The best things in life aren't things at all


My Secret Is Out

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Why did I start this blog? Read on to learn why and to learn what my secret is...

Where did I get the idea from to start a blog? Funny you should ask. I got the idea at our Going Away Party. I was talking to John’s co-worker’s then fiancé  (brother’s step-sister’s cousin… just kidding) who told me that I should write. I asked him “Write about what?!” and he said “Anything, just write”. A Surgeon, a Pianist, an Athlete, and an all around nice person told me to write, so here I am writing. So thank you, DP, thank you for the encouragement.

Sure, I’m fully opening myself up to judgement. Sharing my words with the internet world makes me feel so, so vulnerable, but also in a strange way it is liberating. If you don’t like my writing style, stop reading me. If you don’t like my message, you can tell me… I’m a big girl and I can take it. If you don’t think that I’m formal enough, then you’re surely not going to like that I say the word “doneski” in one of my posts.

I’ve always been a closet bookworm. I’ve always loved to read. I’ve always loved to write poems for my nearest and dearest – sometimes funny, goofy poems and sometimes serious poems. I used to make my friends cards… smelly markers, construction paper and all. I still do make cards, but my scrapbooking skills have improved tenfold. I used to be hospitalized a lot as a child and as a way to kill time I would draw my nurses and doctors pictures or write them stories. The nurses and doctors would tell me that if I drew them another picture or wrote them another story, then I would be released and allowed to go home. That was music to my ears. It’s sure a lot more freeing to do what you want to do as a child than it is an adult… but I’m determined to do as I please regardless of other’s opinions or perceptions of me.

I used to be in French Immersion and in grade one I would take home armfuls of grade three french books to read for fun. I used to read all the time. I used to read at night time and I would get busted by my Mom who would tell me that reading in the dark is bad for my eyes. After I pretended to go back to sleep, I would reopen my book and get lost in the story all over again. I used to read all of my books, all of my sister’s books and I would re-read them from cover to cover, over and over and over again. My Mom would take me to the library and I would stock up and never want to return the books even though I’d read all of them.

I’ve always written. Always. Sometimes I write seriously, sometimes I write gibberish, sometimes I just write to clear my head. In grade six, I submitted one of my french poems into a contest. A few weeks later I received a book in the mail with my poem published. I never told anyone (besides my parents obviously) and John. I’m pretty shy, remember? The poem was about one nurse in particular who made me feel extra special during my hospital stays. Her name was Nicole.

My dear Grandma and I used to write each other letters from as far back as I can remember. That was something special between us… I have no idea how it started or why it started, but it continued on until she closed her eyes for the last time. I still have some of her letters in my “special box” and I often miss my pen pal.

In grade nine, while everybody moaned and groaned about having to write ten poems as an English assignment, deep down I was thrilled! My grade nine teacher was fantastic and has left a lasting impression on me after all of these years. He was great… he was funny (he had the greatest stories about his travels, one in particular about a rabbit), encouraging, supportive and he really made in a difference in my life. He wasn’t the typical English teacher that made you just answer comprehensive questions all year, he taught me a lot more than just that. So, for the assignment, I was unable to limit myself to just ten poems. I went on a spree, my writing voice finally had an out and I could not stop it! I submitted about 45 poems for the assignment. No exaggeration whatsoever. When my massive assignment was returned to me, my teacher had read and commented on every single one. Every. Single. One. He could have simply chosen ten randomly and marked those, but because he took the time and effort to read every single one – that made me feel special. It validated that maybe I do have something to say and people want to read it. I’ve send this man emails as an adult thanking him, but Mister (you know who you are) if you just happen to be reading this… here is my public thank you for planting the seed that my voice is worthy of being heard.

I’ve never been open about being a super book nerd because of the stigma. Being a kid and teenager is hard enough before you admit to going to the library for fun. One Sunday afternoon when I was at the library, one of my best friends phoned the house phone and my Mom told my friend that I was at the library… I remember when I got home my Mom told me this and I was a nervous wreck that my dirty secret got out. When I saw my friend, he did laugh that I was at the library but then he followed it up by a “that’s cool.” All the validation I needed.

When I was growing up, I wanted to be everything from a Paleontologist to a Nurse to a Hallmark card writer. As I got older, I was told by society that being a Hallmark card writer wasn’t a real job and that I had to chose something else. So, I did. A normal, corporate job with a pension, benefits, etc.

My Uncle was a journalist who wrote about controversial matter. He made it big time (he has his own Wiki page… if that’s not big time, then I don’t know what is). When he passed away, he was a Bureau Chief for one of the largest networks in Canada. Maybe this writing thing is in my blood after all.

So why did I start this blog? Because I enjoy writing, I enjoy sharing stories, I enjoy creating new things… plus I’m damned if I do, and I’m damned if I don’t… so why not do!? When I have kids, I want to be able to look them in the eye and tell them to do whatever it is that they want to do without worrying about other’s judgements… I want to be able to look them in the eye,  knowing that I too am doing the same. They say to lead by example, right?

I started this blog, my lovely, because I finally stopped telling myself that I couldn’t. And that in itself is a great, great feeling.

Lastly, one of my oldest and dearest friends recently sent me a Doctor Seuss quote that has being weighing on me heavily:



Thanks for reading and I hope you continue to read about our journey! Please share and/or follow as that is the greatest compliment of all.

Enjoy Life,


We Chose To Chase Our Dreams & This Is What Happened

When John and I started to dream about what life would be like in the US, it was so exciting! It almost felt as if we were kids playing “make believe”. Do you remember that game MASH? If you don’t know MASH, it’s a pencil and paper game that kids used to play (maybe there’s an app for it now haha) that would predict one’s future. By playing the game, one would find out who they were married to (if they were married at all), how many kids they’d have, the car they’d drive, what their career would be and yearly income. As the emails and phone calls fell into John’s lap, I couldn’t help but feel as if we were playing a grown up version of MASH.


Maybe we would end up in Texas! Then we could have a huge brick mansion and drive to Mexico!

Maybe we would end up in California! Then we could live along the beach!

Heck, maybe we would even end up in a place neither of would have ever imagined!

It was fun playing make believe with John. We didn’t tell anybody about the opportunities, as we weren’t entirely sure what the outcome was going to be. We weren’t entirely sure if we would end up actually moving out of Calgary or not, especially since we just bought a house a couple months prior. We also didn’t want to be swayed by others opinions, so we decided to just keep it our little secret.

After way too much googling, we discovered just how difficult it actually was to obtain a working visa, so we didn’t want to get our hopes up too, too high just in case nothing came of this. But, I couldn’t help it… my hopes were up so high that you would have to climb Mount Everest to knock them down. I have a tendency to get myself over excited about things and this was most definitely one of them.

I could not stop thinking about what could be. The unknown was a delicious mystery to me. Usually, John and I both love a plan. We like to know how things are going to be, when they are going to be, etc, etc. But for some reason, throwing our plan out the window seemed so exhilarating to me! I could not stop daydreaming about living in a new city, living in a new country, living a life that we never would have ever mapped out in our plan.

There was something so exhilarating about selling ALL of our things, getting rid of everything and starting from scratch. Starting fresh! We both knew that if we remained in Calgary our lives would be pretty predictable. We had a pretty clear idea of what our lives were going to look like in five, ten and twenty years down the road. We likely would remain in the gorgeous house that we just purchased, we would have had two kids, we both would have eventually climbed the ladder at our jobs. Our weeknights and weekends would likely look the same, with the exception of different kid activities. We would have spent so much of our time doing house and yard maintenance. We would have likely got Vietnamese for dinner from the same place every single Friday night because by the end of the week, I could hardly keep my eyes open until 8:00pm. Saturdays and Sundays would be running around doing errands, doing laundry, squeezing time in to see our friends. And if we were really lucky, we would be doing something nice one night just the two of us. But we would be too tired and exhausted to enjoy ourselves, and what we both really would have wanted was to be sitting on a couch with our feet up. We were only in our late twenties and we had a really tough time envisioning doing the exact same thing, in the exact same house for the rest of our careers. It seemed so boring to us. So conventional.

And so when we played “make believe” together, we dreamed. We allowed ourselves to fully let our imaginations run wild. We allowed ourselves to think of how we wanted our lives to look without thinking of reasons as to why they couldn’t look that way. We let our minds run freely and we discovered that the life in Calgary was not the life that we both dreamed of. We dreamed of having free time together. Of exploring more. Of trying new foods. Of going on road trips to new places. Of doing things that we would never do if we lived in Calgary… like get into tennis, like paddle boarding, like kayaking…. We wanted to be alive and not let chores hold us back from living our dreams.

And so, when the opportunity came to move to Chicago, we realized that this was our chance to live the life we wanted to live. To throw our “boring” life to the wolves. To live on the wild side.   This was our chance to do everything we talked about doing. This was our open door to lead us to a life that we weren’t able to predict. A life that would offer us more time for just the two of us. A life that would lead us more time to actually live.

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And so, we jumped in face first. We dove right in. We weren’t sure that we would ever have this chance again and we were not going to miss out on it. Maybe we dove too soon, maybe things moved too quickly… but in retrospect, I would not change the way things happened for us in any way.

When John’s offer was finally unconditional, we only had two weeks to move. We only had two weeks to sell all of our things, to quit our jobs, to rent a U-Haul trailer, to deal with selling a house. We only had two weeks to pack whatever we could bring with us in our car and trailer. Two weeks to get the proper paperwork in order. Two weeks to renew our passports so they didn’t expire before our visas would. Two weeks to close shop in Canada. And every single day, there was always something new that we discovered that we had yet to do… such as get a letter of compliance from our vehicle’s manufacturer. And without the help of two friends in particular, we are unsure if we would have been able to do it. Two weeks isn’t a lot of time when you are both still working full time jobs. There really are only so many hours in a day, and we hardly slept for those two weeks.

Those two weeks were when everything suddenly everything became real. We were no longer playing MASH, we were dealing with real life. With real life consequences. At one point, we were homeless and jobless. That is terrifying for people who like to have a plan. The moment when I realized that I had actually quit my job and that the house we were living in was no longer ours was so beyond strange and scary that I can’t come up with words to describe those feelings. We were a bundle of emotions that I have never felt before in my life. All at the same time, I was overwhelmed, beyond terrified, stupidly excited, stressed out of my mind, anxious, yet thrilled at the thought of what was to come our way.

But alas, we did it. Somehow, we did it. We finished our last day of work, came home and run around like sixteen chickens with their heads cut off. We slept for only a few hours that night (if we slept at all) on an air mattress. We both knew that in the morning, we would be leaving Calgary. We would be leaving our home. Our lives that we were comfortable living. Our lives that were “safe”.

And so in the morning, we did a few last minute things and we were on our way. On our way to living the life we dreamed of. Living the life we didn’t think was possible. Living a life where we had no idea where we would be in five, ten, twenty years. Living a life that wasn’t necessarily “safe.”

And today, I am happy to report to you, that we are both living a life with a whole new purpose and meaning. We are living a life where we had no idea it was possible to be as happy as we are. We are living a life where we only buy groceries for the week. We are living a life where we literally spend hours upon hours of quality time together. HOURS OF QUALITY TIME TOGETHER!! We never would have had that in Calgary. Our weekends are FUN! We DO things together. We explore, we go on adventures, we walk mile upon mile until the bottoms of our feet are raw. We smile so much more, we laugh together, we try new things. We feel like we are dating again. We are more in love than ever.

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We dove in feet first, hand in hand, and we are happier than we have ever been in our lives. We have only been here for just over two months, but we are going confidently in the direction of our dreams, and living the life that we imagined. Although it was a scary decision and we miss our friends and our family, we have absolutely zero regrets. Isn’t it true that in the end, my lovely, we only regret the chances we didn’t take?

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Enjoy Life,

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It’s Canada Day, WOO HOO!


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So let’s celebrate with some fun facts about our home and native land, shall we!?

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Here we go, eh!


1. It’s all thanks to a little bear from Canada that inspired Winnie The Pooh


2. Canada officially got its own national flag on February 15, 1965 — almost 100 years after it became a country (in 1867).


3. No cows in Canada are given artificial hormones for milk production. Which means no dairy products, like milk, cheese, or yogurt, produced in Canada contain hormones either!


4. Kraft Dinner (“KD”) is the top-selling grocery item in the country. Canadians consume 55% more than Americans do. But Americans don’t call it “KD”, they call it “mac n cheese”


5. Canadians say sorry so much because of this: We have an “Apology Act.” It allows an apology in court to be a sign of compassion and empathy, not guilt.


6. Canada’s post office receives millions of letters addressed to “Santa Claus, North Pole” each year. They respond to each one as Mrs. Claus. They’ve claimed the address “Santa Claus, North Pole, H0H 0H0.”


7. An Ontario man invented Hawaiian pizza.


8. Alberta is the only region in the entire world free of Norwegian rats.


9. Studies find Canadians to be the second-happiest people in the world. And they’re only getting happier!


10. Peanut Butter. Probably one of the most important food innovations of all time. First patented by Canadian Marcellus Gilmore Edson in 1884.


11. We Have the World’s Safest Highways (for Animals). There are million-dollar highway overpasses in Banff National Park which have been used by grizzly and black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars, moose, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, wolverine and lynx.


12. Ketchup Chips. Coffee Crisp. Harvest Crunch. No further explanation is necessary.


13. We invented the Ceasar. The drink, not the salad.


14. Cheddar is the most popular cheese in Canada. On average Canadians consume 23.4 pounds per person annually. Cheese keeps us warm.


15. There are more doughnut shops in Canada per capita than any other country. Go Tim Hortons Go!


HAPPY CANADA DAY, MY LOVELIES! Don’t stumble over too many beavers today, get too many cavities from drinking syrup, forget to tie up your Moose, choke on your poutine, BUT do celebrate with a beer or four!!

Enjoy Life,

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TALL, DARK & HANDSOME (for a woman) – SEEKING Fellow Carb Lover and Outdoor Activist

First things first… let’s be clear that when I say “Outdoor Activist” sitting on a patio on a warm, sunny day absolutely counts as an outdoor activity.


My kinda lady!

One of the toughest parts of this journey is meeting new friends. Especially when you don’t have a job. I’m trying to think of how I met my closest friends back home, and I met them either through school or work. Now, I’m not going to school or going to work. But I’m determined not to let that slowly eat me away. I’m going to find some sort of way to make friends. It can’t be that hard, can it?

My Bridesmaids

My Bridesmaids

Yes, yes it can. How do you make friends with people nowadays? With social media, you can have 500 friends on Facebook or thousands of followers on Twitter (I currently have 3, thank you very much), but how many REAL friends do you actually have? The kind of friend that you can call (yes, use a phone to actually phone someone with) on Sunday morning and grab brunch with them. Or go for a coffee. Or go see a comedy show. We are in Chicago for goodness sakes with millions of people and millions of things to do… but are we destined to do everything as a couple rather than with friends?

I have to give my dear Husband credit… he is trying to make friends with his co-workers. He has us set up for a double date with his coworker and her husband when they return from holidays in a few weeks. But what if she is just being nice and doesn’t actually want to be our real friend? Can I really potentially call up one of my Husband’s coworkers to get our nails done together? Where is the line drawn?! She seems pretty awesome so I hope that line is drawn pretty far away…


I’ve decided that it’s easier to find a boyfriend or girlfriend then it is to find a friend. There’s online dating, people love to set people up on dates, etc. There’s a better chance at finding a date in your local coffee shop then there is in finding a friend. How do you make initial contact with a potential friend without coming across as overly eager and/or desperado? Most people already have their group of friends and it’s hard to break into that…

Speaking of online dating, I even tried finding friends through John and I went to a ‘Meet Up’ to try and meet new friends. We even split up at the event so we didn’t cling to each other out of fear (okay, let’s be real… so I didn’t cling to John out of fear). John is good at small talk. I’m not. I’m shy and can come across as bitchy and reserved until I warm up. Not so attractive to potential friends. So anyhow, at this Meet Up, it was strange. Really strange. I think lots of people were looking for more than “just a friend”. But, I did exchange numbers with one girl and we are going on a double date tomorrow. Will report if there is a potential friendship or not.


Today, I took Ernie (our beloved pup) to the dog park to burn off some energy. I was chatting with a girl there for probably about an hour… nothing too deep, just kind of water cooler chit chat. She seemed really nice, was down to earth, seemed close to our age and was a nurse. Plus her dog’s name was Bert. Bert and Ernie, c’mon! So I toyed the idea in my mind for probably a solid 30 minutes before I had enough courage to grab Ernie’s leash to leave the park and casually ask her if she’d like to grab a drink or something sometime. She was caught off guard but we exchanged numbers and names, and I hustled my butt out of there as fast as a I could without trying to show my sheer and utter embarrassment. I was completely out of my comfort zone and the first thought that popped into my mind was “Oh my god, I can’t believe you $&@&in’ did that, she probably thinks you are some crazy lunatic. Who asks for somebody’s number at a dog park and asks to go for a drink? You did, you dummy, etc, etc…”


After making sure the coast was clear, I called my Mom and told her what I did. She and I are very similar and I knew she would understand the feelings I was experiencing. She listened to all of my concerns about if I got “fake numbered” and that she wouldn’t respond to my text and what if I saw her at the dog park again after she ignores my texts (if she even gave me the right number…) My Mom was great, she essentially told me to put myself in her shoes and I wouldn’t have any of those thoughts or concerns.  She told me not to be so sensitive and to be positive. My dear, sweet Mom told me that if she did give me the wrong number or doesn’t respond to my texts, then she likely won’t be going to the same Dog Park so that she can avoid the Creepy Canadian (my words, not hers).


By going outside my comfort zone, there are only two options that could come from this experience:

1) I gain a friend
2) I’ve scared someone away from a dog park for life, and that is a pretty remarkable feat in itself

Who knows, maybe one day I will call her up to go for brunch on Sunday morning after all?

As always, thanks for reading, my lovelies! Until next time…

Enjoy Life,