Happiness Is…

Long, strong friendships.


In a crowded Calculus lecture hall, first year at Waterloo, I spied a gangly guy in a fedora. In the twenty-six years since then, Bill and I have covered a lot of ground.

We made it through school, we braved bears on both Canadian coasts, we hitched a freighter to Labrador, biked past icebergs and camped among braying elk and screeching racoons. We drank a lot of coffee. We skied, we biked, we hiked, we drove.

We grew up. We stayed friends.

And what a friend. Bill has brightened our days throughout this challenge with delicious home cooked meals, healthful gifts and weekly visits. He’s subjected himself to gruelling afternoons of Life, Clue and Twister with Lucy and Bayla. And he’s turning the winter of their mom’s chemo into our girls’ first season of thrilling cross-country skiing adventures.

Happiness is my long, strong friendship with Bill Flanagan.


On July 1st, 1993, as we giddily embarked on a 7,550 km bike ride across Canada, I was greeted by the beaming smile, hand-painted Winnie-the-Pooh helmet and lime green cycling jacket of my soon-to-be best friend, Jay.

In the sixteen years since our cross-country meeting, Jay and I have survived headwinds, sunburns and soaked tents along the Icefields Parkway, the B.C. Gulf Islands and, scariest of all, rural Ontario. Our friendship has stretched to accomodate her adventurous years in Asia and my consuming years of early motherhood. We’ve skied, biked and skated. We’ve ranted and raved.

And our dependable weekly evenings of food, drinks and celebration-or-venting have kept me sane when little else could.

In October, Jay assured me, “We are going to get you through this.” With her weekly visits, her healing connections, her delicious home cooked meals and her weekend getaways for Luba, I know she’s absolutely right.

Happiness is my long, strong friendship with Jay Schmidt.

Happiness Is…

My Family.

Based on the shouting, stomping, screaming and slamming of doors, our neighbours would never guess that our feisty little family is my absolute bliss.

We’re more BLAM! (Bayla, Lucy, Andrea, Mark) than Lamb (Lucy, Andrea, Mark, Bayla) but I wouldn’t trade even our most explosive family moments for the world….

…OK, now I’m just lying for no reason (AD).

But really, my feisty little family is my absolute bliss.

Image: Ian PK of KilMil.com

Happiness Is…

Life with Mark Blevis.

Fourteen years ago this very week a hunky young whippersnapper enticed me to a rendez-vous with the promise of  “The Internet for Dummies“.

I’m not interested in the internet,” I replied, “but I’d love to meet you for a mega-foamy latté.”

We met. We lattéed. And the rest is history.

Who could have guessed that that bearded young whippersnapper, his joy, optimism, wit, generosity, creativity, brilliance and fierce family devotion, would save my life — literally and figuratively?

Lucky, lucky me.

Happiness Is…


Mark & I have shared a huge bowl of popcorn almost every single night for years and years.

Sometimes olive oil & freshly ground pepper.
Sometimes olive oil, sea salt, cayenne & nutritional yeast.

These days it’s more than a delicious treat (which happens to fit within my new coffee-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free restrictions).  Sharing our nightly popcorn — and laughing at our millionth viewing of Arrested Development or The Office — makes me feel like life is normal.

And that’s extra delicious.