Sunday, 19 June 2016

A Year of Living Myself-ishly

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Myselfish B-FB-T
Photo courtesy of

It’s a common theme, here on the blog. The desire for it. The necessity of it, at times. My inability to effect it.

Recently I was offered an opportunity that would force me to change – in a good way. A temporary position opened up with my previous employer, for a year, that was basically my old job.

In so many ways, this seemed like a dream come true, based on my life at the time. A life shrunk small (approx. 1000 square feet to be precise.) Six years out of the workforce had eroded confidence in my abilities. Two car accidents in two years (neither my fault, I should add!) made me fearful of driving. Not that I had a car. With only my husband’s income, the budget balanced more easily with just one.

The job would be a familiar one, in an environment and with people that I knew. A excellent way to rebuild battered self-esteem and have some autonomy over my life.

The situation was not perfect, however. The job was a three hour drive away. Too far to commute every day, so I would need a place to live during the week. Plus a second car… furniture… stuff.

Then there was Hubby to consider. Living apart for over a year would be a strain on anyone’s marriage. He was incredibly supportive though, understanding that if I didn’t do something for myself, I might well end up being not worth married to!

So … did I take this perfect, dream-come-true, but not-without-its-challenges position?

No. No, I did not.

After carefully weighing the pros and cons – a close contest on paper – I managed to talk myself out of it! Too much change all at once. Too much to do. We’d recently moved as it was. Too much doubt. Too much fear. Blah, blah, blah.


Sometimes the Universe sees us making the wrong choices and steps in to hit us upside the head with a 2 x 4, metaphysically speaking.

Someone else was hired for position. He was well-qualified and seemed a good fit. And he lasted three days – then left.

So, with a million-to-one second chance and finally operating under the premise that big action might just equal big results, I decided to accept the path down which I was being guided, applied for the job and… I got it!

Within a week of being offered the position, I had bought the necessary second car, arranged a short-term place to stay, found a ‘permanent’ place to live, made the three hour drive by myself (terrified to start, but was okay by the end!) and started work!

Without doing anything more than that, my confidence soared to a place it has not been for years. I’m taking pleasure in the mundanities of living alone – pumping gas, buying groceries, preparing meals. I freely concede though, that this might not last!

I’ve come to think of this as A Year of Living Myself-ishly. This was a choice, not just for something I wanted, but something I felt I needed. Yet I still feel selfish, as I know this has asked a lot of my husband. It’s not a plan for everyone, but we aren’t the first to make such a choice.

Given that I am not doing this out of financial necessity, I’m sure there are those who don’t understand it. No-one has said anything, but some may think I’m a b*tch, quite possibly insane - or both. That’s okay.

I know there are risks. What will happen to my relationship? How will I feel about leaving my job (again) after a year? How will I change within myself, living alone once more after so many years? Lots of questions for which there are no answers yet, and no guarantees.

Part of me wants to say that I hope at the end of my year that I will be a better person. But, in fact, that isn’t what it’s all about. Ultimately, all I need is to become a more ‘me’ Me again. And if I can say that, then it will all have been worth it.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Visiting Ucluelet

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The sound of rain on the skylight in our loft lulled us to sleep. We awoke to the sound of bald eagles ‘laughing’ in the trees above - us peeking through that same skylight to catch a glimpse of them in the morning sun. Such is Ucluelet, British Columbia in March.

I call this one 'Eagles through the Skylight!!'

Last week I played travel blogger, as I was in one of my favourite places - in the world – the Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. As usual we stayed at the Terrace Beach Resort, in Ucluelet (owned by Jason Priestley and his family, drastically reducing my degrees of separation from a bona fide Canadian film/TV star!).

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Our suite was in the far unit on the right.

It is a beautiful resort, built to resemble a historic West Coast fishing village. The suites and cabins come in a variety of sizes and styles, many with their own hot tub. It’s also pet-friendly, previously a must for us. As well, each unit has a kitchenette, offering great flexibility for families on vacation.

Last week, the town was quiet. Many of the businesses remained closed for the season; the weather still not conducive to many of the tours and activities. That was fine by us, as we go mainly to relax, chill and perhaps do a little hiking. Oh, and this helped…

If my expression seems odd, the rain was hitting my face at about 50km/hr!

This week though, will be a different story. The Pacific Rim Whale Festival runs for two weeks, from March 12-27, celebrating the return of grey whales to the region. Featuring activities daily and for all ages, this Festival coincides nicely with spring break, if you’re looking for something last-minute, and different, to do. (This year, because of the exchange rate, a ‘Stay-cation’ is a great deal for Canadians, while U.S. visitors will find they get more for their dollar!)

At the height of the summer, outdoor adventure opportunities abound. Whale-watching and surfing are two of the main highlights here, however there are other tours, via both boat and float plane, kayaking, hiking, golfing and fishing.

Combining this with top-notch accommodations, excellent new restaurants and some of the warmest weather in Canada year-round, Ucluelet has all the ingredients for a tourist’s paradise!

Winter though, is the season for one other activity that this region is famous for – storm-watching. Because it’s on my bucket list, I have visited several times in March but had yet to see a single storm until now.

On the Wednesday night, the winds picked up and the rain lashed down, resulting in us waking up Thursday morning without power! However, we braved out into the tail of the storm to watch the waves crashing around the lighthouse. The force and fury of nature was on full display as we took photos that could never possibly do it justice.



Despite what the pictures may show, Ucluelet, means ‘safe harbour’ in the Nootka language. For me, this unassuming and friendly town provides just that – an escape from the world for a while. Maybe it could do the same for you!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A Love Letter to my Dog


Yesterday, Facebook Memories brought up this photo of our beautiful dog Magic, posted when she passed away six years ago.

We had made the difficult decision to euthanize her, the most horrible, heart-breaking but ultimately respectful and compassionate one, under the circumstances. When we left the vet’s office, I went home and wrote this letter to her spirit:

Thank you for the magic, Magic, for twelve wonderful years. Thank you for all the love and licks and wet-nose nudges that said ‘Here I am, pet me!’ Thanks for all the ‘wroo, wroo, wroo’s that told the story of your day, of some misdemeanor, real or perceived, of Daddy’s (not enough snacks, not enough pets!). Thank you for the companionship of many morning walks, not to mention all the times that Dad was away. You couldn’t hear, but you listened. And oh, how I talked! But you never judged, you always just loved.

Thank you for all the laughter. The goofy inside-out ears, crazy beach runs or bounding through the snow. The antics you got up to with Jake (our cat) when he was still here. Right up until the end there was laughter born of love and affection.

There were the difficult days too, many of them recent as you aged and diminished. I am so proud that we kept caring and loving you (though there could have been no other way, for us). But, you always had a mind of your own, and you expressed yourself quite clearly, especially when ticked off – shredded foam underlay, shredded boxes and garbage bags, chewed-up Tupperware – all spread out over the floor to full effect!

Your favourite thing – food – caused its share of naughtiness too. Stolen food from more than one dinner plate was one thing. Eating a whole box of chocolate bars, swiped from the kitchen counter, complete with wrappers and a large part of the actual box was entirely another. It is a wonder you survived for us to tell the tale on that one!

You had your own unique personality, feelings and flaws and we respected that. You never judged us for our foibles, treating us with the same respect. You take it all as it comes with your family, with those you love.

In the end, I have to say I was honoured and privileged to share my life with such a special being. You had much to teach us about living a better life, the benefits of loving and being happy to see everyone you met. You were a special girl, with much ‘magic’.

I love you, Girlie and always will. Rest in peace, Sweetheart and chase bunnies forever.

And it’s true, I still love her and miss her, all these years later. We will have another dog one day, and I will fall all over again. For now though, my lovely memories will suffice – permanent paw prints on my soul.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Menopause Moi Book Review–Some Nerve by Patty Chang Anker

Please note: this post contains an affiliate link. If you click on the product image and purchase it through my site I receive a small remuneration. 

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Image courtesy of foto76 at

I have wanted to start a book review for a while. However, my To Be Read list is overwhelming. Where to begin? Given that this blog is about midlife, I decided to make that my focus. Not necessarily books on the subject, though some might be, but books written by women who are here (or almost).

I selected Some Nerve as it resonates with how I currently feel. In this book, the author details how she set out to overcome her own fears in order to become a better role model for her daughters. As part of the process, she encountered others on a similar path, whose stories she also shares.

The writing style is easy to read – friendly, approachable and relatable. Ms. Anker shares her own thoughts and experiences of conquering fear with self-deprecating humour, while handling the challenges of others, as they struggle with their own phobias, with empathy and compassion.

Indeed, from the outset, it seemed Ms. Anker was talking directly to me. On the second page, she writes “I was not only afraid of failing, but I was afraid of the fear I would feel while trying not to fail. Afraid of feeling fear itself.”

These two sentences perfectly capture what my own, ever-diminishing world seems to be. Stuck, imprisoned by fear, afraid of almost everything. I wanted to know there was an escape, from someone who had faced her fears and lived to tell the tale.

A quick scan of the contents revealed that the book addresses common fears that people have – death and public speaking – as well as two, very specific, fears of my own – driving and falling. I was hooked.

However, after the first few chapters, despite being inspired by what I was reading, I wondered Where are the how-to’s? Where were the step-by-step instructions that would guide me to fearlessness?

This was to be my one criticism of the book. That there was no roadmap for me to follow. However, I continued reading and by the end, I was enlightened. There can be no step-by-step, one-size-fits-all solution to surmounting what we fear.

The bottom line is that we can only beat our fears by doing what it is we are afraid of (a caveat here with fear of death!). There are many ways to get to that point, and we must each find our own. I suspect the reasons behind our trepidation, the Whys, come into play as we try to defeat it.

People share many of the same fears, which is good to know; to realize we are not alone in what scares us. Some Nerve also shows us that slaying dragons single-handedly is the stuff of myths and saints. As Ms. Anker, and the others she portrays in the book show, we are more likely to succeed if we enlist help in taking on our demons.

I have not yet become brave, but I am inspired. I learned something new in my struggle to expand my life back out beyond my fear (I was not always this timid). And, with this new-found knowledge, I have begun to search out my own cheerleaders to help me do so.

Finally, Some Nerve teaches us is that, out beyond what frightens us, is fun – the adrenaline rush, a sense of accomplishment, confidence, growth. Fear, and the courage to be brave is the means to that end. If you feel as I did, mired in dread, check out Some Nerve! It may be just the boost you need!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Dance Your (Winter) Blues Away

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Yesterday was Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day of the year.

For much of the Northern Hemisphere the weather sucks, with spring a distant hope. Christmas has faded in the rear view, unlike the bills to pay for it, which likely just arrived (mine did!). And how about those New Year's resolutions...?

Although there's no real science to it, you can see why 'they' might say that.

I've been known to be hit by the winter blahs, so I consulted my list of 'Little, Happy Things' (aka Cheap and/or Easy Happy Things!), in search of a weapon to combat them should I be struck.

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