31 December 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #72: Bonne Année!

Bonne Année!  Another year has come and gone and I, for one, cannot believe it.  It's been an awesome year that started with Screech in Moose Jaw and will end with tapas in Chicago.  We've been incredibly fortunate this year with people and places and are really looking forward to what 2012 has in store.

BUT, before we move on to 2012, I should give a little update on the past two weeks!  Dave has come back to the city to spend some time with me over the holidays and we've had a blast.  He enjoyed sleeping in, I enjoyed a couple of days off work.  We ate great food, spent time with good friends, and put together our little abode in the city.  We finished a monster puzzle, made and ate lots of cookies, decorated our "tree," and spent some time reflecting and appreciating the goodness that 2011 was.

Not one, but TWO trees!

Lovely Christmas Market...

As I think back on this year, there are so many things we were able to accomplish...among them - a wedding, two fantastic hiking trips, seeing my parents renew their vows in April, a new job, and yet another notch in the old moving-from-one-place-to-another belt.  In short, it's been a great year!

Best wishes for 2012!

24 December 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #71: And to All a Good Night

My apologies for not hanging around the blogosphere lately.  It's just, well, a certain guy from a certain Canadian town came to a certain U.S. city to visit a certain gal.  We are grateful for so much this year and just wanted to say to everyone...

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year!


15 December 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #70: Happy Holidays, Love Chicago

The Chriskindlmarket in Chicago is everything good about the holidays.  There are twinkling lights, a giant tree, mulled wine, hot chocolate, awesome German goodies like pretzels, and a sweet castle chock full of every sweet thing you can imagine.  There are vendors from all over the globe selling their wares -- from hand-blown glass ornaments to wooden toys.  It takes me back to high school in Germany when the holidays would come to life in each village square in the form of a market that my family could enjoy together.

That Chicago has a Christkindlmarket makes it that much more of an awesome city to be back in...there is nothing more magical to me than a city during the holidays!

I'll be posting more holiday pics later...have a great week!

12 December 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #69: Weekend Rewind

This was the weekend wintry dreams are made of...

A mattress to sleep on (finally!)
Brunch with friends
Episodes of Dexter
A Skype date (or two!) with Canada
A run along the lakefront with an awesome friend
A slowly-coming-together apartment

And, views like this....

Who can resist this?!  The city at its finest!

Dave and I are eagerly planning our time together at the end of this month...the countdown has begun until we see each other again!  It will be our first Christmas together alone and we will be spending it among the twinkling lights of the city...

hmmmm...maybe a Christmas tree is in order this year...

04 December 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #68: Very Merry Weekend

These are the weekends I dream of...a chill in the air, good friends, awesome runs outside, and a general overall feeling of weekend-y-ness.  In short, it's been fabulous.  I had the chance on Saturday to catch up on writing my holiday cards while downing some good tea and listening to Christmas tunes.  Following that, I got to spend some quality time (re)watching the first season of The Walking Dead (I am in LOVE with this show!) with some good friends of mine.  The weather was just right for us to go for a run in the middle of the zombie marathon and gave us an excuse to return home and down some good veggie lasagna.

Today, I had the good fortune to be invited to one of my close friend's homes for a holiday brunch.   Maureen, founder of the Global Women's Leadership Forum, holds a brunch each year to thank the women in her life that have impacted her during the year.  It was a morning of inspiration, reflection, and sisterhood and I was grateful to be included.

A chat with my family and one of my best friends to close it all out.  It's been a lovely weekend of weekends and I am grateful for it.

Christkindlmarket and a Picasso

Holiday cards

Winter Bird

The city has decked their halls

01 December 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #67: Images from Home

Dave and I took some time when I was home to go for a lovely walk in Regina.  It was crisp out with a bright blue sky...just the way I like it...

In addition to our walk, we may have sampled the Christmas cake I baked back during Canadian Thanksgiving in October.  Just saying.  What?  I can't help it that it contains some of my most favorite things like raisins, prunes, molasses, and some good dousing of alcohol!  It's just so tasty...

And, yes...I like prunes...is there something wrong with that?!?!

Happy Weekend, everyone....

25 November 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #66: 24 Thanks

Mural in Chicago
Happy American Thanksgiving everyone!  Yes, yes...I know I am a day late, but can you fault a girl who just returned home to Canada late on Wednesday for being a bit preoccupied with her husband that she hasn't seen in almost a month?  Ahem...I didn't think so.

My Thanksgiving in Canada was a quiet one...some errands to run, a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to be missed (darn you, online streaming websites!), a classic family apple pie to make, and a vegan Thanksgiving dinner to wrap up the evening.  There was Skype chatting with family and emails traded among friends.  It was yummy and delicious and homey and perfect.  Just the way a Thanksgiving should be...

And so, on this day-after-Thanksgiving, when a good portion of my fellow country people are knocking down the doors of various big box stores to prep themselves for the holiday season, I am going to sit back, tend to my work, and think about the 24 things I am thankful for this year (inspired by Megan over here)...

1.  For the little family we've created over the past *almost* three years
2.  Family and friends here, there, and everywhere in between
3.  My health...seriously...
4.  My job...I love what I do and who I get to work with
5.  Skype
6.  Boots from Peru
7.  Vacations...whether mini or epic
8.  The orange scarf, and the blue one, and the...okay, all my scarves
9.  Moose Jaw...for helping me find my inner calm
10.  Morning runs along the lakefront with a good friend
11.  Roof(s) over my head
12.  Spring rolls...YUM!
13.  On the subject of food...soy lattes and mate lattes
14.  Our second wedding and the chance to celebrate with loved ones
15.  Alexi Murdoch...such good music
16.  Friends who welcome you back and help you deck out your new place
17.  Airplanes
18.  The holidays and all their over-the-top-sparkly goodness
19.  The El and public transport in Chicago
20.  My mentors
21.  Kayaks
22.  Tofu
23.  New opportunities to grow and spread my wings
24.  Most of all...the love and support I feel every day

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night!

Apple pie prep...

Thanksgiving Feast!

The holidays are showing up in the city!

A friend and I saw this...a bathroom for rent...


SO GOOD!  Demera...so tasty!

19 November 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #65: Moving Day!

Uh...I don't have this much to move this time!
And, so it is upon me again...yet another moving day, in another town, from one space to another.  My life has been a mish-mash of shuttling from one place to another.  I grew up an Army brat, moving from state to state and then overseas.  Next it was college, where I shuffled from dorm to home to dorm.  In the years after college, I managed to move a whopping thirteen times in nine years.  What?!  Wanderlust is my thing...it's what I do.

All that moving aside, when I made the move to Moose Jaw last year, I was pretty convinced that I was going to be stationary for a while.  I cozied into the home we share, settling in and making myself feel at "home."  I dug in, got comfy, and started forming attachments to space and routine -- something I've always tried NOT to do as settling down for permanence was always something to be avoided.

Lo and behold, Wanderlust decided to peek over the horizon again.  She showed her face and I just couldn't resist as she dangled a return to Chicago and a shiny new position in front of me.  It wasn't an easy decision, made even more difficult because it meant a return to a long-distance marriage and coming home to an empty space every night.  But, no matter, for today is another moving day.  A day where I get to set up shop in a new space and re-orient myself to the "City that Works."

In the midst of all this moving, I've realized a few things...
  • "Home" for me consists of the people I am surrounded by.  It doesn't matter where I lay my head because for me, space is, in the end, irrelevant. 
  • The less I have, the better I am.
  • My parents are awesome -- can we just say I have a full kitchen courtesy of the 'rents?!  Thanks, Mom and Dad!
  • Coming back to a city with a built-in support network has made this transition so much easier.
  • Having a "vacation home" in the city and our "real home" in Moose Jaw can be kinda fun!
I want to send a special shout-out to my amazing friends, Christin and Deb, for allowing me to hunker down in their space for the last little bit.  Their generosity and friendship have sustained me in making this transition back to the windy city.

14 November 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #64: It's Been Lovely Around Here

It has been a gorgeous fall since I've come into town...leaves changing and the air crisp.  All that being said, I can't wait to get back to Mac the Moose, snow on the ground, and the quiet of Moose Jaw life.  I'll be heading back soon, but in the meantime, Chicago is putting on a spectacular show of colour to help get me through the days until I am back home...

In addition, I have to say a super-congratulations to my good friends, Matt and Constance on the arrival of their new little one!!!  

It's a glorious fall, indeed!

06 November 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #63: Fall-time in the City!

I've been back in Chicago for a week now and, despite missing Canada and my husband terribly, I couldn't have picked a better time to make the move back to the city.  There is something magical about Chicago in the months leading up to the first snowfall...the leaves falling on sidewalks, brownstones with carved pumpkins hanging out on the stoop, kids in brightly coloured coats running past, the gorgeous sight of Lake Michigan against a crisp azure sky, and the way everything just seems to get much more cozy in the neighborhoods that make up this city.

I've been seeing friends, walking around my old neighborhoods, and getting used to working in an office again.  It's been a whirlwind, but it's also wonderful to be coming back to a place where I have a great deal of support.  And, that's what it comes down to really.  As we near American Thanksgiving and I continue to move through this transition, I've come to realize that the thing making all of this possible -- both my move to Moose Jaw a year ago and this move back to Chicago now -- is the support and love from family and friends.  While it might not always be easy, I certainly know I've got people on my side who can ease the discomfort, won't make fun of me when I cry, and will help me pick out a new shower curtain. 

'Cause hey, at the end of the day, isn't that what friends are for?

I'll have pictures for you soon...right now I've been a little busy with...well, ya know...stuff...

28 October 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #62: Away I go...

It is pretty crazy what can happen in the span of just a year.

You can leave the place you called "home" for nine years, end your long-distance marriage to start *finally!* living under the same roof, land in another country, begin working from home, become a permanent resident of this new country, discover new places, discover new things about yourself, enjoy an incredible marriage to an awesome partner, meet new people and love them as your new extended family, have a second wedding, hike, camp, run a marathon and, in general, come to know and love everything about your new way of living.

But, life is funny and loves to throw curveballs (as awesome as they can be) into your path to see if you can catch them or let them go by.  So you catch said curveball and you...

...take the dream job, move back to the city from whence you just came, say "see you soon!" to your extended family, say a more permanent "hello!" to your urban family, work from an office, discover more new things about yourself as you take on new and exciting challenges, return to a long-distance marriage (piece of cake!), and through it all...attempt to embrace every single moment for the awesome-ness that it is.

I consider myself an incredibly lucky person.  Tomorrow, I return to Chicago to live and work.  Through this experience I have grown to appreciate and be grateful so much more for the people in my life.  Our friends and family have been incredibly supportive of the decision for me to move back in order to pursue career satisfaction and new forms of balance.  Dave has been the most supportive of all...my husband and champion to end.  He recognizes that this is important to me and while it will be difficult for the two of us, we've done this before and we can do it again.  We are calling this, affectionately, my "non-profit deployment."

So, I will be journey-ing between two places...living on the border of U.S. citizen and Canadian permanent resident.  I will travel between the urban sprawl of concrete and high-rises to the quiet and hypnotizing prairies with their amazing sunsets.  Dave and I will navigate this new chapter in our marriage and along the way, we know we've got friends and family to help us along.

It's been a ride and I can't wait to see what's over the next hill...

16 October 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #61: Happy Thanksgiving From Canada

One of the best reasons to live in Canada?  The holiday season kicks off that much earlier!  It is no secret among friends and family that I am a sucker for the holidays...twinkling lights, good food, a chill in the air...my bliss!  Yet another Thanksgiving has come and gone in this fair land that I currently claim as home.  The leaves have turned, and the wind is blowing stiff and cold from the north.  We made the most of our holiday with a hike in the Nicolle Flats with one of our best friends, two (that's right...TWO!) weekend dates at our favourite places in Regina, 13th Avenue Coffeehouse and La Bodega, and a yummy Thanksgiving dinner for just the two of us.  Since then, it has been "bake central" here in the Jaw with vegan pumpkin loaves and a vegan Christmas cake.  I'll include recipes in my next post, but for now, some pics!

Hiking in the Flats
Thanksgiving Tree
A pause in the hike for some love...
YUUMMMY T-Day Dinner!
Fresh cranberries for the vegan pumpkin-cranberry loaf!
SO good!
Christmas Cake anyone?
C-cake baking aftermath...