Hello! Life has a way of distracting me in the best possible way, but it has been a while and a lot has happened since I last wrote something. This won’t be an exhaustive list but here’s a recap of what’s gone on:
- I started a new job – I immensely appreciated the opportunity to go home and help William Osler out with their public relations but it wasn’t the right fit for me, and that’s ok!
- With a baby on the way, I’m learning my perspective has changed greatly over the past few weeks and months and what made sense last year doesn’t make the same sense a few months, or a year, later
- At the time of this writing, baby is still a few weeks away and I’m eagerly waiting and excited at the prospect of starting another new role – Dad!
- Speaking of small miracles, I can happily say I am on my way to becoming fully vaccinated against COVID-19, having received my second shot a little over a week ago
- Euro2020 is on! Some normalcy is returning to the world with the start of this football tournament. I’m still cheering for Croatia but Italy may not be far behind!
So that’s it! These are the major things going on right now.
One of the things I want to do with this blog is to write about my journey in exploring various whiskies and scotches. One of the whiskies I just finished is one of the world’s best selling, the Glenfiddich Single Malt 12-Year Old Scotch.
I bought the 375ml bottle because I was not sure how I would like the taste, and I have read and received advice that this is a good whisky to begin your journey. I would wholeheartedly agree with it.
As many people are marking the occasion, today is the one year anniversary of starting the work from home experience during the COVID pandemic. Well, one year and a day, but who is counting.
The past 366 days have been interesting – both good and bad. Before the lockdown, my wife and I were on our honeymoon in Hawaii and then Los Angeles. When we left, COVID wasn’t something we were thinking about, but as we island hopped from Oahu to Maui and then to Los Angeles, we heard about the first case of COVID in Hawaii. No one checked us, no questions were asked, it was (in hindsight) a surreal experience.
I am old enough to remember when the then-SkyDome opened up in 1989. It was the eighth wonder of the world at the time, and the first stadium with a fully operational retractable roof. It took forever to open and close but it was a true marvel. What my 7-year-old self did not realize at the time was the sheer cost of the structure, but it was cool; it was the place to be for an up-and-coming team that was bound to win two World Series championships within the first five years of calling SkyDome home.
Back in December there were rumours circulating that Rogers wanted to demolish the stadium and build a new stadium in another part of the city. SkyDome (I still can’t call it by it’s “new” corporate name and don’t want to, frankly.) is only 30 years old. It seems premature to demolish it.
With Remembrance Day coming up this Wednesday, I wanted to look back at my trip to London back in 2017 and visiting Vimy Ridge in France. We took the ferry over from Dover to Calais and stayed in a nice B&B in Albert, France. From there we drove to Vimy and visited the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.
“Dinosaurs ruled the world.”
For a very long time now, I, along with many others, have been waiting for Toronto Star reporter Doug Smith to write a book about the history of the Toronto Raptors. I can recall many a mailbag where fans were asking when the book is coming, and it seemed like it was always a dream that may or may not happen. Thankfully it has because it is a great look back on the progression of basketball in Toronto, and Canada, and it was great trip back in time.
I am lucky that I get to do what I do. Working in public relations has been a wonderful experience over the past 12 years and I would not trade it in for anything. However, if you ask me about my dream job I would tell you that I have a few.
I bring this up because many people enjoy building on what has been done already and tinkering around the edges. I have been in roles that did this, and I enjoyed them immensely. As I get further along in my career, and as I get older, the appeal of building something from scratch or close to scratch is something I enjoy. I have experience doing that right now in my role at OPPI. This captures my interest because it is so much fun to build things up.
Over the past few weeks, I have been busy at work with our annual conference. With the pandemic on this year it forced us to rethink what the conference would look like for members. Like other organizations, we went virtual. And, instead of doing this over three or four days consecutively, we spread it out over four weeks. We used Encore and the Chime Live platform, and if you are looking to use a platform for your virtual it is a great platform to use.
In 2012, I visited Boston and one of the great opportunities I was able to take advantage of was to visit Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, on its 100th anniversary. I love baseball and I love going to games when I visit cities in the United States because it is great to be surrounded by people who live and breathe baseball. The day after I arrived for my weekend trip, I was able to take in a walking self-led tour of the park and it was amazing.
Following up on my recent post about Thanksgiving traditions, I want to share with you some of my favourite wineries in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area. If you have not been to this part of Ontario then you are missing out. It is a short 90-minute drive from Toronto and has some great wineries to explore.
I blogged a while back about a growing interest in scotch and whiskies and I would put wine in that same category. While I may not be as knowledgeable as others, wine is another alcohol that I could not stand growing up but my tastebuds have matured allowing me to enjoy different wines. Here are some of my favourite wineries and wines to try.
As we approach Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, and with the pandemic still with us, I am reminded of something that happened a few years ago and how I met my wife’s extended family. She still jokes that this was my litmus test to see if she was going to keep me around.
There is the usual tradition – turkey dinner, stuffing, and the works – that I love. But, one I was introduced to that blew my mind in a great way was their annual family winery tour. My wife, who organized it all, would pick (after some consultation with key family members) a location – either Niagara-on-the-Lake or Prince Edward County – and then a few wineries to visit. We would also stop at another winery or restaurant for lunch to break up the day. And she and her family did this for years before I arrived on the scene. My first time was in 2016 and I had so much fun.
Growing up, my parents would drag my sister and I once a summer to Midland, Ontario. We would go for a family picnic with extended family, so I would get to see cousins and other family I normally would not get to see. When I became a teenager, I stopped going up to the annual pilgrimages with my parents because I had better things to do. It was not until 2017 that I went back with my then-girlfriend and all the memories came back.
I love poke! In fact, on Thursday and Friday afternoon for lunch, I had poke from a local place called Aloha Poke. Growing up, eating raw fish was not in the diet for a meat-and-potatoes European family. I did not have sushi until I was in my early twenties because it was something I just never ate.
As I ate my lunches, I was reminded of our honeymoon earlier this year. When my wife and I arrived in Hawaii in February, we were accompanied by a UPS pilot in the shuttle van to the hotel. He was flying out to Guam the next morning but he was very curious about us, asking questions, joking about married life. We then got to the best piece of advice we would get during our stay in Hawaii. He recommended Hawaiian poke, and specifically from Foodland. It blew our minds and we still long for it after all these months. It is the best poke we have ever had.
Yeah, I know. I cannot believe the title of this post is “Christmas Shopping in September” either, and I am writing it. Sadly, this is very true and it was an eye-opener for me. This is the absolute earliest I have ever purchased a Christmas gift.
I have had an idea of what to get my wife for Christmas for a while now. I was hoping to wait until closer to November to purchase the gift but then I realized I was experiencing a “Jingle All The Way” situation.
On September 27, 1970, TVOntario (TVO) came on to the airwaves in Ontario for the first time. That moment changed local television in Ontario forever. As a kid of the 1980s, a lot of educational programming my parents made my sister and I watch came from TVO (and CBC). Considering this effort to launch this station was an untried, untested idea, I think it is safe to say TVO has been a success and flourished over the five decades it has been on the air.
I am not old enough to have lived during the Kennedy Administration and the 1960s. I guess I get caught up in the pageantry and magic of Camelot and of those heady days. I am not sure where it comes from, maybe from the question of “what would have happened had JFK lived?” but I have had a fascination with the man and the promise for as long as I can remember.
In 2012, I visited Boston because I had never been before and it was a good weekend trip to take. Never having been to a Presidential Library before, I checked out the JFK Presidential Library and Museum. I was not disappointed.