Oh April.

I’m sitting in Starbucks, where I do my best work. That’s not true, really. It’s just that when I’m away, the wifi is the way I like it: Free. This time, I’m in San Diego. I’m bumming around while Adam is training coaches, which of course means I bought new shoes. They look like this (Jen: More shoes for collecting the eggs <<wink wink>>):



This Starbucks is awesome. So far, I’ve seen two chihuahuas and one cute and one bizarre-looking French bulldog come wandering in. There are lots of dogs here, which is good when you’re missing your pets. I’ve also seen a girl wearing brown cowboy boots, star-printed jean cut-offs that showed the crease of her bum, a tank top with no bra (all of these things were really obvious. I wasn’t being super creepy). The thing is, she looked great. I’m serious. Normally, I’m full of judgment and this time, I think I’m just wishing I could pull it off (I’m not going to try. I promise.). The best part? She just reached down into her boot to pull out her phone. Seriously. She’s amazing. I think she might be Daisy Duke, if Daisy Duke were a pirate (I don’t know why I think only pirates keep things in their boots, but there it is).

Anyway, I’m off to check out Seaport Village today. I picked a super-cute outfit and then spilled on it (if you look closely in the photo above, you can see the marks on my dress). Sigh. C’mon, Bay. Get it together. Tonight we head to LA, which sounds fancy, but really, Disneyland is the destination. I can’t wait! It’s SO much fun. Also? It’s supposed to get up to 35º. It will be sweaty and magical in The Happiest Place on Earth.

It feels like time to catch you up on what’s been going on, so here you go:

Wow. What a month April has been. Lots of ups and downs and most of them in breakdown. The good news is that when you’re in breakdown, that means that a breakthrough is available and (hopefully) imminent. This is always much easier to remember when someone else is experiencing breakdown in their life than when it’s your own. The less-good news is that being in breakdown sucks. Even more annoying is the fact that how much it sucks has little to do with the actual circumstances and a lot to do with how you’re being about them. Needless to say, I’ve been being less than understanding about my breakdown, so it feels like my circumstances are making up the difference in enthusiasm. Awesome.

I’m coming to the end of this breakdown cycle, which is to say that I’m surrendering my resistance to Life and its shenanigans and trying out some compassion instead. This might sound obvious to you, but compassion is not something I can access too easily for myself, though I have it in spades for everyone else. When things get tough, I like to grit my teeth, pushing to work harder. It’s kind of like when someone is talking to someone who doesn’t speak English, so they say everything again, just louder. Super effective.

This compassion has looked like taking care of myself without calling myself a lazy slacker (a self judgment I clear daily): Taking the pressure off my projects (in a surprising turn of events, the extra judgment wasn’t creating results. Huh.); getting enough sleep; getting my nails done, because it makes me feel good to have pretty fingers and toes; getting lots of exercise — running, cycling and yoga; long walks to enjoy the beauty of springtime; and lots of time to chill out.

Here’s some of what happened this month:

  • I realized that my childhood resilience methods, while awesome and highly effective at the time, are no longer serving me. They haven’t been for a long time, if I’m being honest. I’m taking responsibility for this stuff I haven’t wanted to examine, so that I can decide what to do with it, instead of having it creep around in my blindspots.
  • I got angry at someone, instead of stuffing it, like usual. This doesn’t mean I got into a fight or anything, but I got angry on purpose and I let off a little steam. Turns out, when you are the one choosing to allow the expression of anger (and, importantly, the manner in which it is expressed) no one gets hurt and you feel A LOT better. The issue isn’t necessarily something I can change (as it requires the other person wishing to change it, too), but I can change the way I’m being about it. I can be a human about it, instead of a robot.
  • We lost Maui on Wednesday, April 23. This brings the sting of tears as I write it. I loved that cat. For 10 years, Maui’s been a quirky and beautiful part of our little family. She was born on the first of April, so we like to think of her as our little April Fool’s cat. She’s been with Adam and I through some ups and downs along our way and I adore her. She’s been faring poorly for a while now, with the decline starting slowly a couple of years ago. The long and short of it is that she was sick and she wasn’t enjoying her life. So, we had to make the brave choice that was best for her and the rest of our family, even if it is the hardest decision to make. I will always love her and I will always be grateful for her soft and gentle affection that she only shared with us. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to hold her safely surrounded by love in my arms as we said farewell and she went to sleep. We’ll see you at the Rainbow Bridge, Maui. xoxo


  • It hasn’t all been difficult and sad. Case in point: I learned how to cut a mango. This was practically an epiphany. Usually, cutting these delicious tropical treats is a messy and disorganized affair and every time I slice massacre one, I think to myself, “There has got to be a better way to do this.“Obviously it was not a big issue, since it never occurred to me to use any of the plethora of resources at my fingertips to discover a better way. But then! One day, last week, I decided I’d slice one the way you see pictures of mangoes on smoothy bottles, because I’m wild and free and that’s just the way I roll. HOLY CRAP! They show it like that because it’s SO MUCH EASIER to cut up a mango that way! I’m a genius (sort of)!

Oh, and I bet some of you wonder how I’m doing since I left my job with the government. I’m doing great. No regrets, whatsoever. I knew I wouldn’t have any, but some of you may have wondered. I’m happy to report that being self-employed, no matter how scary and unsure it can sometimes feel, is definitely the right path for me. I’m clear that coaching is what I want to do, instead of pretending it’s one of the many things I want. There are still lots of things I want to do, but I can say I’m a coach without worrying that I need some back-up plan or safety net to keep people (read: Me) from worrying about my future.


Double Jeopardy

Happy Monday!

I’m sitting on the ferry and I can’t help but remember a fateful ferry trip I took, gawd, like 13 or 14 years ago. The following story sounds made up. It is not.


I was about 19 or 20 and way back then, my boyfriend was my first true love. And, just in case you think I’m getting all maudlin here, I’m a big fan of this approach to the idea of my first true love >>

Pardon the profanity, but I think it’s a pretty good reminder. I’m grateful for all my experiences, regardless of the outcome, because if I changed any of them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m also very grateful for Adam, because he’s the guy who taught me what forever looks like.

Anyway, back to the story of the hour.

So, there we were, bored on the ferry, which was about 98 percent filled with passengers under the age of six (read: there was a lot of whining and high-pitched crying and no, it [mostly] wasn’t coming from me).

We grabbed some magazines and went to sit in the car on the vehicle deck. I quickly tired of my magazines (read: looking at the pictures) and started looking for other things to which I could turn my attention. This is when I found the handcuffs in the cup holder (what? Where do you keep your restraints?). I’m sure you’re wondering what the handcuffs were doing there, but remember, this is a good ten or eleven years before Fifty Shades of Grey were published (get your mind out of the gutter!). My ex-boyfriend was a mall cop security guard and the cuffs were from his work uniform.

He told me not to play with them, because he wasn’t sure he had the key. When he checked and found them, though, it was open season. I wanted to see if I could get out of them—I have really small wrists—I didn’t realize that they spin all the way around, so it’s literally impossible if they’re on tightly.

Just because we’d recently seen Double Jeopardy, he thought it’d be funny to handcuff me to the steering wheel (and having just rewatched the movie, I’d like to point out that Tommy Lee Jones cuffs Ashley Judd to the door handle, not the steering wheel, so clearly, this whole experience was unnecessary. Because a lack of accuracy in reenactment is obviously the main issue here.).

The novelty quickly wore off. Handcuffs are really uncomfortable (I suppose one isn’t really looking to the comfort of the wearer when trying to restrain them from illegal activities) and my arm was stretched across the stick shift. Yes, I’m hoping that you are realizing that there was, in fact, no hanky panky going on. Because, scouts’ honour, there really wasn’t.

Here’s where it all went wrong. Actually, I just reread that sentence and I suppose, if I’m being totally honest, this all started to go wrong long before this point. Possibly when the thought of playing with handcuffs crossed my mind, it all started to go downhill. Regardless, though, when it got worse is when, while trying to unlock the cuffs, my ex swore and looked at me awkwardly. This is because the key broke in the locking mechanism of the cuffs. For reals. If you don’t believe me, then you have a pretty good idea of how I felt in that moment, too.


We were, oh, maybe twenty minutes away from docking at Swartz Bay and I’m locked tightly to a steering wheel on the car deck. In case you haven’t sorted out the logistics, it is not possible to drive with you passenger’s arm cuffed to the steering wheel. We were definitely in a bind (har har). He didn’t know what to do about it and my options were somewhat limited. So, off he goes to find a ferry employee: I’m thinking for sure they must have handcuff keys, right? Because surely they might need to restrain an unruly passenger, right? I can’t be the first person to be in this situation, right?

Well, you guys: Wrong. Turns out they don’t carry handcuff keys. Know how I know? Because the employee who came and checked out what became known as our “predicament” asked his supervisor, who said it hadn’t occurred previously. I know this for sure, because there was a veritable parade of employees that came down to see the girl locked to the steering wheel situation. Even the captain dropped by. I was honoured. And still, I was really surprised that they didn’t carry cuffs, and—more importantly for me—the keys with which to unlock them. They were surprised that I was surprised. I guess we all learned something that day. I wonder if they carry cuffs/keys now…

They brought up some of the engineers, who tried to use bolt cutters, but while they could snip the cuffs in half (so I was free of the steering wheel), they couldn’t cut the cuff off my wrist. It was too tight to my skin and seriously, it was beginning to really hurt.

The cool part is that I got to visit the belly of the ship. Yup, I was escorted down to  engineering, where they put my wrist in a vise and were able to cut away the cuff.

By the time we drove off the ferry, every employee was waving at us with a massive knowing grin. Mortifying. At least that ridiculous car had tinted windows.

What made it better was that after I told my mom (who, thank heavens, has a pretty solid sense of humour), she got a call from a dear friend of the family, who worked for BC Ferries. He started to tell my mom that she’d never guess what happened on a sailing from the mainland to the island. Imagine his surprise when mom finished the sentence? It didn’t take long for him to realize just who had been the twit who’d had to be cut free from the steering wheel on the vehicle deck.

This really happened. I’m not making it up. Just for the record. In case you were starting to doubt me.



Just go.

My niece Emily is currently in London, having an awesome adventure with a friend as they travel about the UK and Europe for the next couple of months. She’s such a courageous, fun, witty and intelligent girl. I’m immensely proud of her for stepping outside her comfort zone, where she has discovered, literally, the world is waiting for her, full of beauty and thrill, amazing wonderful sights and people.


I’m so happy for her for taking this trip, all the more so because I never did pack up my backpack and travel about when I was younger. I still could, I know, but there’s something to be said for hitting the road before you need to think about details like rent, or a mortgage. Or before accruing a hefty amount of student loan debt.

My best friend Jen (from Nova Scotia) called me up one day, many years ago, to say she was packed up and taking off for a summer abroad. I was surprised; I didn’t know she was planning to live/work/travel about the UK and Europe between semesters. I got off the phone and told my mom about Jen’s plans, wondering if mom had known about the pending adventure. She hadn’t.

“Call her back right now.” Mom looked at me squarely. “Tell her you’ll meet her there. Take your savings and just go.”

Just go.


Oh god, but I wanted to. I’d been craving this adventure since middle school. I’d even deferred my university acceptance and scholarships for a full year to make it happen. My plans had been to work for a few months, then head out and see the world. Have some adventure. See things much bigger than myself.

Then, I met a boy (we all know how that goes) and I put aside my dreams while I was falling in love. I got accepted to attend a performing arts college (I’d auditioned on a whim), so I stayed put. I graduated from the performing arts college and slid effortlessly into my deferred scholarships and first-year university courses. I had part-time jobs to pay my tuition, because I wanted to avoid student loans.

A few years later, I met another boy and we fell in love. We graduated, bought our first home and got married. We both went back to school again, me for an MBA, he for a law degree (and, as you know, training to become an amazing and inspiring leadership coach, while still in law school, because law school is not enough to take on, right?).

I went on other trips and they were amazing: Hawaii, California, Bali and Hong Kong, Brazil and Florida. I beheld spectacular sights and experienced amazing people and cultures.

But my walkabout? I didn’t go. My backpack (which I’d bought) was used for school and then abandoned for a more practical school bag. It was made to hold adventure and dirty clothes, not my textbooks. I chickened out. I had tuition to save and I didn’t know the friend Jen was traveling with; I didn’t want to crash their plans and be a third wheel. Basically, I came up with a load of very reasonable reasons to explain why I simply couldn’t just drop everything and head out. That’s the thing about reasons: They’re very reasonable. That’s their thing. Here’s the dirty little secret your reasonable reasons are hiding: It’s just fear.

Some day I’ll go off and wander with a new backpack. It’ll be different, because that’s what happens. It won’t be worse or better. It’ll be as it is, and that is perfect.

Last year, our trip to France came about from a joking status conversation on Facebook—33 days later, we were in Paris, with our best friends. Seeing the Eiffel Tower had been a dream of mine for roughly ever. It was the most amazing trip of my life.

It was just the beginning. It just gets better, if you allow it. Each and every moment. Look backward with appreciation, not with longing. Regret only lives with you if you invite it in.

Pack it up. Don’t pack it in. Don’t let go of your dreams, but know that, over time, they will change. As will you. Be gentle with yourself and don’t compare what is to what might have been. What might have been is a myth.


The following is from an article in the New Yorker called The Impossible Decision. This excerpt really struck a chord with me; how about you?

You can guess what these things will be like; you can ask people; you can draw up lists of pros and cons; but, at the end of the day, “without having the experience itself” you “cannot even have an approximate idea as to what it is like to have that experience.” That’s because you won’t just be having the experience; the experience will be changing you. On the other side, you will be a different kind of person. Making such a decision, you will always be uninformed.

Do you have regrets? What’s something you wish you could change? And what will you do to make it happen now?

Where I’d like to be today.

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not that I’m wishing away where I’m at, but doesn’t this look lovely:


The answer is yes, yes it does. I’m very much loving lakes and cottages lately. When I wander off into my head and dream about places I’d like to be (as opposed to sitting for eight hours at a desk, inside/away from the summery, sunshiney beauty that is the world around us), I keep finding myself wandering here:

lake_dock Oh, lakes. I have a sneaking suspicion that Adam and I will not be the owners of lakeside real estate, because we have other priorities (for example, going to France ALL THE TIME AND THEN BACK TO FRANCE AGAIN). And I’m okay with that, UM BECAUSE FRANCE IS AWESOME.

But still. That dock. Those chairs (and hopefully not those weeds and leeches, because if I can’t see them, then they aren’t there, right?). Speaking of leeches, do we know what service they provide to the ecosystem? Surely it can’t be just grossing out children who squeal as they are pulled off <<barfs>>. OMIGOD I JUST LOOKED THEM UP ON WIKIPEDIA TO SEE IF THEY SERVE ANY PURPOSE AND THEY DO NOT BUT DEAR GOD DO NOT READ THE PART ABOUT REMOVAL AND TREATMENT (I know you will anyway, because you are a rebel and because I hyperlinked it so you can defy me with greater ease).

Ew. Gross. Why did I read that? I need to chill out. Here I go again:


Floss and Travel.

I’ll admit it: I’m jealous of my dental floss. And not because it comes in a sparkly container, either, though, I must say, the glitter is a nice touch. Thank you, Oral B Complete! You sure know how to make a girl happy to floss. Actually, that’s not true. When it comes to flossing, I’m tempted to skip it pretty much every single night: I AM A BUSY PERSON AND IT TAKES LIKE SIXTY WHOLE SECONDS. Only my guilt is responsible for my flossing. Luckily, at least for my dental health, I am Catholic and have a pretty solid supply of guilt.

No, the thing about my dental floss that makes me jealous is that it’s been to Ireland and I have not (yet). I am from Nova Scotia, which is pretty darn close (at least in the Celtic sense; not geographically speaking). I just never realized my oral hygiene supplies could be so worldly.

I'm not sure if it's more interesting that my floss is from Ireland, or that I find it so interesting.

I’m not sure whether it’s more interesting that my floss is from Ireland, or that I find it so interesting that is so interesting. Wait, what?

First of all, who knew Ireland was a major player in the battle against plaque, gingivitis and those little popcorn bits that get wedged waaaay in there? Not me, that’s for sure. It’s kind of a refreshing surprise, finding out my floss came from the Emerald Isle, instead of a country whose business practices make me feel guilty for my purchasing decisions (didn’t I say I have an inexhaustible supply of guilt?).

Also, I never realized dental floss could expire. What happens in May 2014? Does it just disintegrate? Disappear? Poof—my floss ceases to exist, leaving behind a trail of minty sparkles? Does it no longer glide between the nooks and crannies of my dentition? How can floss have an expiration date? Or does my floss know something I don’t? Is it the new Mayan calendar? And if that’s the case, THEN I SURELY DON’T WANT TO WASTE TIME FLOSSING! I’VE GOT LIFE TO LIVE! I NEED TO GET TO IRELAND BEFORE NEXT MAY! What else is going to expire that I haven’t worried about already? My cutlery? Our table?

Anyway, I just found it interesting. After all, floss is not what I would have thought of as a major export from Ireland. Guinness, perhaps, but floss? Huh.

Yeah. I didn’t have a great topic picked for today. I know.