Thursday, December 01, 2016

Coffee Robber

Every morning at exactly - exactly - 10:30, I make coffee. Sully's nap time is 10:45, so by the time I'm settled in the office (10:50-10:55ish), the coffee is drinking temperature.

Today was the same. I gave the Sullsmeister a blueberry muffin and went about boiling the water,  grinding the beans, selecting the mug (the 'right' mug choice is different from day to day, of course, and is dependant on many almost subconscious variables). Sullivan watched me and questioned everything, because that's what toddlers do.

"What's it doing now?"
"What're you doing now?"
"Is it blooming?"
"Is it tasty?"
"Can I smell it?"

Then he hopped down from his stool and I left the french press to do its thing on the counter while I tucked him into bed, stopping for a second on my way into his bedroom to reply to a text message.

And when I came back into the now-silent kitchen to retrieve my coffee and retreat into the office...the french press was gone.

Without a trace. Gone!

I retraced my steps; I stood in front of the grinder, rested my hand on top of it. I dragged my finger along the countertop to the kettle, laid my other hand on the counter where I'd poured the water into the press. It was still warm.

My brain always says, "Robbers!" first. I don't know why, but it does. When we're laying in bed at night and hear a creak in the hallway, my brain yells, "Robbers!" and I sit straight up in bed with my heart beating fast, and Barclay says, "Not robbers," because he knows by now what my brain says even if my mouth doesn't also say it.

And so, too, as I stood there with my hand on the warm countertop, my brain said, "Robbers!"

But it seems like a very cinematic kind of robber inhabits my thought life. The kind of robber that would break in and take my coffee and then I'd turn and he'd be standing there drinking it out of my carefully-selected mug with a smug smirk on his thieving face. He'd be dressed in black pants and a black turtleneck and he'd be wearing a black toque, too. And he'd shoot me.

Welcome to my brain, everyone. Everything ends with a robber shooting me. For real, it does.

But there was no robber, and no other explanation. Just a warm spot on the counter where my french press had been. I stood there for a long time before I noticed the blanket on the floor with a french press-shaped bump under it.


My brain needs to learn to say "Sully!" first, before "Robbers!"

I pulled back the blanket, and there it was. Full literally to the brim, not a drop spilled.

The percolated crime. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Agribition 2016

This past week, Tourism Regina hooked me up with a media pass for Agribition.

When I went into the office to pick up my stuff, one of the ladies there asked me if I'd ever been before. I said, "Oh, no. No, no. No. Never."

I didn't mean to be so vocally adamant about it, but let's be real: if you've ever met me, you know I'm not a cowgirl. One of my best friends is a cowgirl, so I know exactly how much I'm not one. And I've always kind of assumed that Agribition is specifically for cowpeople, the same way that Folk Fest is for musicpeople and the same way there's that club in Regina where everyone dresses up like comic book characters.

It's just a place I've never thought to venture before.

When I found out I was going to Agribition, I asked someone to describe to me what it was, exactly, and they said, simply, "It's a beef show." Like I'm supposed to know what a beef show is. I pictured a bunch of cows parading slowly through the Brandt centre, swaying side-to-side and mooing. For six whole days.

I learned two things this week:

1. That's not what Agribition is.
2. You can enjoy Agribition without being a quote unquote cowperson.

When I arrived at the newsroom on day one, a really sweet woman wearing cowboy boots gave me a pamphlet with a bunch of facts on it about Agribition - things like: "attracts 800 international visitors from over 70 different countries," and "$56 million in provincial economic impact."

The pamphlet went on to confirm for me that, yes, the Canadian Western Agribition is a beef show (the best on the continent, it said), but it encompasses agriculture, Indigenous culture, live music, food, and shopping. I could get into that.

So, on Tuesday, I went to my first Agribition event: the jousting tournament. I took Ashley, Robyn, and Sullivan with me, and it was incredible.

You know that feeling you get when you see a celebrity in public or you're at a Death Cab concert and Ben Gibbard finally steps up to the microphone? I had that feeling when the knights rode out into the ring in full armour. Like, I recognize this from movies. Sullivan was equally impressed because one of his favourite cartoons features a dog dressed up as a knight. He said to me, "Mom! Are they going to hit them off the horses with the sticks?"

And I said, "I sure hope so." Is that bad parenting?

Before the tournament, one of the knights rode over to where we were sitting and yelled, "Who will be my fair maiden?" or something similarly dramatic and medieval. A little girl put her hand up and he gave her a rose.

Then, we watched the most intense sport I've ever witnessed live. Full contact jousting is no joke. From the pamphlet: Two knights and two horses will charge at each other...and collide at speeds of 30 mph. The goal is to strike the opponent with the 11 foot lance and unhorse the opposing knight.  

'Unhorse' is such a dignified way to put it. They could've just written bludgeon. I seriously thought someone was going to die in front of me. Armour is also no joke.

The next thing on my Agribition to-do list was find Baba's Food Spot. It's a local food truck that boasts the best perogies in town, and whenever they're in the vicinity, I'm there. Sully and I split a creamy dill rogy box and a drumstick ice cream cake with cute little teddy bear graham crackers in it. It was incredible, as always. That was Wednesday.

On Thursday, I met up with Karlie and we took our kids to see the International Stock Dogs Championship Finals. I'm a total newbie to all of this, so I was just as awed as my two-year-old at the way the handler could communicate almost silently with the dog who then maneuvered its little flock of sheep in a pattern around the ring and into a pen. I mean, I've seen Babe, but it's different in real life. It was adorable and impressive all at once. I'm pretty sure I heard someone exclaim, "Look at those cute little sheep butts!" at some point.

From there, we headed to the food pavilion, where a bunch of local businesses and vendors were handing out free samples of everything from chili and beef jerky to smoothies and pepper jack cheese. We had one of everything. 

And then we hit up the Family Ag and Indigenous Pavilions. Karlie got some shopping in and the kids explored the mini tipi encampment and checked out the animals.

We spent the entire afternoon there, and then we took our respective kids home and headed back for pro rodeo, where we met up with Caroline and Katlynn.

Rodeo: another one of those no-joke sports.

Question: how is it that I can injure myself performing a burpee incorrectly, but these guys can do this:

Either cowboys are not actual people, or they just have rubber bones. Fun to watch, though.

Another wonderful thing about Agribition: MINI DOUGHNUTS. Everywhere.

Also: bull riding. I don't even know what to say about bull riding. I grew up having nightmares about sharks and bears, but what I should've been having nightmares about was bulls. Bulls are terrifying.

That's everything I made it to this year - not exactly a slow cow parade. I'll have to go again next year to hit up all the things I didn't make it to this time - plus jousting again, obviously.


Friday, November 25, 2016

The Lay Awakes

I've always loved a good "how we met" story, especially if that meeting results in something more substantial than simple friendship - like bestfriendship or marriage or a band, or, even better, all three, as in the case of The Lay Awakes, an acoustic pop duo based out of New York. I know their "how we met" story because I had front row seats for it. Literally.

(Or I might have been sitting a few rows back; I can't remember.)

In any case, Patrick Anderson and Anna Paddock met at my husband's sister's wedding seven years ago, where he was both musician and best man and she played piano. It was, apparently, love at first jam session. They were married a couple of years later, formed the band three years after that, and put out a six song EP a year after that, in July of 2015.

Which brings us to December 1, 2016: I'll sitting in the front row once again (or, you know, a few rows back). But this time, instead of watching Anna and Patrick play music they've prepared separately for their mutual friends' wedding, I'll be watching them perform together as The Lay Awakes at one of my favourite Regina venues, the Artesian

It's the circle of life or something.

Listen here, tickets here, download the EP for free here.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fourth Friday

This week has been so long.

You're like, "Suzy, it's Monday."

But it's not Monday. It's actually Fourth Friday.

Because on First Friday, or, simply, Friday, as it's called in these parts, I said to Barclay, "Yay! It's Friday!"

And he said, "Actually, I have to work tomorrow."

And then he said, "And Sunday."

So Saturday was more like Second Friday, and Sunday was like Third Friday, and today doesn't really feel like Monday because we never had a weekend. We're not jumping into a new week, we're stretching the last one into this one like it's a piece of old gum. This whole next week is going to feel like Friday on repeat every day until actual Friday, or Eighth Friday, as it shall be called in our house.

Thankfully, I'm very busy these days. I'm not sitting at home staring woefully out the window. I've begun writing for a magazine based out of Colorado and keeping busy with my tourism ambassador stuff and we're also doing our final final final book edits this week (there's not a lot more nerve-wracking than final final final book edits).

So Friday, First Friday, I had an interview in the morning for a magazine article, and then I went home, pushed my face up against my computer screen and worked on that while Sully napped, and then I had a phone call with someone else, who wanted an article about local musicians for their website, and then I had to put together a proposal for that and then I went to Evraz to pick up my media credentials for Agribition and then I went shopping and bought six shirts and Dead Poets Society on VHS (bless the Log Cabin Thrift Store) and then I went for coffee with my high school bestie, Shlee.

With Fridays like that, who even needs Saturdays?

And this week: Agribition! Which I will probably blog about later. It's a week-long cow thing, which includes auctioneer competitions and jousting (with knights in actual armour) and rodeos and, I was told, mini doughnuts. I'm actually very excited about all of it, even though (or maybe because) it's so far outside of my realm of usual entertainment that I can't even picture any of it. I feel like I'm about to enter an alternate reality.

I do not own cowboy boots.

So, anyway, I don't know. Happy Fourth Friday and giddy, as they say at these kinds of events, up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Tourist Company

The Tourist Company has been radio haunting me this week with "Pedestals," a song from their most recent LP, Apollo.

I could tell this band was from Vancouver even before I looked it up--so many of my favourite Canadian bands are from (or based out of) there. There must be something in the water (or more possibly, those expensive lattes in Gastown). The Zolas, We Are the City, Mother Mother, Said the Whale, Rococode, etc... It's not that they all sound the same, they're just in the same proverbial family, so they have some similar musical mannerisms. It's like when someone you don't know walks into the room and you go, "I know exactly whose sister that is," but you can't figure out what tipped you off.

(Some year, I want to go CMW with someone and have a competition to see if we can guess which Canadian city each band is from based wholly on the sound of them. Sounds like good, nerdy fun, right? Call me if you are my person for this.)


The Tourist Company was in town playing the Artful Dodger last Thursday and I didn't go. I had something else that night.

But now, every time I climb into my car to go somewhere, this song is playing on the CBC. It's getting eerie, and it's making me sad. Next time they come through, I'll be there. I promise the whole Internet as well as whoever's spying on me at CBC (I'm looking at you, Rich Terfry).

If you live in Western Canada (Rossland, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver), you can still catch the tail end of their Apollo tour. And by 'can,' I mean 'should' (see also: have to).