Friday, February 26, 2016


Before I met my current husband and moved to Canada,  I lived in Minneapolis. I had moved there with my soon to be first husband in 1992.  He and I divorced a couple of years later and even though we were both born and raised in NY, we loved Minneapolis so much we each stayed. After we split, I dated a series of bad choices, all of whom struggled with addiction issues. An unfortunate side effect of being in the restaurant business. I had a great job and a had bought a house but I wasn't happy. I was working hard and partying harder, just about off the rails.

And somehow fate intervened and I ended up in a tiny little town in northwestern Ontario. I was on a fishing trip with a friend and met my husband.  He proposed the night he met me and although it's been a bumpy ride, we've been together happily for 10 years.
I left behind my life in Minneapolis and haven't really looked back.

But this weekend,  he and I will be travelling to Minneapolis to see Bruce Springsteen in concert on Monday night. It's been a long time since I've been back and I am a very different person than I was when I lived there. I've calmed down, I'm more grounded and I am for sure a happier person than I can remember ever being. It's a struggle, but I'm still working on it. Everyday. As I like to say.

In two days I will step into a place I haven't been in a long time. Geographically or emotionally. And while we're there, I'll be visiting some old haunts and seeing some old faces. It's becoming clear this trip is more than a weekend getaway; it's an emotional homecoming.

I tend to stress over the smallest of details at the best of times (something I am actively working on), so coordinating a cross-border holiday really instigates my worry wart. Suffice to say, I am having a 'bit' of anxiety. But all this anxiety is self-generated. No one has put any pressure on me at all, it's just the old voices rising out of the depths. I'm not going to listen to them, I'm going to keep on letting my light shine.

The view out my window tonight. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Path Goes On and On

All week long I've been looking forward to spending some time outside this weekend. Even though it is still clearly winter, I feel a spark of spring and I'm itching to get some fresh air. This morning, after the hubby left for work, my little shadow of a dog and I hopped in the car and drove to the river. Every year the city grooms a skating and walking trail on the Red River. There are benches along the way and they line it with leftover Christmas trees, it's quite lovely. 

I didn't really have a plan, I just figured we would walk for a while and then turn back. The weather was warm (-5°c), so despite the grey skies it was a lovely day to be out.  A good walk for me has a lot of 'head time', time to think and sort things out. Today's walk didn't disappoint. 

I began to look at our walk as a metaphor for life. We headed out with no clear plan and encountered a slippery slope, a detour sign, a flash of colour, even the restabilization of the river bank seemed allegorical. Walking into the wind was the hardest part, but I knew that I would have the wind at my back the whole way home. I didn't know when we would turn around and then, as we came around another bend in the river, I saw the warming huts in the distance. Finally a destination!

The huts are all different. There is a design competition every year and then the huts are placed in locations closer to the city centre. The first one we came to was unbelievably beautiful. Hand crafted and covered in pine boughs, with curved benches inside, the kind of structure I'd like to create out at our lake property.  The second one we came to was too modern for my taste, but stunning to see - especially on such a grey day. 

Having reached our destination, my little dog and I took a break in the pine hut. I'd walked much further than anticipated (4.5 km) but I felt good and Georgie still had a spring in her step, so we headed for home. And when we arrived we were greeted by the hubs and the his dog and a steaming mug of coffee.
I can't think of a nicer way to spend my morning. 

Just starting out and already a detour.

An abandoned skating chair.

My little buddy, Georgie.
The first hut we came upon.
How beautiful, a mini cathedral of pine.
A modernist take.
Up close and personal.
Finally a break.
Looking back at the way we came.
The briefest glimpse of sun.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Doing my best

Having spent years as a complainer, a quibbler, a kvetch-er and a real and true doom and gloomer, it is hard to take the high road while surrounded by people who find fault with even the best of intentions.There are a lot of things I enjoy about my job, including some wonderful people. That being said, some of my coworkers have the habit of complaining about every little thing. It's a pretty nonstop soundtrack to my day and it's hard to listen to.  For a few years now, with varying degrees of success, I have been putting in the work to be a better me. And it is a hard won battle, every damn day.
It doesn't come easy for me, I was raised at an altar of complaints. But I'm putting in the work and making progress and it's getting easier. Of course there are days I find myself caught up in the bitch session, but those days are fewer and further between. The important thing is I am doing my best and staying above the fray.
I have to laugh as I wonder if this is the universe's way of testing me, of making sure I am up to the challenge of being a better me. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

February Evening

Just a few shots from a cold sunset walk. I've had some unexpected alone time this week, so my preference is to take my pups for a walk. We both enjoy the fresh air even if it is a bit 'brisk'  (-15°c)
I love the bare fingers of the trees and I can imagine how soon they will budding with spring.
All things in due time, I'm not quite done with winter yet, the waxing moon whispers promise. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Underground Downtown

Not too long ago I had the great opportunity and joy to work with dogs. Lots and lots of dogs, sometimes as many as 30 a day and I loved it. Now however, I work downtown, surrounded by lots and lots of people.

After some major changes in my life I found myself looking for a job, preferably one that allowed me evenings and weekends off. When I came across an ad for a cook at a downtown restaurant, my ears pricked up. Downtown would mean Monday to Friday days, my ideal! I went and interviwed and was promptly hired. I was excited about scoring a pretty sweet gig, but a bit apprehensive as well. I had never worked a "downtown" job before, most of my life had been spent in the restaurant business - from greasy spoons to fine dining and everywhere in between. Downtown meant stuffy lawyers and slick suits, whereas I'm a flannel and blue jean kind of gal.

Stranger still, my new place of employment was located underground. Winnipeg has a large complex of under ground malls and concourses, necessitated by our brutally cold and long winters. I had a hard time imagining that I would be happy not seeing the outside for 8 hours a day. I mean my idea of a good time is going for a walk in the woods with my dog and mucking about!

Six months later, I can say that underground downtown has been pretty good to me. It has hidden beauty and charms. There are interesting things to see, if you look around. So I have begun photographing some of the city sights and I'll continue to share them with you.

And now I'm going for a walk with the dogs!

Massive sculpture on the corner of Portage and Main. 

Relief that stretches around the 'Circus'. 

201 Portage, I love the juxtaposition of old and new. 

You could walk past this 100times and not notice. 

The lobby in one of the offices we deliver to. 

Sunday, February 07, 2016


A busy week at work, followed by a full weekend, has left me with little time to write. Work has been so hectic it leaves me too drained at the end of the day to be able to organize my thoughts. By the time Friday night rolled around I was more than ready to cut loose. Apparently cutting loose involves going to bed at 9:30 so you can wake up early to clean the house in preparation for out of town guests.

Between the cleaning, the errands, the cooking  and the visiting with friends I woke up this morning determined to make some time to write. After a few false starts, I was able to get a first draft down of a piece I've been mulling around in my head for weeks. I get my best work done in the morning, a cup of tea and some peace and quiet make a fine muse.

An afternoon phone conversation with my dad, one of my most ardent supporters, covered important topics like shipping container houses, my writing and the importance of naps. Our chat left me with a little more motivation to buckle down, write more and think less. But first I think I need a nap.

My napping buddy