Question 1 of 52

What is your greatest talent?

When I hear that question I think about what people have told me. You are great at drawing. You sing like an angel. You you you.

Like everything else in my life, I have just accepted this. I am what you tell me I am. That changed over the last 10 years. I am a lot of things but mostly I get to decide what I am .

When I ask myself what my greatest talent is, I automatically reach for creativity but that is the origin of ideas. With talent being a natural aptitude. As a child it was drawing, music or arts related. Writing is one, with 200,000+ of you readers that definitely hits the mark. After watching Pixar’s Soul, I suppose you don’t need to have one thing. I am more of a renaissance woman. I try things, master or get very good at it, and move on to the next. But to pick one? That is a hard task for me.

I always wanted to be a master at something but nothing interested me enough to put in the hours to perfect it. Trying many things and being decent at those has now become enough for me. I don’t have a passion. I move around a lot and try different things. My talents are many and I can list them like a grocery list. But to pick one? I think it is my ability to hone in on details. Attention to detail is what elevates my skills. It makes whatever I try that much better and special. I notice things that others miss, I see 1000 shades of blue where some people see one. I think that is my greatest talent. My natural aptitude or skill. The details.

Details | TrueNorth

How about you? I imagine most of you will say, play the piano or mobilize an army of people for a cause or can memorize complex mathematical formulas or can talk to animals. Even if it is none of those, you still have talent. Find yours and tell me about it.

Stay healthy friends!

18 for ’18



Lethbridge overlooking the Oldman River


I have been scouring the podcast world for new and meaningful content, well, meaningful for me. I spend a lot of time on the road lately and use podcasts as a way to spend my time. On my way home from Lethbridge, Alberta, I was listening to SuperSoul Sunday. SuperSoul is my church. I spend Sunday mornings listening to thought leaders and their perspective on things. On this particular episode, Gretchen Rubin was a guest and was talking about finding joy in little things. This is something I have been intentional about. So I listened just a little bit harder. I am always looking for easy things to do that will increase my joy. For example, when someone asks me how I am, I used to say the truth. More often than not I would get trapped in a spiral of dark depressing feelings. I now say, “I am great!” or some other positive adjective whether I am or not. I did this as an experiment.  I found when I said great and smiled, I did feel a little bit great or happy or whatever adjective I used. The more I said it, the truer it became. I also decided to say affirmations before bed. I always say “I am happy” along with a few other ones. Every time I say to myself “I am happy’ I  smile involuntarily. Going to sleep happy made me wake up happy. Not happy…more like joyful. It is a far better way to start the day than dreading the rest of it.

I digress…

So back to the podcast. I looked up Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast. She co-hosts it with her sister Elizabeth Craft. I discovered Liz Craft is my Spirit Animal. She gets me on another level. This led to Liz Craft hosting another podcast called Happier in Hollywood with her writing partner Sarah Fain. Again, these are my people! Regular moms who work and aim for happier outlooks in a world that is more dark and depressed than ever. Liz and Sarah introduced me to By the Book. If you do nothing else this year but listen to this podcast, it is worth it. They read a self-help book and follow it for two weeks. It is inciteful and hilarious. You’re welcome. So Oprah led me to 3 new (to me) podcasts and that gives me hours of joyful listening on the road. YAY!

One listener on Happier decided to do a list for 2018 of things she wanted to do. It was called 18 for 18. On this list of non-resolution type things were clean out the junk drawer, hike once a month. Try the new cafe. All things that people say they want to do but never get around to it. She posted the list in her bathroom where she sees it every day. When she feels down, she does something on the list then crosses it off. A simple way to create happiness in her life. It is now a thing or movement, the community is doing it.

I LOVE LISTS! I especially find crossing things off my list super satisfying. I pulled out my Bullet Journal – best moment of my life was finding about this type of journaling, okay so I exaggerate, but it has revolutionalized my work projects and achieved my goal of becoming less tied to technology. I am the type of person who goes big. So I created two lists, an 18 for me filled with new recipes I want to try, little declutter projects and classes I want to take, as well as some private items that I have been meaning to do. The other list is for my Edmonton Tourist Project.

I have been struggling with what is left for the tourist to explore. I had visited all the River Valley Parks in Edmonton – except one. I have been to all the festivals at least once and some I plan to never repeat. I found my favourite cup of coffee – shout out to Mandolin! I know where I love to eat breakfast most often but there are little things I still want to explore. I get lots of recommendations that I should try from you guys and from other friends whose opinion I value. This leaves lots of things to do the Edmonton!


I made the list. The rules for my 18 in 18: Edmonton Tourist are simple. Do something on the list, blog about it then cross it off. Deadline is December 31, 2018.

  1. Visit Ice Castles √
  2. Have brunch at Café Linnea √
  3. Wine Tasting – ambiguous but there are lots of places to try it including the big Wine Expo.√ In Deep Cove
  4. Have brunch at the Workshop Eatery √
  5. Visit Muttart Conservatory’s Adult Night √
  6. Go to the last park on my list Hermitage Park
  7. Explore MacKinnon Ravine
  8. Explore MacKenzie Ravine
  9. Walk from Fort Edmonton Bridge to Terwillegar Bridge (it’s about a 5k walk)√
  10. Go to a board game café like Table Top or something similar
  11. Have Brunch at Rockin Robyn’s Diner√
  12. Funicular √
  13. Visit 2 small towns in the Edmonton Area and see what they have to offer(bonus points if I find a farmer’s market!)
    1. Lacombe√
    2. Calmar√
  14. Visit the Royal Alberta Museum (when it finally opens)
  15. Go to the Farmer’s Market in the French Quarter this is no longer a thing! What??? So I am revising this and bring over an item from my personal list Photography: The Totem Project  √
  16. Visit the St. Albert Farmer’s Market√
  17. Visit the Callingwood Farmer’s Market
  18. Visit the Millwoods Farmer’s Market

I will be visiting this page from time to time to cross things off the list and link to the blog post. It should be a fun year!

I am Sick of Chicken, Rice and Peas

After a long week in the trenches, I find myself needing to be here. In spite of the fact there is homework piling up as the seconds tick away. I know from past experience I need to clear my head before I can be in the right frame of mind for homework, so here I am. Looking for that right frame of mind.

This week was brutal both professionally and personally. I find myself coming home and feeling mentally drained. When I am at work, I look around and try to feed off the excitement of my team. They are brand new to this field. They still experience the joy and excitement with doing what they love to do. For me it has become tedious. Sure it is always different on some level, but the nuts and bolts of it is very much the same from year to year. I liken it to eating chicken, rice and peas every day of your life. Sure there is nothing wrong with plain chicken, rice and peas, but it doesn’t hold any excitement for me. Then I come home, make chicken, rice and peas to feed my family, who quite frankly, will not eat anything that excites me. I have come to the conclusion that I am living my life for those around me. I do what is expected, I give the appropriate response, but I am meeting the bare minimum requirements. Even then, I find myself becoming passive aggressive. Saying yes, but thinking to myself, SCREW IT! I have a serious case of the blahs.

Earlier this week I read a blog that peaked my interest. She asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. Now THAT is a very good question. I fell into my profession because:

  • I didn’t know what I wanted
  • I knew I could do it
  • I was feeling pressure to go to secondary school and do something with my life
  • my life partner at the time didn’t want me to be “smarter” than him (How freaking sad is that?)

Meanwhile, fast forward to 2011, and I am very good at what I do. I have background knowledge that my colleagues learn and benefit from. I prefer meetings, planning, and figuring out problems to doing the work. I love going to work one day a week. That leaves 4 days where I rather be in bed. This fascinates me. That blog I read had a link to a motivational map questionnaire. I filled it out this morning. I came to the realization that I knew the answer before it gave it to me. All it did was validate my feelings and ideas.

The answer to the Motivational Map was…drum roll please!  My Primary Motivator is the Spirit. Not in the born again Christian kind of way, I’m not knocking Jesus, but his non verbal attitude towards me drives me crazy. He prefers actions and showing me stuff, fine, if I have to live with that kind of response, so be it. However, Spirit meaning driving oneself. Years ago, I had a friend who always said I was a free spirit. Hard to tame. Well, children find away to tame that free spirit. Responsibility and commitment do that to a person. Maybe that is why I feel this way. My free spirit is aching to run, jump and live. I have kept it in a bottle.

The Motivational Map suggested I quit my job and become a consultant, be self employed or carefully screen a boss that would give me the kind of freedom I need in my position. First off, I have the kind of boss who lets me make lots of autonomous decisions. She is brilliant at that. She has given me the kind of supervisor that does the same thing. I want to keep working for her. I know I don’t want to be doing the same thing any more. I change teams, but the work is the same. The work needs to change for me. I need less hands on and need to be in a more guiding role. School is helping me achieve that. HOLY HANNAH it is taking for ever! This time next year my goal is to be half way done. I doing one year of University in ONE YEAR. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but it means, I am doing this, working full-time, and raising a family.

I guess the bottom line is I am the type of person who needs to be fulfilled in all aspects of life. Don’t we all? Or is that just me? If work isn’t doing it for me, then what? I am responsible enough to know I just can’t instantly change everything. I need to feed my family. My leisure time is suffering because I am just too mentally drained to want to do stuff. I am taking steps to change that. The Sun is back up north so that helps! I suppose I am at a “wait and see” point in my life. Four more months left until summer. The question is, then what? I have a lot of thinking I need to do.

Motivational Maps