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Winnipeg: What Wonders Await?


So here I am in Winnipeg.

Discovering that the curtains don’t close over the white blinds isn’t exactly a night owl’s dream.

Being woken up at precisely 6:00am by my morning lark sweetie (and not for sex)- also not delightful. And I’m all about delightful. It’s a damn good thing he’s cute and conscious of my AM limitations.

After rolling over and trying to get back to sleep I decided to get up and start the day. I opened the blinds and welcomed the sunlight, begrudgingly at that hour, but welcomed nonetheless.  I pulled up the crisply dressed all in fluffy white bed, and welcomed some quiet, ‘me time’.

The day takes me a while to ease in to you see, and I’m still adjusting to someone who is a morning person. Sweet love of Jesus, help us both.First of all, I can’t see a damn thing any more without my specs, but I can usually get to the washroom ok. Excess noise (as in anyone speaking words other than, “Would you like a coffee honey” makes my blood pressure raise in a flight or fight response, and I become at risk for a stroke, or homicide.

Despite not having my glasses on, I did spot a giant, black bug in the crack between the tub and the tiles. Suddenly I needed my glasses. Very nice. Sweetie of course was no where to be found. He was either in the gym, pool, or walking around doing some such nonsense that normal people wait to do until noon.

I was stuck with the bug.

I decided it likely wasn’t going anywhere to quickly. Big bugs aren’t like the little wirey bastards that skitter around like crack addicts. Given my AM logic, I proceeded to the in-room coffee station to make what I hoped would be passable joe.

I opted for a flip flop over a running shoe, simply because the sole is flat and I figured there’d be no losing the damn thing in the arc of the toe, or the deep grooves in the tread. Flip-flop samurai. Mission accomplished.

The coffee was a let-down, but I knew what to expect. The local Starbucks sign just down the street was taunting me, but I’m a strong woman, and I can wait until we hit the road later on today.

With my weak coffee and morning fog still lifting, I decided I would find a nice, easy jazz station to listen to while I started my first day of vacation with some writing. Right. I managed to tune in to a full-blast version of ‘Dirty Deeds’, and a twenty year old Trisha Yearwood song that reminds me of my days on the California coast. Seriously, Winnipeg? Really? This is what you’re listening to…le sigh.

I sent a quick text to my kiddo (the reason I’m here), and we laughed about the bug and my morning struggles, and in the end, were thankful to be here, together.

After my early morning of watery coffee, 70’s country and rock, and beatles in the bathtub, I don’t think this fair city can disappoint. It can only charm me….after 10:00 am of course.

In the mean-time, there is sunshine and vespers on Jazz 107.



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Water: The Element of Truth

Marina Cay, BVI
Marina Cay, BVI

When I was a little girl, I fell in love. I fell head over heals in love. With a boat. My beloved allowed me to romp and roam, never do my hair, or care what I wore. There was a freedom in that loving that was so innocent and complete, that it has stayed with me, and never left.

In my youth, I would spend hours climbing down the clay cliffs along Lake Erie, and sit on the rock wall watching the waves roll by. Stormy weather was always my favourite, when the water seemed to speak to me, and the timeless knowledge of stillness that it taught would seep deep into my tender bones.

It never left even as I moved further away from a shoreline. The water has always had a pull that some call seductive. In my case, it’s a matter of survival. For too long I have been landlocked; working, momming, worrying about what comes next.

Estrangement from family at a young age is a wild and wonderful thing. Although there is no anchoring in genealogy or tradition, it gives you the freedom to heal and create a life of your choosing. Having done that, I have a visceral knowledge of the famous lyrics, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose“.

So, as I felt my breathing become more shallow, my anxiety at the breaking point, and my heart void of the ability to recognize hope or joy, I took a leap of faith. Instead of a sterile all-inclusive getaway, I put my money and my favour on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a crew of 8 on a sailing adventure through the British Virgin Islands.

A sailing course would have been a good idea, but I tend to jump in feet first. Sink or swim. Love it or hate it. I (gulp)…committed.

I did very little of the ‘sailing’ and a lot of learning. Having had some experience on a boat with regard to the importance of speed and preparedness, I did what I could, and tried to stay out of the way.

JVD White BayYears of counseling and working in crisis situations has given me a keen sense of relationship dynamics, and having a new group together in a confined space for a period of 10 days is a telling crucible. Boats and water have a wonderful way of distilling our personalities and revealing the most miniscule cracks. Flaws that were easy to ignore on land, burst open and whether you like it or not, you’ve gotta face whatever it is.  Water has a wonderful way of washing away the superficial crud of every day. It is a truth-revealing element.

During this particular adventure, I gained a new respect for people I’ve known casually for a long time, a clear picture of who the new folks really are, and let’s just say the ugliness of another was rinsed to sparkling, and filed in the ‘Barnacles of Life’ pile and left to dry in the sun like discarded sea-creature entrails.

The ocean is vast and claustrophobic all at once. Once upon a time someone told me that when they stood on the cliffs and looked out over Lake Erie that they were at the end of the world. I knew that we were not kindred spirits. When I stood on those same cliffs and looked out over the lake with nothing but water, horizon and sky, I always felt like I was just at the beginning of everything.Sunset Boat 3

When I was a tom-boyish ten year old, with wild hair and sunkissed skin, I often dreamed of one day living on  a boat and being rocked to sleep by the sound of the water lapping at the hull. As a workaholic adult, I finally got the chance, if only for a couple of weeks.

It was just enough to reset my mind and body. It was enough to throw open the weathered shutters of fatigue and allow sunlight to shine on hope again.

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Vacation Planning Tips

Life is a trip!
Life is a trip!

They say that the anticipation of your vacation is as much of a high as the actual vacation.

I would have to agree. Although, I also am going to throw an idea out there; when you’re too busy to enjoy the anticipation of the vacation, you’re far over-due for a getaway.

That seems to be the case at my place. On top of an already hectic schedule, I have had to pre-organize meals and lunches. Even the weekend is booked solid with kiddy obligations, leaving me precious little time to clean and prepare for the people who are coming to fill in while I’m away.

Then there are logistics, schedules, emergency numbers, travel insurance and last-minute packing items.

Someone suggested going to a tanning bed to get a ‘base’ so I don’t burn. Who has time?! Yesterday was a 14 hour workday.  This all explains why I’m kinda known for my famous Irish suntan.

So far, it’s been just a hectic anxiety ridden rush to keep up at home and work. It was only yesterday when I booked my final pre-holiday spa visit to take care of the finer bits that it began to sink in…just a few more days until my chubby porcelain-white buns will be resting on a sailboat in the Caribbean. Ahhh…….

The following is not so much a list of tips, but a reminder to fit in travel necessity planning if you have an already busy schedule;

1) Book your spa time to coincide with your departure; bikini and any other necessary waxing, pedicure, manicure and most importantly about an hour while your tootsies soak to unwind while you flip through the latest edition of your fave fashion magazine.

2) Book your airline limo. Let’s face it, no one is going to offer to drive you to the airport in the wee hours of the morning while it’s minus-this-is-crazy-degrees-Celsius out there.

3) Flight and emergency information emailed to anyone who may care where you are and when you should be home.

4) Currency exchange. Have enough cash stashed to get you there and back, including your pre-flight anti-anxiety bottle of wine – mimosa if it’s a morning flight. Mimosa’s don’t count as alcohol when you’re on vacation darling.

5) Plastic zipper bags. Oh yah – best thing to take on holiday. It will save your luggage from leaking beauty products. Zip them and go my sweets.

Don’t forget to dream a little, and relax while you’re away. Have fun, and remember what it’s like to be carefree.