Top 5 Things I Need More (and Less) of in My Life

Luc and I have been on a bit of a blogging hiatus since May. There’s no one tangible reason we can nail down…just life and other things getting in the way.

But we’ve renewed our commitment to Me Woman You Man/Me Man You Woman and are kick-starting things with two super-easy top fives that may give us a little insight into why we were gone and why we’re back. Enjoy!

Top 5 Things I Need More of in My Life:

  1. Sleep
  2. Silence
  3. Family vacations to plan and look forward to
  4. Writing
  5. Day dreaming

Top 5 Things I Need Less of in My Life:

  1. Health issues, doctor’s appointments and medical tests
  2. Paperwork
  3. Clutter
  4. To-do lists
  5. Worry

Check out what Luc needs more and less of in his life.


One More Thing to Celebrate!

Happy 1st Blogiversary, Luc!

Thank you for:

  1. Taking me seriously when I suggested we take a course together on how to start a blog.
  2. Showing up at said course.
  3. Coming up with some of the most popular topics we’ve written about in the past year (“How to Load the Dishwasher” leads the pack by leaps and bounds).
  4. Putting up with some of my suggestions (“Life of Pi” being the most painfully obvious).
  5. Always being the first to like me.

Here’s to another year!



Check out Luc’s thoughts on our 1-year blogging anniversary.


Top 5 Places I’d Love to Visit (if money weren’t an issue…)

Luc and the kids and I just got back from our first BIG FAMILY VACATION.

Three guesses where we went.

OK, yes, it was Disney World.

The thing about Disney is that you either love it or hate it. It’s either a magical place you visited as a kid that you enjoyed so much you absolutely have to share this unforgettable experience with your own kids (that would be me) or a scary animatronics freak show where they track your every move with biometrics and practice mind control through piped-in music (that would be Luc). More to come on our Disney vacation in a upcoming post…

Just getting back from vacation has gotten Luc and I thinking about where our next vacation might be. We even pulled out the atlas this morning and started dreaming big.

Jobs, vacation days and costs aside, here are the top 5 places I’d love to visit:

  1. Machu Picchu: I’ve seen a number of documentaries on this 15th-century Inca site in the mountains of Peru, and am fascinated by it. I know its very existence is threatened by the number of tourists who are drawn to it every year and that I’d only be adding to the problem by going on my own pilgrimage there, but there’s just something incredibly magical about it. Not Disney magical. Sacred, overwhelmingly beautiful, find-your-purpose-in-life magical.
  2. Maldives: One day last year, we received a glitzy travel magazine in the newspaper. One of those thick, beautifully bound, glossy promos full of gorgeous photos of places I’ve never heard of. Oh yes, and no prices (if you have to ask, you can’t afford to go). One of the places I was drawn to was the Maldive Islands (based purely on the photos of impossibly white sand beaches, painfully turquoise waters, luxury villas built on stilts and breathtaking coral reefs…and not at all on any knowledge of it as an actual functioning country). I even had to Google it to find out where it was (Indian Ocean, south of Sri Lanka). Then I found this spa in Maldives which clinched the deal. The minute I win the lottery I am SO going THERE.
  3. Greece: If ever I get to Greece, I’ll probably need a month or two to see everything I want to see there. And I’m thinking this would be the perfect opportunity for a luxury cruise too.  I’ve never been on a cruise, but if I were to take one, a meander through the Greek Isles would be my first choice.
  4. Aruba: My family travelled down South several times when I was a kid (Cuba, Dominican Republic, St. Maarten…oh yes, and Disney World when I was 9…that’s what started all of this!). I remember poring over travel brochures and dreaming about the warm weather resorts we would visit during those cold Canadian winters. For whatever reason, Aruba was always my favourite. Maybe because it’s got the most number of sunny days per year of any Caribbean island (I like sun). Maybe because it has some of the top-rated beaches in the world (I like beaches). Maybe because it was always just a little more exotic (and just a little more expensive) than any of the places we ever ended up (I like exotic and expensive). In any case, I still think for a down-south-all-inclusive-kick-back-and-read-a-book-on-the-beach vacation, Aruba would be it for me.
  5. France: This one’s a bit of a cheat, because I’ve already been there. But it’s been a full 25 years since I vowed I’d go back again and it has yet to happen. France felt so much like home to me (more than anywhere I’ve ever visited) that I know I’ll see it again one day.

Part of me believes that there are too many amazing places in the world to visit to waste time going back to the same place again. That’s why we’re telling the kids Disney World was a one-shot deal. Just don’t tell them I’m planning to go back to France. Or that I’ve been to Ireland twice. And Cuba twice. Oh yes, and Mexico four times. Oh never mind!

Check out the top 5 places Luc would like to visit.

Top 5 Cottage Moments, July 2013

I may not be a camper, but I do enjoy going to the cottage.

Every year since I was pregnant with the girl, we have spent the first week of July at Ardagh Cottage Resort. Its location just north of Peterborough is the perfect meeting point for us (coming from Ottawa) and my dad and his wife (coming from London). And with its rustic yet charming atmosphere (and, yes, fully equipped kitchens and bathrooms) it’s also the perfect compromise between portaging into the heart of Algonquin Park and jetting off to a five-star all-inclusive in Playa del Carmen.

Here are my Top 5 Cottage Moments from this year’s trip:

  1. Canada Day fireworks. It may not be Canada Day on The Hill, but the volley of fireworks set off by our hosts Tony and Lesley and their neighbour across the lake gets better every year.
  2. Sending a postcard to Grandma. Because of upcoming surgery, this is the first year Grandma hasn’t been able to join us. While Grandpa did bring a bag of her chocolate chip cookies with him (thanks Grandma!), the kids missed her hugs and I missed my euchre partner. On a trip into town the kids bought, wrote, addressed, stamped and mailed her a postcard to let her know she wasn’t forgotten.
  3. Special outings with a friend, my dad and the girl. Every year, my dad’s wife and I do a “girls’ day out” which usually includes a pedicure, lunch and shopping. I was afraid that because Grandma wasn’t there this year I’d miss out on this cottage highlight, but instead I won out three times over! Michelle, a cottage friend, offered to join me for a pedicure and lunch. Dad suggested a trip just him and me to the Kawartha Winery for a few wine tastings (and more than a few purchases) and the girl said she’d love to visit The Gallery on the Lake with me–a cultural outing I never miss.
  4. Wine on the dock. I hate bugs. And when I say I hate bugs, I mean I HATE BUGS! And this year they were particularly bad. However, there was one evening when the kids were off playing with their cottage friends, and dad and Luc were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner (score!), that I decided to brave the mosquitos and deer flies and take my glass of wine out onto the dock for a little me time. For about half an hour, there was a beautiful breeze coming in off the lake and not a bug to be seen. Water, wine, solitude. Ahhh!
  5. The family photo. Every year I have Tony or Lesley take a picture of the family by the lake on the day we leave. I love seeing how we all change from year to year. It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years already. And it’s a tradition I hope will continue for a long time yet.


Check out Luc’s thoughts on the cottage. And happy cottaging!

Top 5 Things I’m Grateful My Husband Does (So I Don’t Have To)

There are a lot of things Luc does that I’m grateful for, many of which, strangely, involve alcohol (picking up a six-pack of Strongbow for me on his way home, pouring me a glass of wine without my asking, being the designated driver on date night because all it takes me is a glass and a half to not be able to be the designated driver…)

But there are certain things he does that I’m particularly grateful for because it means I don’t have to. Here are my top 5:

  1. Dealing with the Lawn: I love gardening. I love flowers, trees and shrubs. I love planning, planting and pruning. I do not, however, love the lawn. Oh, I’ll mow it if I have to–I like the nice fresh lines it leaves. And I love taking out the weed-wacker and tidying up along the driveway and walkway and around the tree trunks. I even like to pull out my trusty edger to make sure there’s a nice clean separation between the lawn and my flower beds. I do not, however, like dealing with the lawn itself. The aerating, dethatching, weeding, fertilizing, overseeding. I find it a whole lot of work for very little payback. Luc, bless his soul, is the lawn man. Granted, every spring he’ll neglect the lawn until it becomes a neighbourhood embarrassment and can be ignored no longer, but once he gets it in his head to get it under control, he’s an aerating, dethatching, weeding, fertilizing, overseeding god, and ends up delivering the perfect foreground for my gardens.
  2. Doing the Heavy Lifting: I like to rearrange furniture. And then I like to rearrange it again.  Especially when I’m in a mood. Then it’s right up there with cleaning closets, alphabetizing the spices and switching out the throw cushions on the sofa. And while I can pull those off on my own, I’m just don’t have the upper body strength (or lower…or any strength for that matter) to lug furniture about. Lucky for me, Luc is a pretty easy-going guy. He knows that when I ask him to move the baby grand to the other side of the living room “just so I can see how it looks over there” that it’s probably going to end up right back where it started. But after 20 years, he hardly bats an eye.
  3. Making Homemade Hamburgers: You may not know this about me, but I’m a recovering carnophobic. A very specific strain of carnophobia actually. Let’s call it crudum-carnophobia.Yes, my name is Jen and I’m afraid of raw meat. Cooked meat: good. Raw meat: bad. Cooked homemade hamburgers: delicious. Digging my bare hands into ground beef to make said hamburgers: disgusting. Thankfully, Luc has inherited my Dad’s yummy burger recipe and he has no issues shaping a big-ass bowlful of minced dead cow into happy little patties and then barbecuing them to perfection for my consumption.
  4. Refilling the rinse agent dispenser in the dishwasher: Luc and I may have different dishwasher loading techniques (and I still say mine is better) but there is one dishwasher-related chore that he does consistently and without fail: refilling the rinse agent dispenser. I could do it I suppose, it’s just never occurred to me to do it. Every once in a while I’ll see him on his knees in the kitchen dutifully pouring the Jet Dry into that ridiculously little hole and I’ll think, “Oh, yeah. Jet Dry.” And then I never think of it again until I see him doing it again. Our sparkling spot- and residue-free glasses are all because of Luc.
  5. Telling the Kids “Lights Out”: Here’s what happens when Luc yells “Lights out!” up the stairs to the kids at bedtime: They close their books and turn off their lights with a chipper little “Bonne nuit, Papa!” Here’s what happens when I yell “Lights out!” up the stairs to the kids at bedtime: A sigh from one room. A whine from the other. A “Mommy, can I have a glass of waaaaater?!?” from one room. A “Mamaaaaa, I need a snuggle!!!” from the other. Throw in a “I’m too hot!” “I’m too cold!” “My sheets are tangled!” “My pillow needs to be fluffed!” and the “Mommy I need to tell you something in private” clincher and I’m ready to knock THEIR lights out. I know it’s cuz they love me. I know it’s cuz they just want a few more minutes of me. But by that time of night I’ve got nothing left to give. And ever since I complained to Luc about the kids’ mommy-specific bedtime issues with a “Oh my god, every night they just suck me into their vortex!” he’s taken over the lights out duties. Yep. I married a good man.

Check out Luc’s latest Top 5 list.

My Freebie List

Remember the “Friends” episode where the characters each come up with their “freebie list”? They’re allowed five celebrities who, given the opportunity, they could sleep with–with no repercussions from their significant other.

Luc and I have joked over the years about who might be on our freebie lists, but here for the first time, we’re writing it down.

(Not sure if that makes it legally binding, but here’s the fine print: List is current as of today. Subject to change. Parents and in-laws, please stop reading NOW.)

1. Brad Pitt: Long haired or short, bearded, goateed or clean-shaven, scruffy in Snatch or suave in Ocean’s Eleven (or Twelve) (or Thirteen for that matter), Brad just cannot look anything but gorgeous. He was on my freebie list 20 years before I even knew what a freebie list was.

2. Johnny Depp: As long as Johnny is still living and breathing, no other man on the planet Earth should be awarded People magazine’s title of “Sexiest Man Alive.” Friends who mocked me back in the 90s (OK, as far back as the 80s) for finding him attractive please take note: he has been given this designation not once, but twice now. Apologies accepted.

3. Matthew McConaughey: Why do I go see every movie he’s in? Is it the chiselled cheekbones? The always perfectly tousled hair? The Texas drawl? OK, who am I kidding, it’s the abs. The rock solid, sinewy six-pack. Title? Co-star? Plot? Who cares. It’s all about Matthew with his shirt off.

4. Bradley Cooper: There’s “He’s so hot, I’d do him in a minute.” And then there’s “He’s so hot I’d do him in the cafeteria in front of my mother.” Is Bradley that hot? Yes. Yes he is.

5. Whatever actor is ultimately cast to play Christian Grey in the film version of Fifty Shades of Grey. Channing Tatum? Sure. Christian Bale? OK. Ryan Gosling? Why not! Assuming he takes his role seriously and goes through rigorous training for it (kinda like Brad Pitt did for Fight Club) I’d be more than happy to help him put his new–ahem–skills to use if he showed up on my doorstep…whoever he may be!

We can’t be the only happily married couple with a freebie list…who’s on yours?

Here’s who’s on Luc’s