What Happens in Canada, Stays in Canada. Unless You Blog, Eh?

So many of you may be wondering: What did I do while I was in Canada?

Um… Yeah…. About that.

It’s classified.

What happens in Canada, stays in Canada.

Wait. Hold on.

(I turn to my three Canadian sistahs and ask, “Can I blog about this?” Whispering. A few requests for bits of privacy. An agreement.)

A girl’s weekend in Canada doesn’t have to stay in Canada when everyone blogs and is a writer.


Top 5 Canadian Highlights

1.   Location. Location. Location. Calgary is a magical “mountain” city (though not in the mountains), cooler than those around it. What did this mean? Highs in the 70s, lows around 50 degrees while my family back in Texas saw the threat of rolling blackouts from yet another 104 degree day. We’ve had 58 days (as of posting) above 100 degrees this summer in Austin. This meant I appreciated the cool, dry air and beautiful breezes about four gazillion times more than I would have otherwise.

The first time in months I haven't had to ride in a car with the air conditioning on.

I’m formulating a plan to just move there for the summer months. I don’t know if I can take another Texas summer like this one.

While on the topic of location, let’s not forget the Girls Weekend at a gorgeous lake cabin. In the Mountains. With the view.

Could it get any more beautiful than this?

I never wanted to leave.

2.   Beam me up, O’Brien.With the weather such an antithesis to Texas, all I requested was “I’d love to be outside as much as possible” when Trish asked me what I’d like to do.

Trish and I are siamese twins separated at birth and raised in different countries. While obviously not identical, we share freakishly eerie similarities.

Happy to oblige she whisked me from the airport to downtown Calgary and we dined at Joey’s on the patio. She learned I’m a spicy food wuss and I have a knack for getting a free steak that, while delicious, honestly wasn’t as tasty as the side of vegetables served with it.


Mom, you can close your mouth now.

Afterward we splashed in the sprinkler park, had delicious ice cream, and walked in Prince’s Island Park – all downtown and a short walk from lunch.

As we left the park in search of facilities for Trish’s youngest, I saw someone who looked rather… familiar.

My jaw dropped – much like my mother’s when I mentioned loving vegetables more than steak – as my mind danced.

That looks just like…

Nah, it couldn’t be.

But it looks just like him.

Surely he isn’t just walking around in Calgary.

I’m certain my stunned face was glaringly apparent to the person in question – the answer still unresolved until I turned to Trish.

If only he'd been in uniform...

My fellow science fiction sistah.

Who had a huge grin as she nodded with enthusiasm usually reserved for teen girls at boy band concerts.

She confirmed my guess.

We’d just walked within two feet of Colm Meaney, aka Chief O’Brien from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

So. Frakking. Cool.

3.  The head-to-crotch pull.

  • Lesson 1: If you’re grinning like a fool, dead center in a group of 80 people, you will be The Chosen One, aka The Guinea Pig.
  • Lesson 2:If the next words out of the whitewater rafting guide’s mouth are “drop to your knees” you might want to consider how it’s interpreted when you execute the move with zero hesitation.

    I believe Leanne's smirk says it all, as Elena and Trish (partially cut off) enjoy my predicament.

  • Lesson 3: When you are then told in his New Zealand accent to, “Face me” and are looking directly at the rather cute guide’s crotch, you need to have as much fun as possible.
  • Lesson 4:  Lesson three is much easier to do when going whitewater rafting with three writers. When the guide talks about how the person who has fallen into the water (me) is probably “yelling and screaming”, nothing is funnier than to have your friend Leanne blurt out, “If you know what I mean” and cause the guide to completely lose his train of thought in a obviously well prepared, frequently recited monologue. Those who overheard crack up while others nudge their friends with, “What did she say?”
  • Lesson 5:  Just keep smiling as you find your face in aforementioned guide’s crotch as you are rescued from the dangerous ground.
  • Lesson 6:  Learn the smallest person on your boat (teen daughter of the couple who joined our raft) is also capable of performing this move on us after we willingly tried the “drown simulator” and jumped into frigid waters.

    Our group of four claimed the front, but the real surprise was the girl pictured in the back on the left. She became a pro at hauling us out of the water after we willing jumped in.

  • Lesson 7: Four kilometers of class IV rapids sounded daunting before you began rafting, but in reality are the most awesome, thrilling, and fun thing you’ve experienced.

    Oh yeah. No fun to be had here. Not at all.

  • Lesson 8:  You know the rafting is a hit when your entire group ends it by cries of, “Let’s go again!”

Best. Day. Ever.

4.   Wine + Talking All Night = Skinny Dipping.  Running on whitewater adrenaline and the bond it cemented, we talked. And talked. And talked. Time was just a number, not a reality.

Imagine the four of us trying to navigate this in the dark. At 2 AM. Wearing only robes.

Sometime around 2 AM, Elena insisted we swim in the lake.

We donned robes and played follow-Elena with only the billions of stars in the sky to light our way. Laughing too loud, our words most likely overheard by half the lake as they traveled over water, we stumbled in the black, down a winding, sandy path to the bottom.

They swam.

My delicate Texas sensibilities (i.e. I am used to 88 degree pool water, not glacier fed lakes) resulted in me only getting in halfway.

My teeth chattered as I gazed at more stars than I’ve seen in… forever.

Somehow we survived the climb back to the top.

The sand was deep at the bottom - your feet vanished into it. It made the climb very... interesting while trying not to trip on robes. Elena's son is only about halfway down for scale purposes.

To the hot tub.

We had to force ourselves to go to bed.

At 4 AM.

Best. Night. Ever.

5.  Not everyone online is a psycho killer. Before last weekend, I’d never had a girl’s weekend away. Ever.

I’d never been to Canada.

I’d never been away from my children more than 24 hours.

I’d never flown for the express purpose to visit and stay with people I’d only met on the internet.

I take a moment to pose with Leanne aka Ironic Mom and Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Until one week ago.

I fed my soul.

We begged a tourist to take a group photo on our stop to Banff for lunch.

I clicked with Trish, Elena, and Leanne even as I drank water to their wine.

They didn’t care.

They accepted me for who I am.

And I love them for it.

Have you ever had a “mommy/daddy vacation”? Do you want one?

Coming soon: Top 10 Canadian Vacation Facts

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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36 Responses to What Happens in Canada, Stays in Canada. Unless You Blog, Eh?

  1. Liz McLennan says:

    I just plain love you all. LOVE this weekend and the gift of time and beauty given all of you. And you’re all so slim and so gorgeous. And were naked.


    Word Bitches uniting is lovely. So glad you went, saw and blogged.

    • It was a fab trip.

      How I wish I could join their writing group in truth, but it’s a little far to commute to.

      Also? I don’t think I could handle the winters.

      Summers are another story…

      I only wish I’d thought to bring a waterproof camera rafting…

      Perhaps if I’m there longer next summer, we could meet up too.

  2. TheKirCorner says:

    Wow, what a glorious weekend you had. Look at that smile on your face!!!! I am so happy for all the happiness this trip gave you!!

    • I grinned the entire rafting trip.

      Every photo ever taken of my rafting has me smiling.

      I’ve been twice before.

      The sorest part of my body the next day is typically my jaw, from holding a grin so long.

      It. Was. Awesome.

      I foresee an annual thing… I hope.

  3. Annie says:

    That is awesome! The pictures are great. Maybe the Canadians need to venture south in the winter, eh? If you all ever want to stop my way you are welcome. Although I live in the middle of nowhere. We could all sit and stare at the cows for hours.

    Scratch that. Maybe I’ll just go to Canada. LOL

    • I have invited them to call me up if they wish to flee the frigid -30 degree Celsius weather.

      You of course are welcome to visit me as well, although I don’t have enough room for the entire brood. Hazards of 3 bedroom house.

      It was an amazing trip. Combine the things I love best: perfect weather, water, mountains, whitewater rafting, and good friends and it’s pretty hard to beat.

  4. Wow, this sounds like a book waiting to be written. Mind if I just follow you guys next summer and embellish a little?

  5. Paige Morgan says:

    I am so glad you had a wonderful time! It sounds like a blast and I hope I get to meet all of you some day! (Although, I have to admit, I think I would be initimidated being in a room with all of your writing super powers!) Perhaps your next adventure could be California? 🙂

    • The trip was so brief (and so much time was spent driving), not a ton of writing was accomplished. We were all getting into the writing groove the last day, but had to leave.

      We were too busy chatting and rafting.

      I’m told much more writing gets done in the winter, when the distractions are few.

      I don’t think I’ll be able to make those meets.

      Unless they join me in Texas for a while.

      I have never been to California either. The prices (and traffic) scare me. I priced out BlogHer costs versus going to Canada – I think you know which one won.

      So good to see you around again, my friend. 🙂 I would love to meet you too.

  6. Oh my goodness, what an awesome experience! Thank you so much for writing about it – and I LOVED the pictures. (You all are gorgeous.) What a well-deserved and perfect trip.
    Renee and I have crashing plans for next year, by the way. 😉


  7. For the record, I don’t need wine to skinny dip; just semi-darkness.

    Addendum: Water usually helps, too.

  8. Jan Markley says:

    What an amazing weekend and to think you hadn’t met them in person before (I met all three of them at the Surrey International Writers Conference a few years ago). Love the pics of Calgary (my home town) and yes, there’s a few of us who’d love to live here in the summer only (maybe we can winter in Texas)!?

    • I keep telling them they need to visit me in winter. I think they would melt to visit me now.

      I do not foresee any visit to Calgary in January.

      I considered going to SIWC also, but it wasn’t very cost effective, and my time with them would’ve been limited.

      It was one of the most relaxing vacations I’ve ever had.

  9. John says:

    What? No pictures of the skinny dipping?!

    Seriously – looks like a truly wonderful time . . . and, more importantly, you sound quite refreshed & recharged 🙂

    • I was waiting for someone to make that comment. 🙂

      I would never have trusted my camera on that path to the lake in the dark, even if I had a thing for taking nude photography.

      I’ve hugged my children a lot more since I got back and find myself paying attention to more little moments, instead of just dreaming of getting away.

      I would count the trip as a success, helped by the perfect weather and fab friends.

      Remember this when you wife decides she needs a break… 🙂

  10. Banff is one of my all-time favourite places on earth. So glad you enjoyed it. So glad you’ll remember it fondly.

    • I’d love to explore Banff more. It was more of place to lunch and drive by on our trip. The weekend was spent in Invermere.

      I am typically not a huge fan of car rides. The drive from Calgary to Invermere was breathtaking and it flew by.

  11. Rachel says:

    This looks like a FABULOUS trip. I’ve yet to visit Canada, but it’s on my list! The rafting looks amazing! My husband and I just got home from a whirlwind week in Europe last week. Sans child. GASP! We actually take an adult vacation every year. Thank you, grandparents!! I think it helps my body, mind and soul on many different levels. Cheers, to time away to live a little. Or skinny dip a little! 🙂

    • A week trip each year sounds heavenly. With our kids so young and the grandparents with health issues, it would be hard to leave them for a full week – even if you didn’t add in the fact they live over 900 miles away.

      I’d be happy for a night away…

      So yes, this trip was a huge deal and it was fabulous.

      I find I’m hugging my children a lot more. I had time to miss them.

      I hope your Europe trip was wonderful Thanks for stopping by!

  12. souldipper says:

    Thanks for taking me home for a good read. Calgary is my home city though I have lived on the West Coast for many years. But I enjoyed all the familiar terrain and names. Come back again! 😀

    • I’m already plotting out how I could possibly stay there a month next summer, with my children, and still escape for a girls weekend away.

      I feel in love with the city, all there was to do, the weather, the people.

      The mountains so close.

      All so beautiful.

  13. Anastasia says:

    I’m glad you blogged about it. It sounds fantastic!

  14. Jackie says:

    Reading this, it seems like this weekend was exactly what you needed.
    Thanks for sharing and I’m impressed w/the whitewater rafting! Bravo!!

    • It was what I needed. Mommyhood has been much more bearable since I returned.

      The weather – not so much.

      Nothing like the road to the hottest summer on record to make you dislike Texas. Especially when I just went through this two years ago, in 2009 (it holds the record currently). The only positive is at least I’m not in my third trimester this time.

      Or I would’ve stayed in Canada.

  15. Carrie says:

    I haven’t been white water rafting in years. You brought back some memories. Want some awesome rapids? Come visit me in BC sometime 🙂

  16. Chasing Joy says:

    Glad you had a good time. Thats really cool that you went to meet your online friends. 🙂

  17. Chasing Joy says:

    oh, I’m stopping by from the red dress.

  18. Pingback: Should I Stay Or Should I Go? «

  19. Pingback: What I Wrote on My Summer Vacation | Wordbitches

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