Archive for July, 2017

It took me four years, but I’m finally doing it. I’m finally getting back on a stage!
Moving to a new place is always a little bit tricky, but moving to a new state or a new province is positively daunting. Especially when there is no family nearby to lean on and you don’t have any friends. So you dig in and you work (or look for work, as in my case) and you feel isolated and lonely and of course start to doubt all kinds of things, and then, as if by magic, you start meeting people.
Then you start making friends. Then you find your “other family” and it starts to feel like home. That was our experience with moving out east. Peppered, of course, with a bunch of other factors, but it pretty much took nearly three full years for us to feel like this was our home and now four years in I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love it.
Life in New Brunswick is like sticking a city right near Algonquin Park in Ontario. There are forests and wildlife everywhere. In fact, I have often commented that it seems the city’s and towns in New Brunswick were built to accommodate nature, and not the other way around as I so often found in Ontario.
However, with that adjustment period and the “finding” period of the move, (and of course, the necessity of health) we circled the wagons a lot and didn’t do a lot out, besides explore the nature trails of course. Which means I wasn’t doing any theatre, a favourite activity of mine that took up much of our five years in Tillsonburg, some of my twenties, all of my teen years and even some of my childhood. I’ve acted on stage and on camera and, well, I missed it.
I auditioned for a huge musical in the city (1 of over 200 who auditioned) and didn’t get a part, which didn’t really surprise me since the cast was of only 22 and there are some great actors out here, so I auditioned again this past summer for a show out in the valley where I live.
And I’m in.
We’re doing Sister Act (not to be confused with the movie, this is the musical). I wasn’t actually very familiar with the stage production but I gotta say, I’m loving this. The music is beautiful, fun and exciting and, in typical farce based form, there is a chase scene. We’re doing choreography based on the US Broadway tour, so it’s all move, move, move. I can’t remember the last time I danced so much. At the end of the show, we have a number with 6 part harmony. Honestly, this is an experience on stage like no other I’ve had. And it’s a great way to get my toes back onto a stage again.

If you’re local, and you want to see me as a nun, which, is kind of hilarious if you know me personally, Sister Act takes the stage August 9th.


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While I was away, this funny thing happened which, admittedly, used to happen with greater frequency but has kind of stopped over the last years. I paid attention to myself.
Yes, yes, I pay attention to myself, but, like, in that I have health issues that demand attention. When on holiday, particularly when travelling without one’s family, who else do you have to focus on…but you?
Flash back about five years. I was in peak health. I had joined a gym, befriended the owner and had a personal trainer. I looked great. I felt great….physically. The problem was that I was all about how great I looked. I let a lot of relationships slide, including the one I had with myself. Because outwardly I was looking amazing and yes, I was very much enjoying grabbing something off the rack from the “regular” section of the store and knowing it would fit before I even tried it on, but, I was also in denial about a lot of internal struggle. And I needed to turn my spotlight back on my family.
So I did.
And then we moved east, and I spent a year looking for work and cooking and baking. And eating. And then of course Shawn’s health took a sharp nosedive and then so did mine.
A year of steroids and treatments and mandatory feet/ankle rest and, well, if you read the blog you know the rest. I gained a lot of weight. Yet the irony was, in ALL other aspects of my life, I was the happiest I have been in years. I found a job I love, made friends, became a proactive part of a new community, and basically started enjoying life again. I was heavier, sure, but that wasn’t the main focus of my being anymore. I lived in yoga pants, jeans and hoodies anyway. And all that mattered was that my husband and kids loved me.
Packing for my trip out west, I took along a bunch of clothes I hadn’t worn in a while. Because I knew that I had nights out, and a lunch with coworkers and plans that required me to dress up a bit. And I packed my makeup because, well, I *was* going to a wedding after all. But without kids to organise and a husband to keep me busy I only had me. So I spent time. And, I gotta say, I was really happy with how I looked. I felt like a more polished version of me. It was great. I texted my friend Dana that I looked good out West and sent her outfit pictures.
On my last day of holidays, Allison and I went out to run a couple of errands and, being early for one of them, we stopped at a store for plus sizes. I had never gone into my branch of it at home. I was still clinging to that memory of being an off the rack size. (Here’s the thing, when I put something on, in my head, I see myself wearing it in my old body so sometimes I get upset when I see how it looks on my current body)
Something dawned on me that day though, trying on clothes with Allison. If I let go of the number on the label and just put on something that fit, and fit me well, I looked great. I felt great!
So, I bought a pair of jeans. Then I came home, went to my branch of the same store, and bought another pair of jeans. And a top. And a vest.
Then I went home and looked at my closet. Big, heavy sigh.
I am a clothes hoarder. No, maybe it’s not that bad, but, I hang on to stuff with the idea that ONE DAY, I’ll get back into it again. It’s been five years. And even with the great new clothes that fit me well and with taking that bit of extra time again to ensure that I was putting a little effort in like I did out West, when I saw the things I had once loved that no longer fit me, the sadness crept back in.
Well, I don’t want to feel that anymore. It was time to get rid of the “I have a dream” section of my closet.

Saturday we took the kids into the city for the Buskers on the Bay festival. We spent morning to mid-afternoon watching the acts and then scooted home so our middle daughter could get to work on time. Kids scattered, hubs went to play his new video game and I went upstairs armed with an empty garbage back and a determination, albeit a slightly nervous one.
It was like ripping off a band aid. I started in the closet. There were skirt suits and dresses. A lot of them like new, and beautifully made. I posted those online in a “buy nothing” group so that some other local woman could get the benefit of my previously expensive taste. As I suspected, everything I posted was gone by mid day Sunday. But the closet wasn’t enough. I started in on my dresser. And my shoes. If it didn’t fit, it went. At first I was sentimental and sad, but as the chore went on, it got easier and easier. And then I started to feel really good. Everything left fit, fit well, I liked it and it looked good on me. Why hadn’t I done this YEARS ago? No more would I open my closet and immediately feel fat and regretful. Now I felt empowered and awesome.
My husband thought this was a good idea so we spent a few hours on Sunday doing his closet as well. And cleaning the room. Amazing how much clutter can build up without really being noticed.
I feel lighter today. I woke up and every option I saw was an actual option.
The only downside? Now I am noticing that the linen closet needs a purge. And the living room. And the kitchen. The joys of homeownership.

I took a vacation. I went to an amazing wedding and met with wonderful people and stayed with an absolutely beautiful friend. And I kind of found myself a bit. And I remembered that I like who I am.

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Here’s something I “thought” was super smart.  I booked a flight that left at 1am thinking that I would sleep On the plane and wake in Montreal fresh and ready to fly home.  Here’s something that didn’t happen. Sleep. 

I had a middle seat for the flight home and the dude on my left was asleep before we even took off.  I suspect he had chemical help.  I mean, he was out, COLD.  I tried, I really did.  But I just couldn’t do it, plus, he had left the window open which meant by half way through the flight, it was nothing but a continual sunrise out the window and it was too pretty not to watch.  Very surreal to realize that you’re not only crossing the country, but also crossing timelines, and essentially the sunrise was following us.  So I landed in Montreal and had just under an hour to connect to my flight home.  Another hour and forty five in the air, another hour forward in time, and I landed in Saint John, happy to exit and see my family.  Happier still for the knowledge I could go nap in my own bed.  

While I had been away, Shawn took the kids for a day of hiking at the Fundy trails park and they were all dying for me to go too so, that weekend, after a short three days back at work, we went. 

I mean, can you even?   

Sometimes Shawn and I will be in the car driving somewhere and we will notice how particularly beautiful it is out that day and he will ask me, “are you bored of it yet?”. Meaning, have we lived here so long now that the views have become mundane.  Ordinary. Unremarkable. 

The answer is always no.  I have never lived in a place so breathtaking. New Brunswick is often referred to as “the drive by” province.  Meaning, people pass through on their way to the more glamorous places like PEI or Nova Scotia, and it’s a real shame.  Because there are such gems here. And we’ve really only scratched the surface so far.  

Besides, nothing makes me happier, whether it’s on a provincial trail, or in our own yard, than to see my teenaged children revert back to the small kids they were, ten, eleven, twelve years ago, when we took the camping in Algonquin Park.  

I loved my trip to Edmonton.  It was everything I had hoped it to be and more. And I hope I go back there again someday.  Or to BC, or Gatineau, or St.Catherines or Orillia, or Guelph or Canning or Kitchener.  I even hope to explore more of my own new home province. 

But I’ll always love coming home the best.  There’s no family like my family.  And home really is where my heart is.  

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Ahhh the wedding day!!

Sunday dawned beautifully and with one teensy, tiny problem: my jet lag had finally kicked in. Since Wednesday, Allison had told me she was wondering when that would happen. I mean, I was now operating three hours behind my normal internal clock, and to boot, staying in a part of the country where daylight hung around and lingered long after 10:30pm. I had been waking up super early, by Edmonton time, and staying awake super late. And on Sunday it all crashed down on me. I was exhausted. Super exhausted. We had breakfast together and then I went out briefly for a timmies (and a little present for Allison for hosting me) and came back and crashed out on the couch for about two hours, give or take.
Allison was my date for the day and at about 1:30, we started to get ready. By three we were ready to leave. The wedding was only a forty minute drive from us but, knowing that I can’t navigate Edmonton, that there was a music festival closing down part of the street and construction limiting where we could go, not to mention that Allison had work in the morning and would likely leave before me, we took separate cars. That way I could follow her and not get lost. Again. And thank goodness: we had to weave our way around the closed streets, one way streets, under construction streets and finally found the church.
It immediately dawned on me, for real, that my baby brother was getting married. He and I had an unusual relationship as siblings go. Turlough is 15 years younger than I am. By the time he was born, I was already half way through high school. I helped change his diapers, I babysat him all the time and, when he was only three years old and I eighteen, I gave birth to my oldest, Liam. Liam and Turlough were buddies from the start. And being that I was home all the time with my new baby, I often just took care of them both. He wasn’t so much like a sibling to me, than a sort of extension of my own little family in those early years and then, of course, I got married at 19 and moved out and away. Sure, we came back to the homestead a lot over the years for holidays and special occasions, but, I never got to really bond with him in that sibling way. Large age gaps make it difficult to do that, even in a big family such as ours, so, arriving at the church for his wedding was a beautiful moment for me as a big sister, but also as someone who kind of felt like I had a secondary mothering role in his early years. I also realized immediately, that I had forgotten to bring tissues. And you all know I’m a crier. I borrowed one from my sister and sat down to await the ceremony.
Can I just pause here for a sec to say, my family does weddings super cool. One sister had a full-on Scottish contingent, one had a Metallica song as her first dance, there have been swing dances and Irish hard-shoe in a wedding gown, rapping, dry ice topping a wedding cake…I mean, amazing. At Turlough’s wedding my oldest brother played them down the aisle, both in and out, to Beatles music. Super smooth.
It was the first time I had seen my new sister, walking down that aisle. Oh sure, I had seen pictures and had talked to her on the phone once or twice, but this was my first time *seeing* her. And she is beautiful. I know, all brides are beautiful and maybe I am biased (don’t care) since she is now related to me, but truly, truly she was beautiful. I definitely teared up during their vows and as they walked up the aisle at the end, now married.

Since both Turlough and Krystal are swing dancers/instructors, the reception took place at Sugar Swing, their dance hall. A mere few blocks away, it only took twenty minutes of more navigating construction and closed roads, but well worth it, the venue was really lovely. Upper floor was for dining, ground floor for dancing.
Our parents spoke, her parents spoke, and then…my brothers spoke. My older brother, kind of known for his somewhat dry sense of humour and very intellectual outlook on things surprised us all by bringing tears to our eyes with his thoughtfulness and eloquence. Even Turlough’s. My younger brother Ciaran had us laughing, no howling, at stories of their escapades as the two youngest in a house full of kids, and with four older sisters to boot. This story:

is one that will, I have no doubt, have wedding guests talking about for a long time.

Dinner ended and we all went downstairs for the main event. There was a live swing band and the music was beyond describing amazing and the dancing was even better. This was a room of people who knew how to party. Everyone got in on the action, everyone was sweating and laughing and having an amazing time. The band played for over two hours and then a DJ took over, as most of the band members were also dancers and wanted in on the fun. I stayed until just after midnight. I cried as I hugged every sibling, the original, the in laws and my new sister Krystal goodbye, as it was likely the last time I would see most of them for quite a while. It was six years since we were all together at the same time. Who knows how long it will be until that happens again. But that’s the reality of us all growing up, getting married and finding our own lives. The Myers family is no longer the one we all belong to before all others. Now it’s the Reilly’s and the Webster’s and the Derbis’s and the Gole’s and of course, the new Myers’s. And all those new families have to come first now, in the same way Mom and Dad’s did when they created it. Sad? Yes, a bit. But also wonderful as we are all creating our own stories. I arrived back just after 1 in the morning and fell into a happy sleep.
Monday being my last day out west, Allison and I spent the day just chilling. We ran a few errands and we talked and talked and watched trash TV together (a mutual guilty pleasure) and talked some more. One of the best parts of having known someone online for six years, we never ran out of things to talk about. We stayed up until 11 when she drove me to the airport. A final hug goodbye, and I was ready to go home.

Part three to come.

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Well, well, well. I made it all the way to Edmonton, went to a wedding, and came back to tell the tale, only a little worse for sleep habits.
My baby brother’s wedding.
First of all, the week preceding the wedding was great. I mean completely great. It was exactly the perfect amount of independence I needed in order to go home in full appreciation of what I have and who I have in my life.
You all know I managed to avoid actually buying anything in the designer stores, which was practically *saint-like* patience on my part. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t self-indulge at all.
On Thursday I went out and got a mani-pedi. First time I’ve done that in over five years. I usually don’t want to justify the cost, since I’m a bit of a penny pincher (with the exception of course of the odd pair of ballet shoes). I had forgotten how good your feet feel when you leave the salon after having this done. The lady who did mine even gave me a hot stone massage on the bottoms of my feet. Talk about relaxing!
I decided, since I had time that day, to find the house my parents had rented, so that I would not get lost on Saturday when I went out for the BBQ. It’s a good thing I did, too! I got hopelessly lost. Edmonton is laid out so…uniquely. I needed to find 133 st. HOWEVER, there is more than one 133 st. I also found out that if the house is in the north-west end, you have to find the street number that corresponds with the first three digits of the house, THEN find the 133 that shoots off that. How did I discover this? The very nice lady who lived on the first 133 st who offered to get in her car and have me follow her to the correct address. So kind. It was a total comedy of errors, with me panicking, my GPS telling me the place I wanted did not exist and a kind woman whipping me through a very brand new subdivision. It’s okay though, she needed to go to the grocery store anyway.
I spent a little bit of time visiting and went back to my friend Allison’s house to get ready for that night’s dinner.
Around nine years ago, I started reading blogs and I got hooked on a couple of specific ones, including Brittany Gibbon’s blog, at the time, The Barefoot Foodie. It was smart and funny and everything you want in a quick afternoon’s read. That blog eventually became The Curvy Girl online magazine (which, I wrote for a couple of times) and then eventually, just Curvy Girl Guide (along with her media company which also produces pod casts called Girls’ Girls and is the funniest fricking thing ever). I’ve been a part of CGG since the beginning, as has my friend Allison, although, we had never met in person. A funny thing happens though when women form friendships independent of any male interaction and we bonded quickly, as did many of the women in that group at the onset. We’re the old guard now, as the group has over 6000 members from all over the world. And, as luck would have it, a bunch of them live in Edmonton. So we planned a dinner out.
I can’t remember having such a good time with a bunch of ladies. The restaurant was so much fun. The DJ played a lot of throwback music to our high school years (I won’t say how long ago that was) and amid the raucous laughter and hilarious conversation, there were frequent pauses to sing along and dance in our seats. I couldn’t have asked for a better night.
Friday was another amazing opportunity to sit with women who are an important part of my life. The managers at the Edmonton branch of my work invited me to lunch. I frequently email with these women as we work so the chance to sit down and really build on the working relationships with a face to face was a blessing. Nevermind the fact that they are wonderfully smart and funny ladies!
I had thought to myself, the building they are in is pretty easy to find, and, according to google, the coffee shop my brother works in is pretty close, so why not try to find it since I was going to be right in the heart of the downtown? Well I got lost. Again. Because those streets, man!! Nothing is where it appears to be. You have to find the main street, then the offshoot. It’s confusing. I wound up asking a police officer for directions and I did eventually find it but the “I’m lost” texts were becoming a bit of a source of humour for my husband back home.
I braved the north-west side once again that afternoon for the rental house, which, I found slightly easier than the day before. And reunited with my nieces and nephew. Oh the chaos of children all under the age of ten. Made me almost nostalgic for the days when my own crew of five were little. Almost. Smartest thing I did for myself on that trip was to get a rental car and stay with a friend. I love my family to pieces, but that was a whole lot of nutty in one house. I feel like I did my time already and got out, if not on good behaviour, then at least on time served.
On Saturday I picked up my third sister at the airport, a last minute surprise as she wasn’t sure she’d be able to come. At last, all seven siblings in the same place at the same time. For the first time in six years. Time certainly does fly. We spent Saturday afternoon/night with most of us together having dinner and playing cards. If you asked me why my sister Niamh and I felt that our Irish accents only helped with the game of Euchre, I couldn’t tell you. I only know it was funny as fuck.
Something else I learned about Edmonton. It says light for a long time. I offered to drive my brother and sister in law and their baby to their air BnB for the night, since I had a vehicle and could save them the cost of a cab. This turned out to be brilliant because my one year old niece Saoirse only is cute when no one is looking (says my sister Angela) and was ADORABLE on the ride until we got stopped in traffic (because we forgot it was CANADA DAY) and she was grumpy. So, we sang her the opening of Hamilton. The only baby in the world that I know that is calmed by the sounds of “How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore” emanating from adults in perfect tandem. I mean, we were pretty damn great.
Our stellar performance aside, here is what I forgot about Canada Day, especially in a major Canadian city. It’s busy. EVERYONE was out. Some streets were shut down. A drive that should have taken me twenty minutes to get from downtown Edmonton to Devon, took me over an hour. I arrived back at Allison’s that night just after midnight, tired, sore and ready for the wedding of my baby brother.

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