of time.  We headed to the Matterhorn with fingers crossed.  Forty minute wait.  Crap.  Disney, however, showed its true colors and the line attendant honored our Big Thunder Mountain fast passes.  I almost kissed him.  But that wouldn’t have been appropriate.  Right?

On my list of things to get down during the week was to get my daughters silhouette done.  I had mine done when I was a bit older than her.  There’s a tiny store on Main Street where a man named Stephen cuts them.  With a pair of razor sharp surgical scissors he cut a perfect silhouette of my daughter in less than two minutes.  Not only that, he gave us a history lesson.  The term silhouette originated in France from Etienne de Silhouette.  Look it up.  We were the only ones in the store and it just felt like a few moments of time away from the crowds to reconnect and create a unique momento.

silhouette

And lastly, the poolside margaritas at the Grand Californian Resort.  Best enjoyed with friends on a hot afternoon while the kids play in the pool.  I would highly recommend this for anybody planning an evening visit to the parks.  It seems to make everything just a bit more magical.

pool

I would have to say that Best Thing in Life at Disneyland is taking the good with the bad and making your own magic.

Uncomfortable Conversations and Ick

doctors 2

I’ve been in two awkward positions today.  The first involved drooling and the second involved stirrups.  Ya that’s right, I went to the dentist AND the doctor in the same day.  Double downed on the uncomfortable conversations and general “ick” factor.

Why do dental hygienists ask you questions?  And they’re not just yes or no questions but question that require detailed explanations.

“What kind of activities did your daughter do over Spring Break?”

Questions that may even involve follow up questions.

“Oh, I’ve heard about that camp.  Where did she go and what did she do?”

dentist 1

Really?  My mouth is wide open and you are scraping crap off my teeth with a wicked sharp hook.  Do you really want me to answer that?

My hope is that some day soon every dental office will have virtual reality goggles for their clients to wear.  So when you are sitting in the waiting room you can flip through a catalogue and chose a scenario for your appointment.  Then when you get into the dentist chair you pop on the goggles and enjoy you 45 minutes of fantasy.  I would pick the tropical vacation.  Lounging on the beach with a cold drink in my hand watching the dolphins play in the surf.  I’m not sure how to shut out the incessant scraping noises but really, that’s just a minor detail.

And why would you want to scrape crap off people’s teeth with a sharp hook.  “Ick.”

Now before I start in on the whole female annual check up trauma.  Let me say this.  I feel for these doctors.  They are the doctors who answer these questions.

 

“Do you know what could have caused this rash on my butt?”

“Can you burn the wart off my sons foot?”

“Is this thing on my kids face infectious?”

And that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head.  I’m sure there are weirder and more disgusting questions asked.  “Ick.”

I guess my question here is who the hell thought that this was a good idea?  Is there no their way to test us?  Something, perhaps, a bit less personal? Less invasive?

stirrups

I can’t imagine it’s all that fun for the doctor either.  I don’t know, maybe they learn to do it with their eyes closed.  Maybe they secretly put on virtual reality goggles while they’re doing it and dream of tropical beaches and dolphins.  Or, perhaps, all those years of medical school have dulled their “ick” factor sensors and they just don’t even notice. Or care.

My doctor and I had perfected the art of small talk during this particular part of my annual check up.  But he retired last year and now I have a new doctor that I barely know.  Picture me lying on my back, feet in stirrups humming away to myself trying to think of something to say to a man know that I’ve met twice.

“So, great weather today.”  Nope it’s pouring with rain

“How about those Canucks?”  Nope they didn’t even make it into the playoffs.

I decided just to continue humming and staring at the crack in the ceiling.

All joking aside, I truly admire any individual who enters a profession that deals with people’s health.  The Best Thing in Life is competent medical professionals who help prevent and further “ick” in our lives.

 

Giving New Years a Pass

I’m not particularly looking forward to 2015. Not because of anything in particular, but because 2014 was such a great year. How can I improve on it? Can’t I just opt out of a New Year? Continue on with the one that is working so well for me? I don’t want to make any resolutions because life is good and it would appear that what I am doing already, is working. I am happier now than I have been in a long time. I am relaxed and feel good with who I am, where I’ve been and were I am going. I don’t know if I want a New Year?

The year started in Hawaii. All four of us spent two weeks enjoying all that Maui has to offer. Beautiful quiet days at the beach, snorkeling with serene sea turtles, fish tacos and cold beer for lunch and relaxed dinners on the patio. Really, it was an amazing vacation.  I had a chance to paddle board with my 18 year old son for two hours one day. Two hours of uninterrupted time to talk about life, work and the future. No cell phones allowed. For all of you with teenagers. you know that this doesn’t happen very often and is precious time.  The fact that we still had enough in common to talk about made me realize that I have raised a thoughtful, mature man.  (Holy crap, my son is a man)

Two weeks away was also a good chance for me to think through my options when it came to work. Life was getting crazy with my husband away so much and me not enjoying my job. On a warm sunny beach the decision seemed quite clear. Work? Whatever. But when we got home and life got back to normal, the decision wasn’t quite so obvious. I spent an entire weekend in early January changing my mind every half an hour. Work. Quit. Work. Quit. Thank god my husband is as patient as he is. So many reasons to continue and so many reasons to pack it in. Ultimately I decide to stop working at the end of February.

I thought that once I had decided to quit work I would immediately feel a sense of relief. Nope. Panick, guilt, stress. It took a good six months before it would really sink in that I had made the right decision and that everyone in my family was in a better place because of it. I do still feel some guilt. Usually it’s when I’m on the phone with my husband and he is telling me about how he has a meeting in one city, then is flying to another city for a site tour and then back the same day for more meetings and then working late to keep up with the work he didn’t do because he was in meetings all day. “Okay then, bye I’ve got to get to yoga” I say. Guilt. At least yoga is teaching me to be grateful for everything in my life.

So March 1st rolled around and eventually so did this blog. In hind site I went out of the gate a bit fast. I wrote A LOT in those first two or three months. Loved it, but perhaps could have saved some pieces for a later date. The world of online blogging is quite fascinating and I have learnt a lot from other bloggers and writers. When I tell people that I have a blog I get lots of different reactions. Some are interested and some sort of dismiss it as if to say “ya, you and every other person with nothing better to do”. There is some truth to that I suppose. For me it has been an outlet for the small speck of creativity in my brain that has been waiting years to come out. I’m not a “writer”, I’m not trying to change the world and I’m not trying to sell people on anything. I’m just enjoying my life and my friends and passing on the experience.

I think in my head I was hoping that not working would change how I felt, not only emotionally, but physically. I was dead wrong. In May I found myself feeling worse physically than I had in years. Tired, achy, fuzzy, bad skin. I could name a couple of others but, well, I’m not going to as nobody needs that much information. A complete overhaul of how I ate was, as far as I could see, my only option. Hardest thing I have ever done. Almost six weeks of no sugar. With a road race smack dab in the middle I needed to get off track a bit and then back on track half way through my detox, but I did it and am so glad I did. It’s not for everybody and anybody who does it should approach it in their own unique way. By the time I turned fifty in October I could finally say “I feel good inside” and truly mean it.

So here I am on January 3rd filling in the 2015 calendar and reminiscing about last year. It was a year of change and realization for me. I am comfortable in my slightly older skin, although I could do without a few of the new grey hairs. I feel a sense of contentment in my life that is new for me. I started Tweeting every day in November to recognize some small thing each day that I feel is one of The Best Things in Life. Give or take a few days, I have kept up with it. Totally not something I would have seen myself doing a few years ago, but isn’t that what life is about? At any age? Being able to make changes and start new things that bring happiness into your life? Maybe I won’t pass on New Years after all