All Madness, No Method

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28 days into 2015 and already any resolutions I could have made (don’t believe in ‘em, by the end of this sentence you’ll know why) would have been torn to shreds (as resolutions always are, and there’s your answer). I have eaten every piece of chocolate in British Columbia; I have become a champion avoider of exercise; the wine has been flowing freely; every movie on Netflix has been watched, twice; I’ve stayed up late and emerged from my cozy bed later still; my swearing is worse than ever. If I’d made a resolution to become a doughy, foul-mouthed layabout, then I’d be the Queen of New Year’s Day.

My dereliction of duties has arisen from a situation known all too well to me: funemployment. My job here in Victoria finished up in late December. And even though I knew the end was fast approaching, I made very few concrete plans beyond lounging and gorging and wearing sweatpants morning, noon, and night, a few lunches with clever girlfriends thrown in here and there. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t been entirely neglectful of my responsibilities as a sensible adult. I’ve had my teeth cleaned, been for a full physical, and the mammogram and annual gynaecologist visit are set for next week (ladies, it’s a goddamn mardi-gras for us, isn’t it?).

And so, it is time to turn to the The Great Matter, The Big Question, The Dilemma of 2015: what’s next? Once again it appears that all options are on the table. Naturally, your first idea for me will be a return to France. To that I say non, merci. The thought of facing French bureaucrazy and verb conjugation again makes me feel sweaty and weak and 98 years old. Now Italy or Vienna, that might would be worth the paperwork. Again, language rears its ugly head. England calls to me as well. I already have the UK passport, and I just know I could give that Dowager Countess at Downton Abbey a run for her money.

Of course, being the chaosaholic that I am, the oddly radical choice would be simply to stay put in Victoria. I walked to the bakery today for the regular ration of dark chocolate ganache tartes. The sun was shining, the thermometer hit 15 degrees above zero (Americans, that’s Celsius for spring), the smell of freshly cut thick grass wafted on the breeze, and daffodils made a cheery appearance. This is a typical January here making it hard to argue with the logic of settling in for the long haul.

Now before all my east coast friends start hurling their snow shovels at their computers, let me say that there has actually been some loose talk chez nous about heading back to Halifax, a move that would give Rusty a hometown advantage, and I suppose he deserves some measure of consideration in all this despite my now well developed phobia of the True North Winter.

But then again maybe he should stick to cooking and supporting my wifestyle, and leave all major decisions regarding our future to me. The other day, fresh off a Skype call with a buddy working in Ho Chi Minh City, he asked me what I thought about us possibly living in Vietnam. Ever the open-minded soul, I responded with, “Sure, we could do that.”

True, I wilt horribly in humidity, speak no Vietnamese whatsoever, have a deathly fear of giant tropical bugs, details, details. I was particularly encouraged by the obvious job prospect for me there. Let’s face it, a pale, silver haired giraffe could make a killing as a side show attraction; people would fork over millions to gawk at such an exotic creature. Christ on a cracker, imagine me standing in a circus tent, soaked in sweat, covered in heat rash, randomly screaming, “COCKROACH!!!!!” No, even I can’t sell that mess.

Once again, I have no idea what the future holds. Does anyone ever? I’m in the weeds with neither map nor compass to return to the world where mature people know what the hell to do with themselves. I’ll “offer it up” as Catholic mothers are fond of saying. And by that I mean wait for one of you to make a case for where I should go and what I could do there. At any rate, it’s clear my next book will be another runaway best seller: When Good Shrinks Go Mad: A Cautionary Tale From the Couch.






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The Best Laid Plans

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Salut mes amis! I hadn’t planned to dive back into the old blog habit, but when I got messages from folks as far flung as France, Northern Ontario, and Australia saying they missed me, well, who am I to disappoint an adoring public? You want musings on the mundane, you got ‘em.

There is one nugget of news to report. After three months of tireless doggie devotion including a professional trainer, an experienced vet, and a ’round the clock loving yet firm master/object of canine obsession, Lulu the Meximutt did not fare well with us. She became increasingly possessive of Neil (who wouldn’t?) and aggressive—snapping and snarling at anyone in her path. And, as it turns out, a dog will indeed bite the hand that feeds, as long as it’s mine. We agonized over what to do. In the end the adoption agency intervened and advised that she needed more intensive and expert care than we could offer. Off she went to doggie boot camp.

As we suspected, she is doing far better in a place where there are other dogs who let her know that she is not Queen of All. Heads ruled over hearts in this case. We knew her need to guard Neil from me and the general public meant she needed a new start with new people. Another few months and she’ll be ready to rock and roll, hopefully in a home with another dog and a back yard full of squirrels to chase. Good-byes were said and tears (Neil’s) were shed, but it’s what’s best for the dog that matters.

And so, we’re back to being just us again. Months of nothing but taming the Lulutic, now what? Two battered old souls rattling around, devoid of purpose. We’ll have to find something else to talk about (12 years together, good luck to us) and something else to do with ourselves. Continue reading “The Best Laid Plans” »


Doctor’s Orders

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Time for an update on my adopted Mexi-mutt, Lulu. Not much to say really, unless you count my entire life upending, my bank account being rapidly laid to waste, and my playing second fiddle to my husband’s girlfriend.

The perils of pet ownership at the best of times have been lightly likened to those of parenting. The closest I’ve come to that mess is training husbands. I took the first one as far as I could then left him in the capable hands of his next wife for fine tuning. The second is a work in progress as you all know, but I must say he does particularly well with the stay and fetch commands. Now not for a moment am I comparing men to dogs, I’m merely making a statement about the level of experience I have working with sentient creatures in my home. Continue reading “Doctor’s Orders” »


Eight is Enough?

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Allow me to tower above you while on my soapbox for a moment. Oh who am I kidding, any one of you could be on stilts and you’d still be looking at my bellybutton. The point is I am celebrating eight years of wedded bliss today and I have something to say about marriage. Of course when I say bliss I mean eight years of clothes on the floor, bathroom doors open at all times (him, not me, I favour medieval padlocks), and one word answers to probing, philosophical questions—Me: “Do you think that the rise of ISIS is related to the increasing depth and breadth of global female empowerment?” Neil: “Dunno.” But I digress.

I don’t know why people get married. I’m not even sure why I got married for the second time. Perfectionist I suppose, get it right or die trying I always say. So far, this union is going reasonably well. We’re still speaking to each other for whatever that’s worth.

Maybe folks get hitched to have kids? Silly really since you can put an ad on Craigslist, have a tupperware jar of sperm dropped right to your door and away you go. Or pay some random woman ten grand to carry and deliver, a bargain as far as I’m concerned. Shotgun wedding? Seriously, nobody gives a crap anymore. The ladies have landed and the religious crowd just needs to deal. Continue reading “Eight is Enough?” »


The Three Amigos

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Anyway, don’t you just love September? After months of silence, like the good Newfie I am, I begin with chatter about the weather—relentless sunshine with cool breezes off the Pacific, perfect temperatures for just about everything. The whole summer has been like this. In fact, I can’t remember a better summer in my life, well, maybe that summer of 1987—denim cutoffs and the legs to pull them off; a frosted spiral perm; tall, lemony double vodka cocktails and dancing ’til dawn at Club Max with the girls.

Now, with my legs fit for medical support hose, and my grey helmet of hair, a double vodka coupled with vigourous dancing would likely lead me to lapse into a coma. What of it. I’m working semi-hard, playing super soft, and I’ve still got it, whatever the hell that means. I mean it’s not like I’ve become a rickety retiree, frantically fretting over my RRSP in between golfing and baking. No, that would be Neil.

As I write this, it is 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning and he’s already on the 3rd hole fantasizing about being handed a tacky green blazer and hoisting a silver cup above his head on ESPN. Good on him I say, he could use a break from domestic bliss, especially now that our life has changed somewhat. He’s been doing double duty on the caring for a female front. There’s a story here and it’s a lulu. Continue reading “The Three Amigos” »


No News is Good News

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Well, Finders, it has been a while now hasn’t it? Not much has been going on in my little world, more work than play but balanced enough. Although, I did go to an intensive work conference in Banff, only to return home to find Rusty laid up with a pulled back and the bloody World Cup in full swing. Honestly, I had to get the groceries and everything. Seven more days of soccer to go and this marriage is hanging on by a thin thread. Continue reading “No News is Good News” »


Self Sacrifice

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Me, me, and more me. Then, just when you think you’ve had enough, here comes more about me. Blogging is often a narcissistic endeavour to be sure. Sometimes it seems that it’s a giant verbal selfie (the fact that I even know this word makes me cringe) that says “look at me!” over and over again. I don’t know much but I do know when it’s time to take a break from the festival de moi. Plus, loftier rationales aside, my life is pretty boring these days. Although, World Cup madness and mayhem is about to descend upon my home at which time I will likely be announcing my next book, Hooligan Husband: One Woman’s Story of Survival.

I should be writing about this beautiful city (now one of my favourite places in the world), posting inspiring photos and all that jazz. The trouble is I’m too busy looking at it with my eyes to stop and capture it on my iPhone. I could entertain endlessly with stories about my job and colleagues, however, I’ve become unexpectedly attached to paycheques and health benefits, so that’s out. Add in my profound laziness and you’re left with stories about my husband’s 80/20 split of awesomeness/stuff that drives me ’round the friggin’ pipe. Continue reading “Self Sacrifice” »



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Today’s post is brought to you by the number one: one year of living in glorious Victoria and one year of being employed outside of medicine. Congratulations to me for making the transition from the couch to the cubicle with relative ease (and very little grace), and to my husband for making the transition from sugar daddy to semi-kept man. Naturally, I remain in his debt still, yadda, yadda, yadda, but sooner or later the score will be even and the planning for that happy day is well underway in my scheming brain.

I must say, despite having a grand old time lolling about Europe, this past year has been one more to love. The Victoria move turned out to be a brilliant decision (must have been mine) on many fronts. Sure, it wasn’t easy to leave the beauty of France and Switzerland…







And not a day goes by when I don’t miss having regular access to these…


But I’d say I’ve been making up for lost tarte by stuffing myself full of sushi, pulled pork tacos, pad thai, dim sum, and whatever else this great multicultural country called Canada can place on a plate. I’ve replaced Swiss Alps with snow covered peaks rising from the Pacific, the same ones I see every day on my way home from work. And maybe my former neighbourhood nestled near the vineyards of Lavaux are but a memory (conveniently stored in an iPhoto file)…


No matter, I’m making up for lost wine by sampling the fine local vintages, and I’m currently planning my next adventure (vacation, not moving!) sponsored by the letter S: San Francisco, Sausalito, and Sonoma. The frequent flyer plane tickets are booked and the on-the-cheap accommodations have been reserved. I never met a Chardonnay I didn’t like so California, here I come, well, after a few months of guarding my loonies and toonies (non-Canadians, Google it).

What the next year brings is none of my business. My job is to rise to what meets me, Neil’s job is to feed me, and I guess everyone’s job is to make it count wherever we find ourselves. Raise a glass to the year to come.

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Making Up for Lost Mail

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As many of you may know, I don’t have children, well, unless you count that fool I live with. Honestly, sometimes it’s like having an enormous toddler—someone who crashes through your tidy home daily, has no insight into the damage they inflict, with the added bonus of grown-up man smells, round-the-clock golf watching and, unfortunately, the ability to form full sentences…

Me: “Someone told me today I looked like a movie star.”

Him: “Really? Were they drunk?” (to be fair, I do attract more than a fair share of admiration from our local vagrants, but still)

Me: (after a frustrating and futile day of trying to find a spring coat made for a six-foot woman) “Geez, if only I were five-foot-eight my life would be a whole lot easier. Of course I’d be the same weight so a lot rounder.” (chuckle, chuckle and the ‘I crack me up’ tone was used)

Him: “Yeah, five-foot-eight but 160 pounds.”

Me:  “I believe the number you are looking for is 140. I weigh 140 pounds you moron.”

Him: Silence followed by frantic and pathetic back-pedalling.

And those are the gems from last week alone. If I were the matriarch of this house he’d be on an indefinite time out in the corner with no allowance for a month. Continue reading “Making Up for Lost Mail” »


Ten Million Bucks and Change

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Yes, it’s true: I’m a lot to manage on any given day—big mouth, big opinions, and not often graced with tactful diplomacy. The people in my life have survived me to date; I offer no guarantees about the future. Like everyone, I’ve made my share of wrong turns and outright catastrophic blunders, but who gives a crap. I’ve learned along the way, left some things better than when I found them, and that’s all that counts. I’ve said before that I don’t believe in regret and guilt, too bad, all those years in Catholic schools wasted.

Will I lie on my deathbed and harbour grievances toward myself? Who the hell knows. What I do know is that even if Satan himself comes to poke a pitchfork in my face at the end of my days, there are moments in my life for which an apology will never come.

Back in my shrinky heyday, I was involved in a project of massive proportion: the start of a transformation of an inpatient unit for severely mentally ill children and adolescents. The unit (like most things in mental health) was underfunded and definitely not a place that anyone would associate with healing. The rest of the hospital looked like a resort in comparison to our dreary space. I joined a crackerjack team of unbelievably dedicated professionals and we rolled up our sleeves to bring about changes to better serve our youth and their families during the most difficult periods in their lives. Continue reading “Ten Million Bucks and Change” »



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At the risk of alienating the Finders still suffering out snow, the park across the street from my place has been blooming for weeks…


I realize it’s ridiculous to have any grumbles at all when the forecast looks like this…


Except that my husband has fully embraced west coast weather by becoming a golf lunatic. Every time I turn around he’s heading to the driving range or hitting the links at some ungodly hour. When I mentioned he was at risk of breaking a body part from dragging a gigantic bag of clubs around 24/7, he went out and bought this… Continue reading “Foresight” »


The Height of Joy

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Recently, another short work trip appeared on my agenda. As I was going through the motions of packing and so forth, I thought (for the millionth time) how great it would be to teleport everywhere like on Star Trek. I’m not known for my patience, especially when any kind of travel is involved. I’ve yet to decide on a life motto, although “instant gratification takes too long” (Carrie Fisher) is definitely in the running.

And then I saw this and developed a whole new outlook. Maybe the joy really is in the journey.

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Good Night, Nurse!

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From time to time I get emails from folks who’ve read Finding Me in France offering their reviews. They are incredibly kind and gracious and say things like, “Oh I laughed and laughed,” or, “You’ve inspired me to travel more,” or, “Overuse of the word arse gets tiresome.” That last one has been my favourite until now.

The other day I got a curious email from a name I didn’t recognize (let’s call her Florence). Her message was fairly direct, in fact, one sentence: “Does the name So and So (again, to protect the innocent) from Corner Brook (town in Newfoundland) ring a bell?” I saw that the email was cc’ed to So and So. Intrigued, I wrote back, “Yes, my head is always ringing with bells.”

It became clear that these two women worked together with the next reply, ” I have just put your book down…magical…laughing out loud in the middle of our recovery room for the last few days…driving So and So crazy…I think my two favourite Newfies should get together for a drink.” Either they both worked at a hospital or my book is currently being used as an anesthetic agent for major surgery. Continue reading “Good Night, Nurse!” »


The Eyes Have It

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Overall this aging business is what I would describe as an up/down affair. I do enjoy being past the years of giving a rat’s arse about what other people think; the times of doing what was expected of me, of being the person I was ‘supposed’ to be. On the other hand, yesterday I woke up and it was hard to pinpoint something that wasn’t creaking, aching, or sagging beyond recognition. Granted I have a few war wounds that render me more decrepit than the average middle aged woman, but still. I expect I’ll need a full time nurse by the time I’m 50 just to haul me out of bed in the morning.

And as if I didn’t have enough going on, a new problem has emerged. I was sitting among my young snappy coworkers when I asked for the blurry presentation projected on the boardroom screen to be brought into focus. Turns out I was the only one a little fuzzy around the edges. So I dragged myself off for a proper eye exam.

Christ almighty it was like a NASA testing lab in there. By the time the 12 year-old optometrist came I was practically blind from all the flashing lights and arrays of letters and numbers to decipher. The young doctor then showed me how clear my world could be with the addition of spectacles and I resigned myself to joining the ranks of girls who wear glasses. Continue reading “The Eyes Have It” »


Rights of Spring

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I’ve been a West Coaster for just under a year now and already I feel entitled to the chorus of songbirds outside my window in late March. Even the assaultive grind of a lawn mower from yesterday morning was welcome. I feel like all my winters spent in the North Atlantic have granted me the right to peaceful enjoyment of spring when it’s actually supposed to arrive. I say this with respect for my friends and family still slugging through the snowpocalypse, but too bad suckers, I did my time. Now I stand under trees and look up to this…


I wonder how I lived so long without a sea of pink clouds everywhere I look, however brief their appearance may be. I’ve always pored over pictures of Japan during blossom season and longed to go there just to stand in a shower of wind blown petals. Certainly living here is a lot more convenient than jetting off to Kyoto, but my dreams of Japan are still alive and well. I’m fascinated by the culture, the history, the language, the possibility of udon noodles 24/7. One of my best friends lived there for a year and her stories have fuelled the desire over the years. I think a gigantic, silver haired woman crashing through the streets of Japan might prove interesting for all concerned.

And now All Nippon Airways has announced daily non-stop flights from Vancouver to Tokyo. Sounds like a sign to get my arse in gear. All I have to do is convince Neil that he wants to go to Japan as badly as I do (easy, he knows by now resistance is futile), cough up a squillion dollars for airfare, grab a float plane or a ferry to Vancouver, fly 10 hours, figure out how to get to Kyoto, maybe Osaka, no problem. Oh, and of course, I’ll have to learn Japanese before I go. How the hell am I going to eat my way through another foreign country if I don’t know how to say, “I’ll pass on the jellied eel, thanks.”

My problem is there are too many places I want to visit. Yes, I’m entitled to spring and also to the independent wealth I feel somehow has been wrongly denied me. So, who’s been to Japan? Let’s hear all about it. I’m jacked up on this idea and once I latch on to something, look out. As the Japanese like to say, shouganai: it cannot be helped. There’s no taming Bobbizilla.



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