This year I attended a Remembrance Day service at Vimy Ridge Memorial Park. The following are some photos I took during the chilly service.
On Friday afternoon 40, or so, Canadians met in the parking lot of Great-West Life and started tailgating — as is customary before getting on a bus and driving six and-a-half hours south. It was a beautiful day and ungloved hands were clutching beer cans as far as the eye could see.
When the bus arrived everybody piled on and I settled in for a relaxing drive down to Minnesota, I had obviously never been on the Giants Ridge ski trip before. The trip organizers are a trio of brothers who have been going to Giants Ridge for more than 20 years. It started out as a family ski trip but the brothers have turned it into a friends vacation with many ingrained traditions.
The bus ride down was impressively exhausting and I was glad when we rolled into small-town America at one in the morning. I made a bee-line to our hotel room and politely declined an invitation to continue the party at the hotel pub.
The next day we all lumbered back on the bus and headed for the hill at 9 a.m., just early enough to feel unfazed by approaching hangovers.
The “mountain” I remembered from previous (younger) ski trips now looked like a gently sloping bluff. But the snow was in great condition and the weather was absolutely fantastic. Since I had only gone skiing once in the last three years I spent most of the day trying to get my confidence back. I’m happy to report that my ski’s were no longer pizza-ing by the end of the day!
On our last run of the day we stumbled upon the annual slush cup — a competition to see who can bomb down the hill on whatever equipment they want, and make it across a pool of freezing water. It was hilarious, my favourite entrant was a tiny little skier with a green wig poking out under his helmet (unfortunately he didn’t make it all the way).
We capped off the day with a dance party on the deck of the chalet and a nap on the bus before arriving back at the hotel for well-deserved soak in the hot tub. Neal and I went for a late dinner at the local sports bar and ended up having a long conversation with a bartender named Angie. She was sweet, crass and 100% American, I loved her.
The next day was a repeat of the first, but with less skiing and more dancing. The bus ride back to Canada was significantly tamer and was broken up with a lovely stop at the border at 1 a.m., which involved the border guards searching everyone’s luggage. Hooray for getting to bed at 3 a.m. on a Sunday night before going to school at 8 a.m. on Monday.
Regardless of my whining I survived, and you can count me in for next year!
I’ve never been anywhere exciting.
An old geography professor of mine once described exciting places as regions plagued with war, political unrest, and poor quality of life for the people living there. Based on this definition, Canada is decidedly boring.
I started thinking about this privilege after reading A Thousand Farewells, by Winnipeg-born CBC journalist Nahlah Ayed. The book is an account of Ayed’s time spent reporting on conflicts in the Middle East.
For seven years, she followed stories of war, politics, and exodus as they unfolded in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. While the book organized country by country, Ayed’s larger story is about the experiences of people living in the region.
In fact, Ayed includes so many people that it becomes quite the task to try and keep everyone straight. While all of the stories provide important perspective, it would be a smoother read if some of the names were left unsaid, especially when they aren’t followed up on immediately.
As well, It would have been nice to have a map of the region in the back of the book to reference when she begins moving through many borders.
Yet, a striking feature of the book is Ayed’s uncluttered vivid descriptions of her surroundings.
“At the have-not side of the border, men in brown shawls squatted silently just inches shy of the barbed wire. They watched the recognized refugees with envy, barely moving for what seemed like hours in an impressive feat of stillness.”
She effectively calls attention to the small details that reveal what is left unsaid by her interviewees.
Ayed also does a good job of explaining the historical issues that divide people along lines of faith. I admit to not knowing enough about the struggles of the Middle East, and Ayed’s account quashed some misconceptions I had.
Ayed also talks candidly about her anxieties and recognizes the toll constant conflict took on her mental health. Being a student journalist, these comments really resonated with me. Now I’m not comparing my deadlines to a war zone, but it was comforting for a seemingly collected professional journalist to admit the stress of the job.
I also appreciated the way she talked about interviewing and the importance of engaging with your subjects. This is something I leaned very quickly after my first interview. If you go into the situation wanting to hear someone’s story you will often learn more than you expected.
While reading A Thousand Farewells, I was reminded of a documentary I watched years ago called I Know I’m Not Alone, by musician and activist Michael Franti. In the 2005 documentary, Franti travels to the Middle East to investigate the effects of war on the people living in the area — similar to Ayed’s approach.
If you’re planning to, or have already, read A Thousand Farewells I suggest you check out the documentary. It helped me visualize Ayed’s surroundings in the book.
To all my fellow freezing Winnipeggers and frazzled CreCommrades during this time of cold weather and insane deadlines, I give you In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry in all of his mutton-chopped glory!
No idea how I stumbled upon this gem but it immediately lifted my spirits, I hope it does the same for you. Don’t worry — summer is coming (insert Ned Stark voice)!
I know it’s almost February and none of you are interested in talking about the holidays but I still haven’t shared all of the Christmas presents I made this year! That said, this recipe isn’t festive at all, unless you gave this spice rub as a Valentines Day present and attached a card that says something adorable like “You spice up my life baby!”
Or not, whatever.
What’s more important: this recipe is so damn easy and yields so much that you’ll probably be running around finding reasons to give spice rub to everyone you know! But you could just hoard it for yourself and make lots and lots of pulled pork.
If you’re like me and don’t have a well-stocked spice rack the upfront cost of all the spices might be a bit alarming. But if you don’t have to buy new spices for every recipe you make then you probably have most of these ingredients at home.
I found the recipe here, but instead of making the 14-spice version I made a 13-spice version because I couldn’t find mace (turns out is not pepper spray), which is totally fine according to the original recipe.
The end result is a smokey blend with a bit of lingering heat that can be used for any kind of meat.
Dry Spice Rub
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup seasoned salt (reduce to 1/8 cup for low-sodium version)
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon celery salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon rubbed dried sage
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until uniform. You can sift the ingredients to make the mixture smoother. Keep unrefrigerated in an air-tight container.
Now for the shameless promotion!
If you follow me on any social media platform then you’ve probably noticed a post or two about Boiler Magazine.To give everyone a bit more background:
Boiler Magazine is a student-created publication that empowers its readers to enjoy food that tastes amazing without a second thought about guilt or gluttony. The project is the creative work of myself and four other creative geniuses (aka. classmates), Jordan Welwood, Amy Jean MacLean, Trevin Thomas and Adriana Mingo. Together we are writing original stories, making our own ads, becoming layout and design pros, marketing the hell out of our yet to be product and social-mediaing like no tomorrow.
We decided to make a magazine for men because there is a lack of content out there for the male dinner host, the Super Bowl wing aficionado, or the boyfriend who likes to make signature cocktails. But ladies this isn’t meant to alienate you! Speaking as a woman, the content of Boiler Magazine is going to be interesting, engaging and totally drool-worthy.
I’m excited and I hope you are too! Our launch date is April 4th, 2014 and you can follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook if you aren’t already!
ps. The reason I lumped these two subjects together is because I’ve found out through all of my research that guys like meat – like a lot – so the spice rub was just a ploy to hook all you dudes out there (nooootttttt it’s just really good, go make it)!
It’s official, yesterday I handed in my academic plan – after too much deliberation– and I’ve decided to major in journalism! It seems to be the path less travelled these days thanks to a somewhat bleak future for the printed news. But even in the age of the internet there’s still a need for well written, insightful articles and I would’t mind contributing to that.
Aside from being a respectable, if not insanely stressful, career path, I knew when I started Creative Communications that I wanted to be a journalist. I really like storytelling, and once I got over my trepidations with interviewing people I fell in love with the whole process.
Even though I knew all of this, I was experiencing a huge amount of anxiety leading up to my declaration. I’ve never been good at decisions – choosing a restaurant to eat at or a movie to see can be a painful affair for anyone accompanying me – so deciding what I wanted to do for the rest of my life gave me horrible stress nightmares.
So I took a step back and imagined how I would feel 20 years down the road if I hadn’t done journalism. I would feel pretty guilty. So even if I don’t end up working as a reporter or a news anchor in the future I’m feeling pretty satisfied with my decision and I’m celebrating with a pile of homemade banana pancakes!
I adapted the recipe from here, which makes too many pancakes for one person so I tossed the rest of the mixture in a sandwich bag and put it in the freezer. This way when I’m ready to make pancakes again I can just defrost the bag, snip off one corner of the bag and pipe the batter straight into a skillet, easy peasy.
Fluffy Homemade Pancakes
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour (we use Gold Medal all-purpose flour)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups (295 ml) milk, whole or 2% reduced fat milk are best
4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for skillet
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1. Sift all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Melt the butter and combine it with the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Make a well in the flour and pour the wet mixture into it. Stir until there are no more large pockets of flour, but it’s ok if the batter is a little lumpy.
2. Heat a large skillet with coconut oil over medium heat. Pour the pancake batter into the skillet using a ladle or, if you want to be more accurate, a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Flip the pancakes when the bubbles stop popping around the edge of the batter.
3. Serve immediately with syrup or jam and your choice of fruit as a topping.