The gift of sleep

We have been in our new house for about a month now.  Here is the view from my living room window.  It speaks for itself.

In the past month, as if unpacking and getting oriented while trying to carry on with normal life was not enough, we have also spent three non-stop weeks hosting family from both George’s side and mine.  It has been a lot of fun to have them here, sharing our new surroundings with them, and it has made our new home really feel like home in a big hurry. Not to mention that they provided invaluable help with some of the unpacking and assembling, and brought playmates (well-loved cousins) for our children.  So it has been great to have them here, and we look forward to having them back again soon.

But I do have to admit, it has also left us a bit worn from all the action and late nights and simple logistics of managing such a full house. And so last night, after another full day (even without guests) I went to bed feeling bone-tired and with a pretty sharp headache radiating from behind my right eyeball.  We have had a lot going on; I just needed some sleep.

Rolling with it

As I write this, I am sitting in a car with my husband and two children, for the second day in a row, hurtling along a single lane highway that cuts through the never-ending wilderness of northern Ontario (picture trees, trees, lakes, rocks and more trees). Tomorrow, we will be doing the same thing. And to follow that up, we will spend three more days rolling across other sparsely populated regions of Canada.

Why are we doing this? Not because we are crazy (at least, not primarily). No, we have a better reason. We are doing this because, whether we were ready for it or not, Moving Day arrived. Bright and early yesterday, we said goodbye to Montreal, my home for the last 20 years and my husband’s for even longer, and headed west to a new chapter in our lives in Canmore, Alberta. And although we could have flown out, we decided to make it more memorable (this may be the crazy part) by turning the moment of transition into a family road trip.

How to Get There from Here

Heather Greenwood Davis is a friend and colleague from my days practicing law at a large Canadian firm. We met after we had both chosen to make career detours that took us off the partnership track and onto a small team driving an unpopular new initiative that most members of the firm wanted nothing to do with.

Hmmm.  Interesting career move, you say?  You’d be right.  And it gets more interesting.  Today, Heather is a widely-published freelance writer about to embark on a year-long, blog-recorded trip around the world with her husband and two children.  Here, in her own words, is how she got to that place.


When Linda asked if I’d be a part of the stories told on this site, I had two minds about it. On the one hand, I’m honoured. I love what she’s doing here and I believe in its importance. On the other hand…what to say?

I decided I wanted to share the one thing that has been a common thread and the most use to me throughout my life…losing control.

Immigration and beyond

For my inaugural biography, I am pleased to offer you a story that comes from my family tree, and therefore has special meaning to me.  It is the story of my grandmother, Maja Pedersen, a Danish immigrant and mother of eight who, at 83 years of age, is still showing the rest of us a thing or two about how to live.  Here is her story, as she was good enough to relate it to me.

Maja’s Story

I was the born in 1928, the seventh of eight children in a small town in rural Denmark. My father was a kind, clever man, who ran a good farm and loved children. My mother was always busy, and took pride in keeping a lovely house and garden. She always had a hired girl to help look after us younger children and do other housework, which believe me was not a luxury but a necessity, for she had to serve three meals a day, plus three coffee breaks, for our family of ten and two live-in farm workers.

Starting points

First, a bit about this blog.

Like the title says, it’s about women, and about the lives they live. Not famous women, necessarily, or spectacular women, but ordinary women, like you and me, and like your mother, sister, daughter, neighbor, colleague, teacher, student, friend….

It’s also about the pieces that go together to make a life, and how each of us chooses to arrange them. Pieces like love, family, money and health. Work and marriage.  Children (or not). Your past. Your future. Your self-esteem. Sex. Faith. Education. Loss. Etc .

Imagine sitting down to make a list of all the elements of your life that are jostling for time and space and attention, both inside and outside of you. Imagine taking the time to think about how all these pieces fit together, and how they have come to be arranged in the way that they are. (Imagine you had the time to do that – it’s a stretch, I know, but bear with me…)

Now imagine that lots of women you know and even more that you don’t all made their own lists. Imagine getting the chance to look at their lists, and hear them talk about why their lists look the way they do. If you like the sound of that, stick around.  Because that is what I hope to do with this blog.