Welcome Home.

So it’s been nearly a month since I moved. And, weirdly enough, I’m back in Calgary this week. But next week my Vancouver life begins – I start school on the Tuesday, working on the Friday. Back into the swing of things.

August has been a beautiful month. Sure, I’ve been broke as hell from not working, but aside from that, it’s been amazing. My roommate and I found a blackberry bush and made homemade crumble. My best friend and I stayed at a fancy hotel on our last night together before she went back to Calgary. I had coffee with an old friend from high school that reminded me how lucky I am to know such incredible people. My frozen yogurt consumption has been at an all time high, thanks to Pinkberry, Menchie’s and Qoola (why am I broke again?). I’ve reaffirmed my love for pho and sushi. My mom restored my brother’s bike for me so I’ve been riding that around. I stayed up until 7am watching Dexter and drinking overly sweetened coffee with my roommates. And so on.

Basically, I’ve been trying to keep myself busy, and it’s working. It’s been a rejuvenating summer, consider I’ve been consistently working or in school for the past eight-ish years, I’ve enjoyed the break. In lieu of any more words, here’s some photos I’ve taken over the past few weeks as I’ve settled in.

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In honour of Rick Rypien.

Today, I want to talk about health. Personally I don’t like drawing a big line between mental health and physical health, because mental health is stigmatized and seen as lesser, but I will for now to clarify what I’m saying.

Last August, Rick Rypien took his own life. A former Vancouver Canuck who was due to play with the Winnipeg Jets following the summer, he had been struggling with depression for years. His death prompted the creation of mindcheck.ca and got conversations flowing amongst hockey fans about depression and mental health issues. So, in Rick’s memory, a few words on mental health. Continue reading

Dogs are better than cats.

I love a lot of things. I love movie theatre popcorn and yoga pants and Staedler Triplus Fineliner pens. I really, really love hockey and Kanye West and country music and boys (like, a lot). But what I love most in the world, more than any Canuck or carb, it is always the same: my dog.

Fajita

Hello.

Fajita is literally perfect. Not flawless, because he has some anxiety issues and an underbite, but perfect. He completes me. I spend way more time per day than I should thinking about Fajita, buying things for Fajita, and stalking Fajita around the house. I am obsessed with him.

For years I wanted a white Chihuahua. Not a little shaky one, but just a smaller dog with a Chihuahua-esque face, and ideally kind of chubby. I watched Petfinder and kept almost-adopting dogs – I’d get fixated on one, call to go meet him, and he’d have already been adopted. (This is the same saga my best friend is going through trying to get a pug, sadly.) I was resistent to the idea of purchasing a puppy because I don’t fully agree with it, and I always figured that it was just bad timing.

On a weekend trip to Edmonton, we made an impromptu visit to the humane society . My best friend joked that I’d probably leave with a dog. She was, as she usually is, completely right. Continue reading

Things I Will Miss About Calgary.

So I move in…22 days. That is ridiculous. And although having a month free from work sounds easy, I have a lot going on. Some of my favourite and most beautiful friends are coming to town on the 10th, plus it’s Stampede, and then we go to Vancouver on the 17th and then I’m back in Calgary on the 23rd, only to leave forever on the 27th. So that’s a lot. With that said, I have spent my first few days of unemployment bumming around the house, migrating between the couch and my bed, because I feel I’ve earned it.

Alberta

This photo of the big blue Alberta sky was unabashedly stolen from my roommate’s instagram.

But it’s slowly starting to hit me that I’m leaving this city – and that is sad. Calgary took me in and gave me a safe place to hide out while I dealt with all of my Vancouver problems. That sounds dramatic, but it’s not – Calgary was truly a safe zone and being here gave me the time and space to get things done. It’s been a blessing.

There’s a lot I’m going to miss about this place. Continue reading

i just really miss you, right now i kinda need to

This time of year is always funny for me. My dad passed away on June 19th, 1992, when I was three years old. Sadly enough this date tends to coincide with Father’s Day, either within the same few days or sometimes it lands on the day itself.

Personally I find it an odd situation as I was so little when he passed away. I grew up with my brother and my mom, and that was our family. My entire life has been fatherless so I don’t know what I’m missing, I guess. I do feel a tinge of jealousy when my friends are close with their dads, and I admit I cried in Grease when Frenchy says “the only man a girl can depend on is her daddy”. But overall I was fortunate to grow up happy and healthy within a loving family, and doing so with just my mom taught me a lot about being an independent, badass, get-shit-done type of woman.

Still, I do think about my dad a lot and wonder how differently I would have turned out had he been around. I wonder what kind of relationship we would have, and I wonder if he would be proud of me. If he could see me now, would he recognize my strengths and respect my virtues and be proud of the woman I’m growing up to be? Continue reading

everybody dies famous in a small town

I do not cook. It’s not that I can’t, it’s just that I don’t. Every once in a while I’ll get the whim to throw something together, and it’s pretty good most of the time, but nine times out of ten I would rather just not. Thankfully I have a roommate who enjoys cooking enough to do it for both of us (and trust me, she knows how much I appreciate it!), so I usually don’t starve. But when she’s not around or doesn’t want to cook, my options are to subside off of crackers and popcorn (which I did basically for an entire summer), or to go out.

When I do go out to a restaurant, I almost always check them out on Yelp (and I review them, too) or on their websites first. I like to peruse the menu and think about what I want to eat, see what other people have enjoyed, and if necessary check their hours/location/parking/etc.

So how frustrating is it that, in the year 2012, businesses are still not updating their websites to reflect their current offerings, hours, or any other basic info? It literally baffles me that in this day and age where you can promote your business for essentially nothing via Twitter and Facebook and all of those things, that they would drop the ball on such an easy task.

Twitter Bird

Shout it out like this bird.

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turn the camera on, she a born star

When it comes to entertainment, Canada often gets a bad reputation. I’m pretty sure at least 87% of that is due to Nickelback, but I digress. Despite being right on top of the US, Canadian movies and TV shows always have that distinctly…Canuck vibe to them. It’s something I don’t know how to describe but you know it when you see it. Sometimes late at night I’ll catch little comedy sketches or short films between TV shows, and within about two minutes you’re thinking “this has to be made here…”. Of course, at the end the National Film Board or Telefilm logo shows up and you’re patting yourself on the back for guessing right.

Still, I think it’s something to be proud of that we produce this quirky, unique kind of media. I love seeing something that is ours, that isn’t made to target the US market. (Not that we don’t emulate their media frequently…I’m looking at you, Real Housewives of Vancouver.) It’s special and reflects us as a country, and I love it. Here are my top five “Canadian” movies.

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‘Cause I’m coming home again.

I moved to Calgary four years ago. At the time, it was exactly what I needed. I was 19 years old and running away from home with my best friend. We quit our jobs and cleared out our apartment, then hopped on a Greyhound bus with 19 boxes and our first month’s rent. Our first apartment here was owned by a sketchy looking guy named Steve, was home to at least two drug dealers, and had a broken lock on the front door. What may have given our parents a heart attack gave us the freedom and excitement of our first home away from home.

The pile of pillows I slept on

Not pictured: drug deal happening outside the window.

For the first four months, we had no beds – we slept on pillows on the floor. Rather than buy air mattresses or sleeping bags, we spent our money on booze at the local bars, getting tipsy enough to pass out without noticing how hard the floor was. We thrived on our low-income, low-luxury lifestyle because that’s what best friends do – take crummy situations and make them awesome. Over the past four years, we have had more fun than ever. I have met some incredible people and landed an amazing job at a company that  I love, and just generally had fun growing up and becoming myself.

However. I never once stopped missing Vancouver. In my first year as an Alberta resident, I think I went home eight times. My computer wallpapers have always been sunset views of English Bay, or the skyline at night, or at one particularly homesick time, my mom’s backyard. As much fun as I was having in Calgary, I knew I would not be here forever. I was born a west coast girl and that’s where I’ll be. Continue reading