Category Archives: Life

Home is a Person

The moment has arrived for me to write about some unbloggable things… things that overtook my brain and made it impossible for me to write anything else, but I couldn’t write what I wanted either, so I just quit writing. It’s taken until now for me to feel comfortable putting it out on the public web!

Jurjen and I like to call each other “retro boyfriend” and “retro girlfriend” because we recycled each other from 2000. I mentioned in my last life update post that I had a boyfriend, and that we’d known each other for 14 years. He and I have been back together for about 7 months now and I’m more sure of him than I’ve ever been about anything in my life.

What I didn’t mention previously is that he lives in Ontario… over 4000 km away from me. I attended college in his hometown, and we dated while I was there. I moved back to Vancouver when I graduated, leaving him behind (I try really hard not to play the ‘if only’ game over this one!) We’ve been in a long-distance relationship for the last few months. It’s been great, and we’ve seen each other far more than I would have dared hope, but it isn’t sustainable with so much physical space between us.

In January, my landlord really put this to the test when he put my house up for sale – and it sold in a week! So we had to figure some housing things out, long before we wanted to be dealing with it seriously. Would I sign a lease with the new landlords? Would I get kicked out? Would I get a new apartment here in Vancouver where Jurjen could join me? Would I pick up and move to Ontario? We had so many good options, it was overwhelming to choose among them. The only thing I knew for sure is that my home would be with him.

Well, I’m happy to announce that I’M STAYING IN VANCOUVER! I’m still ironing out the housing details, but it will be here. I’m so happy to have my love join me in my hometown, to discover it again through his eyes and share my favourite spots with him, to be introducing him to all my favourite people, and to build a home together. He is still in Ontario, but we’ll be together in a few short months.

L & J

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A Long Overdue Update

Ahem. Is this thing on?

So I’ve been on a little hiatus. Truth be told, my life has been a (mostly awesome!) mess of Unbloggable Things for the last couple of months, and it’s all I can think about it, so it’s all I felt capable of writing about, except… see: Unbloggable Things. So I couldn’t write about the only things I could write about. So things went dead over here. But allow me to try to separate the wheat from the chaff and blog the bloggable parts of the Unbloggable Things.

Thing #1:

I have a new boyfriend.

Laura and Jurjen

His name is Jurjen (that’s pronounced like “Yurien”) and he’s Dutch, but he grew up mostly in Canada. This is us about a month ago at Shannon Falls on the way up to Whistler for a quick lil’ day trip.

He’s also my old boyfriend! I’ve known him for 14 years and he’s pretty much the best guy I’ve ever met. This, as you might imagine, is quite a long story that I will tell one day. For now, I will leave it at this: I’m just so content. This relationship feels at once comfortably familiar but also exciting & new, and it’s a really lovely combination.

Thing #2:

So many of my plans for the future have changed in the last couple of months and some are quite uncertain right now (UNBLOGGABLE THINGS!), and my planny little brain is having a hard time with the uncertainty. I am finding that in the absence of knowing how the chips are going to fall, my inspiration to work on any big life goals has basically gone up in a puff of smoke until I get some details nailed down. I am a girl who needs to know where my foundation is before I can attempt to soar. So the next few months will be dedicated to sorting out those details.

Thing #3:

I’m going on vacation on Friday.

Monday

I’m headed to Ontario, where I went to university. It’s the most glorious time of year there. Summers out there can be stifling with heat & humidity, and winters are freezing and snowy and drag on forever. But October? Gorgeous. I can’t wait for a break from work, visits to my old haunts, and seeing people I haven’t seen for a decade.

I can’t say when I’ll be back on a more regular schedule, but I will be back. Eventually!

June Highlights, July Intentions

Wow, did June ever just fly right on by. The year is half over! I’m not ready for this yet! Honestly, this month wasn’t the best, but let’s get to it:

June Highlights:

  • I hiked up Grouse Mountain (my personal Mount Everest, thankyouverymuch) for the first time this season. Let’s not discuss my time, ever. Or the fact that I lost my way and had to bush-whack my way through a swampy, mosquito-ey, overgrown mess to get back to the trail. Let’s blame my time on that, ok? Yes, let’s go with that.
  • I had a couple of friends over to my new apartment. I’ve been really resistant to this; I miss my old place something fierce, but I’m slowly getting there. I think a new sectional couch and rug for the living room would help matters immensely.
  • Won a gift certificate to a sports clothing sample sale and discovered a great new-to-me brand, Tonic.
  • Had a blast brunching and pitch ‘n putting with my dad & the rest of my family for Father’s Day.

    The parents, waiting to tee off at the pitch 'n putt golf course

    The parents, waiting to tee off at the pitch ‘n putt golf course

  • Tried dark dining – what a great experience!
  • I made a cake from scratch for my sister’s birthday using Joy the Baker’s White Chocolate Rose Cake recipe, and it was a huge hit!

    White chocolate strawberry rose cake with real rose petals

    White chocolate strawberry rose cake with real rose petals

  • Went on one horribly boring first date and one fun one with a super guy that I unfortunately had no chemistry with.
  • Spent half the month unable to hike or do yoga due to my neck & shoulder going out. This is related to my back injury and the type of flare-up that really gets me down because it throws me off my exercise schedule.

How did I do on my June intentions?

  • Go live with the custom blog header that Karlyn made for me – YUP! Click through to check out the new look if you haven’t already!
  • Participate in Nicole‘s 30 Day Sugar Detox program. – I participated in this, lost about 2 pounds (not as much as I would have liked), finally kicked my daily sugar cravings, but didn’t fully complete the detox. I detailed my experience with it here.
  • I WILL NOT BAIL ON MY BOOK CLUB THIS MONTH. I WILL NOT BAIL ON MY BOOK CLUB THIS MONTH. I WILL NOT BAIL ON MY BOOK CLUB THIS MONTH. – I didn’t bail! But book club ended up being cancelled this month because literally everyone else bailed, so let’s call that a wash.
  • Celebrate my sister’s birthday this month without breaking my resolve to avoid sugary treats. I can celebrate with her without eating cake. – I made the cake myself, and I totally ate a piece. But I didn’t take any home with me, and I decided a couple weeks into the detox that I still want to enjoy sugar for special occasions, so this was in line with the way I want to eat.
  • Complete the Grouse Grind hike up Grouse Mountain this month. – Sure did!

July Intentions:

  • Finish unpacking the moving boxes in the spare room
  • Put artwork up on the walls in my apartment
  • Put some money towards paying off my line of credit
  • Go paddle-boarding
  • See Before Midnight in theatre as a solo date night
  • Go to a yoga class at the top of Grouse Mountain. My favourite yoga studio is doing a free class there every Sunday morning for the summer!
  • Go on at least a couple more dates that do not involve sitting at a cafe and interviewing each other for the position of boyfriend/girlfriend over a caffeinated beverage. I AM SO SICK OF THE FIRST DATE COFFEE-INTERVIEW.

Never Too Late

About a week ago, I got a very unexpected email at work. It was from an ex-roommate who had treated me very poorly, and I hadn’t spoken to her in about six years.

A little back-story: The longest romantic relationship I’ve ever been in lasted four years, and we were engaged to be married for the last year that we were together. (Sidebar: He unceremoniously dumped me for another girl and kicked me out of the house on my mother’s birthday. Happy birthday Mum, your heartbroken and shell-shocked adult daughter is moving back in with you!! He is very un-fondly referred to now as The Prince of Darkness by my family.) When I met him at the tender age of 23, he was living in a 3-bedroom apartment with two roommates, one girl and one guy. After about a year of dating, he had a huge falling-out with the male roommate, and kicked that guy out of the house. (ANYBODY SENSE A THEME HERE?!? Ugh.) He invited me to move in with him, and as I’d been wanting to do so for a long time, I said yes without giving it much thought.

Yup, I moved in with my boyfriend AND HIS FEMALE THIRD-WHEEL ROOMMATE.

He assured me that he’d run this scenario by Third Wheel and she was totally fine with it, and I’d always gotten along great with her. But from the moment I moved in, she was a Capital B Bitch. Minor spats and palpable tension between us grew for months, culminating in a blow-out fight between us and then we simply didn’t talk to each other after that. Ever. For any reason. If we were in the same room we just gave each other the silent treatment for over a year. It was the worst, and made my life at home very unpleasant. She finally moved into her own place after two years of living with my boyfriend and I in a very unfriendly environment. I never knew why she was so awful toward me.

The email I got last week was from her. She’s married now with a child, and she lives three hours away. She’s felt guilty about how she treated me for years, and finally decided to look me up and apologize to me. Apparently the Prince of Darkness did indeed ask her if she was okay with me moving in, and she had said no! But in his typical style, it was his way or the highway, and so he told her that was too bad and that I’d be moving in anyway. And then he never told me that Third Wheel didn’t want to be a third wheel. She was writing to me to let me know it was him that she’d really been upset with, but that she’d taken it out on me, and she was deeply sorry.

I was very touched that she reached out. Truth be told, I privately forgave her years ago, though I never spoke to her to tell her so. I don’t believe it’s healthy to hold onto anger that no longer serves you, so I forgave her for my own mental sanity. But I’d always been confused as to why she had acted that way.

I am glad I’d been able to give myself closure prior to this, or the new information about my ex might have upset me. But it was nice to have an explanation. Nice to hear the apology. And nice to hear what her life is like now. It takes a big dose of humility to admit you were wrong, especially so long after the fact. I think she’s a truly good person who just didn’t know how to handle being treated as totally inconsequential to decisions about her own living situation, and I got the brunt of it because she felt like she couldn’t stand up to him. (I often felt that way with him myself, so I can relate.)

We’re getting together for coffee next time she’s in town, to reconnect with a clean slate and on better terms. I’m so glad she reached out. It’s never to late to right a wrong.

May Highlights, June Intentions

It’s been a good, rather eventful month. I’m enjoying the pace of 2013 so far. We’re almost halfway through and I want to keep the momentum up.

May Highlights:

May means lots of hiking in the woods. Source: Grouse Mountain

May means lots of hiking in the woods. Source: Grouse Mountain

  • Found out one of my closest friends is pregnant with her second. I’m so excited for her.
  • Got a pedicure with a fun glittery colour for my vacation.
  • Took my mum out to a brunch spot she’s been wanting to try for ages with my family for Mother’s Day
  • Took a week and a half vacation from work and went down to Las Vegas to party with 64 other bloggers and knock an item off my life list – I saw Shania Twain perform!
  • Hit up Trader Joe’s in Bellingham, WA for some American grocery shopping action on the way home from my trip.
  • Attended the rehearsal dinner and wedding of a wonderful friend, Julia
  • Enjoyed quite the whirlwind romance that was over before I’d had a chance to absorb what was going on, after months of utter boredom on the love life front. It’s been… interesting!
  • Read two more books that I really enjoyed this month: I loved Requiem, which wrapped up the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver and was very pleased with the way it all ended. And I finally picked up Roomby Emma Donoghue after hearing about it for months, and devoured the entire story in one weekend. Definitely worth a read.

How did I do on my May intentions?

  • Let loose and enjoy lots of new friend time in Vegas! – Check!
  • Related: do not let TOO loose. Have 3 meals of whatever I want; make smart food choices the rest of the time. 3 alcoholic drinks per day. -I didn’t really track it, but I did alright on this front. I only gained 1 pound over my 6 day trip and lost it (plus more) quickly upon returning home.
  • Spend no more than $600 in Vegas on things that haven’t already been paid for. – Check!
  • Back on track healthwise when I return from Vegas: eliminate sweets from your diet for the rest of May. -I have had a few cookies but have mostly been eating well. Half check?
  • Complete a hike longer than my usual 1.5 hour hike before month end. -Oh, so close! It has been pouring rain since I’ve been back almost relentlessly, so I haven’t been out on the trails much. Finally the sunshine returned today so I met this goal two days late!

June Intentions:

  • My fabulous Vegas roommate Karlyn has made a custom blog header for me, so stay tuned to see that go live this month!
  • I’m participating in Nicole‘s 30 Day Sugar Detox program. I’m avoiding all sugar-laden snacks for this month and expecting to make some weight loss progress and some changes to the way I eat.
  • I WILL NOT BAIL ON MY BOOK CLUB THIS MONTH. I WILL NOT BAIL ON MY BOOK CLUB THIS MONTH. I WILL NOT BAIL ON MY BOOK CLUB THIS MONTH.
  • Celebrate my sister’s birthday this month without breaking my resolve to avoid sugary treats. I can celebrate with her without eating cake.
  • Complete the Grouse Grind hike up Grouse Mountain this month. I use this hike as a gauge of my fitness level because it’s technically very difficult and intense, and I have had to turn back without finishing it several times because if I don’t pace myself carefully I become dizzy. I’m hoping to finish in an hour and a half for my first run at it this season.

Bloggers in Sin City

A few months ago, I signed up to attend Bloggers in Sin City, and it finally happened this past weekend in Las Vegas. It was the best. And to illustrate just how great it was, this is going to be a photo-heavy post!

Honestly, the impetus for attending was not to meet or hang out with the bloggers, though I was certainly anticipating that to be an awesome side perk. I’ve been to Vegas twice before. I thought once was enough for a lifetime, and I had already doubled that quota. But, seeing Shania Twain perform live has been a big life dream for me ever since discovering her music as a teenager, and she hasn’t been performing for years – over a decade, I believe. I’ve said for ages that I would spend my last penny to attend her concert, and then she got a show in Vegas. I knew I *had* to get there to see it, but who to go with? Enter BiSC.

I had so many fun experiences! Stayed at the Flamingo in a baller room, and would stay with them again in a heartbeat. I went on a rollercoaster. I played Cards Against Humanity to break the ice.

Best Cards Against Humanity haiku: "A defective condom; Leaving an awkward voicemail; A disappointing birthday party."

Best Cards Against Humanity haiku: “A defective condom; Leaving an awkward voicemail; A disappointing birthday party.”

Cocktail mixers and brunch buffets.

Welcome mixer at Serendipity3. Source: Karlyn Williams

Welcome mixer at Serendipity3. Source: Karlyn Williams

Cheated and wore grey to the white party!

Cheated and wore grey to the white party!

Reading in the VIP section at the pool. Day drinking Bloody Marys. BLOWN AWAY by Cirque du Soleil’s aquatic show “O”.

No photos allowed during the show, but this was the opening montage before the curtain rose at Cirque du Soleil's "O"

No photos allowed during the show, but this was the opening montage before the curtain rose at Cirque du Soleil’s “O”

Danced half the night away with my fellow BiSC-uits. Partied on the rooftop of PURE nightclub at Caesar’s. Did a tasting of nine whiskies at the Whisky Attic.

The knight in shining armour, guarding the largest collection of whisky in North America!

The knight in shining armor, guarding the largest collection of whisky in North America!

Flight of 9 whisky taster shots

Flight of 9 whisky taster shots

All of us also enjoyed a great swag bag. Check out the table full of them waiting for us at registration, with bonus snacks!

Gift Bags

Gift Bags

My favourite two sponsored items in the gift bags were the Stackwines and the Firmoo sunglasses. Stackwines have a brilliant concept: A stack of four disposable wine glasses, pre-filled with wine, stacked together in a package. You can have a glass of wine (to go! All the better, as this is allowed in Vegas!) and leave the rest unopened & fresh. Karlyn and I enjoyed a glass each evening while getting ready for festivities. I hope they sell it in Canada. And we were able to select our own sunglasses ahead of time from Firmoo and received them in our gift bags. I am in love with mine and highly recommend ordering from them if you’re in need of some shades.

We were all sporting our Firmoo sunnies at the pool. Source: Karlyn Williams

We were all sporting our Firmoo sunnies at the pool. Source: Karlyn Williams

It was all incredibly well-organized and great value created for all of us by the inimitable Nicole and Doniree. But in the end, the sponsors and the events added up to something greater than the sum of their parts. BiSC became more to me than some fun stuff to do and fun people to do them with.

I’m a fairly low-key, introverted person. I can be a lot of fun, but primarily in one-on-one or small group settings. I do not shine at group events of this nature; others usually form stronger bonds than I do. For the most part, this was no different. I haven’t spent a lot of time in conversation with a lot of the BiSCuits reading this. In some cases, I was too intimidated by their big Internet presence to approach them and say much. I listened to everyone cry at our farewell brunch and talk about having all the feelings; there were genuine crushed hearts at the thought of saying goodbye to each other. I had a hard time with this, and wondered if I missed out. The truth is, I just can’t connect with 65 people in one weekend well enough to feel crushed at seeing them go. But I did make a few great new friends. My roommate Karlyn was the best roomie and Shania accomplice I could have possibly asked for. I felt genuine kinship with the lovely bloggers and excellent humans with whom I did share deeper conversations.

But I’m not one to dwell on goodbyes and I couldn’t deal with the sadness, because I just know that we’ll continue the friendships and if we really connected, we’ll see each other again. I cannot wait to road trip down to Portland with Dominique and Simone to visit Larissa. I am ecstatic that Megan is coming to Vancouver soon and I’ll be able to see her again. I was delighted to make a new friend in Chicago because I want to travel there, and to hear stories of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro! And my fellow Canadians, you have my heart. All my BiSCuits, you’ve been special to me.

Instead of sadness, what I felt at the end were the stirrings of inspiration. This is an amazing group of people who have collectively achieved so much and revealed such raw honesty, and the result was a real lightbulb moment for me. So many seemed to have experienced – or are still experiencing! – very real struggles and obstacles along the way to their goals. These struggles are usually hidden from public view. I have run up against obstacle after obstacle over the last several years and have noticed myself shrinking my goals and settling for less, because I started to believe that’s all I was capable of… that successful people don’t repeatedly fail and struggle as I have, and that I’m simply not destined to fulfill my bigger dreams. What I learned – something that wasn’t an intellectual shock but I had never really internalized before – was that everyone wades through shit to get where they want to go, and that the only way to reach big dreams is to keep wading through. I’d started thinking that the continual struggle meant failure, but it just means I’m alive. And it made me realize all that I want is possible.

That was the real value of this weekend to me. It was exhilarating and invigorating not for the break from work or the drunken shenanigans or even Shania, but because my BiSCuit tribe gave me permission to dream big again. Thank you to you all for that incredible gift.

All images are my own unless otherwise indicated.

April Highlights, May Intentions

Wow, what a great month! Summer has arrived in Vancouver, and everyone is running around in shorts & tshirts. It feels like the beginning of something fresh and new, as though the sunshine holds the promise of adventure and happiness. Wouldn’t that be nice?

April Highlights:

  • Source: RW & Co.

    Perfect gold sandals. Source: RW & Co.

    I discovered Homeland and have subsequently fallen down that rabbit hole in an obsessive way. No but seriously, I must know what’s going to happen in Season 3!

  • I found the perfect gold sandals. The impetus for this purchase was my upcoming trip to Vegas, but I’ve been wearing them nonstop and I’ll be lucky if I haven’t worn them to shreds before the summer is out.
  • Attended a good friend’s bridal shower. It was neat to see how it washandled, because she lives far away and didn’t want to ship all the gifts home at great expense. Most people bought off a registry, had the gift shipped to her home address, and included a picture of the gift in her card. Great way to handle gift showers far from home!
  • Gave away a bunch of stuff I didn’t need following the apartment move. I feel good knowing my duplicate stuff that I don’t use is going to people that really need it.
  • Made these delicious cookies and tried my hand at homemade potstickers – success!
  • Celebrated the birthdays of a couple of great friends – one of which was a 40th birthday! *GASP* I can’t believe MY OWN friends are starting to turn 40. It doesn’t seem so long ago that it was my parents’ friends celebrating this milestone.
  • Fell back in love with hiking and have been hitting up the local trails several times a week.
  • Had a strategy chat with a career mentor.

How did I do on my April intentions?

  • One short weeknight hike and one longer weekend hike per week – success!
  • Yoga 1 time per week – Nope! It seemed sacreligious to go inside the yoga studio when the weather has been so incredible.
  • Sign up for ballet flow yoga – My friend and I tried a trial class and jointly decided it wasn’t worth the fee for the full 8 sessions. We’ve been hiking lots instead.
  • Unpack and get the new place feeling like home. – Mostly done! Putting up artwork feels like cheating on my old house. But everything else is unpacked.
  • Take Magdalena for a real spin! (I have named the new car Magdalena) – Yup!
  • Do a lil’ shopping for this lil’ vacation I have coming up in May – Success! Have most of my outfits planned.
April showers bring May flowers... Source: John-Morgan on Flickr

April showers bring May flowers… Source: John-Morgan on Flickr

May Intentions:

  • Let loose and enjoy lots of new friend time in Vegas!
  • Related: do not let TOO loose. Have 3 meals of whatever you want; make smart food choices the rest of the time. 3 alcoholic drinks per day (holy crap that sounds like a lot of alcohol to me. That’s 15 drinks in 1 week, for a girl who’s used to 1 or 2!) and drink lots of water.
  • Spend no more than $600 in Vegas on things that haven’t already been paid for.
  • Back on track healthwise when you return from Vegas: eliminate sweets from your diet for the rest of May.
  • Complete a hike longer than my usual 1.5 hour hike before month end.