The Happy Wanderer

Mmmm traveling. I never really wanted to travel until we moved across the continent. All the new possibilities and places to see got me hooked on seeing the world. California is packed with a ton of great stuff to see and you don’t have to go very far.

My natural tendency is to want to plan plan plan. I want to have every second accounted for and see all there is to see. Unfortunately my desire to plan doesn’t fit me as a traveler. If I have a schedule I’m constantly checking the clock and looking at my phone figuring out directions and I am the furthest thing from present in the moment.

My last trip to LA was like that. When we got to LA I had a list and an itinerary and you know what? It sucked. It’s one of those trips that is a better memory than it was in reality. It wasn’t a waste of time though. On our way down we made a stop at Morro Bay and we had no agenda. We camped and rented a kayak and took it all in. I had a much more enjoyable time at Morro bay than LA.

It’s funny how I am such a planner and think I can handle an action packed vacation but hate having my time already spoken for and a Friday night eating pizza in front of the TV with the hubby sounds like a party. I like my time commitments to be minimal and if possible to be optional or spontaneous. My travel style is not go go go. My father in law has trips like that, and when I don’t have to make decisions and I can just follow along I really don’t mind too much (although I still usually duck out for a nap at some point). I just don’t have the energy to bounce from activity to activity. The idea of a resort with free food and drink and a giant pool with nothing to do sounds great. So does wandering the streets of Paris and trying out the first restaurant that looks good. Sometimes the reviews are wrong and just get in the way. Sometimes getting lost is ok. Sometimes spending 10 minutes at a farmers market or adventuring for an entire afternoon is better than feeling obligated to stay or feeling torn away because you have to hit your 2 hour scheduled amount of time.

I can’t say I have done that much traveling but in the future all my advanced arrangements will consist solely of a place to sleep and I will leave the details to chance.



Dogs, cats, birds, and fish. The standard choices for a pet. I grew up with Dogs. Only two really. The first one was Teddy, a miniature schnauzer that my parents had before I was born. She was an incredible dog. She would let me dress her up in doll clothes and put her in cribs and strollers and she would stay there until I came and got her. She never once bit me. My mom walked her without a leash and she was trusted outside all day with no supervision and never once ran away. Ok maybe once, but only because she was afraid in the storm because no one let her back in…whoops. I loved that dog. I would have dreams that she died and wake up balling my eyes out. I was an only child so I can only imagine our bond had something to do with the fact that she was my furry sister, the closest thing to a real sibling I would have until I adopted two brothers when I married Eric. I remember the day I came home from school in the sixth grade and there was no Teddy. My dad had taken her to be put down. She was thirteen years old and couldn’t see very well anymore. My mom and I cried for months. 

Then there was Toto. (Yes we have a thing for T names that should probably be boy names for female dogs). Toto was the opposite of Teddy in many ways. Black instead of grey, bad instead of good, runaway instead of faithful follower. Toto is adorable and thats probably the only reason she’s still breathing. She pees and poops in the basement, runs away almost weekly, and only listens when she feels like it. I think she thinks she’s a cat. Toto was only my problem during high school and then I moved out and was pet free for a couple years until I got married. 

Shortly after Eric and I got married his brother adopted a grey cat from the humane society and we often got to cat sit. Soon after our brief encounters with Johnny, the little grey cat, Eric was hooked and before I could say “I’m not a cat person and neither are you” we were on our way to the humane society. I still remember the day we brought home our little black Dexter. He was from a litter of 4. Two girls, two boys, three black and one grey with blue eyes. We were attracted to the beautiful grey striped brother but he was too preoccupied with himself. It didn’t take long and Dexter was up in Eric’s lap fast asleep. I still say he chose us. $189 later and a screaming car ride home he was ours and we loved the poop out of him. He was a shoulder cat for a long time until he reached over ten pounds and just didn’t fit any more. He was and still is a neutral distraction to diffuse a fight, a snuggler on lonely rainy days, and he provides entertainment for company. He had his share of vet bills though. The poor little had anxiety and would (and still sometimes does) rip out chunks of fur from his back legs and belly and has a sensitive tummy, but we love him dearly. His anxiety greatly decreased upon the arrival of our California cat, Davy. 

We adopted Davy from someone in Roseville when she was 3 months old for a meagre $15. Money well spent. She is a tortoise shell cat and man does she have an attitude. Introducing the two cats to each other was what I imagine having a new born baby is like in some respects. I had to keep them separated and slowly introduce their scents to each other and then a little face time each day. They hated each other at first. There was so much hissing and growling and fighting and I felt like such a bad cat mom. But eventually they got used to each other and now its not uncommon to find them cuddling on the couch or grooming each other. Davy is so different than Dexter. Where Dexter is quiet and keeps mostly to himself Davy is loud and always climbing on my lap. While dexter throws up from too much crumbs Davy is a garbage disposal, eating everything in sight with no ill effects. She is definitely mama’s cat. She sleeps with me every night and talks to me (aka yells at me) every time I come home to the apartment. She is the cutest and tiniest full grown cat I’ve ever seen but has the most hideous garbled meow. Every time someone goes into the bathroom she runs in, hops up on the sink, and gives a blood curdling meow because she wants that someone to turn on the tap so she can have some fresh running water. Only the best for her. 

Having pets means having companionship and an outlet for love. Now that Ive had dogs and cats I think I honestly prefer cats. They have so much more personality and are much more mobile and fun to watch. Davy’s constant nudging and walking over my electronics reminds me to put my phone and computer away and be in the moment. Dexters early morning cry reminds me there is somebody depending on me and reminds me that my life has purpose, not just to feed my cats but beyond my front door as well. Having pets teaches you responsibility and teaches you how to care for others. I love watching Eric play with the cats. You can tell so much about someone by the way they interact with pets. Do they ignore the animals obvious discomfort and hold them anyways or do they respect their fear or discomfort and admire them from a distance. Are they fearful? disgusted? annoyed? I believe pets are such a blessing and help curb strong negative emotions and provide a protective factor from mental health issues. I don’t think I will ever not have a pet. 


Writing Frenzy

I was looking at the wordpress feed for one of the first times today and came across the 365 day calendar for writing prompts. I am now super giddy and excited about started to make writing part of my daily routine. So for now I will keep the blog name I have because I eventually want this blog to be about food. If I’m honest with myself I am not a great writer… probably not even a good one. I don’t have an established writing style and my grammar and spelling are shoddy at best. But what better way to learn to write than to practice. Reading and writing. Things I need more of in my life. And for an organizational, all or nothing kind of gal like me nothing sounds better than having a daily writing prompt. So heads up people. If the future content seems random…it’s because it is. I hope you enjoy. Image

A rose by any other name…

Since I moved far, far away from the little town on the prairie the topic of my maiden name has always gone the same way. Initially, it takes people by surprise and then come the fits of laughter. You see, my hometown of Winkler, is somewhat of an anomaly in when it comes to last names. Back in the good ol’ days when people used phone books it wasn’t enough to know the name of the person you were trying to get in touch with, you needed to being looking for the Mary Peters that lives on 8th street, not the one on Main street. There is probably a ten to one ratio of people to last names in that town and that’s probably a conservative guess. I don’t know exactly why everyone has the last name but they do, something to do with Mennonite immigrants… that apparently stuck together for generation after generation… which remains largely true today. And after all this time everyone is related, as far as 5th cousins… which does that even really count? You start dating someone and then have to break up because you find out you’re their third cousin… or you don’t let that phase you… it all depends. If you don’t want to take unnecessary risks of birth defects you need to stay away from people with the same last name and probably do your homework just to be safe.  And that’s just the start. When you get past the fact that there is only 1000 last names for a town of 10,000 people then you have to look at the caliber of last name. For example, Wall, Harder, and my personal favourite… and unfortunately also my maiden name…Dyck (Pronounced like the slang for the male member not the derogatory word for a female that is sexually attracted to other females… which surprisingly was the favoured guess put forth by telemarketers). Thank goodness I got married and took on a much less shameful last name with no questions as to its pronunciation.

Being that we all have the same last names it then is a given that of course I’m not the only Dyck I know (pun intended?). There are so many Dyck’s in fact that one of my best friends last names is also Dyck, not to mention my elementary school teachers, neighbours, and my entire family on my dad’s side. Having the last name Dyck growing up was only funny if your first name was Harry, or Anita (think about it…yeah), or Dick… (I’m sure he exists). So growing up no one really laughed or even blinked upon learning of my last name. I don’t even remember ever having a conversations about it at home. It just wasn’t discussed. However, somehow I still knew it was weird.I remember in high school I often braced myself for people’s reactions which were mild in comparison the ones outside we-are-all-related-ville. I was even more hesitant to share it with the other kids in college and for good reason. The normal reaction was a double take, then disbelief, followed with gut busting, tears-streaming-down-your-face, rolling on the floor, belly laughter… no really. Being an athlete it was especially relevant as people were often called by their last name (despite there only being 3 or so names to go around). One of my teammates was nick named “Dicker” because her last name was even worse… Dick… yes with an “I”. I’m a confident self-assured person and for most of my post Mennonite bubble life I was engaged or married to my wonderful husband Eric, so I laughed along and didn’t have to deal with it unless I brought it up… which I did if parties were getting dull. It really livened things up. I survived childhood because it was a lame overused joke that just went unsaid and I ditched it shortly after entering the real world.

As you can imagine I was all too excited for a name change and jumped at the chance. The conversation of “are you going to take my last name?” was never had because it was a given, a non issue, not even a mention of a hyphen. That has always been a good secondary joke though. The issues of feminism and independence and principle never even crossed my mind as these concepts were overshadowed by the need to escape having such a ridiculous last name.  I really lucked out though. Most people with odd last names are probably made fun of their whole pre marriage lives and possibly their post marriage lived as well. My poor mother… what was she thinking? She could have been a Wiebe but she gave it all up for documented proof of her union with my dad. Now that’s love. Some people have even gone as far as to legally change Dyck to Dueck (pronounced Do-ick) or Dixon to avoid the risk of not being taken seriously upon introductions. With all the research out there supporting correlations with positive and negative factors associated with people’s names I can see why people would go to all the work of changing it. Having gone through a name change I can say it’s not an easy task. Not something that’s undertaken in an afternoon type of ordeal. But for me every changed piece of identification was a small victory and one I’ve never regretted.

Check out this link for original challenge:

People sick

I think I am starved. Not physically starved but emotionally. Today the internet was down, Praise Jesus. Today the internet was down and when my husband came home from work we didn’t even know what to do with each other. What will we do tonight? Well Eric needed to run an experiment so he took off to the lab and I did all that there was to do, read. I read Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist. Reading her words somehow always touches something deep within me and makes me laugh and cry along with inspiring me to write for myself. Reading about all her dinner parties and cooking with friends made me wish I was doing that more often. Reading about her weekend getaway catching up with old friends left me hungry for that type of soul nourishment. I crave that kind of conversation. The kind that starts from the other side of the bathroom door, sitting on the floor eating Oreos and entertaining your friend. The kind that starts and ends with laughter but has tears that lead to ugly crying, a big ol’ ugly crier sandwich. The kind that leaves you feeling raw and real and alive despite all the pain that you have now become acutely aware of. The kind that sparks epiphanies just from speaking through life with someone who knows you so deeply. It’s that time of year again. I miss family and friends. I miss the potential late night kitchen talks, the Saturday afternoon driving talks, and the aimless walking talks over ice cream. I miss the familiar bike paths and recipes that despite not being what I want all the time
are home to me and will always mean comfort. I long too for Jesus and going home to be with him. My heart hurts being in this world and being ever vigilant and wary of temptations and being surrounded by pain and suffering. The constant motive checking and daily reviews. I’ve been reading my bible more lately despite the fact that even if it lays open on the coffee table is still hard to pick up because the sense of obligation still lingers from past monotony and lack of love. However, I am comforted by it and truly enjoy reading it. The bonds of obligation are slowly being shed and replaced with light hearted loving joy. But it has been a long road. I have taken to gorging myself in the evenings and can never get enough food even though I’m not particularly hungry for anything at all nor enjoying what I eat. I think this is a poorly directed attempt at filling my lonely, empty feeling heart. The bible helps, and praying helps, and my old friends I can talk to via Facebook help a lot. But let’s be honest I’m people sick… Sigh.