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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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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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


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Why Ordering A Steak and Finding A Doctor Are More Similar Than You Thought

It happens to everyone… There’s always that one restaurant that gets you…

You’re on vacation in another country and everybody you run into keeps on recommending this one restaurant. They keep telling you amazing the food is. How they use local ingredients. How you just have to go.. just have to try it…

So you cave under the pressure and temptation. You dazzle yourself up and you are already salivating on your way to the restaurant. You walk through the front door, and you’re mesmerized by the ambiance. The smell, the décor, the people… you are so excited to join these people and share in this experience. You patiently wait for your server to seat you. They bring you water, light the candle on the table, and give you the menu.

Finally the menu! You tried looking online to see what the menu would look like, but this restaurant keeps their menu a secret from online lurkers. You smile at your dining companion and share a moment of excitement, and you slowly open up the menu that houses all the great food choices.

At first, you think that your eyes are playing tricks on you but then suddenly you realize that the menu is in a whole other language. You have no idea what these words say or what these symbols mean. When the server comes back, you try to ask questions about the menu while pretending that you can read gibberish, but the server doesn’t offer any tips onto what the menu actually says.

You decide you’ll just order a steak. That’s simple, surely a steak is on the menu somewhere. So you the waiter comes back and you try to order a steak… The server then asks you what kind of steak you would like:

1) Gibberish

2) Gibberish

3) Gibberish

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You settle on Option 2 because you like the twinkle in the server’s eye when they explained it in a foreing language you didn’t understand. They then asked how you would like it cooked, so you choose “medium”. The server then goes on a tangent that the chef recommends Option 2 cooked as rare because of “more gibberish….”. So you agree to whatever the chef says.

The server then asks you if you would like to add a whole whack load of side dishes onto your steak, none of which you recognize. You cannot recall what any of the names sounded like so you just say, “just the steak is fine, thank you.” The server thinks you are strange.

The server then asks which sauce you would prefer… again… all you want is the steak, cooked medium, and maybe some steamed vegetables and hell, even a potato too, but you just tell the server to choose a sauce since the chef likely has a suggestion anyhow.

Finally, the ordeal is over and you are left stressed out, panicked, have no idea how much this steak is going to cost you, and you just want to go home. But first with a pit stop to grab a burger.

One of the main questions that our fellow Canadian pals ask us is if we have healthcare. Short answer is ‘yes’, and then they start to ask me questions from there. Short answer to those questions is typically “I don’t know”.

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Similar to ordering a steak in the above mentioned restaurant, trying to find a new family doctor is just as confusing and stressful. If not more. Back home in Canada, you can just call any Doctor’s office and ask if any doctors are accepting new patients. If they are, there you have a new doctor. If they aren’t, you continue calling until you find one. Easy as pie.

But here, it is so much more complicated. There are all of these code words, there are special networks that the Doctor has to fall under, you have to research to see if the family doctor meets cost and efficiency quality, they ask you tens of thousands of questions about your health care plan to which none of the answers are on your card. They talk in acronyms and a secret language that a typical Canadian would not understand.

Never in my entire life have I ever had to worry about how much seeing a Doctor would cost… it’s a strange thought to get used to!

“One sinusitis please”
“That’ll be $500.”

 

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no shame

It’s really weird to get used to. And no, I’m not complaining about having to pay. It’s just odd to someone who never used to ever have the thought cross their mind. And please hold all arguments about who has a better health care system, because frankly I’m not choosing a side, nor am I in any situation what so ever to select a side. I’m sure they are both wonderful in their own ways, and both have faults in their own ways.

I called a few Doctor Offices to try and find us a new family doctor. After each phone call, I felt absolutely silly and ridiculous. I tried to be prepared for questions they would ask, but you can’t be prepared for everything that you don’t know. I felt completely defeated in trying to find us a new doctor. It’s like trying to order a steak in a restaurant where nobody else speaks English.

We also have found out that there are three different kinds of places to go depending on what your situation is. I won’t bore you with the proper names of the places, nor does it really matter, so to simplify things they shall be numbered.

Place 1 is where you go if you have a paper cut

Place 2 is where you go if you have a broken bone

Place 3 is where you go if you have been shot

We have been warned that you better not go to Place 2 if really your condition justifies a visit to Place 1. You will be charged an extra premium. You have to know which Place to go to depending on your situation… that is weird. Nor is there a magic list that tells you where your condition falls, these are just things that people know. So if you have a really terrible sprain, do you go to Place 1 or to Place 2? What happens if you go to Place 1 but they tell you that you really should be at Place 2? Turns out that if you are badly injured and/or ill, there is a magic number that you call and they will tell you where to go… but they only tell you one place that you must go to and if you go somewhere else, then pigs might has well fly. But who the hell wants to call some 1-800 number only to talk to some computer who then commands them to go somewhere (when God knows if it is even within a 10 mile radius) when all you want is a gosh darn doctor.  So much to consider. I grew up in a small town where practically everything justified a trip to the E.R… because that was really the only option. So this is a whole new world to people like me…

At the end of the day, I’m still trying to figure out how to order a Family Doctor. If only it was as simple as placing an order for “one family doctor” please. Maybe one day I’ll understand all of these acronyms and secret codes, and if that day ever does come I look forward to it. Until then, I’ll have a medium rare ribeye, with a side of sautéed mushrooms, and a super loaded baked potato.

Actually, my lovely,… hold off on the potato, I’m not sure if I should go to Place 1 or Place 2 for high cholesterol.

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** Note: I wrote this back in July and since then we have actually gone to the Doctor, Dentist and Eye Doctor… will spill the goods soon

Enjoy Life,

L


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A Year Ago Today… And NOW!

A year ago today, John and I came to Chicago to celebrate our first wedding anniversary together. We had five days off and we narrowed our options down to Mexico, Vegas, California and Chicago. John had been to Chicago before to visit his parents when his Dad had worked here for 3 years and he always told that I would love it. So, because of an awesome Flight Centre package deal we saw Chicago was the chicken dinner! Thank you, Flight Centre!

I loved Chicago from the very first night that we had spent here. We didn’t get to our hotel until about 9:00pm but there was no way that we were just going to have a quiet night and shut it down early. So we spruced ourselves up and went exploring! That night we discovered our favourite place to go, which to this day is still our favourite place to go! The nachos, $4 beer, ambiance and location won us over and they keep winning us over again, again and again!

 

 

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THEN – at the Bean

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NOW – at the Bean

During our five days here, we did a lot of exploring, eating, drinking, Cubs baseballing and shopping! A perfect way to spend your first anniversary together, wouldn’t you agree!? We took a gazillion pictures and we dreamed out loud about moving to Chicago. We were just playing make belief but we dreamed about working together again in the same building downtown, buying a cool loft condo smack downtown and living the urban life, going to all these trendy spots during the week because we were so cool, etc, etc. But then we would play devil’s advocate and go on about how much we would miss our family, friends, our friends kids, our Calgary life which was safe, simple and the norm. We went on about how if we did live the Chicago life how John would have to work 2,000 hours per week and how we would never have time to live the cool lifestyle… but we never stopped talking about our make belief life even after we got home.

We would watch Mike & Molly and whenever we would see the skyline on the intro to the show we would sigh a dramatic sigh snuggled up together in our home in the ‘burbs. We would go on and on and on about how green the grass must be on the other side, and then we would come back to reality and give our heads a shake. There was no way we were moving to Chicago. Ever. We loved our Calgary home and the chances of us ever leaving Calgary because of John’s job were slimmer than a Slim Jim.

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Until…. there were some hypothetical knocks on John’s door bribing him to bring his family to the US. We ho’d and hummed and thought “what the hell” let’s see what could happen…. turns out moving to Chicago a couple months later is exactly what not only could happen, but did happen! Like every big decision, there has been highs and there has been lows, but we wouldn’t have done a damn thing differently (well that’s not true… we would never have sold our townhouse and bought our “forever home” only to sell it 6 months later… but aside from that.)

A year ago today, we were in Chicago as tourists dreaming about John and I working together in the Aon building. Living in a loft condo downtown. Doing trendy things and going to trendy places. Wearing weird clothes that I would never wear in Calgary. A year ago today, we stayed in the Hard Rock Hotel and ate frozen yogurt in River North. We shopped in the Loop. We went sight seeing. A year ago today, we had suitcases to take us back to our reality back in Canada….

 

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Fro Yo

Today, we are living smack downtown Chicago. We are not working together in the same building, but the job situation is even better than what either of us could have predicted. We do trendy things and go to trendy places. I’ve never heard of a “wine flight” until we moved here. I wear weird clothes like jumpsuits and scarfs in my hair. A year ago I was sad that we didn’t get to end up seeing Buckingham Fountain. Buckingham Fountain is now our neighbour and Ernie and I walk by it every single day. Today we are living a life that we dreamed about a year ago… except our reality is far greater than our dream!

 

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My First Wine Flight

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My Second Favorite Neighbour

Lovely, it’s funny how life can change so much in a year… it’s funny in the best way possible. I can’t wait to see what life has in store for the next year ahead!

Enjoy Life,
L


8 Comments

A “Lovely” Surprise

Is there anything better than getting a surprise package in the mail?! (Now, my smart lovely, that was a rhetorical question so I do not expect a list of things that are better than a surprise package in the mail) (However, if you have plenty of time on your hands, please do send a list of things that are in fact better…)

After our fave hooligans left to go back home to Canada after an incredible visit that you can read about here (or just look at pictures), I was feeling a little bit sad. I had gotten accostomed to having people around me all day and night! I had gotten used to having funness surround me! But inevitably, the crazy cats had to go home to Calgary and reality set in again… maybe I was a little bit homesick!?

UNTIL….  in the middle of all the bills and boring stuff that normally comes in the mail, I noticed a brown squishy envelope addressed to ME! From a friend from back home! From a friend who I had always loved spending time with, but for some reason we didn’t spend tons of time together! I was both surprised and excited to see her name as the return address.

I tore that baby wide open! Inside I found a beautiful Kate Spade post card with the most lovely message on it that left me utterly speechless, touched, warm and fuzzy feeling, and loved… Her message was totally unexpected and not only was I completely surprised, but also taken aback (in the best way possible!)

She wrote on to tell me that she loves reading my blog and she looks forward to it every single day. She told me that I am an inspiration to her and that what I say resonates with her. She thanked me for inspiring her! ME!? She told me that she admires what we have done and that she enjoys reading about our journey.

After I read her beautiful post card, I found a beautiful Stella & Dot necklace that she had made for me… and on this necklace, there was one word that she had engraved. What was that word? Well, my lovely, it was “lovely”. Cue “awww” from audience… Tender, right!?

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Tell me, would that not have tucked at your heart strings!? I went on and on to John for the whole evening about how kind, sweet, nice, thoughtful, etc, etc she was and even now as I am typing this I have a smile on my face. I immediately texted her thanking her for her sweet surprise, but I feel that she deserves her own special, “public” shout out for making my insides ooey n’ gooey!

So thank you, Mrs. You Know Who You Are, thank you so very much. I appreciate the post card equally as much as the necklace. I appreciate the thought of you even sending me anything at all.

Whenever I wear my necklace, I will think of you and smile.

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Thank you, Lovely 🙂

Enjoy Life,
L


19 Comments

Our Fave Hooligans Came For A Visit!

So, after not posting anything for about a week and a half… I’m baaaaaackkkk, KIDS!!! !! Where have I been you ask? Well, our friends from back home came to visit us and it was such an amazing visit! They stayed with us in our one bedroom, one bathroom apartment and never once did I want to lock myself in my room to escape from them! They are FUN!

What did we get up to you? LOTS! I was so excited for the whole entire day that they were coming that I drove John completely nuts with all my texts, etc. I drove him even more nuts at the airport and he kept trying to get me to sit down, but I couldn’t! What if we missed them coming down the escalator? What if I wasn’t able to greet them with the sign that I made for them!?

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Now there are only a handful of people who I would ever do this to…. and Stacy & Jeff are most definitely two of them. I knew that Stacy and I would be fast friends when she brought me the board game “Operation” after I had woken up from surgery. True love right there, lovely, true love.

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John had to work on the Friday they they were here, so we decided to go to Navy Pier! Naturally we had to ride the Ferris Wheel so we lined up with the kidlets and went on a fun ride.. Stacy is a brave, brave girl!

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Aren’t they the cutest!?

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After the Ferris Wheel, we explored Navy Pier and since it was such a hot, sunny and beautiful morning we decided that a morning beer was due. It hit us all much harder than you would expect and before you know it Stacy was telling strangers that we were Polygamists. Naturally, I was wife 2 and belonged on Jeff’s right side. We are controversial Polygamists.

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Polygamists enjoying a morning beer


Now, I’m not going to tell you abso-freaking-lutely everything that we did, but I’ll give you a glimpse of SOME of the highlights:
– Deep Dish Pizza
– Rooftop Wine Drinking
– A Cubs Game

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– Lots and lots of strolls
–  Gelato and coffee
– The Bean

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– Lots and lots of photobombing
– The Purple Pig
– Second City (John and Jeff both made it up onto Stage…. much to Jeff’s dismay which was the funniest part! They were AWESOME!!! Great sports!)

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Jeff on Stage

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– While Stacy got her shopping on at Macy’s, Jeff and I went up to the top of the John Hancock building and we TILTED

 

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It was way cooler than I thought it was going to be!

– Lots and lots of shopping
– Highfiving strangers
– Tons and tons of laughs
– Even more tons and tons of funness!!!!

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We had so much fun with these hooligans and I cannot wait to see them again! Thank you for making the trip to come and see us, S&J! We love you to itsy bits pieces and Chicago welcomes you back anytime!

OH! How can I make such a post without sharing the adorable photo that Stacy took of Mr. Ernie?!

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It was so nice to have a little taste of home for a few days! They brought us REAL smarties, coffee crisp, maple syrup and maple butter. They said “eh”, “hey”, “sorry”, and “you’re welcome”. They pronounced Chicago as “Chi-kaw-go” rather than “Sh-kaw-gaaah” and they also like ketchup on their hot dogs. As much as I love “Sh-kaw-gaah” there is just something so warm, friendly and fuzzy about a Canadian hug!  Oh – it was also nice to know that they were equally as terrified about the “no gun” signs everywhere.

We love and miss you guys already!!

That was a fun visit, hey?!

Enjoy Life,
L