LisaListed

The best things in life aren't things at all


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10 Things I Miss About Calgary

Yesterday I posted “Ten Reasons We Love Life In Chicago” – but I didn’t want Calgary to get jealous! There are definitely some things that we do miss about Calgary, after all I did compose a love letter for Calgary about a year ago which I will post soon.

Ironically, as I type this… it is SNOWING in Alberta… like real snow. It’s May 6th, 2015. Guess which picture is taken today in Calgary and which picture is taken today in Chicago:

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I wish this was a joke, but it’s just a way of life. No one is surprised by this, yet nobody welcomes it either.

Okay, let’s get on with it shall we? Obviously, I miss our friends and family…  let’s collectively “awww” over that for a minute…   I also really miss our accent! Yeah, I know you are reading this and think to yourself “I don’t have an accent…” But we really truly do! I get SO excited to hear it when I speak to most of you… people from Northern Alberta have it the most. “Eh”, “sorry”, “about”, etc are all very true to the stereotype… and I’m darn tooting’ proud of it! Alrighty then, let’s move on to what I miss about the city itself, shall we:

1) Second Cup – The Pumpkin Spice Latte and Gingerbread Latte seriously makes me homesick during the winter time. There is no comparison. Suck it, Starbucks… their PSL is more like StarSucks.

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2) Waves Cafe – The caramel frappes in the summertime are in a whole new playing field then all of the other frappes in the world. Yeah, I said it… I totally go whappe for their frappe!

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3) The Memorial Trail Stairs – Those stairs are a lung burner, a thigh burner, a butt burner… but I LOVE them so much for these reasons! I cannot find a hill, let alone stairs, in Chicago to improvise on. I loved the commadery and respect of other stair lovers as well. “Started from the bottom….”

 

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4) Glamorgan Bakery – Cheese Buns. And donuts. And sausage rolls. And cream puffs. And cheese buns again. Hint: microwave the cheese bun for 10 seconds and your life will forever be changed into a ooey gooey cheesy goodness!

 

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5) Rat Free since ’93 – don’t quote me on the year, it just has a nice ring to it. Rats.. gross. Dear Americans reading this… yes, it’s true!

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6) Plus Fifteens – Best winter invention ever. Working downtown and walking through the secret passages from building to building deserves a Nobel Prize. Especially during the 8 month winters. I didn’t realize these were not in every city until I moved away… they are an absolute necessity in life.

 

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7) Jelly Modern Doughnuts – After one bite of their donuts, you’ll be willing to spend more than $3 per donut.

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8) Eau Claire Park and Stephen Ave – I used to love going to Eau Claire during my lunch hour to break up the day or else sitting on a patio on Stephen Ave drinking my day away

 

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9) Floating Down The Bow River – Can you miss something even if you’ve never done it? I was always dying to do this… One day!

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10) The Mountains – Have to give it to them… those mountains sure keep ya wanting to come back for more. We got engaged in the mountains, had our mini honeymoon in the mountains… so many special moments happen in the majesty of the Rockies!

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YES PLEASE!

 

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Calgary, you are where I became my true self. Where I met the man of my dreams. The place where I realized that life didn’t have to have limitations… That I decided settling wasn’t an option for me. Calgary, you were only my home for 5 years, but you will always hold a place near n’ dear to me.
I miss you, ya cold son of a gun!
And Albertans, I miss you too… Cheers ya tough troopers!
P.S. you definitely have the Canadian accent in case you are still in denial 🙂

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Enjoy Life,

Lisa

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10 Reasons We Love Life in Chicago

We have been in Chicago for just over a year now and in some ways it seems like we just got here yesterday, but in other ways it feels like this has been our home for a while. The year has been a whirlwind adventure, but I wouldn’t trade this experience we’ve been able to share for the world. Although I now know way too much about Visa’s then I would ever care to know, there is nobody else in this world who I would rather be on this journey with then my amazing husband, John.

 

 

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I’ve tried to make a video about our one year in Chicago, but apparently I am not tech savvy enough to do so. Therefore, out of frustration, I have put together a list of why we love this gosh darn city so much!

Top Reasons We Love Life in Chicago:

1) Unhealthy Food! From popcorn, to deep dish pizza, to italian beef, to hot dogs… it’s paradise! Cue “paradise” song from Bachelor in Paradise…  When we first moved here, I ate like we were on vacation every weekend… turns out, my jeans weren’t stretching with the rest of me… Jerks. 

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2) The Weather! People LOVE to bitch about the weather, and although it is now May 2015 people are still complaining about the winter in 2014. One thing I’ve learnt about winters since living in Chicago… Canadians and Chicagoans measure snow very differently. We didn’t need our “real” winter gear this year at all and it is so wonderful living somewhere where there are actual Springs and Falls!

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3) The Beaches! Who knew a ginormous city could boast so many beautiful beaches off of one lake!? I love the beaches here.

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4) The architecture… also referred to as Chi-tecture. It’s something that photos don’t do justice, looking at all of the incredibly diverse buildings in an experience in itself.

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5) Free parking! Or if you have to pay for parking, it’s extremely cheap compared to what we are used to. Free parking seemed to only exist in Monopoly in Calgary…

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6) Flowers & Art! Throughout the city, there are beautiful flowers planted. And not just pansies… but hydrangeas, etc! Chicago prides itself on having amazing art sculptures, paintings, etc and you can’t help but be impressed by how beautiful the city is!

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7) Diversity: Until living in Chicago, I always lived where the people were predominantly white. I love learning about other cultures, influences, food, etc. If you choose ten random people on the street, there will be a handful of different races in that group. I love it. I was talking to my friend the other day and had mentioned Bridget Jones Diary, and he had no idea what I was talking about! That blew my mind! Things like that make me realize how ignorant I can be to just assume that my normal is somebody else’s normal. 

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8) Restaurants/Pubs/Breweries/Wineries/Cafes … need I go on?

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Cheers!

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9) Baseball games! I will never ever, ever, EVER get sick of watching a Cubs or Sox game. The whole city comes ALIVE and they are so proud of ALL of their sports teams.

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10) SO MUCH TO DO ALL THE TIME!!!! If somebody ever says that they are bored in Chicago, then the city itself is not the problem…. From Second City, to Blues music, to Jazz music, kayaking on the river, paddle boarding on the lake, to visiting the Bean, or going skating in front of the Bean in the winter! There are so many free events that happen all throughout the summer and even the winter. There are tons of museums, including the Art Institute that just won Best Museum In The World award, an incredible planetarium, the Field Museum, etc. There are AMAZING parks, the lake side goes on for miles, and miles, and miles, and it NEVER gets old. There are free fireworks over the lake every single Wednesday and Saturday night throughout the summer. There are parades, which can be really annoying when you live on the same street as the darn parade. And the shopping is absolutely ridiculous too.

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The city is just so alive and people who live here have such pride in living in Chicago. It’s amazing! There is a city of Chicago Flag, and you will see that bad boy almost anywhere you go.. from clothing, to bumper cars, to flailing in the wind, dog collars, etc…

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There is a huge sense of pride in living in such an amazing city, and there should be. We are proud to be part of the city as well.

I could go on and on about how amazing Chicago is and how much we love it, but I’ll never do the city the justice it deserves. It’s a city that needs to be experienced. So, my lovely, put Chicago on your bucket list if you’ve never been here before… the only thing you’ll regret is not coming to Chicago sooner!

Enjoy Life,
L


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A Year Ago I Quit My Job To Move To Another Country With My Husband

Holy crap – One year ago today, we gave our two week’s notice to our jobs and told our friends/family that we were packing up and moving to the US in two weeks. That was one of the toughest things in the world to keep a secret, as we weren’t sure until the very night before that we would actually be moving.

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We had to list our home and keep that as a secret from our friends, which sucked because if friends wanted to come over we would have to come up with some sort of excuse/dirty lie so that they wouldn’t see the For Sale sign in our lawn. 

We had to figure out if we should sell our house, then we had to actually sell our house when that decision was made (thanks Dad). We had to sell all of our belongings (I was an effin Kijijii ninja), figure out what the shit we were getting into, try and manage the thousands of pounds of paperwork that was coming our way that we didn’t understand, figure out if we should keep our car, if we should hire movers or if we should rent a U-Haul and drive a trillion miles, keep a documented spreadsheet with every single item listed with a value that we had to present to the always so friendly peeps at the border, cross our fingers that our Visas would actually get issued. We were homeless and jobless for a few days and it was utterly terrifying…. yet thrilling!

Everything fell into place for us literally seconds before manic panick mode struck… John’s offer was unconditional on the Friday, our house closed at 11:58pm on the Monday, and we quit our jobs the very next morning so that we could LEAVE the country in 15 days to make John’s start date. Ideally we would have given more than two weeks notice, but we didn’t have that luxury. Our renewed passports arrived the day before we left the country. We both had a sense of relief knowing that things would get a little less hectic after we arrived in Chicago, but little did we know that things were going to get ten fold more hectic once we actually got here. The hectic-ness was just getting rollin’…

I look back at the excitement, fear, and courage on the day where we were able to spill our secret and by golly goodness, I am so damn proud of us for taking one hellllll of a risk. Over the past year, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about taking chances… about how it’s really just about overcoming your fears. I’ve come to realize that every time you take a big risk in your life, no matter how it ends up, you’re always glad you took it.

Enjoy Life,
L


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Bikini Butt Friendly Noodle Vegetable Chow Mein

If I could eat Chinese food every day for the rest of my life, I’d die fat and happy.
Sadly, Chinese food isn’t exactly considered healthy… but it sure makes my taste buds dance!

I’m on a vegetable kick lately as we are going to Miami in a couple of months and the very thought of being on a beach with Miami girls makes me feel insecure. So, here is a healthy version of noodle-y, veggie, chow mein goodness that is bikini butt friendly!

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BIKINI BUTT FRIENDLY NOODLE VEGETABLE CHOW MEIN

       Ingredients:

  • 1 large daikon radish spiraled into noodles (can also use a veggie peeler, a knife, or a mandolin, but I use my veggie spiral slicer which I LOVE)
  • 1 carton of shiitake mushrooms thinly sliced (stems removed)
  • 2 baby bok choys chopped up
  • 1 bell pepper sliced
  • 1 sweet onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup of grated carrot
  • 1 heaping cup of snap peas
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 garlic glove smashed and chopped (or grated)
  • 1 tbsp of grated fresh ginger
  • 4 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp of EVOO
  • 1 splash of red wine vinegar
  • Directions:
  • To make the sauce, combine ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, EVOO & red wine vinegar in a bowl and stir well.
  • In a wok, sauté EVOO with the onion and garlic until starts to become tender
  • Add mushrooms to the wok and sauté until mushrooms begin to become tender
  • Add the bell pepper, bok choy and snap peas to the wok until the peas become bright green
  • Add in the carrots and spinach
  • Once spinach starts to wilt, add in the sauce and combine everything evenly
  • Lastly toss in those daikon noodles to the party, sauté everything for about 5 minutes until the noodles start to become slightly cooked
  • Serve with sesame seeds and chopped green onions on topTwirl those noodles round and round, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how hearty, filling and delicious this dish truly is!

    Could easily add baby corn and/or brocolli to the dish as well.
    Or chicken, shrimp, ribs… whatever floats your boat.

    Would love to hear what you lovelies think of this butt friendly dish! This one was also husband approved… as long as the noodles are twirly, I have a happy hubby!

    Bon Appetit!

    Enjoy,
    L


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Zucchini Pasta A La Lisa

There is something so comforting to me about a big bowl of fresh, warm pasta covered in delicious sauce in the winter months. Comfort food at it’s finest! Unfortunately for me, my hips find pasta a little bit TOO comforting.

So, how to get a bowl of fresh, warm pasta still covered in delicious sauce that is jean approved? Use vegetables as your noodles!

I’m sure you’ve seen this latest “trend” spiraling (pun defs necessary) out of control and you’ve probably thought that the concept seems interesting but there is NO WAY that you will replace your delicious, carby pasta noodles with VEGETABLES!? Stick with me, my fellow Carb Lovers!

Think zucchini is only delicious in loaf form with chocolate? Well you are wrong, my lovely!

First, let me share some health benefits of that silly, little green squash we call the zucchini:

  •  There’s ONLY 21 calories per cup.. HELLOOOO!!
  •  A POWER house of Vitamin C… move over oranges!
  •  Lutein & Zeaxanthin which promotes healthy eyesight… I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW THE RAIN IS GONE!
  •  Manganese… no this is not a “manly” Japanese dish, but a very essential mineral that promotes healthy bone tissue development and helps your body produce collagen. Asta la vista crow lines!
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Have you SEEN more beautiful noodles?!

Now let’s get to it, shall well?

Zucchini Pasta A La Lisa Recipe:

 Ingredients:

4 medium sized zucchini
Splash of olive oil
1 garlic glove diced
1 jar of tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
Approximately a cup of diced onions, mushrooms, garlic and bell peppers
Seasoning (I used Italian seasoning, and the classic duo of S&P)

Directions:

> I used my Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer to turn my zuch’s into long and luscious zuch noodles, but you could also use a mandolin slicer, a veggie peeler or simply a knife. I kept the peels on for extra nutrients. And it’s prettier.

> Sautee diced garlic in the EVOO for a minute or two, add the raw zuch noodles to the pan.

> Sautee, toss and coat the noodles in the oil & garlic until evenly coated. Only sautee for a minute or two… the noodles will JUST start to change color. TAKE THEM OUT! You’ll probably be tempted to keep cooking them because they still kind of look raw, but NOBODY likes mushy noodles.

> Remove noodles from the pan, put them in a side bowl.

> In same pan, sautée the diced veggies in a bit of EVOO. After they get a little bit tender, add in the tomato sauce and tomato paste.

> Stir around until heated throughout. Season to your taste.

> Once heated and seasoned accordingly, toss back in the noodles into the sauce bath.

> Toss to coat the noodles evenly and serve immediately. Dig in and be amazed!

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Be prepared to be surprised how full you are off from a beautiful bowl of vegetables that is jean friendly! All comments, tips and questions are welcomed!

Also, this was “Husband Approved” – that’s a winner in my books! Voila!

Enjoy!
Lisa

*** Can also easily be made with added meat or beans!


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Our Adventures Five Years In

Five years ago I met the man of my dreams. In fact, as time has passed, I realized that he has surpassed the man of my dreams on so many levels. Is it possible to feel as if we just met yesterday yet also feel like I’ve known this person my whole life?

When John and I met, we both felt all sorts of strong emotions that neither of us had ever felt before. After all this time, those strong emotions have gone away… but only to become fiercer, more intense and stronger than ever before!

When we first met, we were young. I was finishing up university and John was three weeks into his career. We happened to work for sister companies in the same building downtown and only three flours separated us. Since I was still finishing up school, I only worked part time but the days that I did work we would each leave our houses at the perfect time so that we could meet before work at our special spot and walk the few blocks together hand in hand. We would meet for lunch at least once a week and our coworkers would both make comments to us about how cute we were when they saw us together. We still meet each other for lunch once a week, even if that meant that a 12 block walk or a train ride just to see each other for twenty minutes and for that midday smooch. Since day one, we’ve never been able to get enough of each other and I’m so happy to say that we still can’t.

We have gone through so many life changes together and I can’t imagine what our life will look like when we get to a decade. Over the past five years, between the two of us there have been five moves, five jobs, three vehicles, two countries and a puppy! There have been ups and downs, positives and negatives but the one thing that has never wavered has been the love and respect for one another.

Although our looks and hair have changed a bit over the past five years, the way we feel about each other surely has not. We are celebrating this weekend by doing five things that we have never done before… today we kickstarted the “events” by going some place new for lunch.

Sticking with the “five” theme, here are five photos for each year that we’ve been together to highlight some of our favourite memories together:

2010:

Our First Road Trip

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Our First Calgary Stampede Together

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A fancy dinner and evening at the Calgary Tower celebrating our 6th month anniversary

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On “our bench” we discovered our on our first trip to the mountains together. This is where John eventually proposed. EEE!
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At Heritage Park in the fall time. Being our silly, sassy selves.

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2011:

Pre St. Patty’s Day Green Beer Chugging

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A helicopter ride in the mountains to celebrate one year together

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Christmas at my parents new home

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My University Graduation

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BBQ’inq and drinking beer in our backyard

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2012:

We had a stay-cation in Calgary and went to Calway park for the day (amusement park for kids)

 

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We “I do’d”

 

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We mini-honeymooned in the Mountains. This is canoeing on Lake Louise

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An autumn stroll in a park close to our home

 

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2013:

Watching the sunset together in Whitefish, Montana

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Enjoying our honeymoon in Punta Cana!

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Just hiking n’ stuff in the mountains

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ERNIE!!!

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A trip to Edmonton

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We ran stairs here ohhhh too many times to count. The view was always worth it at the top.

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Just a typical Saturday…

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Walking in the provincial park right next to what was supposed to be our Forever Home

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Celebrating Christmas in said Forever Home

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2014:

Hiking in Palm Springs and keeping an extra cautious eye out for snakes

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Leaving our Calgary life behind for our Chicago life

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Drinking beer at our favourite place

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One of many “selfies” of us on my favourite bridges in Chicago

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Deeeeeeeeeeep Dishhhhh

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We’ve been to 2 Cubs games and 2 Sox games… we liked the hot dogs equally

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What our summer Saturdays typically look like now

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2015  has already been an amazing start and we are SO excited to see what else we can get up to in the next five years! And fifteen years! And fifty years!

Thank you, Lovely, for taking the time to read and celebrate with us! Cheers to you!

I love you, Honey, and I wouldn’t want to go on this adventure with anyone but YOU!

Enjoy,
L


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Emotional Hoarders Unite

My name is Lisa and I am an Emotional Hoarder.  Not to be confused with a “can’t throw away soup cans, have spiders crawling on my toilet, used kleenex collection” kind of hoarder. I’m more of a “saver of things that have some sort of emotional value” kind of hoarder. Actually I’m about 100 points away from being any kind of self proclaimed hoarder… the “H” word is a hard word to accept. Maybe denial is the first sign? Bear with me if I turn to anger next…

I tend to give things “feelings”.

I fought back tears when I sold my first car because I was certain that Henry Honda thought that I was abandoning him and I made myself believe that he (yes, “he” as in my car”) thought that he wasn’t good enough for me. Even after a few months (and right now as I’m typing this) I wonder how Henry is doing… if his new owners are kind to him and taking good enough care of him. I can’t bring myself to wonder if he’s actually in one of those auto graveyards…

From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been this way. I didn’t really realize that this was an issue until my husband pointed out that I was giving my car feelings. Uh, didn’t everybody do that?! Hearing that this kind of behaviour was not normal was news to me!

I feel guilty about throwing something out that somebody has given me. Even if I don’t like it or if I never use it.

I have a chest that my Dad gave to me when I was probably ten years old that it full of cards, letters, poems, etc. given to me from people. Words that touched me. Even though I rarely go back and read them, and even though the top of the chest is completely busted, I will never get rid of the chest itself or the sentimental words within the chest. I will also probably never get the top of the chest repaired because I fear that the repair man will break it even more. That’s totally logical, right?

Within that chest there are letters from my deceased Grandma, she used to be my pen pal, and when she died I read all the letters and cards that I had kept from her over the years. If that’s not comfort, than I don’t know what is! Also within that chest is a letter from my cousin, Nicole. Nicole is about 15 years older than me and although she lived in an entirely different part of the country from me and we hardly ever saw her, I still idolized her and looked up to her growing up. I thought that she was THE coolest! Nicole went missing in Syria on March 31st, 2007 and although her Mom and Brother have done absolutely everything possible to try and find out what happened to her, sadly, it’s still an unsolved mystery. I have a letter from her from when I was about 12 where she had traced her hand for me… again, that was so comforting to me.

I have every single nice card or letter from my parents. I have every single card that we received from our engagement and our weddings. I have every single card that was ever given to me that was out of the ordinary… such as the card I received out of the blue with a gift card to Magnolia Bakery “just because” or the card I received my “Lovely” necklace with that was also “just because”. I have kept all the flower “cards” that I have received from John, especially the “just because” ones.  And if the card is homemade, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll keep that too.

For every single email account I’ve ever had, I’ve ALWAYS struggled to delete any non-junk related email. It’s pathetic really. I am pretty sure that I still have emails from when I was in grade 8. Don’t judge.

When we moved to Chicago, as I’ve mentioned before, we started brand new – selling most of our belongings in Canada. I had no problems getting rid of our furniture and such, but getting rid of things that have sentimental value to me is nearly impossible for me to do. Our friends in Calgary are keeping boxes of John’s and my childhood memories which the very thought of having to get rid of brings a lump to my throat. John had a dinosaur hat that was given to him that probably didn’t cost any more than ten dollars, but because it had sentimental value it made the cut and was brought to Chicago. Sadly, throughout the moving process it got crushed and ruined, and it was so tough for me to throw away. RIP Dino Hat

I’m also a hoarder of things that I can consider to be special and/or fancy. Case in point, I never actually wear my Lululemon clothing to work out in because I want to “save” them and make them last longer. I have clothes in my closet that I hardly ever wear because I want to “save” them for something special. I always save gift cards too because I know that once I use it, it’s gone. I will go to the store that the gift card is for and pay for the item out of pocket because I want to save my gift card. John forces me to use them, which I’m begrudgingly grateful he does. He also forces me to spend the full amount on the gift card because he knows that if there is money leftover, I will “save” it.

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I save fancy bath products that I receive to the point of where I hardly ever use them because I am “saving” them. Until recently I saved my first pair of boots that I had ever bought, but I finally managed to bring myself to get rid of them when they started to make me bleed… but even then I made excuses for them and tried to convince John that I would just wear thicker socks with them. I have saved a leather coat from my Grandma that hangs in our front closet that I have never actually worn before, I’m not even sure if it actually fits me to tell you the truth, but I will likely save that forever too. The jewellery box that my parents gave to me when I was probably 14 or so it completely busted from moving over ten times, but I can’t bring myself to replace it even though the top rests on top and the side doors don’t easily open or close.

Even as a child, I would always save my Halloween candy. I would eat my least favourite ones first and then hide everything else under my bed. I would allow myself one or two of my favourite chocolate bars, but my natural instinct was to save them. I would save my Halloween candy to the point of still having about 80% of it the following Halloween and I’d have to throw my last year’s stash of favourite chocolate bars away.

I’m a booze hoarder too. I HATE cracking open an expensive bottle of booze because I am saving it for sometime special. In fact, John and I have been saving a fancy bottle of Pinot Noir since we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Whenever John asked me if I wanted to crack it open, I would always tell him no, that I wanted to save it for sometime special. It’s been sitting there collecting dust for about five years and although we have shared SO many special times in our life, I still wouldn’t want to crack the bottle of wine. I didn’t even have a pathetic excuse as to why none of those moments where special enough to crack, all I knew was that I wanted to save it. For what? I had never really thought about what the perfect occasion would be that would make me WANT to actually open it… so we continued to save it.

BUT WE FINALLY CRACKED THE SPECIAL BOTTLE OF WINE!!

Last week was another loooooong week at work for John. Since August he keeps telling me that “this is the busiest time of the year”. Whenever I ask him when the “busiest time of the year” will finally be over, he doesn’t really have a concrete answer. Since August his hours have been getting longer and longer, and his stress levels have been getting higher and higher. He loves his job, don’t get me wrong, but having him come home around 9:00pm is starting to get really old. I don’t even bother starting to cook dinner until around 8:30pm most nights. This past week was probably the longest week he’s worked all week, and he had to go into work for Saturday and Sunday as well. Knowing that he had to work all weekend on top of an already really long week, we decided on Friday night that a glass of wine was most definitely necessary (to be clear, by glass of wine I really mean bottle… but glass sounds nicer.)

It was just a typical Friday night, nothing special or anything. We were wearing our cozy winter clothes, which include sweat pants, hoodies and for me a magic bag wrapped around my neck because I have I am always freezing if I’m not in a sauna. When John was selecting a bottle of wine, he first grabbed the Pinot Noir that we’ve been saving for the past five years. For some reason at the time, I didn’t fight it. So sweatpants, hoodies, magic bags and all, we popped open that fancy bottle, put our feet up and savoured each and every sip.

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What I learned from doing that, is that there was never going to be the “right moment”. There was never going to be a moment that I had deemed special enough to crack that bottle of wine. I would always find an excuse as to why we should save it for another five years. Instead of waiting for the perfect moment, I learned that just an ordinary Friday night was in fact the perfect moment! It helped me remember to live in the moment, to stop romanticizing about future moments, to stop pretending as if there would be an actual moment where I decided that “it was time…”

I learned that although I will likely always save all my letters and cards that I receive, and that I will still have a hard time giving or throwing things away that are sentimental to me, life is too gosh darn short to save the fancy wine. To not wear the expensive gym wear to the actual gym. To use the fancy soap on yourself. To eat your favourite chocolate bars first before digging deeper into the others.

Lovely, life’s too short to plan for special moments! Just pop open the fancy wine and enjoy it because tomorrow promises nothing. And for goodness sakes, you can always go and buy another bottle of wine to save for another five years!

Enjoy Life,

L


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Because I Said Sew

A Hem – now that I have your attention and those extremely clever dorky puns out of the way, I have a story to tell you.

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Most girls at one time or another in the life learn how to sew. Well maybe not sew, but at least learn how to sew a button back on or to hem a pair of pants. Maybe even hand sew a small hole in fabric closed.

But not me! When I told this to my Mom, she didn’t believe me that I never learned how to sew. She was a little bit horrified. My Mom used to sew all Halloween costumes for my sister and I, and I remember in junior high when my sister went on an apron sewing spree. But somehow, I slipped through the ropes of learning how to sew. I never took a Home Economics course in any of my school years, nor did I ever have any strong desire to learn how to sew or to do anything girly at one stage in my life. I was a bit of a tomboy.

At my first corporate job, there was a woman who I worked with who was sick of seeing me in pants that were just a little bit too long. Finally, one day she cracked and let out a small outburst:

“Didn’t your Mother ever teach you to sew!?”

I would have loved to see what my face must have looked like, because she then followed up with “Oh my gosh… what if you don’t have a Mother!” She went on a tangent and felt terrible, but in return she hemmed any and all pairs of pants for me during my time at that job. Thank you again!

John would make little comments to me here and there when there was a small tear in something that needed to be sewed up or when I would pay a tailor to sew fallen off buttons back onto my peacoat. I brushed his comments off, but don’t worry Honey… I heard them all.

Since moving to a new country where I am not allowed to work, I initially felt pressure (not from my husband) to be THE ULTIMATE HOUSEWIFE! Sweet John would tell me that I already was the ultimate housewife, but we all know that he is biased. I was convinced that an ULTIMATE HOUSEWIFE needed to at least know how to turn on a sewing machine.

I looked up sewing classes and did my due diligent. For some reason or another, I didn’t want to learn to sew at a place like Michael’s. Like I am in most things in life, I decided that if I was going to learn how to sew than I was going to go all in. Sew (c’mon had to sneak one more in there) after many hours of researching sewing courses, I found the perfect one where I would learn to sew. It was in Uptown, which I had initially confused with Old Town so I thought that it was close by. Turns out, it wasn’t at all… but I got to meet lots of strange characters on the train commuting back and forth.

The class that I had chosen was taught by a high end fashion designer who sewed his own creations for his clients. He did everything from bridal to leather jackets, so I figured if he couldn’t teach me to sew than nobody could. I registered online for my sewing classes and received an email saying that there will be a follow up email with all necessary information. The week before my classes were about to start, I began emailing and phoning the guy to ask for the list so that I could pick up anything that I may require. I didn’t hear back from him.

The night before my class was scheduled to begin, I was in a tithy. I figured that I would just show up empty handed the next day, but then at 7pm that night I FINALLY received an email from him saying everything that I needed. There was a lot and I didn’t know what half of the stuff on the list was, so I panicked! John was still at work, I couldn’t drive myself (no license remember?) to a store to pick up the stuff on my own, so I did what any logical woman would do. I called my parents and cried. Boo Hoo.

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The sewing store closed at 9pm and God knew if John would make it home before then, so I was panicked, flustered, pissed off and lonely. I lucked out and John got home at 8:15pm and immediately drove my ass to the store to go on the hunt for shit neither of had any clue about. One of the items on the list was “muslin” – It took everything in my power to make sure I pronounced that word correctly when I asked the employee where/what muslin was. We gathered most of the stuff and went home. John was so nice about the whole situation… He’s seriously the best!

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Now, most people sew a pillow case or an apron as their first project when they are learning to sew. Not me… oh no no no!!! I decided that my first project was going to be a freakin’ WRAP DRESS! One that I could hopefully wear when I finished. Go big or go home, right? You going to give me grieve about not knowing how to sew on a button – I’ll show you, I’ll sew a gosh darn wrap dress!!!! (Side note: I’m not competitive at all.)

My sewing classes were 3 hours classes once a week for ten weeks. My very first day, I was cocky because for some reason I thought that being naturally athletic would translate well into being a natural sewer. I asked the guy “So it’s going to take me thirty whole hours to sew one single dress!?” I was baffled and was certain that I was going to finish in half that time. Nope… it took me a total of probably 45 HOURS! 45 freaking’ hours… let that sink in.

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My 45 hours in that sewing class were interesting. There were a few classes were I was the only female and also the only straight person. I thought that my dreams were coming true and that I could finally be surrounded by my new found gay best friends. Except they wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH ME!!!! They were too busy flirting with each other. I thought that it was awesome, until I realized that I was such an enormous outcast in my sewing class.

 

In one of my sewing classes, I met a Russian girl. I thought that maybe we could bond over being foreigners and such, but quickly realized that we had nothing to bond over. She bragged to me about how she received a green card by marrying an American and swiftly divorcing him. She then went on to brag about how she is known as the fashionista among all of her friends and they all look to her for new trends. I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

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There were also a few people who constantly pestered me about poutine or who would want to argue with me about how disgusting poutine was. They acted as if they were the poutine champions of the world. Finally somebody asked what was in poutine and I heard somebody say “cheese, french fries, and mayo.” I almost lost it at that point… here I’ve been listening to some dorks go on about poutine and they don’t even know what the hell it is!? C’MON!!!! So I specified that traditional poutine was “french fries, gravy and cheese curds” – and no not cheese slices, but CURDS!

The actual sewing aspect was A LOT MORE tedious and annoying than I ever would have imagined. Never did I realize how key patience were in the sewing world. Perhaps that was why we had never met before? It took my 15 minutes every single time to put the damn thread through the “eye” of the needle on the sewing machine. I would have to get down on one knee, close an eyeball, tilt my head and chest slightly to the right, and hope that my wood pecker hand movements would eventually put the damn thread through the hole. And that was the start of class every single time.

I had no idea how much cutting and pinning and ironing was involved in sewing. And it takes so freakin’ long! Every time after sewing class I would tell John what I had just spent the last 5 hours doing and I always felt like I should be able to tell him that I did more than just cut and iron. Props to all you sewers – you are patient people.

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On my very last class the instructor (who was totally, unbelievably strange by the way… but also nice) was talking to me about how he was getting ready to turn the big 4-0. He kept going on and on and on about it, and I would just smile politely or make an “uh huh” noise when it felt natural. He was still going on about turning forty, and had come over to sit REALLY close to me to help me with something… like so close our noses were almost touching… when this is what he said to me:

“We’re about the same age, aren’t we!?”

I almost cried on the spot. Sew much for this class I thought….

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All of that aside, now that it is all over, I actually think that I might enjoy sewing. I like being able to create something new and after I was finished, I was so proud of myself for creating a wrap dress that I can actually wear. I at least now know where the power switch is on a sewing machine, how to cut fabric properly, I’ve learned sewing terminology, I’ve learned that it’s really annoying to be sewing and realize that your machine isn’t threaded, I’ve learned that the sense of pride you have when it’s all over is worth all the pin marks in your finger pads. I hope that one day I’ll sew my own children their own Halloween costumes, don’t hold me to that though.

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Ironically, through my whole entire 45 hours of sewing class, I was never taught how to sew a button on… but that’s what tailors in our condo lobby are for, right Baby?!

 

Enjoy Life Lovelies!
L


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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly – Six Months In

After ALREADY/ONLY 6 months in Chicago, John and I have about 5,000 pictures together on these bridges. We have about 60,000 thousand photos of us in Chicago in general. And I have about 20,000 photos of Chicago’s landscape.  Yes, we have 85,000 photos in the last six months.

 

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On The Bridges

 

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Photo Cred: ME!

 

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Photo Cred: Google                                                                      Can you tell why I love these bridges so much!?!?

 

Since moving here, we have made a handful of friends to add to our bunch of forever kind of pals. (If you read TALL, DARK & HANDSOME (for a woman) – SEEKING Fellow Carb Lover & Outdoor Activist you will know just how gruesome it was to try to make friends.) We now have friends who we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with and we are also spending American Thanksgiving & Christmas with (and potentially NYE.) Yay!

Sign on our door for Canadian Thanksgiving

Sign on our door for Canadian Thanksgiving

 

Okay Lovelies, so in my VERY FIRST POST as LisaListed I promised that I would share the good, the bad and the ugly… so I’ll give you a little taste of some of the ugly. Keep in the back of your minds that we DO love it here, but I will keep my word and dip your toes into the ugly pool.

THE UGLY
It hasn’t all been rainbows and butterflies … there have also been some tornadoes and rats:

– There has only been ONE teary phone call to Mom and Dad. The loneliness and home sickness hit me for about 24 hours about 5 months in, but it subsided pretty quickly. Although I’m sure that son of a gun will strike again… probably in the dark and dreary winter.

– Crossing the street is a daily activity of playing chicken with cars, taxis, buses, etc… so far I have an undefeated record

– I was almost mugged once but thankfully had nothing on me.

– I’ve just gotten off the phone talking to three different health insurance companies trying to pay one stupid bill but each company that I talk to tells me that I need to call a different company… and getting ahold of an actual person to speak with is a God send! Until they tell you to call a different company… then I hate them as much as the computer I was just yelling at trying to say “claim” clearly enough so they could direct my call properly. And then you finally get a hold of a person who is as useless as a left toe… I’m still pissed if you can’t tell. Just take the money or let me keep it.

– It sometimes terrifies me knowing that we live in a city where terrorism is a true threat… to live in a city where people carry guns, where people get mugged, where the streets are lined with beggars. There are streets where I spin my wedding rings so that the diamonds face the inside of my hand and I am extra aware of who is walking beside and behind me. I’ve asked John on more than one occasion “was that a gunshot?” and there have been times when he can’t tell me with absolute certainty that it wasn’t…

– It’s scary to know that the newspaper here has an entire section under the Sports Headlines titled “Homicide Watch Chicago”.  And I’m mad at myself for becoming desensitized to reading about all the shootings that happen almost every single night… I have caught myself thinking “only 4 shots last night, not bad..” and I HATE that.

We still have frustrations here… I’m working up the courage to write a follow up post to The Not So Warm Welcome – We Blame You Justin Bieber. Maybe courage is the wrong word… I’m working up the energy to do so. And also the patience, I get so pissed off thinking about some of the things we’ve had to deal with (mainly healthcare. Grr..)  I had thought that most of the confusing paperwork and the hours dealing with the Government, the Embassy, DMV were a thing of a past… but they most certainly are not… we are already dealing with filing our taxes and I can tell already that this is going to be one expensive, confusing and frustrating situation. Although MAYBE in another six months I will finally be able to receive a drivers license – YAY!

 

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Proof

 

(That being said, we both feel very safe here. I’m working on my street cred every day (just kidding… kind of.) It is just the reality of living in a big city and we are both new to this.  In all seriousness,  if we didn’t LOVE it here then we wouldn’t still be here.)

Our journey has taught us more about different cultures. Has taught us about a variety of paperwork that I do not wish to pass onto my worst enemy. Our journey has allowed us to view life in a new light. I am a different person compared to who I was this time a year ago.

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Who I was a year ago is so different from who I am today. How ironic that a year ago today we moved into our “forever home” not having any idea that our “forever” in that home would hardly last six months…  I still cannot get over this. It blows my mind. John and I sometimes talk about that house and long over the amazing kitchen, main floor and backyard but we quickly remind ourselves of having to shovel the three car garage’s driveway twice a day. And that normally curbs the longing. We have adjusted from living in a four bedroom, 3.5 bathroom home to living in a one bedroom/one bathroom apartment pretty well  (although there were most definitely times were I wanted to pull my hair out due to lack of storage. Our vacuum cleaner’s home was in our hallway for the longest time, then it was moved to behind the couch, and then finally we managed to somehow make room for it in our bedroom closet.) Our storage locker is perfectly suited to hold a set of winter tires and hockey gear. So Canadian of us.

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When we first got our keys and my lovely Mom helping us do a thorough clean


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When we moved into our home, we had no idea that six months from then John and I would have two weeks to sell ALL of our furniture, donate everything else, and put whatever we could stuff into our Ford Edge to bring with us to a whole new country. I realized over Thanksgiving that I had even given our gravy boat away. We had celebrated Christmas  & John’s Dad’s birthday at our forever home last year and I’m so thankful to have created those memories. But a home is where your heart is, and our hearts have settled quite nicely into our rented itty bitty home in Chicago.

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Christmas on our back deck. Bonus about moving when we did – we never had to mow the lawn ONCE! That’s funny to me.

In some ways it feels like we have been in Chicago now for SO much longer and in other ways it feels like we are still so fresh here.  It’s weird. When I’m asked where I am from, I still say Canada. And then I have to say:

“no, not Toronto or Vancouver. Calgary.”

“No, Calgary is not close to Toronto, it’s about an hour east of the Canadian Rockies.”

Which I typically receive a blank face from and follow up with “North of Montana.” (When I’m asked where I grew up, then I say in a small town relatively close to the Alaskan border because can you even try to explain where the hell Peace River is!? Explaining where Peace River was to fellow Albertans was difficult enough – my go to response was always a heavy footed 5 hours north of Edmonton.)  I’ve been told that we’ve been here long enough to respond to that question with “Chicago” but no matter how long we live here, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to say that I’m not from Canada.

Whenever I see somebody wearing something with some sort of Canadian symbol, I get SOO excited. Embarrassingly excited. Within our first month or so of being here, I saw somebody in Millennium Park wearing a T-shirt with a Canadian flag on it… before I knew what I was doing I smiled at him with a big, goofy grin and followed that up with a ginormous over friendly wave. Like not just a cute little wave with my fingers… but my WHOLE ENTIRE ARM flailing in the air, like I was waving my hands in the air and I just didn’t care. I didn’t realize at the time that maybe he didn’t know that I was Canadian, and I had hoped that IF HE DID KNOW  he wouldn’t have given me that strange look.

Just this past weekend, John and I were walking admiring the fall foliage when I saw three guys coming towards us… one of them had on a hat with a curved red ‘C’… I had mistaken this symbol for the Montreal Canadiens symbol when in fact the guy was wearing a Chicago Bears hat. I couldn’t help myself from pointing at him (again, full arm exertion and index finger out loud and proud), smiling and much too loudly saying/shouting “CANADA” at him. We made eye contact and it was weird. I wouldn’t have blamed John if he had explained to the guy that he was taking me for a walk from my “home”. I’m doing my best to work on keeping my outbursts intact. I’m still learning how to cool my jets. Whenever I see a little piece of “home”, I have an overwhelming sense of emotion in my soul.

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Snapped this beauty at the Botanic Gardens


I love all of the Canadian stereotypes and it makes me feel strangely happy when a smart ass asks me to say “A-B-O-U-T” – sometimes I humour them and say “aboot” doing my best to not crack a smile. Most often times I pronounce it as “about” and they kind of get disappointed. Other times I have been asked where my accent is from and I proudly say that I’m Canadian. Then do the whole “no, not Toronto or Vancouver” dance all over again. I’ve been told that I pronounce “bag” and “pasta” funny . I quite enjoy hearing that I have an accent.  On the flip side, I often see tourists looking super confused and lost and I offer to help them… I also have a strange sense of pride in being a local.  Maybe I’ll just coin the term and call myself a Canadian Chicagoan – who likes ketchup on her “hawt dawg.” A Ketchup Eating Canadian Chicagoan – there ya have it, folks!

Since being in Chicago, our lives have changed drastically. Our lifestyles have changed immensely. And our relationship feels like we are dating ALL over again. A few weeks ago I had received a text from my friend which said that she had just saw John and I and that we had looked like best friends rather than an old married couple. I couldn’t imagine a better compliment to receive about our marriage than that.  Not that we were ever unhappy in Calgary or had a bad relationship, but our evenings and weekends were WAY different from what they are here. We are just so much happier now.

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One of the biggest truths I’ve learnt about big life changes is that some people won’t come with you. And that’s okay. Plenty of people miss their share of happiness – not because they never found it but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.  This journey has forced us to stop and enjoy it. Life to me is about going on adventures. Being around good energy. Connecting with people. Learning new things. Growing. There are days where you will have to create your own sunshine – but you can’t enjoy the rainbow without a little rain, right?

My perspective and view on life are a trillion time different from the Lisa who had just moved into her forever home with my handsome husband and I’ve got to tell you this…

My life today is richer, fuller, HAPPIER, healthier and now has more depth.

My life today ensures that I am not just living the same year 40 times in a row and calling that a life.

I’ve learnt that happiness and success is about spending life in your own way. There is no “wrong way”. Live a life that feels right to you… nothing’s more fun than doing something that somebody said you can’t.

Each and every day now gets lived, so even though we still have frustrations and miss our loved ones back in Canada, I’m not sure there is a more beautiful thing to discover about life then to truly live each and every day. Stop focusing so much on living a perfect life that you forget to live.


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The Pretty

My lovely, I have learned that there will be times in your life when all of your instincts will tell you to do something. Something that will defeat logic, upset your plans and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications and just go for it.

I’ve learnt that life isn’t necessarily about the happy ending… it’s about the story.

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Enjoy Life,
L


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MOVIE STARS FOR A DAY – Take 2

Shall we pick up from where we left off in Take 1? If you haven’t read it yet, I am sorely disappointed in you. And so is your Mother. So read it. Now. Thank you 🙂

MOVIE STARS FOR A DAY – Take 2 begins now… AND ACTION!!!

(Quiet on set, we are now rolling)

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I get super excited AGAIN and tell John:

“TOMORROW WE ARE GOING TO BE IN A MOVIE!!!!”

John’s reaction is NOT what I was expecting. I just ASSUMED that he would be just as excited as I was, but he sure put the ass in me (see what I did there?)

Not only is John not nearly excited as I am, he is not excited in the slightest. IN FACT, he has the nerve to be not very impressed WHATSOEVER! I am extremely confused as to his reaction and cannot understand why he isn’t jumping off the ceiling after I told him that we were going to be in a movie the next day! (Now to be clear, I realize that I potentially have made it sound as if John totally blew his fuse and berated me… but there was no abuse involved at all. Or yelling. Not even voice raising. God, he’s so patient…)

The funny thing is is that John just kind of looks at me with a look that says “What have you done?” … He knows me so well. RIGHT before we moved from Calgary I was only 1% away from submitting John’s photos to a modelling agency without telling him. I was certain that he would be scooped up right away and would be walking the runway with Giselle. I know what you’re thinking, why would I want my husband to walk the runway with GISELLE!? Because I trust him and my jealous days are behind me. How cool would it be to transform from mathematician to supermodel man?! Pretty cool right? I didn’t think he would feel the same way, which is why I didn’t tell him my trick up my sleeve. But I spilled the beans during our 3,500 hour road trip to Chicago.

Okay, okay.. back to the story of being movie stars. I tell him what I’ve done and how I submitted some photos of him, etc, etc… and next thing I know I get an email saying that we are booked to work TOMORROW! FOR A MOVIE! I try to convince him how awesome it all was, but he wasn’t biting. I told him that the email said it would only take 3-4 hours and then we could retire from our movie careers. He begrudginly agrees.

And that is when I tell him that the location is in Ukrainian Village (about a 3o min drive) for early morning the next day. This makes John even MORE unimpressed as he was VERY much looking forward to not waking up to an alarm clock on his Saturday morning. Fair enough, but I mean… how often does this opportunity come around!? I am able to convince him by reminding him that it is only 3-4 hours and that it is a “once in a lifetime opportunity”. Finally, because he loves me so and realizes that he doesn’t have an out… he is sold.

We have a celebratory drink and then we hit the sack to get some good shut eye before our big debut. I cannot sleep for the life of me because I had no idea what to wear. The ONLY info that we received was to wear “dressy casual” for a “baby viewing party”. That’s it. At this point we had no idea what the movie was even about or who was cast in it. I had no idea what the hell a baby viewing party even was. I still don’t. Finally, instead of sleeping I settled on 3 options to wear for the next day. When I woke up extra early the next day to do my hair and makeup, I pulled the options out. When John saw two of the options I had pulled he had said something along the lines of “I regret to inform you that clubbing attire and sparkly sequence dresses are not baby viewing material.” He was so right…. but the “dressy casual” part was playing with my mind… what would that be considered in Hollywood!? You tell me.. So I settled on my third option.

When we arrived on set, even John was a little bit excited at this point. We parked and saw the Brownstone where they were filming. It looked so neat. We were told to go into this crappy church to sign in. There were maybe 8 round tables with people scattered around them and I figured that these must be the other extras. We sat down at a table and tried to be friendly to a couple of men, but they weren’t all that interested in chit chat with us. I can take a hint and I’m happy not to participate in awkward small talk with people who don’t want to talk to me. One guy was even chewing tobacco and spitting in to a plastic cup. Gross.

John and I kept looking around at the awkwardness of the entire situation and I tried to avoid eye contact with John’s eyes that I’m sure were screaming “You dragged me out here for this?!” Without having the courage to look him in the eye, I muttered a quick “sorry”.

Eventually we all had to line up for Wardrobe to go over our looks, and thanks to John, we were the only ones who got the thumbs up from Wardrobe and didn’t have to change… I most definitely was not the only one who was confused as to what “dressy casual” for a baby party was… them other girls thought they were going clubbing as well!

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Proof he was a little bit excited too…

 

We sat back down and I figured we were going to be called any minute to do our scene so we could leave. We had already been there for two hours, so we only had to be there for another hour or so… two hours at most. Au contraire, mon frère! We sat around for hours… literally hours. Finally people started to talk to us and we quickly realized that we were the only newbies. These people were serious. Like legit serious. They were trying to make it to the big screens and were “pros” at being extras. Because I’m such an ass I had extreme difficulty in taking these people seriously as they told us the rules for being extras… we were NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE to make ANY eye contact with any of the actors/actresses. We were NOT TO SPEAK unless spoken to. And when you are told to jump, you dare not talk back to ask how high… you just DO AS TOLD! It all seemed so serious to me.. and ridiculous. I used to bump into the CEO from my company back home in the elevator and the hallway quite often.. and guess what? He looked me in the eye and would joke and make small talk with me. If the CEO wasn’t too good for me, surely these actors weren’t either. Does that make me conceited?

I did my absolute best to keep my mouth shut and not shoot out any sarcastic comments. One or two popped out, but I still consider that to be a success of biting my tongue. I could tell John was thinking the exact same thing that I was thinking… Why are these guys making such a fuss over this, and how do these people think that they are going to be making it big when all that we had to do was send over a few photos the day before to “get the job”… it’s not THAT hard. That probably makes me conceited too.

FINALLY we got called to go outside and to line up outside of the brownstone home. We literally stood in a line as if we were being picked for Red Rover teams in elementary school (why would that game ever get banned?! It was AWESOME! Makes ya tough!) So there we all are, a bunch of wannabe schmunks, standing in a line on a brisk, chilly morning without daring to make eye contact with anybody but the squirrels. Two people eventually came over to us schmucks, didn’t say a word, looked us all over as if they were the Marine Sergents and picked four people out of the probably 20 or so people there. Somehow, John and I were part of those picked. We were mostly excited to go inside as it was seriously really cold that morning… the email failed to mention to bring winter jackets.

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Where the “magic” happened. I know it looks warm, but it wasn’t. Blue skies being all deceiving..

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We were picked – whoop! whoop!

The four of us followed the cast crew inside like cattle. When we got inside the Brownstone, we saw two famous people. I will not tell names, but they are both well known for sitcom series. I was EXTRA excited to see the actress as she is from Canada, therefore I figured we would bond over our Canadianism. Nope. It was really weird inside… I’d much prefer to get caught in an elevator with my prior CEO than these people. All that kept running through my mind was that I better not sneeze or look at anyone. We were placed and John got to sit on a couch close to the actress. I was SO jealous that he was going to bond over Canadianism with her instead of me. I had to stand in a hall so that the actor could walk past me to the actress. THAT was the scene. And we were inside REPEATING the same effin thing for TWO HOURS STRAIGHT!!! I forgot to tell you that I get bored REALLY easily and after the first 30 times of redoing that scene I was ready to go home. But it wouldn’t be Hollywood if they didn’t redo it 3,333 more times just to get that perfect shot.

Finally, the extras were told to go back outside. I figured that it was time for John and I to go home now! YAY! I was so excited to be finished! When we got outside, ALL THOSE OTHER POOR SCHMUCKS were still waiting outside!!! They now had chairs, but I felt so awful for them!  We had figured that all the other extras were sent home… NOPE! They were still outside FREEZING!!!! Little did I know that we would be joining the other schmucks to freeze outside for the next few HOURS! Eventually, John overheard some work crew guy say that lunch would be in two hours. I figured that John and I would be gone by then so I started to google places we could venture to afterwards to reward John for being such a patient hubby and coming along with me. Except two hours had passed and we were still sitting outside….

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I was not the only bored one…

Then we heard “lunch will be at 5:00pm” … isn’t that dinner time? I figured that we would still be gone by then, so tried to calm my teeth from their constant chattering. Sadly, we were around for the 5:00pm lunch time and at that point, I figured that we could scarf down our food and then peace out. And truthfully, I was kind of excited for an elaborate actor’s lunch… the other extras bragged about how they always get fed so well, so my expectations were way too high when we were served dry, boiled chicken with microwaved broccoli. I was bored, cold, and sad that I dragged John along for this, and was sick of hearing all these wannabe actors talk about how they are going to update their IMDb accounts with this “extra work”. Um… you guys just sat outside for the whole entire day!?? But before the schmucks were allowed to eat their “lunch” everybody had to wait for everybody else to eat first and you still had to be on your best behaviour not to talk to them or look at them.

Over lunch, we started talking to people who told us that this was a normal day as an extra and that only certain kinds of people were cut out for this. I agreed. I tried to whisper my apologies to John for wasting a Saturday on this and I told him that we would just leave right after lunch. I went over to the “casting director” and told him that John and I had to leave as we were only told that the scene would take 3-4 hours and now we were having a lunch at 5pm. I told him that our puppy had to be let out because he’s been alone all day as we were not expecting the day to be this long. And cold. And boring. (I didn’t mention those last two points.)

The “casting director” looked at me with a look of utmost confusion. He was flabbergasted to say the least! Like sincerely flabbergasted. Apparently, when you have the “honor” to be an extra… people don’t just leave. They are thankful to have gotten the opportunity, etc and this was a first time he or the extras had ever heard of extras leaving before they were told they were able to. I was adamant to the guy that John and I had to leave by 6:30pm at the latest and sat back down, proud of myself for standing up for myself.

This is the best part and this is when I should now tell you that THIS WAS NOT EVEN A PAID JOB!! FOR ANY OF THE EXTRAS!!! WE WERE ALL VOLUNTEERING OUR TIME!

This pissed me off. Here I am being TOLD that I am not permitted to leave when I am volunteering my time? Holy Dina! I almost went all Diva like… surely they couldn’t kidnap us all! But I didn’t. I go back and tell this to John and I am adamant that we are leaving at 6:30pm NO MATTER WHAT!

And then.. at 6pm John gets called to do his couch-sitting scene again. I figure that it should only take about 30 minutes this time around as last time it look so long they couldn’t possibly need him for longer than 30 minutes. Like c’mon, a person is literally walking ten feet to another person… It could NOT take more than 30 mins. And then we would be able to leave… HURRAH! I assumed that only John had been called because I had pissed off the casting director and he was punishing me by not being in the scene with John. Fine by me! At 6:45p, John comes back inside… I go all Ikea Commercial on him and tell him to get in the car! I almost toss him the keys, tell him to run and then…. I hear my name being called. Shit. I am called back to do the scene.

I am at a crossroads and decide to just shut the hell up and participate. But I cannot get poor Ernie’s exploding bladder out of my mind. I figure if I hurry then it won’t take long. Nope… FINALLY at 8:30pm, they are done filming the scene where I stand and the actor walks by me.

During the whole day, the actress was stuck up, wouldn’t talk or look to anybody but the Director or the other Actor, and would suddenly need a drink before they were reading to say “ACTION!” And of course her drink of choice was not in the vicinity. I got over my earlier jealousy of John being so close to her and there were many times throughout the day that her and I were face to face. Literally. And she would not make eye contact with me! And trust me, I tried! It almost became a game to me. At one point, I thought that I would force her to make eye contact with me, but she simply looked at my forehead. Seriously?! What a stuck up son of a gun…. you’re disappointing another Canadian, lady! In a last ditch effort to bond over our Canadianism, I loudly whispered “Go Canada” at her. She gave me the most pathetic sound/laugh and still did not make eye contact with me. How rude.

That ticked me off, so as I was leaving the scene, I took out my phone and snapped an unflattering photo of her. I was really sneaky about it but the other extras who saw were horrified on my behalf. I didn’t care. It’s not like I had an IMDb account to update.

In my failed attempt to become an extra on Chicago Fire or Chicago PD, I somehow had managed to get my husband and I roles as extra in a friggin movie that probably won’t even make the big screens.

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Not sure how but John managed to capture this photo of the actor walking by me

As we drove home after our 12+hour day on set (for which we did not get a penny for… legally we wouldn’t have been able to accept it anyhow, but it’s all about principle, people!) with a bunch of wannabe actors who will also likely never be an extra on Chicago Fire or get their 15 minutes of fame. Am I judgemental? Yes! One girl was moving two LA in two weeks time to live her dreams… I asked her about her plans once she got there and she didn’t have ANY! NOTHING! I assumed she must have a sweet resume or something, but her clubbing’ dress didn’t seem to help her out there either. Another girl was still living with her parents and doing free extra work was her “job”. Call me judgemental, but that shit wouldn’t fly with my parents.

As we were leaving, I withheld myself “Peace Out, beyotches!”ing the extras. What that other extra had said to me was so very accurate… “there are only certain kinds of people cut out for this” – surely, I am NOT one of them… but if volunteering 12 hours of your day to stand outside in the cold is your cup of tea, drink up sister!

As a side note, John was incredibly sweet and never gave me a hard time about our shit day together. He even told me on the drive home that maybe one day it’ll be a cool story to tell. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have the most supportive and patient husband to put up with me and my shenanigans. Thanks for loving me.

To any extras or wannabe actors out there who I’ve offended, my apologies. At least you’ve gotten rid of two more potential competitors as I hope to never do that again… unless it’s for Chicago Fire or Chicago PD (call me)

Enjoy Life,
L