best enjoyed with beverages that are warm.

The Hip.


It was like hearing about an old friend.

Brad got up from bed and tossed me my phone while I rolled myself up into a burrito with the blankets. As I blearily blinked at my phone, scrolling through the notifications I received overnight, I saw it.

“Oh no,” I whispered.

“What is it?” Brad asked, still half asleep.

“Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer.”

It’s been national news for days now. The lead singer of one of the greatest bands in our nation’s history, a band that is iconic Canadiana, diagnosed with brain cancer late last year, the band doing one last tour this summer to say goodbye, a country heartbroken. We never anticipate losing someone as influential and prolific as Gordon Downie.

In the back of my mind, part of me thinks it almost fitting that the band waited until after the May long weekend to announce the news. Few backyard barbecues, camping excursions, journeys to the beach, trips to the cottage, are complete with music from The Tragically Hip serving as a soundtrack. It’s almost as if they wanted to give us one last weekend accompanied with the warm winds of an impending summer, before a degree of sadness  became attached to their music.


There isn’t a time that I can remember when the Hip weren’t a part of my life. I guess I can thank my parents for having radical, kick-ass taste in music for that. Their music featured heavily in my youth, especially when away from home. Whether it was on a drive to New Brunswick, or playing late at night by the camp fire, they were simply always there, the songs from Fully Completely and Road Apples on repeat until the tape deck gave out. Whenever a new Hip album came out, you’d better believe that Dad had it in his possession within weeks.

I always enjoyed the music of the Hip, but naturally, didn’t begin to appreciate the lyrics that accompanied the entrancing riffs until I was older. Their songs explored the themes of Canadian geography and history, water and land, all motifs that became heavily associated with the Hip. Songs such as Bobcaygeon, 38 Years Old, and At the Hundredth Meridian – which referenced the Christie Pits riot, the real-life escape of 14 inmates from Millhaven Institution, and line of longitude that separates much of Western Canada from the Central and Atlantic regions of Canada respectively – received heavy air-play on Canadian radio, but also had something to say, something to teach us. Yeah, the music was fantastic, but you might learn something as well.

Despite having been a fan since I was a child, I’ve never seen them live in concert, always thinking to myself, “I’ll see them the next time they come through town. The Hip will be around forever.”


It feels almost cold to be looking forward to this upcoming tour. While born of the release of a new album, also born of the band and Gord’s desire to say goodbye to their fans, to Canada. I don’t want to look forward to this because it’s seeing a dead man walking. But I am. Because as Gord wants to say farewell to all of us, I want to say goodbye to Gord as well.

And thank you.

More than anything I want to say thank you.

Taking Stock // March


March was lovely! With the fog of the dreariness that is February finally gone, I too seemed to finally get out of this haze. With the longer and warmer days finally upon us, I found myself looking for reasons to actually go out and enjoy the sunshine. Brad and I have been walking a lot (as it is our preferred method of transportation), so it’s been nice to stretch our lazy muscles after the winter in the warmth of spring. And is it just me, or did March seem to fly by much more quickly than February?

Toward the end of the month, my uncle and aunt came to visit my cousin and his wife (who also live in town), so that meant that I got to spend an evening with some extended family. It was wonderful to see David and Margaret, and also my cousin Ryan and his wife Angie. Despite living a few streets apart, we don’t get to see each other much. We went out for Vietnamese food (my first time having it – so yummy), and some drinks afterward. I always tend to get a little tipsy whenever drinking with my Uncle David … wonder how that happens. ;)

Brad and I have been re-watching the Spider-Man movies, the ones with Tobey Maguire. This came about on Saint Patrick’s Day, of all days. I was all geared up to watch Boondock Saints, only to discover that Netflix didn’t have it! We decided to throw the first Spider-Man movie on since it also had Willem Dafoe in it. I’d forgotten how great those first two movies were! The second one was easily the best superhero movie (until Iron Man came along). We haven’t watched the third one yet, just because it’s actually horrible, but we will eventually, on the grounds that I need to watch it in order to feel that I’ve actually completed that re-watch.

Making: an effort to get to the gym more!
Cooking: Beer Mac and Cheese. So gooey, yummy, and easy to make!
Drinking: beer! Nothing tastes quite like warm weather like beer.
Reading: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. Part three in a four book series. The fourth book isn’t out yet, so I’ve been trying to put off reading this for as long as I could (I read the first two earlier this year), but I can’t wait any longer!
Wanting: some comfy shoes for walking around the city in (so Brad will stop making fun of me for wearing impractical shoes).
Looking: for different ways to style my hair. Curly hair can be limiting.
Playing: Katamari Forever. I’m not big on video games, but I do have a few that I enjoy, this being one of them!
Wasting: a lot less food. Food waste grinds my gears, and both Brad and I have been making a effort to plan our meals a bit more effectively so as to eliminate as much food waste as possible.
Wishing: that I could be in Halifax to celebrate my friends’ recent marriage.
Enjoying: evening walks with a warm drink in one hand, and Brad’s hand in the other.
Liking: that the sun stays out past 4:00 pm now!
Wondering: what the secret to getting nail polish to not smudge is.
Loving: that the warmer weather seems to be becoming more frequent!
that this pimple just under my chin will go away soon.
Marvelling: at my hair’s ability to be awesome one day and shitty the next.
Needing: more chocolate.
Smelling: faintly of summer weekends.
Wearing: these pants from R.W. & Co. They’re leggings that look like dress pants! WHAT. I’m getting a pair in every colour.
Following: my sister’s travels through Europe with her school (I’m only 75% jealous).
Noticing: my allergies aren’t acting up so much this spring (yet).
Knowing: that my allergies are just lurking in the corner.
Thinking: that I should probably buy a new bathing suit this year.
Bookmarking: videos from Vox’s YouTube channel to watch later.
Opening: the windows to let in some fresh air.
Feeling: warm.

( image )

Van City!


On Christmas morning, I literally screamed with joy when I opened my present from Brad. It looked like a Christmas card (because, well, it was), but contained within it were details of a weekend away to Vancouver! The kicker? Tickets to see my favourite hockey team, the Colorado Avalanche, play against the Vancouver Canucks in February. My Brad knows me so well!

When the weekend of our trip finally rolled around, I was bursting with excitement … and a need for tea, as we had to be up early to catch the morning ferry to Vancouver. This was going to be a trip of firsts. Our first time to Vancouver (now everyone on the West Coast can get off my back about having not been there yet), my first time seeing the Avs play, and Brad’s first NHL game. I knew that it was going to be a fantastic trip, and of course it didn’t disappoint.

We took the ferry over to the mainland, which was a very wonderful and surprising experience. Getting to see all of the islands en route to Vancouver on such a clear day made for a lovely journey, and it didn’t feel like we were on a boat at all. I don’t do so well with being “below deck” sometimes, and my own experiences with ferries are limited to the Dartmouth-Halifax ferry in Nova Scotia, the PEI ferry (which I got very seasick on as a child), and the Victoria-Seattle ferry (which I usually pop a couple of Gravol for and just pass out during). The only downside of our trip was that I’d overpacked a little, which meant my bag was terrible to carry. I opted to use the weekender bag that Brad got me for my birthday instead of my roller suitcase, and I paid the price (or, to be more accurate, Brad paid the price because he offered to carry it and I wasn’t about to refuse). Lesson learned!

I don’t like itineraries when I travel. That’s not to say I don’t have an idea of things that I want to see or do, but I try to stay away from planning every second. I’m lucky that Brad is the same way. Whenever we travel, we spend a lot of time just walking around, discovering places to get tea and coffee, or stumbling into really neat shops. Thankfully, we only came to Vancouver for two reasons – hockey, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

(If you think I’m joking, I’m absolutely not)

032916-01The view from the ferry terminal in Swartz Bay is something else. The beauty of British Columbia never ceases to amaze me.

032916-02First stop? The nearest pub to our hotel for a beverage and some lunch. Kingston Taphouse & Grille.


032916-04One of the many cool looking buildings in Gastown.

032916-05Where there are hipsters, there are hipster bicycles.

032916-06The extremely cool art in Revolver, composed entirely of nails.

032916-07Of course, Brad got coffee, but they had some lovely tea as well, which I needed a side of peanut butter cookie with. ;)

032916-08 032916-09 032916-10Hey, we know that place!

032916-11 032916-12 032916-13The Olympic Cauldron.

032916-14Nifty art in front of the library.

032916-15The view of BC Place from our hotel room.

032916-16One of my favourite spots from our trip, The Templeton. It has an old timey diner feel, mainly because a lot of their furniture and fixtures are from the era of diners!

032916-17Some Wonder Woman for our morning reading.

032916-18Blueberry banana pancakes with a helping of fruit.

032916-19Lunch was gooey nachos at Patron Tacos & Cantina.

032916-20An Avs fan in enemy territory …

032916-21…. thank goodness I had some back up!

032916-22 032916-23 032916-24We had, arguably, some of the best seats in the house, mainly due to Brad’s inability to double check things. ;) When buying tickets, he “accidentally” bought club seats – we had our own private entrance to the arena, seat service, comfortable seats, and an excellent view of the game. I don’t think I’ll be able to settle for anything less from now on!

032916-25FACE OFF.

032916-26 032916-27 032916-28 032916-29The Avalanche ended up losing 5-2 to the Canucks, but it was still a spectacular time.

032916-30A panorama of our view of the city from Stanley Park.

032916-31Our relationship summed up in one picture.

032916-37 032916-38The trees in BC are so tall. After more than two years on this coast, I’m still not used to them.


032916-32Back in downton Vancouver, Brad and I took part in reason #2 for our trip to Vancouver – Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Brad was the first to take the plunge.

032916-33That is what happiness looks like.

032916-34My turn!

032916-35Oh my goodness, oh my damn. Oh my goodness, they’re goin’ HAM …

032916-36It was everything that I wanted it to be.

While Vancouver isn’t my favourite city that I’ve travelled to (the economic disparity was a bit much at times and really affected me), it was still a marvellous trip, and I’d love to go back some day soon. I do have some family and friends over there that I would love to see. There are also a few museums and galleries that I’d like to check out – we had planned to do that on our last day there, but most things ended up being closed or too expensive. See, this is one of the things that happens when you don’t actually have an itinerary! Even still, I don’t think that could be the way that I travelled.

Thank goodness we’re not that far away. ;)


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