Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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NaBloPoMo – Day 29 – Playing D

A few weeks back, I had to play defence in my hockey game. I usually play forward and haven’t really ever played defence1 and quite honestly, I find the notion of it a bit scary. It’s too much pressure! You are responsible for stopping the people on the other team from taking shots! And if they score, you feel bad. Playing forward, on the other hand, is all about the glory. Scoring goals or making a beautiful pass so that your linemate can score a goal – all about the glory.

Of course, I realize that hockey is a team game and even when I’m playing forward, I can screw up and feel like it’s my fault if the other team scores2. When the defence3 from the other team that you are supposed to be checking gets away from you and scores a goal – you feel bad! When you can’t get the puck out of your own end and the other team scores, you feel bad! But overall, I feel like the pressure is more on the D. So I’ve always steered clear of it.

However, one of my teams this year is a bit short on players who play D on the roster, so, depending on who shows up for a given game, occasionally some of us forwards have to go back on D for a game. And a few weeks ago, it was my turn. It was against a really strong team (they got moved up a division a few games later because they were winning so much in our div) and someone suggested I should play D because I’m a strong skater (which was a really great compliment! I feel like I’ve worked a fair bit on my skating over the past few years, so it’s nice to know that it’s helped!) and I knew I was going to have to work my butt off! And also have to figure a lot of things out on the fly – when I play my usual position (left wing or centre), I can go a lot on instinct since I’ve done it for so many years. But as D I really have to think about where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing! So much pressure!

Anyway, I actually thought it was a good experience, because playing defence gave me a totally different perspective on the game. I was able to experience the game from the D’s point of view and it helped me see how I can be a better forward. Often defence will tell us that in our own end, when the D get control of the puck, make sure to get open, keep moving, give them someone to pass to. It’s no use passing the puck to someone who is standing still, right next to an opposing player who is poised to swoop in and grab that puck, so the forwards need to get moving! And while that makes perfect sense, it’s one thing to hear someone say that, and it’s a totally different thing to experience being that D who has the puck and there’s no one to pass it to to get the play going in the other direction. And then to experience when the forwards are moving to the open ice, ready for the pass, and the you see how much of a difference it makes. It was so useful to see from the D’s point of view how the game unfolds when the forwards are doing different things and it really makes it real what you need to be doing as a forward. So in the end, I’m actually really glad I played that game as defence – I think I’m a better forward for having done it.

I’m pretty sure there’s an analogy in here to life – how it’s really worthwhile to see things from someone else’s perspective once in a while. Maybe even someone who is very different from you. How you can learn something about what their experience is like and maybe even learn something about yourself. But it’s past my bedtime and thus too late for me to get into such deep thoughts, so I’ll leave it up to you, dear readers, to give it some thought!

Image Credit: Posted by Guy Mayer on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. Other than in the 10 day long hockey game when everyone just played wherever position because we only had one sub at any given time, but playing was more just like trying to survive on the ice for *another* four-hour shift. []
  2. As we like to say on the ice, the puck has to get past all 5 of us before it ever gets to the goalie! []
  3. So it has just occurred to me that we sometimes call the defensive players “defencemen” – I usually use just “defence” because I play in an all-womens’ league, but  “defence women” just sounds weird to me. But it’s just occurred to me that we never say “forward men”. It’s just “forward”. You say “centremen” on occasion, but far more often you just say “centre.” But you never ever say “forwardmen.” I wonder why that is? []

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Beth and Sidney’s Excellent Adventure

So I have a new hockey team this season – we are called the Penguins! On this team, they have a tradition. The player of the game is awarded a Sidney Crosby stuffy, which they get to keep until the next game. And during that time they must take Sidney on an adventure, which they must photograph and send to the team. Apparently Sidney has gone on a variety of adventures – he’s gone mountain biking, he’s gone to the spa, he’s played dress up, he’s gone for an acupuncture treatment, and so on.

Well, as luck would have it, I was awarded this great honour in my second game on the team, which we played this past Sunday. The honour was bestowed upon me for scoring a goal with just 4 seconds left in the game. The goal was one for the highlight reel – a beautiful wrist shot, top shelf! Or perhaps I just skated up to the goalie, who quite possibly wasn’t expecting anything to actual happen in the last 4 seconds of the game, took a shot right at her which she easily stopped, but it fell between her knees and then when I kept skating towards her hoping to poke at the rebound, she fell over backwards and knocked the puck into her own net. It could have been either of these things, really. I guess we’ll never know! At any rate, my teammate kindly named me player of the game for my never-give-up attitude and making the other team’s goalie, who was quite spectacular all game, look silly. And so it was that I brought this hottie home with me:

Sidney came home from the rink with me!

Watson and Crick smelled him for an unusually long time (They smell pretty much everything I bring into the condo, but usually it’s a few sniffs and they are on their way. But the each spent several minutes smelly every inch of this guy!)

Crick smelling Sidney

Watson smelling Sidney

Now, I only had a few days in which to adventure with Sid, as our next game, when I had to pass him along to the next player of the game, was tonight (Wednesday). So I really only had Monday and Tuesday and I was working those days, plus I am teaching a class at UBC on Tuesday nights this semester. So Sidney ended up having a very nerdy adventure. He came to work with me (I actually had him at the table during our team meeting1 and one of my team members was like “He’s staring at me!!”):

Sidney

Sidney

And then on Tuesday night, he helped me give my lecture on business strategy and marketing:

Sidney gives a guest lecture

Students cut out of the photo to protect privacy! But I wanted a photo with students in it to prove that I didn’t just take him to a lecture hall and pretend to have him in my class!

And finally, we ended our hard day’s work with a fine beer from Steel & Oak:Sidney

  1. which I totally neglected to get a photo of. Epic fail! []

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My new neck guard

Two games ago, I got high sticked in the throat. It wasn’t intentional – we were playing hard and it was so fast I’m not even sure how it happened, but seemingly out of nowhere I felt a stick blade on my throat – but it was hard and down I went. All I could think was “Can I breathe? Ok, I can breathe now, but is my throat going to swell up and I’m going to suffocate to death right here on the ice?” My throat did swell up, but not so bad that it killed me (obviously, or I’d have a hard time writing this blog posting!). I couldn’t lie on my back and breath at the same time for two days (as the swelling in the front of my throat would sort of collapse down on itself), but I was OK if I lay on my side.

Old hockey neckguard

Old neck guard

Long story short, I decided that the neckguard I’d been wearing – because, yes, I was wearing a neck guard – was providing me with insufficient protection. I felt the stick blade on my skin, so I think the blade must have hit below the neck guard, or at least shifted the guard out of place when it hit. Imagine if that had been a skate blade instead of a stick blade! So off I went last weekend to the Hockey Shop to buy a new neck guard that provides more ample coverage.

New hockey neckguard

New neck guard. My neck feels so much more guarded now!

As you can see from the photo, the new neck guard provides a lot more coverage in case of errant sticks, skates, or punches. Also, if someone challenges me to a duel on the ice, I’ll be ready for that too!

I wore it in my game on Wednesday night (and I scored a goal1!) It’s definitely warmer wearing this new guard compared to the old one, but I’m already sweating up a storm out there, so what’s a little more sweat? And it’s a small price to pay for an intact jugular and a non-collapsed trachea.

Stay safe out there, people!

  1. Coincidence? Probably, but we can’t really know for sure! []

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Does this injury make my thumb look fat?

Three weeks ago (three!), I hurt my thumb. I was playing hockey and I was in screening the goalie and making a pest of myself (as usual) and a defencewoman from the other team knocked me to the ground, catching me off guard and I guess just the way I was holding my stick resulted in my landing directly on the end of my right thumb and it hurt like a mofo. I mean, I continued playing the game, but I couldn’t really use my thumb. By the next day, it was swollen up quite badly and bruised1 and I thought it might be broken, so I called my doctor, whose office is conveniently a block from my office, who had a look at it and said that we should get it X-rayed as it could be a compression fracture (happily, it wasn’t twisted or bent funny, which would indicate a fracture that might need pins in it). So then I walked a few blocks to the X-ray place and within about 10 minutes I had some X-rays done2. The verdict came back the next day – it wasn’t fractured, so I must have (and I quote my doctor verbatim here) “jammed it real good.”

Anyway, that was three weeks ago (three!) and my thumb still freaking hurts. And it’s swollen:

Injured thumb

As you can see, my right thumb is swollen. This photo was taken today.

Granted, while I took my next hockey game off (on the advice of my doctor), I did play the one after that and the one after that and then the one after that. And then I played five hockey games in three days3 – I had a weekend tournament, a regular season game, and then got called in as a spare for a friend’s team. And in the tournament I happened to get slashed *twice* directly on my thumb! Also, after the game, there seems to always be at least one person in the handshake lineup who won’t take off their glove to shake hands4 and so when I go to shake their hand they end up jamming their hockey glove directly into my thumb and it hurts like a mofo!

In other hockey news, I broke my hockey stick in my game yesterday. I was battling for the puck in the corner and as I was skating away afterwards, I thought my stick felt funny. I looked down and didn’t see anything odd, but after a few more strides it still felt funny and I looked again and heard a weird noise as I lifted my stick to try to look closer and then I saw it flop a bit. Yikes! I immediately dropped my stick – as a player must drop a broken stick because it’s dangerous to skate around with one – and skated to the bench so someone else with a stick could jump on the ice. Fortunately I had brought a spare stick – as I’m a 5 ft tall person who plays left-handed, there’s not likely to be anyone else who has a stick that I can play with – so was able to jump back out on my next shift.

Broken hockey stick

Broken hockey stick

So today I headed out to the Hockey Shop in Surrey5 to buy a new stick. I’ve never bought a stick there before – the last sticks I bought (which were this broken one and an identical one like that – I bought two because they were on sale for half price and my then-back up stick was an old wooden monstrosity) were from Cyclone Taylor in Coquitlam – but I was glad that I did this time because I found out that they have a shooting room in the basement where you can actually test out the stick, which is much better than just flexing it against the ground to see how it flexes (which is what you typically do in a store). The guy in the shop helped me select a few to test out – and also informed me that the stick that I had (as I brought in my spare so that I could get them to cut my stick down to the right size for me) was one that has its flex near the middle, which is more for slapshots. But I don’t really take slapshots6! So he got me one where the flex is near the bottom, which is better for wrist shots and snap shots, which is more what I want to do! I tested out the sticks and the one with the flex near the bottom (which is also a bit lighter) was waaaaay better for me. And so now I’m the proud owner of this Crosby stick:

My new hockey stick

So I’m going to blame my *terrible* statistics for the last few years on my inappropriate stick and I am confident I’ll now be scoring like gangbusters. Playoffs, here I come!

  1. And unbelievably, I forgot to take a picture of it! []
  2. For people who are worried that single payer healthcare systems mean you don’t get to see your doctor and wait lists are years long, I would like to point out that I got a same day appointment and then got an X-ray within 20 minutes of seeing the doctor and that included me walking from my doctor’s office to the X-ray place. I realize that the Canadian healthcare system is not perfect and that this situation worked out so well for me because (a) it’s a pretty routine health problem and (b) I have a family doctor, which many people don’t since we have a shortage of them. But still, no wait time, great care by a doctor that I’ve chosen, and I didn’t have to co-pay or pay for my own X-ray or anything. []
  3. Before anyone goes and makes a comment (*cough* Kalev *cough*) that I shouldn’t play hockey until my thumb is totally healed, we already know that I make poor life choices, so that wasn’t going to happen. []
  4. What is the deal with people who won’t take their glove off to shake hands after the game. Are they seriously worried about the germs on my hand after they have just spent 60 minutes with their hand in a sweaty hockey glove? I hate to break it to you, people who won’t take their glove off to shake hands after the game, your hand is already covered in germs! And if they think that the germs in their smelly hockey glove are at least their own germs and other people’s germs might make them sick, all I have to say is “aren’t you going to wash your hands anyway, since they’ve just been in that smelly hockey glove??” /. []
  5. As per usual, this is an unsolicited mention of a business on my blog. I just like their business and want to give them a shout out! []
  6. so I’m not sure why the person at Cyclone Taylor suggested that stick to me! []

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My 21st birthday is old enough to go out drinking

40 anos UniritterSo today I turned 401. It seems pretty hard to believe because I don’t feel a day over 26 and I’m pretty sure I don’t look a day over 35! But the calendar tells me that it was, in fact, 40 years ago that I came into this world. I’m so lucky that it’s 2017 and we have the technology to keep people of my advanced age alive!

Birthday festivities started on Monday when some co-workers surprised me with a birthday cake and diet Pepsi (clearly, my co-workers know me well!). I was lured to this surprise by a meeting invitation, so I showed up ready to talk about the health care IT adoption and instead was greeted with singing and cake! Yesterday, my team took me for a delicious sushi lunch! Last night, birthday wishes started coming in from friends who live in the future (i.e., Australia and Japan), where it was my birthday already.

Today I treated myself by not having to set my alarm, since I have today off. I woke to find a bunch of birthday wishes from my Ontario peeps, who also live in the future (just not as far in the future as Australia or Japan) – including the first ever text that I have received from my mom! I spent a leisurely morning enjoying coffee and some French toast and then did some planning for the birthday party I’m having on the weekend. As per my usual party MO, there will be enough food for at least three times as many people as will actually be at the party.

Right now I have some tradespeople installing some new shower doors on my tub, since the ones I had previously got broken2, so I guess my birthday present to me is that I will no longer have to take showers with a cheap shower curtain duct taped to the frame of the old shower doors. #Adulting The cats are trying to decide if they are more curious or scared by all the noise – Watson has just come out from under the bed, where he’s been since they got here, so I guess curiosity is winning. Crick ran under the bed at first but soon came out to see what was going on, though she’s tending to stay close to me. Ooh, and just as I was typing that last sentence, one of the tradesmen ripped a piece of paper packaging and Watson bolted back to the bedroom!

Tonight I have not one, but *two* hockey games to play, which makes me a happy camper. And my new boy is coming to watch my hockey games, also making me a very happy camper indeed!

All in all, although I am a less than 14 hours into this whole being 40 thing, I don’t think it’s quite as bad as I was thinking it would be – but probably because I still kind of don’t believe it’s true!

Image Credit: Posted by Thainá Gaieski on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. For my American friends, the legal drinking age here in BC is 19, so my math in the title is actually correct. In two years, my 21st birthday could go down to Seattle to go drinking. []
  2. For the record, it was not me who broke them! []

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If Pokemon were hockey fans

I was chatting with Cath during the Canucks-Leafs game yesterday and this conversation happened:

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And while I can only think of two other people besides Cath and I who might find this amusing (i.e., those in the overlapping area of the Venn diagram of hockey fans + Pokemon Go players), I find it ever so amusing that I had to blog it.

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A visit from my mom and my niece

Hey remember that time that my Mom and my niece came to visit me? Of course you don’t, because I didn’t blog1 or tweet/Facebook/etc. any of it while they were here because we were having way too much gallivanting (and perhaps spent all of our tech-related time catching Pokémon instead).

Highlights of their trip included:

  • the New Westminster petting zoo (which I’d never been to before, despite being a New Westie for several years now!)

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    My niece holding a bunny at the Queen’s Park Petting Zoo in New West

  • the Vancouver Aquarium, where we petted rays and saw beluga whales, dolphins, otters, sea lions, and much more
  • Science World at Telus World of Science2, where we did the spy exhibit. Wasn’t really any science to it, but it was super fun! It was challenging enough to keep us engaged through all the parts of the exhibit – and my niece was the master of figuring out the clues! For the record, we totally figured out who stole the computer chip and why!
  • New West StrEAT food truck festival. It was insanely hot out, but that didn’t keep me, my Mom, my niece, Kalev, Andrew, and I from checking out all of the 88 food trucks. Among us we had an Aussie meat pie, a Japadog, bubble tea, a tacotino, pizza, hurricane potatoes, a Beaver tail, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting!

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    My niece was inspired by a photo of a child with ridiculously placed chocolate on his face on the side of the Beaver Tails truck to place some chocolate in a similar ridiculous fashion.

  • BBQ dinners, including pork tenderloin and steaks
  • Granville Island, including Lee’s Donuts3, jewelry shopping4, looking at fancy brooms (and my mom saying “How can I fit this in my luggage?” and then not buying one because she can’t fit it in her luggage – a tradition of hers when she comes to Vancouver), sitting in hammocks (and saying “Where could I hang this?” and realizing we have nowhere to hang hammocks and then not buying them – another tradition when my family comes to town), and lunch at Edible Canada.

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    This was a menu item at Edible Canada, but we were pretty sure it is actually a Pokémon.

  • Delicious pizza from Pizza Garden. Crick became obsessed with the pizza box5, even choosing to sleep there at night instead sleeping with me like she usually does. After a few days, I decided that it was time for the pizza box to go (given that it does have bits of food in it, which will get icky) and said “I’m going to take the pizza box to the compost”, and the Crick bolted from across the apartment to the box and stood on it and looked at me as if to say “You aren’t taking this anywhere!”

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    Crick is in her happy place

  • Pokemon Go! With all the walking around we did, we had ample opportunity to hunt for wild pocket monsters. We caught an Electrobuzz at the New West petting zoo, and 3 Tauros in one day! We also collected so many Pokémon that we had a whole bunch that we could evolve, so we planned it out so that we could drop a Lucky Egg (which gives you double XP6 for half an hour) and then evolved about 40 Pokémon, which resulted in me finally levelling up from Level 20 to 21 (and getting a good chunk of the way through Level 21 to boot.)) We evolved a few Pokémon that I didn’t have before – a Persian (from a Meowth), a Wortotle (from a Squirtle), a Venomoth (from a Venonat), and a Poliwhirl (from a Poliwag) – and a bunch of ones that I already have just to get the extra XP7.

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    My mom, helping us catch a wild Hypno.

  • A very exciting semi-finals hockey game in which my summer hockey team went to an eleven round shootout to decide who went on to the finals!

Lowlights included:

  • Losing the aforementioned hockey semi-final in an eleven round shootout.
  • My mom’s triple injury – she burned her finger on the first day here, she cut two fingers quite deeply on her second day here (trying to open a package with an overly sharp knife)8, and then a few days later is poked herself in the finger with a bamboo skewer while making dinner.
  1. Other than to mention briefly that it was upcoming. []
  2. That is really its name and the ridiculousness of that name makes me laugh every time! []
  3. Hands down the best donuts in the city. []
  4. My mom bought be a gorgeous necklace as a Christmas present. []
  5. As she usually does when I have a pizza box in the house. []
  6. Experience points. []
  7. I’m looking at you, 21 Pidgey evolutions! []
  8. Needless to say, there were some “Not to be trusted with knives” jokes made. []

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Blazing Blades – 2016 Champions!

Sunday marked the triumphant return of my Coquitlam hockey team, the Blazing Blades, to the status of Div 1 champions! You may recall that it 2014 we won the coveted trophy. Last year we did not, but this year we had our strongest season ever, going 21-3-1 in the regular season. We went 2-1 in the first round of the playoffs, which was a round robin, which was good enough to get us to the finals to face the Ringers, the only team who had beat us in round 1.

Lining up for a face off during the championship game

A photo from the game of us lining up for a face off in our end. I’m the one on the right of the photo – you can tell it’s me because (a) I’m shorter than everyone else and (b) my signature braids.

When all was said and done, the final score was 3-0 for us, and so the trophy is back in our hands!

Blazing Blades 2016 Div 1 Champs

The Blazing Blades – the Women’s League Div 1 Champions for 2015-16!

Isn’t the trophy pretty? And just like the Stanley Cup, players get to take the cup home for a week. I can’t wait to get my week – I’m going to take it in to work to show it off!

Blazing Blades championship celebration 2016

The cup

Of course, no victory celebrate would be complete without a drink from the trophy!

Blazing Blades championship celebration 2016

All in all, it was a great season – I’m really lucky to get to play with such a fun and talented group of women!

Tig Beth Ellen

On the left is game MVP, Tig (she scored 2 of our 3 goals, including the game winner) and on the right is team captain & coach, Ellen.

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Where Is Your Happy Place?

The title of this post is one of those blogging prompts I mentioned, which is apparently I’m doing when I feel like and not doing when I don’t feel like and writing all sorts of other stuff when I feel like it (which was sort of the point of using the blogging prompts – just to get back into the groove of this whole blogging thing).

So, my happy place. My happy place is definitely the rink. I like it the most when I’m playing a game of hockey, but it can also be fun when watching other people play too. Hockey is an intense game and when you are out there, it distracts you from everything else – there’s no time to think about stresses or sad things or worries or fears – it’s just you and the game. I love everything about the game of hockey – the speed1, the excitement, the challenge of learning to improve my game in various ways, the camaraderie with teammates. I love the sound that skates make when they cut into the ice. I love to park myself in The Doctor’s Office and annoy the goalie. I love when I lift an opponent’s stick and prevent them from taking a shot/clearing the puck/doing whatever it is they are trying to do. I love the feeling when you get off the ice after a really hard shift and you are gasping for breath and dripping with sweat, because you know you really gave it your all.

Kim & Beth Snipers

Kim and I, at a Snipers playoff hockey game last year, Look how happy we are!

  1. Though my games don’t look very speedy when you watch them from the outside, they *feel* speedy when I’m playing them. []

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All The Houseguests!

I believe that I may have mentioned 1 that my mom and my sister are coming to visit me this week. My sister is presenting at a conference here in Vancouver and my mom, being a retired lady of leisure, is coming along for the trip.

So far, our plans include:

I’m sure we’ll get up to a variety of other things, being all spontaneous-like.

But not only are my mom and sister going to be here, but I’m also having another pair of houseguests this week! As it happens, my sister told Dr. Dan about the conference she’s going to, as it’s a conference for post-secondary educators, so he also is going to said conference. Then, as it happens, through what I can only assume is some bureaucratic nonsensicality, Dr. Dan and his graduate student don’t have a hotel room on Tuesday, the day they arrive. There is, apparently, no room at the inn. They are like Mary and Joseph but without the donkey or the imminent arrival of a baby4. I had told Dan that he was most welcome to stay here if he needed, as long as he doesn’t mind it being a little cozy, what with all the houseguests and current feline and amphibian and homo sapiens residents. He agreed that this was a most cromulent arrangement and so that’s how I now will have All The Houseguests at my place on Tuesday.

Dan and his student are arriving in Vancouver on Tuesday morning, but I will be at work, so I told him that he can just drop by my office to get the keys to my place. And then I sent him this email with directions, which I’m posting here because I happen to think I’m pretty hilarious.

Dear Dr. Daniel J. Gillis,
Thank you for booking your accommodations at Chez Neige, New Westminster’s most exclusive hotel, for the night of Tues, June 16th for two guests.

Check in:

You can pick up your keys at our inconveniently located check-in desk at Beth’s office, located at [address redacted]. You can get to this location by taking the Canada Line from the YVR airport to the Broadway-City Hall station. https://goo.gl/maps/u32pa

Upon arriving at [address redacted], you can call or text Beth at [phone number redacted] and she will bring you the keys.

Getting To Your Accommodations:

From the key pick-up location, you can take the 99 bus eastbound (which leaves from in front of the Broadway-City Hall station) to the Commercial Drive Skytrain Station and then take the Skytrain eastbound to New Westminster Station (you can take either of the the archaically named Skytrains – the Expo Line or the Millennium Line from Commercial Drive Station – both of them go from Commercial Drive Station to New Westminster station): [link redacted]

Once there, it’s just a short walk to the condo. Although my address is on [street name redacted], the door to my building is not actually on [street name redacted]. The easiest way to get there is probably to just walk [directions redacted].Or you could just take a taxi to all these locations, if you are so inclined.

Hotel Amenities

Chez Neige features world class amenities, including:

  • a roof over your head
  • the finest of air mattresses
  • free booze
  • complementary cat companions for the duration of your stay

My mom and sister arrive late on Tuesday night, but they didn’t get a fun email with directions because they’ve both been to my place before.

Let the festivities begin!

  1. If I’ve seen you in real life in the last little while, I’m sure I’ve mentioned this to you eleventy billion times! []
  2. Well, my sister is anyway. My mom doesn’t like beer. []
  3. Well, my mom is anyway. I have a 6 pm game in Burnaby on Saturday, but my sister’s conference presentation, which is in downtown Vancouver, doesn’t end until 5:30 pm, so she won’t be able to make it to my game. My sister has been to see me play hockey on a previous trip, but my mom has never seen me play in real life (she saw me play online as the Longest Game for CF was live streamed), so I’m super excited that she’s coming to my game. No matter how old you get, it’s always special when your mom comes to watch your hockey game! []
  4. Well, as far as I know, neither of these two men are preggers nor are they bringing a donkey. As far as I know. []