LWD_the ladies2

Ladies Who Dine – in the Okanagan

It all started the summer of 2005. For over a year I had been spending a fair amount of my evenings out at the Lumière Tasting Bar in Vancouver (sadly, it no longer exists). After hearing about one of my evenings there with some friends, two of my newest (and soon to be closest) friends decided they wanted to go as well. That first evening at Lumière started something that the three of us had never imagined. Twelve years later we still get together regularly for dinner, drinks, heartfelt conversations, laughter and the love that three close friends share.

Oh how I wish I had written all of it down. I can see it so clearly. When we started on this road we had three rules:

  1. We do this once a month (at a minimum)
  2. We go to a different restaurant every time (what a great excuse to experience Vancouver’s immensely diverse and wonderful food scene)
  3. NOBODY ELSE JOINS. Admittedly we did have a couple of ‘guest appearances’ in the early goings, but we quickly decided against those. It completely changes the dynamics of the evening. So it’s a protected evening (or lunch, or tea) now. Nobody else is allowed in.

And eventually we started calling ourselves The Ladies Who Dine.

What I should have done from the outset was document the restaurant, the food, the wine (or other drinks) and the conversation. Looking back now I believe all of this would make for a great read. Each evening its own chapter. We’ve covered just about every topic over the years.

There have been tears shed over a multitude of life’s challenges: relationship issues; we all lost our mothers; one of us lost our father; fertility issues; the agonizing decision of whether or not to have children; being told that bearing children is not something you will ever be able to do; being a busy mum of a beautiful little autistic girl; health scares (thankfully nothing serious); you name it.

There have also been many a celebration of life’s achievements: new jobs; travels to various parts of the globe; anniversaries; birthdays; books we have enjoyed; new discoveries that put smiles on our faces; again, you name it.

There are increasingly discussions on the state of the world and what we want for our lives – not only for ourselves, but for everyone and for the planet.

And there has been laughter. Oh so much laughter!

We even took the Ladies out on the road. Our first trip was to BC’s Okanagan region, for some wine tasting. Our first weekend away gave us an even deeper glimpse into each other’s little idiosyncracies – one of us travels with our own blanket and pillow; one of us is a very light sleeper; one of us occasionally snores; one of us sleeps with earplugs; one of us doesn’t care about showering and walking around the rented apartment naked. And the best part is, we are comfortable being ourselves because we know there’s no judgement, just acceptance. Well…with a well-timed joke here and there!

That first road trip ended up with my little Escape blowing up on the highway in the middle of nowhere, on our trip home. After what felt like an eternity on the side of the highway with cars speeding past us, the tow truck showed up and the 3 of us huddled into the front seat with the driver. We asked for the finest hotel Merritt had to offer (it was the closest town) and we were taken to a motel where the morning breakfast area was also a pizza joint by day/night. It’s the only time in my life I have seen a hotel room with 3 queen beds…all lined up in a row. After asking the tow truck driver which hotel was the best in town, Lady1 asked him “and does it have a spa?”. We broke down laughing, but the driver, not so much. It remains to this day my only “trip to Merritt”. I don’t think I could top it! And I certainly couldn’t top our rescue. I am extremely lucky to have many wonderful people in my life. Two I call my “surrogate parents”. They allowed an 18-year old university student to live with their family as a live-in babysitter my last year of university, and they remain my second family to this day. I’m a wimp when it comes to car trouble. I don’t know the first thing about mechanics and I always think it’s obvious and I’m being taken advantage of. One call to David and he offered to come and pick us up – that is a 4 hour drive to get us, help me sort out getting my car back to my trusted mechanic in Vancouver, and drive us home. He was our knight in shining armour that day, we told him so and we still refer to him as such.

On our second road trip we discovered that we need more than one room in a hotel – after one of us spent much of the night sleeping in the bathroom tub (she insists it was quite comfortable) while another snored away. Suffice it to say that we booked a second room for the following night.

Over the last 5 years this lady has spent much of her time working internationally. So our Ladies Who Dine evenings have become less frequent. We get as much time as we can  when I am in Vancouver – it could be dinner, lunch, tea, even a movie. The LWD outings are one of the first things I schedule when I book my trips back to Vancouver.

And now we approach road trip #3! The Ladies are Dining in New York City! Next week we take on NYC for four nights. One of us has put together a spreadsheet outlining our daily itinerary. There is, of course, a broadway show. There is a comedy club night. There are dinners with friends (it is a welcome exception for someone two of us know, and don’t get to see very often – and well, over 4 days we can include a guest or two to some of the outings). And there will certainly be stories to tell (hmmm, and quite possibly some to keep secret). Stay tuned!