A Weekend of Fun, Adventure, and Closure

Whew! I’m back from a seemingly whirlwind trip to Burnaby/Sechelt/Vancouver. My mom, Isla and I headed down to the coast Friday morning for a little weekend getaway, not only for some shopping, but also to bring a little closure. (More on that later)

We left around 9:30 Friday morning after rushing Isla through her breakfast and getting her motivated to sit in her carseat for 4 hours. She actually travels really well and just played with her Mangadoodle until she fell asleep after we were about half-way to Chilliwack. She woke up just in time for us to stop for lunch, so it worked out perfectly! After lunch, we continued on our way to Burnaby, where we were going to stay with my grandpa and his girlfriend. We got there around 2 p.m. and were able to unpack and relax for a little bit before we headed to Ikea!

I probably could have gotten into a lot of trouble in Ikea, but I had a mental list of things I wanted to get, including something for Isla’s birthday, a cake stand, and a little plant for the hallway. I managed to get those three things, plus a few extras: some wall art for the ensuite bathroom (pictured on the right –>), cutting boards, a clock, a pig stuffy for Isla, and some more cork hot pot holders. The bonus? I didn’t spend more than $100! Go me! After that we headed back to the house and got ready for dinner. As it turns out, my uncle and aunt had also come down for the weekend, so they came over for dinner as well! It was actually great to see them, because I haven’t seen them both in about 2 years!

So, the main reason behind this whole trip was because we were going to go to Sechelt on Saturday to spread both my Nana’s (my great-grandma) and my Grandma’s ashes. May 9th was my Grandma’s birthday, and with Sunday being Mother’s Day, my grandpa thought it would be fitting to do it that weekend.

We got on the road fairly early and were able to catch the 8:30 a.m. ferry up the Sunshine Coast to Langdale/Gibsons. It’s been about 15 years since I’ve been that way, and let me tell you – I appreciate how beautiful it is more than ever now. Seriously – if you haven’t been, you should. We all met up with old family friends of my Grandma’s, as well as her cousin, and we made our way to the seaside.

I must say, I wasn’t sure how I was going to react while we spread the ashes. It’s been 8 years since my Nana passed away, and 2 years since my Grandma, but it still seems like it was yesterday. The weather was windy and the waves were making their presence known, but it still felt so peaceful being there at the water. We tossed roses into the water and along with a few tears we shared a few memories.

Afterwards, we spent some time walking along the shoreline before heading back to a family friend’s house, where there was a delicious luncheon prepared for us. I really can’t get over all the wonderful people my grandparents have got to know and became friends with over the years. They were like an extended branch of the family. After lunch my mom, aunt, Isla and I went for another little walk to the water, and I couldn’t help but strike a quick tree pose in a little sandy spot in the ocean.

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By 3:30 is was time to head back to the ferry terminal so we could get on the 4:30 ferry. We could have done so much more exploring if time had allowed, but when travelling with a 2-year old you can’t push your luck too much ;)

The view from the ferry along the Straight of Georgia.

The view from the ferry along the Straight of Georgia.

Let me just say that I had the wonkiest sleep patterns ever on this trip. I would go to bed around 9:30-10 p.m. and wake up at 5:30-6 a.m. without an alarm or anything like that. I don’t know if it was the pressure of our busy schedule, but I was exhausted and a little cranky by the end of the day. Thankfully my Grandpa is an early riser as well and always had a hot cup of coffee ready for me when I came upstairs.

On Sunday my mom, Isla, and I caught the Skytrain into Vancouver to meet up with my brother! I haven’t ridden the Skytrain in ages (I think I was probably 11?) so we were a little lost when it came to what train to get on, but some very nice people happily pointed us to the right side of the concourse. My brother met us at the Tim Horton’s right by the station, and we caught the bus (my first city transit bus trip EVER) to the apartment he shares with his girlfriend. Let me tell you, his view is HORRIBLE:

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I have no idea how he can stand looking at the inlet and seeing those gorgeous sunsets. Pfft …

After letting Isla stretch her legs we walked about 4 blocks to Stanley Park (AGAIN – How can my brother stand living where he does?!) and walked along the seawall to Third Beach, where it was nice and sandy. I let Isla walk through the sand with bare feet and she loved it! We went to the water edge so she could put her feet in the ocean and she thought it was the best thing ever. She was seriously upset that she couldn’t go all the way in.

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Balancing rocks along the Seawall

We grabbed lunch at Fatburger, where I opted for fish & chips instead of a burger, and then walked it all off on our way to Robson Street to do a little shopping. I bought a couple of tanks from Old Navy, a caramel apple for Kyle from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and some new yoga shorts from lululemon. (I seriously have a lulu addiction.) After that, it was back on the bus to my brother’s place, where we met up with his girlfriend so they could both join us back at my grandpa’s in Burnaby for dinner.

We ended up not going for dinner until just after 7, and the restaurant was PACKED. We didn’t get seated until around 8 p.m., and I was really worried about Isla having a meltdown, but she didn’t have a care in the world! She was too busy playing with chopsticks and teacups to care about eating dinner at the time when she’s usually going to bed. We eventually got home around 9 p.m. and Isla was out like a light after a quick bath and story.

My mom and I loaded up and headed home yesterday morning and made good time. Isla dozed in and out of sleep the entire way home. It feels great to be back home; I missed Kyle a lot, and even my doofusy dogs too. As much as I love travelling, it can be so stressful, especially when you have a jam-packed schedule and a toddler. Isla had a blast the entire time and was so well behaved; she was seriously the centre of attention the entire trip. Some sweetly-cooky older lady on the ferry stopped dead in her tracks and commented on how gorgeous Isla was. Apparently the lady used to work as a casting director for films and said that she “still has the eye.” It was a little weird, but Isla loved the compliments ;)

So there you have it – my busy, crazy weekend in a nutshell! Now I’m back to the regular routine at home, and I wouldn’t have it any other way :)

My KDN Story

Jan11

 

Today was the last day that the Kamloops Daily News (KDN) published. After over 80 years of serving Kamloops, it was announced on January 3 that it would be closing within 60 days. Five days later, it came to an end.

I know this post will most likely be irrelevant to most of my readers, especially since the majority of you I’m assuming don’t even live in Canada, let alone B.C., but the closure of the Daily News has hit everyone in the community, including myself, hard.

I grew up with the Daily News. Living in a small town just outside of Kamloops, I looked forward to the comics in the paper, especially the colour ones on the weekend. When I was in Grade 1 or 2, I drew a weather drawing and it was featured on page 2 with the forecast for the day. As I got older and thought about a career after high school, journalism had gained my interest after enjoying the tedious task of piecing together our school’s annual yearbook. I thought it would be amazing one day to be the editor-in-chief at the Daily News. While it wasn’t my first career choice, journalism landed its place in my life after I quickly learned that writing was a better fit for me than crunching numbers. Follow your heart, they say …

I enrolled in J-School. Those first interviews and articles we were assigned to conduct were the most terrifying thing I had done in my life up to that point. Naturally introverted, reporting pushed me to open up and make myself a little vulnerable. My husband still wonders how I can be sometimes be so quiet around the house and not say much, but turn on my “reporter, get sh!t done” voice when I need to.

I landed a job at the university newspaper. I graduated. I scored a job at a great little neighbourhood newspaper. And finally, an ad came up in the Daily News for a job in their traffic (ad placement) department. I applied. I got an interview with the advertising manager. It turned out that they had already found a person for the job, but they wanted to offer me a position in their classifieds department. The manager knew that I held a journalism degree and mentioned that the job wasn’t really in my field of studies, but because I dreamt of working at the Daily, I was hired. A little more than a week later, I was a sweaty ball of nerves starting my new job at my dream employer. Heaven.

A couple months after I had started, the special sections editor had returned from her maternity leave and the advertising manager asked if I’d be interested in doing some freelance writing for her. I sent her some writing samples from my work at the university paper, and not long after that I was writing Q&A stories and began my side-job of as a freelance journalist.

In 2011, right as I was coming off my time off from getting married, there was a job opening in the editorial department for an editorial assistant. The woman who currently held that position was moving to join her husband, who lost his job when the press shut down, in the Lower Mainland. I scraped together a cover letter and resume and emailed it across the office to the editor, Mel Rothenburger. I will admit that even though I had been at the Daily for over a year, he still intimidated me. I believe it was only about two days later when he came casually strolling towards my desk in the classifieds department and asked to see me in his office. I guess my coworkers in classifieds knew that he wanted to talk to me, but I was clueless and I instantly started to freak out.

I don’t remember much about that interview, except for when Mel asked me why he should hire me for the job. I told him that I wanted to be editor-in-chief one day. The next day, I was offered the job.

Moving into the newsroom was it for me. From there, I figured I’d be able to build my career and make a name for myself in Kamloops. To me, it was more than just answering the phone (though no one could complete with my fast phone-answering skills) and filing letters to the editor (which always made me laugh or groan). It was a step in the right direction. Every so often I was asked to do some call backs for press releases and put together quick news briefs when the reporters were slammed with work. I even landed a byline on the front of the sports section when the sports desk was short-staffed and no one could attend a news conference the next morning.

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When I became pregnant with Isla, there was no question about whether or not I’d return to work after my maternity leave was up. Sadly, last April when I was confirming the days and hours I’d be returning to for daycare organization, I was asked to come to the office to speak with the publisher, Tim. He had to unfortunately tell me that the head office has decided that due to economical reasons, they would be eliminating my job position after my return. (Since they can’t eliminate it while I’m on leave.) Even more unfortunately, since I was only a part-time employee, they didn’t have to find a new “home” for me within the company. I was devastated and I’m pretty sure I made Tim feel pretty awkward when I couldn’t hold the tears back and started sobbing like a baby in his office. (Sorry about that, Tim!) After I went home and collected my thoughts, I took the turn of events as a blessing in disguise since I could now stay home and raise my daughter. I visited the office as much as I could and was always welcomed with a smile. (and if Isla was with me – a crowd)

Unfortunately, with the Daily News now closing permanently, there are 55 people now out of a job. Many of them have children, some of them the sole income earner of their household. I cannot even imagine what must have gone through their minds during Monday’s announcement. Even more so during Thursday’s announcement that Saturday (today) would be the last paper ever published.

I know I was only actually at the Daily News for two years before going on maternity leave, but I feel I owe it so much. I worked with some amazing individuals whom I like to consider friends. I gained an appreciation for the art of journalism, for contrary to what many non-journos may believe, it’s more than just asking people questions and writing down answers. I became more knowledgeable of the city I live in.

Reading the last paper today brought tears to my eyes. I’m going to miss seeing the Daily News in the news stands and reading it daily. I’m going to miss seeing those names in the bylines of the people I worked with and learned from. I hope that they are able to somehow go on bringing remarkable stories to the public, because they are truly talented and deserve to share their gift.

Thank you so much, Kamloops Daily News, for making my life so much better. I’ll miss you.

 

 

Dear Grandma

Dear Grandma,

It’s been a year already since you passed and not a day goes by where I don’t have some kind of thought about you. Whether it be remembering all the things you’ve done for me or little reminders here and there, it’s still so hard to deal with you being gone.

It’s remarkable what you’ve missed out on in the past year – the birth of your great-granddaughter, her first Christmas, her crawling absolutely EVERYWHERE. Isla would have been so spoiled rotten if she had got to meet you, and I know she wouldn’t mind at all. I’m certain that Grandpa loves her just a smidgen bit more because of you because he knows how much you were looking forward to meeting her.

I’m still at a little bit of disbelief that you’re actually gone and how quickly you left this world. I still don’t think it’s fair and I’m still having a hard time accepting everything. I know they say that everything happens for a reason, but I can’t seem to find a good reason as to why you were taken from us so soon. If this was a part of “God’s plan”, I’m pretty sure it’s not the best one He’s had.

Please know that you will forever be remember and loved by everyone who knew you. You were truly an amazing woman who brought joy to the lives of everyone you met.

I love you, and miss you so terribly much.

Grandma and I