bright

If you'd like to feel inspired, or perhaps just incredulous, you should spend two weeks talking to a bunch of high school valedictorians. 

This grad season, I interviewed 12 valedictorians from high schools around the Saint John area of New Brunswick, talking about everything from where they hung out at their school to the best way to use highlighters. 

More than half of these kids wanted to go into medicine, and about a third are attending university on an athletic scholarship. At least half said that either math or physics was their favourite class in high school, but all of them are really, incredibly, stinking busy. 

These kids work hard for the sake of it, pushing themselves to achieve more and be better. They have big dreams, and most of them are excited for their future. They're not weighed down by pressure and expectation - instead, they are bursting with energy, and ready to enter a new phase of their lives. Talking to them was like drinking a sugary cola while a cartoon unicorn sang to me; their energy and positivity couldn't help but rub off on me. 

Or at least, it dented my sarcastic armour for a while. 

What can I say? The future is bright with these kids at the helm. 

buzzzzzz

I've never understood the phrase "busy as a bee." Bees don't seem particularly busy to me, just industrious. They're hard-working, sure, but they're not overloaded with tasks. Bees are just the Type A personalities that you would try to have in your study group in university. 

I am not a bee. 

I am busy these days. Not merely productive, or hard-working, I'm busy. And that's partially because I am working on my procrastination (who wants to work when the new season of OITNB is out?), and partially because I have a  hard time turning down work. You never know when the work will dry up, so I say yes to too much, and get overloaded. 

Over the summer, things are going to be pretty full for me. I have a few longer features that I'm working on right now, as well as a bunch of side work with local outlets. I started a part-time on-air gig with CTV Atlantic (which is so awesome!) so I'm back in the TV game. And I have to find time to take my dog for walks and occasionally see my husband. 

Time to take a cue from the bees. 

 

 

the rock

I can finally cross all ten provinces off of my list. 

I spent last weekend in St. John's, which means I've officially visited Newfoundland, and thus all the provinces in Canada. (Now on to the territories.) 

St. John's was gorgeous, and I had a great time. I was there for the AJAs, and I took home a shiny silver award for this article. I got a chance to meet up with some wonderful media folks, eat too much dessert, and wear a slinky dress. I also went on a tour to Cape Spear, held a piece of an iceberg, and ate fish and chips with dressing. 

All in all, a perfect weekend away. 

Now that I'm back home, I'm working on some cool stuff. There's an upcoming story about a family-run bee business, plus I'm putting together a feature about some of the toughest university programs in the country. And I'm even imparting my wisdom to you all, on how to travel with your parents. 

Learn from my mistakes, kids. Safe travels!

nugget

For the past two weeks, I've had to push myself to get any work done, and this is why. 

This little monster has come to live with me, and I can't seem to tear myself away from her adorable face. I mean, look at that face. Look at that ridiculous face. I can't stop!

I'll get back to work soon (check out tomorrow's Globe and Mail for a travel piece by yours truly!) but for now...I'm stuck right here. 

pop!

I'm going to start by bragging.

I'm thrilled to say I was nominated for an Atlantic Journalism Award for Best Arts Reporting for this piece. I had such fun writing it, plus I actually learned about history. Not bad at all. 

The award ceremony is next month in St. John's, and I'm going! I've never been to Newfoundland. I'll be there for a long weekend, and I'm looking forward to it all. It's past cliche at this point, but it really is an honour just to be nominated. 

I also had a chance to speak with the co-founder of the Maritime Bhangra Group, who is one of the busiest and most genuine people I've ever met. We spoke for an hour about dancing, activism, and being a student. You can read all about it here and here

Next month, I'm going to drive a race car, learn about Tai Chi, and even work on a secret project. I'm so excited to share it with you!

 

stories

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a novelist. I wanted to write books, and tell long, sweeping stories, and spend my days in a quiet library with overstuffed cushions and lots of snacks. 

I never considered I would become a journalist. But what do I do with my days now? I spend most of the time working from home, in a quiet room with overstuffed cushions and (too many) snacks. I talk to people, and I tell their stories. 

Some are stories that span forty years, like this recent piece on Maritime photographer Thaddeus Holownia. 

Some stories don't have an ending yet, and they'll be told and retold many times before they're resolved. This article on doctor shortages fits that bill. 

And coming up, I have a chance to tell even more stories. I have two interview-driven pieces that are in the works that I'm very excited to share. Plus, I have a chance to branch outside of the reporting gig for a while, and try out my skills in the world of copywriting! There's a lot to be excited about this spring. 

spring cleaning

A few days ago, I got a call from the dealership where I purchased my car a few years ago. They asked if I was looking to get a new car, and offered to give me a free appraisal to see what my car's trade-in value might be. 

I'm not looking at getting a new car. My car is great and I don't need a new one. But I said yes anyway, and set up an appointment for an appraisal. Why? Because my car is freaking filthy. 

I've been travelling a lot lately, and my car has the remnants of each and every trip. There are toll receipts and parking tags littering the floor, granola bar wrappers and empty chip bags cluttering the back seat, and half-dried pens in every compartment. 

Making an appointment to get my car appraised gave me a concrete timeline to clean that sucker out. Sometimes, without that external force, that external pressure, I'll procrastinate just a little too much. 

With that in mind, I'm trying some new techniques when in comes to work. I've set up calendar alerts in advance that prompt me to do writing or transcribing I may be putting off. So far, it's working! 

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go clean out my car.

snow day

There's a storm bearing down on the east coast. 

Snow is falling in huge white masses, while the wind whips and stirs it into a frenzy. I'm looking out of the living room window, and all I can see is a flurry of snow. 

It's an exhilarating and frightening prospect, the winter storm day. There's the shakeup to the regular routine. For a few brief moments, we can remember our childhood snow days, hunkered down in the family room with board games, and sledding on the hill. My husband, for one, got up this morning, looked outside, and grinned. Work, he was sure, would be closed today. 

So instead of heading outside, today is a day to bundle up. Take out a deck of cards, pick up a good book, or check out some of the newest pieces I've been working on, like this piece on winter camping. 

And don't forget your storm chips. 

camping queen

By this time tomorrow, I'll be in a yurt.

I never thought I'd say that either. Trust me, I'm not exactly outdoorsy. I don't enjoy spending time in tents, bugs stress my out, and I prefer the rush of a city to the foreboding silence of the country.

But sometimes, you get an opportunity that's too good to pass up. That's why I, of sound(ish) mind, will be heading to Fundy National Park tomorrow, to spend the night in one of the park's yurts. I'll be glamping - camping but with a city-girl twist. The yurt means I don't have to endure a night in a tent, but I'll still be cooking food on the fire and roughing it (my definition of roughing it is a slow internet connection.)

But it should make for an interesting story, and that's why I take on 90% of things that I do. I'll document the trip, and assuming I make it out of the woods alive, you will be able to read about my misadventures soon enough.