12.31.18

There are a few things to cover today.

First up: thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who took some time out to send birthday wishes, stories, photos and just general good vibes yesterday. Y’all sure know how to make a girl feel loved. You’re amazing.

Kevin got it in his head that he was going to make me a birthday cake this year and that is the nicest thing a boyfriend has ever done for me. He let me in on the secret prototype on Saturday, the day before my birthday and I gave him some strategy tips, but otherwise it was all him and it turned out to be pretty damn good. Also, delicious.

Second: today continues in the birthday celebrations because I can never have my birthday without thinking of my cousin. It was on this day when my first love, my first partner in crime, my original Kevin joined me on earth 27 hours after my own arrival. He hit me with a super heartfelt and sweet birthday message – complete with photos – in the morning yesterday and gave me a good old cry. I’m pretty sure I still make this face. And his smile still lights up the world.

Finally, I’ve written a few year in review posts already – my year in reading, my year in running – but I always like to do a little overall year in review exercise as well. (This was 2017’s.) Since yesterday was my birthday, I attribute the start of my new year being so close to the start of the new year as the reason I love New Year’s celebrations so much. The fresh start, the new beginnings, the blank slate – I’m just a big fan all around.

I have some resolutions and new practices in my plans for 2019 and I’ll share some of those tomorrow, but today, on the last day of 2018, I’m going to take a look back at the things we did this year.

JANUARY

I started the year with The Bigger Yes, a course facilitated by Laura McKowen and focused on discovering, exploring and committing to your deepest callings. This gave the first months of the year a very inwardly focused dedication and feel. ❀️ I wrote my life story and that was an experience in itself. ❀️ We spent some time outdoors and moving our bodies in different ways. ❀️ I committed to writing and reading more and I followed through with that for most of the year.

FEBRUARY

We celebrated my Mom’s birthday at our place while we hosted a birthday/Super Bowl party and cheered as the Eagles hoisted the Lombardi trophy for the first time. 🧑 We headed down to Seattle for our first (and one of our favourites) race of the year, My Better Half at Seward Park. The weather was crisp and cool and the scenery was incredible. The post-race oatmeal bar was tops, second only to Kevin’s Significant Otter t-shirt. This was the trip on which we unwillingly bought a new set of tires – and a Costco membership! 🧑 Kevin and I celebrated our seven year anniversary.

MARCH

I took a trip to Kingfisher Resort on Vancouver Island to celebrate my aunt’s milestone birthday with her, my Mom and one of my aunt’s childhood friends. We enjoyed supreme beauty and luxury and I even met a new cat. πŸ’› Cara and I went to our first hockey game together. And then we went to another. πŸ’› We started working on our community garden plot and started nurturing the seedlings that produced our summer bounty. πŸ’› I reconnected with my high school friend, Jane.

APRIL

It was Easter! πŸ’š We headed across the border again for the Birch Bay Road Race in April. Unfortunately, we’d followed a bad lead on hotel for this trip and fled the “Birch Bay Stayaway” as someone on Trip Advisor dubbed it. Luckily, we found the Four Points Bellingham via Hotels.com and settled into a more more comfortable room quickly. Unanticipated costs of this misguided hotel booking: new swimsuits from Target. Unexpected discovery: The Pacific Caesar, from B-Town Kitchen & Raw Bar, the greatest salad either of us have ever eaten. πŸ’š Canucks season ended. πŸ’š I got a new boss.

MAY

We celebrated Mother’s Day. πŸ’™ We spent a lot of time in the gardens – our balcony, our community, my parents’. πŸ’™ I basically cooked my way through Deliciously Ella Everyday. πŸ’™ I talked books and podcasts and coffee. πŸ’™ I went through another melanoma diagnosis and two surgeries which I wrote about months later, in September.

JUNE

The Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon took place in the beginning of June and we headed down south for the weekend. We did the 5k on Saturday when we got to run through the Museum of Flight hangar and the half marathon Sunday. It was a beautiful course, but Kevin was injured (sadly, a recurring theme for the year) and I kept him company the whole way. No matter, we still finished and collected our medals. We also got to see Old 97s in the post-race concert. πŸ’œ Later in the month we did our last race before we took a break for summer, the Scotia Half 5k, my least favourite race ever. πŸ’œ I got my I Am A Moon Goddess mala from I Am Blessed Mala Beads.

JULY

We celebrated Canada Day and watched fireworks from our balcony. ❀️ I harvested FLOWERS from my garden for the first time! (I usually just grow vegetables.) ❀️ Cara and I made our first appearance as Canucks season ticket members at the Summer Showdown rookie game. ❀️ My month took a woo turn when I joined a Tarot challenge and explored everything I know about the cards with a daily draw. ❀️ I went along for the ride on a Lakers Island road trip to Nanaimo and I got to hang with my girl Lori and *finally* meet her daughter Emily. ❀️ We had a surprise visit from our Amy and had a delightful dinner and catch up session on Granville Island.

AUGUST

A relatively low-key month of getting flowers, growing veggies and closing up shop on the lacrosse season. 🧑 This was also when I embarked on a commitment to daily writing and the realization that not coming up with a unique title for every post set me free.

SEPTEMBER

We picked apples with Barb and John. I started working from home. πŸ’› We started talking about how this old cat can’t live forever. πŸ’› We watched The Good Place and Making It. πŸ’› It was my Dad’s birthday. πŸ’› Kevin went to Philadephia for the NLL Draft. πŸ’› I catsat.

OCTOBER

Here’s where things got fun, most notably because travel season arrived. πŸ’š I went to Chicago with Lesley so we could explore and she could run the Chicago Marathon. πŸ’š I got back and three days later, we turned the car towards Whistler for a weekend in the mountains and the BCLA AGM. πŸ’š The hockey season started up again and we went to our first game as members. πŸ’š Late in the month we went to Bothell and our favourite hotel for the weekend and the Captain Jack’s Treasure Run in Redmond where we got to dress like pirates. πŸ’š To finish the month, we celebrated Kevin’s birthday and then we went to the Canucks game on Halloween.

NOVEMBER

I enjoyed the Canucks Diwali event and then the next day we left for Vegas. πŸ’™ Ten whole days of it including the KronosWorks conference, the Rock ‘n; Roll Half Marathon and 5k. πŸ’™ Almost as soon as we got back, we started preparing for our final trip -and half marathon – of the year, San Antonio. πŸ’™ We started watching Christmas movies and went ice skating at Rogers Arena. πŸ’™ We fully immersed ourselves in celebrating the upcoming holidays, but with tempered it with more old cat contemplation. πŸ’™ We got the tree up and decorated and then we left town again.

DECEMBER

San Antonio was our last stop of the year and when I asked Kevin about his favourite travel, without hesitation, he proclaimed that this was it. We were there for just three nights, we packed a lot of good times during that short span and, you know, it sure feels like we were there longer than that. πŸ’œ I lost some faith in people when I started to contemplate those who seemingly do something kind solely for the attention it’ll get them from strangers, but my spirits were lifted when we toured a couple of holiday markets. πŸ’œ We visited the Anonymous Art Show at North Van Arts where my friend Jane had three pieces on display. πŸ’œ We checked out Fridays on Front Holiday Edition to get some much needed time with friends. πŸ’œ Just after hitting the 120 day mark, I shared what I’ve learned from writing everyday and I celebrated a few of the joys that Christmas cards brought me this season. πŸ’œ I praised the Christmas bakers out there and I spent three consecutive days at Rogers Arena including the home opener for the new Vancouver Warriors lacrosse team. πŸ’œ I also made a Christmas playlist.

If I may add another side effect of writing every day, I certainly keep track of the details and the things that go on in our lives better and the memories remain more vivid. That’s always a plus.

Looking back on the year there were a number of joys, adventures, opportunities for growth, love and generousity. I had wanted 2018

On this, the final day of 2018, I invite you to look back on your year and contemplate the good, the challenging, the beautiful, the lessons and all the experiences you had, the people you knew, the things that you learned. As they say, out with the old and in with the new.

11.16.18

Two days back home and already it feels like our time in Vegas is a distant memory. I’ve been cooking and baking like crazy and getting ready to really return to real life when I go back to work on Monday.

Before I left, I picked up the copy of Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow that I had been waiting to borrow from the library. It was too big to bring with me and I didn’t really get to take a good look at it until we got back. Since I started reading it on Wednesday afternoon, I’ve made all of the following recipes:

  1. Miso Fast Greens
  2. Green Goddess Tahini
  3. Green Envy Rice Bowl
  4. Beet Blueberry Molasses Superhero Muffins
  5. Can’t Beet Me Smoothie
  6. Quick Pickle Red Onions
  7. Apple Cider Vinaigrette
  8. Sweet Potato Chickpea Cakes
  9. Wild Rice Pancakes

As promised, all have been super nourishing and relatively quick. I only have the book for another week, but I’ve stocked up on many of the repeat ingredients and I’m excited to explore more of the recipes. I’ll just have to decide whether to buy my own copy or get in line at the library again.

With all this looking forward, I’d almost forgotten that I hadn’t written a recap of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon that took place last Sunday. Yikes!

If you’ve been around lately, you may have read the recap I wrote from last year’s race or if we know each other in person, I may have even told you the story face to face. It’s full of sadness, fear, heartbreak, loss, reunion, but rest assured, it all worked out in the end. 🀣

2018 was my second time completing this race. Unfortunately, due to injury, Kevin wasn’t able to participate this year. Initially, he had downgraded his race from the half to the 10k, but on the day of the race, he wasn’t up to taking part at all That said, he did do a little running all over town of his own.

I mentioned the other day that I met up with a friend I hadn’t really seen in years just before the race got underway. It was a chance thing, but after the fact, it feels like it was meant to be. We talked about meeting up in our corral, but decided to meet closer and make our way to the corral together. From that point on, we were inseparable for the remainder of the race.

Things had changed in the pre-race organization this year. Instead of entering off the street and close to the start lines, athletes were expected to enter through the race festival, several blocks away from the start line. According to my friends who started earlier, it was a crazy shit show. We were in the yellow group, the last of the three waves and by the time we were getting into the corrals, the organizers had either figured out what they were doing or given up on trying to do it as they’d initially insisted. We just walked up and entered then headed towards the front, easy as pie.

We waited for some time while groups were sent off and it was finally our turn around 5:40pm. One of the things I love about this race is the timing of it. I find it nice to be starting late in the day and to be doing most of the run after dark. Courtney agreed saying that she found it much more familiar since she primarily trains in the evening after work. I should do more of that because the timing suits me just fine.

By the time we took off, it was dark already and we were ready to go. The course begins just north of New York New York Hotel and continues south way past the end of The Strip, past the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, down where the desert is so dark it seemingly eats up whatever light you try to shine into it.

After a couple of kilometres of heading south, runners make a complete turnaround to come back up The Strip from bottom to top, into Old Vegas with another turnaround at Fremont Street. The finish line is in front of The Mirage.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is just one of two times during the year when The Strip is closed to vehicle traffic. (The other time is on New Year’s Eve.) Another of the highlights of the event is the scenic view runners get of all the traditional Vegas landmarks.

It was just past the Aria sign when we spotted Kevin on the side of the course waving and cheering us on. I’ve shown up to cheer on a number of friends during and at the end of races they’ve run, but I’ve never had someone cheering for me before. And you know what? It was pretty damn meaningful. I immediately felt my spirits rise and it put a big smile on my face. Courtney and I hammer it up a little for him and then we carried on. It was a really nice bonus and it made me really happy that I’d made the effort when I have gone to cheer on friends and strangers alike.

There is no exaggerating how straight the course is and there is no exaggerating how flat it is either. Some might think that would be lacking in challenge or even boring, but the lights and the action make up for it. Between all the bands, the run through weddings (which I completely missed for the second year in a row!) and the spectators offering anything and everything, there is a lot going on if you like a little distraction to get you through your run.

The race is well planned and provides PLENTY of aid stations cycling between water, Gatorade and Science in Sport energy gels (which are surprisingly good).

Neither Courtney nor I was particularly concerned with PRing this event, we were just there to get the experience and have a good time. Frankly, I don’t think it would have been possible to do more of that. We’d run into each other at a Canucks game last year, but aside from that, we hadn’t seen each other in years. Turns out 21.1km is a great distance to catch up on everything and to get reacquainted.

The finish line was pretty well organized and we were overloaded with drinks (water, Gatorade, beer) and snacks (bananas, pretzels, Pringles) and medals. Once we were out of the fray, we reunited with our beaus, enjoyed the festivities and then carried on with our nights.

Here’s a look at all the hardware we walked away with. (You get the remix metal if you complete the challenge of completing two races on any race weekend.)

We talked to a lot of runners the day of the races and in the days after and there were plenty of gripes about various shortcomings. All in all, I don’t feel like there was anything too bothersome, but it was interesting that one complaint that kept coming up over and over was that since Ironman has acquired Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, there’s been a notable push to make the RnR events more competitive. According to longtime attendees, this is taking the spirit out of the events and people are beginning to contemplate going elsewhere. We haven’t been attending RnR marathons long enough to make a true comparison, but we are definitely more interested in a fun atmosphere over an increasingly competitive one.

Lucky for us, we have Orca Running nearby and we love them. And they had their own acquisition announcement earlier today.

Here’s my recap from the 5k race which took place the night before the marathon, half marathon and 10k.

11.13.18

Read more about our trip:

Las Vegas – Day 1

Las Vegas – Day 2

Las Vegas – Day 3

Las Vegas – Day 4

Las Vegas – Day 5

Las Vegas – Day 6

Distracted by running

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas 5k

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon


Things I’m looking forward to when we get home:

  • The cats
  • Our library
  • Unrestricted access to coffee

Things I’ll miss:

  • Our bed
  • Care/cat hair-free living
  • Impeccable service

I told Kevin last night that I feel like I may have lost my ability to live in regular society. We’ve been in Vegas so long that I don’t know if I’ll be able to fit back into a life where bells aren’t always ringing, where the ambiance isn’t a perpetual balance between total darkness and obscenely bright lights or where there isn’t a constant stream of people moving in, around and past you in complete anonymity or where stores and services actually close.

Yesterday, I posted about the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5k race that we did on Saturday night. As I noted, it was good, fun energy and we had a night out with friends afterwards. Unfortunately, we never really connected with anyone from that group for any length of time again. They’d all just flown in and we were hit the week marker on our stay. They were wanting to explore and we were wanting to lay low. They were fresh faced rookies, we were seasoned veterans. And that about sums up the tail end of our trip.


On Saturday night, we’d started planning a pool party in our hotel before the half marathon on Sunday. We were going to rent a cabana and have everyone over to chill and hang out, freshen up our legs in the pool and relax. Mother Nature had other plans and brought a windstorm into town instead. It was sunny, but by all accounts it was also very windy. Having been at the pool on just a slightly windy day on Thursday, we knew the searing pain of trying to get out of the pool and into the wind and how impossible it had been to get warm and we weren’t going to risk it. So those plans went bust.

Instead, we went for breakfast with Lesley and then tried to wait out housekeeping to get access to our room again. Eventually, we went back in there and started to prep for the race. By this time, Kevin had made the (in my opinion) wise decision to drop out and tend to his injury instead of pushing through it. We still have another half marathon on the books before the end of the year and it’s better for him to focus on that instead of risking further injury now.

At the eleventh hour, there was a great development in my race story: I connected with my friend Courtney who was also in town for the race. Since we were both doing the race solo, we decided to meet up before we went to our corral. From there we were mostly inseparable for the remainder of the night and that was such a good thing. I’ll write more about the half marathon some other time, maybe tomorrow.

Once the race was over, we hung out with Courtney and her boyfriend Jeremy for a while then retired to our room. We picked up some takeout from the Burger Lounge in our hotel and I don’t know if it was the post-race vibes or what, but it was REALLY GOOD.

By the time Monday (aka yesterday – I am SO out of it) rolled around, I was ready for some isolation. Kevin had wanted to take part in a poker tournament all week and he finally did it that day so I stayed mostly close to home, luxuriating with a Lush bath bomb, Pressed Juicery and some reading. It was our last night in town so we reviewed the things we’d wanted to do for any that we’d missed. Fortunately, there was only one: the Bellagio buffet.

After Kevin got knocked out of his tournament, I was back in the room so we got ready and headed up Strip. On our way, we tried playing the one game I’d been eyeballing all week: horse racing! Fun fact: I spent a LOT of time at the racetrack when I was a kid and I know a thing or two about racing. My brother and my dad are definitely the experts, but I’m no slouch. I don’t want to give any illusion that betting plastic racing horses requires any sort of skill, but I am going to tell you that it turns out I am good at it.

We did that for a while, had our dinner and played it some more.

Eventually, we got back to our room and packed, cleaned up, prepped our stuff for travel and watched Monday Night Raw. When that was over, we went back downstairs to the casino to have one last night of that kind of fun. We played slots together, cashed in on some My Vegas rewards and checked out our favourite parts of the property.

This morning, we pretty much just woke up, showered and headed to the airport. As we were leaving, the extravagant Christmas displays were starting to appear and I’m thankful that we caught a glimpse of a few before we left.

As I publish this, we’re sitting at the gate of our connecting flight from Seattle home. As always, I’m sad our vacation is coming to an end, but at least we have cats to look forward to. 😻

11.12.18

By Saturday, we’d been through the work segment of the trip and the vacation segment of the trip and we had just transitioned into the running segment. With the true arrival of the first Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon event that evening, it was time to lace up our shoes and get moving!

Last year, we didn’t know anybody else who was racing. This year, we had four friends also taking part in not just one, but TWO races this weekend! All flew into town over a span of 24 hours beginning on Friday late afternoon.

We were thankful that we didn’t have to brave the expo on the morning of the first event, also the last day (we went on Thursday), but by all accounts it was smooth sailing over there and not too busy at all.

We had a late breakfast in the cafe and wandered around for an hour or two. Eventually we ended up back in our room and decided to rest up so that Kevin wouldn’t exhaust his body before our 6pm race.

Just after 4pm, Lesley stopped by our hotel and we all hopped into a cab to head up The Strip to the Las Vegas Fairgrounds, the start and finish of the 5k. We got there with about 75 minutes to spare so we explored the minimalist surroundings while the sun went down.

While we’ve been here in Vegas, the temperature has been hovering around 21Β° (that’s around 70Β° for you Fahrenheiters.) As the weekend approached, however, the temperature dropped down to about 16Β° or so. Everyone had been concerned about the race on Sunday when it’s forecasted to be windy. The coolness in the air became pretty evident in the moments before the Saturday race when it got dark and the cold came with it. I wouldn’t go as far as to change my outfit for the long race, but I, for one, am happy it won’t be hot.

The start line situation was well organized and it all went smoothly. There were 24 corrals and we were at about the middle point, but they stuck to the schedule pretty well and got everyone moving quickly.

There wasn’t much to see on this race last year and the course hasn’t changed at all. Runners leave the fairground and then run along a wide road that was been closed down. It’s a straight shot out and then a left leading to a turnaround at its end. Coming back you rejoin the racers running in the opposite direction and follow the same route back. Once the course returns to the fairgrounds, it’s a little deceiving. One may think that they are nearing the finish line, but the path through the fairgrounds twists and turns several times before eventually turning towards the end.

This race is entirely flat – there isn’t even a hint of an incline. You don’t get the view of The Strip that you do at the 10k, half or full marathon, but the RnR spirit is there.

This is the medal we received for the 5k and here is the review I posted on Bibrave.


Post-race, we were able to meet up with three of the four friends who were around for the weekend. Initially, we’d planned on going to different dinner venues, but as luck would have it, we all coincidentally ended up at the same place: Five50. 😊

11.10.18

Last time we were in Vegas, Kevin had a great love affair with the Kooza slot machine in the casino at the Aria. It seemed to love him as much as he enjoyed it and it essentially funded a good portion of our trip in the end. And a new xbox. I feel I need to disclose that the machine was the first thing he looked for when we arrived back at our hotel and, sadly, it’s gone now.

Since we got here, he has been looking far and wide for another Kooza machine or a sufficient and equally generous replacement. We’ve been in and through several casinos in the last six days and none have surfaced, but our search is not over yet!

We may not have found a replacement slot machine, but we did discover Deal or No Deal Poker at Caesar’s Palace yesterday afternoon. Each player selects a briefcase and is dealt two cards. All players then watch as cards are shown one at a time until they have full hands or the timer runs out. The first player to take the card after it is shown gets it and build their hand. If someone completes their hand, the timer burns down to the final seven seconds. Some of the briefcases are removed and then the winner gets to take the deal being offered by the banker or keep what’s in their selected briefcase. It’s loosely based on the game show of the same name (which I only learned about thanks to casino games.) The air of mystery surrounding the extra risk of gaining or losing more than anticipated adds to the fun fun and the fast pace of the card selection makes it more exciting than regular poker. It wasn’t monetarily lucrative, but we had a really good time playing just the two of us.

We headed up The Strip to spend some time checking out the casinos we usually like to visit, but hadn’t really hit yet. There isn’t really too much more to tell since we just looked at stuff, gambled, shopped, wandered. Nothing monumental. In fact, I don’t even remember if we bought anything.

Today, we got the running portion of the vacation underway and welcomed some friends to town. To be completely honest, yesterday feels like a lifetime ago.

More on all that tomorrow. 😊

11.09.18

On day five, we had a few things on our minds and on our checklists. They were:

  • Hang out at the pool
  • Eat at Gordon Ramsay Burger
  • Go to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Race Expo

I’m proud to say that we were extremely efficient, hit all of our milestones for the day and still made it back to our room in time to watch The Good Place.

The pool time was a really nice transition time and it got me into vacation mode. We’d already slept in a little and made our leisurely way down there, getting coffee and juice en route. Since he was well versed in the pool scene, Kevin knew which were the best seats and we got ’em!

Kevin credits my brother with introducing him to pina coladas (it happened here) and his affinity for them is alive and well. He is committed to having one every day while we’re here and his streak is intact.

After a few very windy hours by the pool, we cleaned up in our room and got ready to go to the race expo which was being held at the Las Vegas Convention Centre. To get there, we headed over to the back of MGM Grand and took the monorail. (I don’t like to complain about money often, but $5 for a single ride!)

It’s always fun to visit a race expo. It’s a runner’s first glimpse into what to expect and it can set the tone.

This year’s expo was pretty good, I thought. Kevin remembers last year’s being better, but, according to my recollection, this year’s was an improvement. I think he likes it because every year we come here he manages to find the exact same pair of shoes that he loves that is discounted further every time.

We bought race souvenirs and took home some samples, but that was about it. We didn’t even sign up for another race (which we almost always do.)

From there, we took the Toyota Shuttle (a nice perk from the race’s major sponsor) to the closest stop to our next destination: Bally’s. From Bally’s we went on foot to Paris, from Paris to The Strip, from The Strip to Planet Hollywood and into Gordon Ramsay Burger.

It took about 25 minutes to get a table and when we did we were seated towards the back and right beside a TV showing Thursday Night Football.

We’d already known that we’d order chips and curry to start and that I’d have to Portabella burger. Kevin has more to choose from and eventually landed on the Farmhouse. (It was the fried egg that sealed the deal.)

To call what happens here gourmet burgers is an understatement. These are works of art, every piece deliberate and by design, every bite delicious.

We left there wholly satisfied and basking in the glow of a truly good meal. We took a loop through the Miracle Mile Shops where we found my very first Drybar! You may recall that getting a blowout was the one thing I had on my wish list for this trip so I was pretty thrilled. I went in and I made an appointment and then guess what we found on our walk back to our hotel?!? Another Drybar, this one MUCH closer than the first one.

Today is, beginning to end, too to bottom, front to back exploration with not one must do or even one like to do in mind.

11.08.18

Vegas is a polarizing destination.

Some people really dislike it and I understand why. It’s busy and it’s flashy and it represents the excessive nature of the western world in an uncomfortable (dare I say embarrassing?) way. It’s fun for a short stay, but after being here for three or four days, you start to look around and the city’s mask starts to peel away and reveal its (even) uglier roots: alcohol, sex, drugs, gambling, money, greed. They’re all factors in any city, Vegas just embraces them.

On our last trip here, we were wandering the streets, coming back from visiting with our friend Keith and walking across the overpass into MGM Grand hotel and there was a man, probably about 25 being hustled by another, bigger man, maybe 35. It became evident quickly that the seller was offering the potential buyer a trip to an off-strip brothel and that they’d drive him there in his car. I felt a lot of things in my proximity to that transaction (I’m pretty sure the guy went) and the most prominent feeling was concern over his safety. I mean that’s really risky behaviour all to get laid. I laugh at the young Carly who once argued that men and women are the same. Men and women are NOT the same and I doubt a woman would get into a stranger’s car for the purpose of traveling away from a familiar area just to find someone to have sex with. (Prostitutes are in a similar position all the time, I recognize, but that’s a little different and I have feelings about that scenario, too.)

For me, I’ve learned to put away my sensibilities when I’m in Vegas and just enjoy the experience. Suspend reality. Yes, it’s excessive. Yes, it’s totally ridiculous. Yes, it’s over the top. But 39.01 million visitors (that’s a 2017 stat, down from 42.9 million in the record year of 2016) seem to thinks it’s okay.

I am one of those people. I like the weather, I like the opportunities for things to do. I like the many options for food. I like walking around and just seeing what’s going on, but all this is written as a preamble to what I really want to say, my one complaint:

WHY CAN’T THERE BE A DAMN TARGET IN THIS PLACE??

I wasn’t mentally prepared for this trip andI packed, as I told Yvonne last night, “like an idiot. I basically hate everything I packed.” I would kill to be able to walk into Target and just pick up four things: a pair of capris, a skirt and two t-shirts. Everything in any store around here says LAS VEGAS, many in not so attractive ways. (I bought one of those ones for the half marathon on Sunday – bedazzled, even!) I’ll keep looking today, but I don’t have high expectations.


Now that KronosWorks is over for another year, our minds have turned to our upcoming Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon events. On Saturday, we’re scheduled to do the 5k race and on Sunday, the half marathon. Unfortunately, the timing may be a little off for Kevin. He had a setback related to his hip a few weeks before we left home. The Treasure Run was really hard for him and he was at the chiropractor, at the pool and at physio nearly every day between that event and our departure. He isn’t sure if he’ll be able to follow through with any of his races this weekend, but we’ll see.

Running us a funny thing and what so many people don’t realize is that the majority of it is mental. I’m very accustomed to running with Kevin. Even though we almost never finish a race together, we almost always start it together and that’s how I’d pictured these races. Now, I’m adjusting my expectations to remove him from them. I’ll be fine, I’m sure, but I’m glad I had a head start this time unlike last year.

Today, we’re going to hit up the pool and then the race expo and we’re going to have a little fun before, during and after all that. #ButFirst, yesterday’s recap.

On day four in Vegas, I was still immersed in conference learning and networking. For the first time, I went to the breakfast and got something to eat before the day started. It was standard breakfast fare: fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, oatmeal. You’ll notice I didn’t say hash browns because when I got to that tray, it was empty and that was a tragedy. I was introduced to some great people over breakfast and we had an interesting discussion about equality vs fairness, prompted by an exchange that occurred in John‘s presentation on Monday. It was a fascinating debate and the kind when you sit back in your chair and think, “I need to bring more people like this into my life.”

We moved from there into a session on labour strategy. Still as a group, we grazed the morning break coffee/tea and snack tables and all agreed that the coconut water was a highlight. From there we split up and John and I went and hid out on a quiet lounge area in the conference centre while he worked and I did some research. We got to catch up and chat a little more than we have over the rest of the week.

We got to-go lunches before leaving the conference and I headed back to my room to change and prepare for the remainder of the day. Finally, I was able to spend some time exploring with Kevin!

Unfortunately, due to his injury and my exhaustion, it was a little limited, but we still had a good time getting around the hotels below ours on The Strip: Park MGM, New York New York, Excalibur, The Luxor, Mandalay Bay. We did some shopping, played some slot machines, got some sun. This trip began transitioning nicely from work to vacation.

We came back to our room and rested up for the dinner that we’d agreed upon: the buffet here at our home base hotel, Aria Resort.

I love buffets. I’ve rattled on about my need for variety in every aspect of life so this shouldn’t be a surprise. I don’t love buffets so much for the all you can eat aspect. I love buffets because I can try five different things on my plate instead of just one or two.

The Aria buffet is quite good. The quality seemed high and the presentation was surprisingly nice. They had broken the food into sections: Asian, Italian, Latin, tandoori, diner, rotisserie, seafood and salad plus a pretty decent sweets section on top of that. I had mostly seafood and bits and pieces from all the other areas. My favourite things? The crab, the guacamole and, I know this will sound crazy, but the fresh watermelon juice was out of this world. We did one pass over dessert and everything we selected was pretty good.


On one final note, yesterday marked Diwali. May this Diwali bring you happiness and prosperity. May Goddess Lakshmi bless you and give you strength to achieve success in whatever you do!

11.07.18

I was pretty immersed in learning and networking on the second day of the conference. Kevin was out exploring.

I attended one session in the morning that really lit me up. It was entirely techy work stuff so I’ll spare you the details, but it was super exciting (to me.)

I met my colleague for lunch (vegan eggplant parmigiana!) and we shared our discoveries.

In the afternoon, I connected with John again and attended a session that was interesting, but a little flawed. Let’s leave it at that.

I love Las Vegas carpets.
I met up with Kevin again in our room and we rested up for the main event. After the second day of the conference every year, attendees get treated to a big show. This year, it was at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel.

I have harboured fantasies about visiting The Joint for years and finally made it for the first time last year for the same event. Back then, it was Train performing. This year, it was Kelly Clarkson.

When we arrived by bus from our home hotel, we were welcomed by a red carpet leading right into the venue. Small food stations were set up around the whole place. Highlights were the cheese tray, fried ravioli and excellent olive rolls.

We headed up to the balcony to get food and seats for the show. We were a little late to get our choice, but any seats are better than no seats. #old

Kelly Clarkson came out and played for 75 minutes. I’d expected her to be a little higher energy, but she was very cute and funny.

I love hanging around the Hard Rock so that’s what we did after the show. We looked at the memorabilia and through the shops and got the last shuttle back to the hotel.

With only one full day left in the conference, I needed to get a little rest. Conferences seem like they’re easy and non-stop fun, they’re actually a lot of work and it’s all exhausting.

Coning up for day four: more conference and a little adventuring (finally!)

11.06.18

Kevin and I had very different experiences of our first full day in Vegas.

This was his.

Mine was good, too. It was just primarily indoors.

Yesterday was day one of the conference I’m here for: KronosWorks.

In my day to day work (and I’ll try to limit how boring this is), the tool I use the most is a scheduling and timekeeping software made by Kronos and it’s called Workforce. I’m logged in from the minute I get into the office until the minute I leave. In addition to using it to manage all of the 200 employees I am responsible for, I also do all of the maintenance and optimization for our local application.

Coming to KronosWorks is good exposure to what other companies from all over the world are doing. It lets me meet new people in similar positions and learn about new technological and human relations advances.

The thing I love most about KronosWorks, though, is the focus on labour strategy and employee engagement. It speaks to my heart.

We started the day with a number of stories about customer cases and product related announcements. For the second year in a row, the general sessions were hosted by Katie Linendoll. I’ll admit that I didn’t know how she was before last year, but I was reminded that I quite like her.

The keynote address was delivered by Platon, a worldly, passionate and talented photographer, storyteller and humanitarian. He told incredible stories about photographing world leaders (more have sat for him than any other photographer) and other people from all different walks of life. He coupled many of his photos with background details that were heartfelt, heartwarming and spoke to human connection and vulnerability. It was all truly inspiring and it served the audience well, people working with people everyday, embracing the knowledge that people are any companys greatest asset and in many cases swimming upstream in a corporate world that doesn’t always accept that.

There’s only one other person from my company here and even though we’ve never met, we’ve worked together extensively. We were able to meet up before the general sessions and stuck together through the buffet lunch. (Som Tam, ftw!)

Once we were done, I ran up to the expo to connect with my friend John. I first met him when he led a workshop at our site and he and I are now connected all over social media. We see each other at conferences every year and every time I feel great affection for him. He’s so much fun and his high energy is really fun to me. Also, pro-tip for the Kronites out there: he always has candy at his booths.

After a couple of early afternoon workshop sessions, I headed to the presentation that John was giving. He joked that I’ve seen it a bunch of times, but honestly, it never gets old. The topic? The 5 Currencies You Must Pay and Retain Great Employees. I LOVE this stuff.

John talks a lot about leadership, talent retention and employee engagement. While talking about how feedback is effective, he argued that negative feedback has a bigger impact than positive feedback does. He said:

β€ͺPeople say love trumps hate, but that isn’t true. Hate is more motivating than love. The difference is that there are more lovers than haters in the world so love always wins out in the end.


We got a little downtime after my 4pm session and I headed to our room to relax, refresh and change my clothes before our industry dinner.

KronosWorks is always full of great content during the day and even greater entertainment in the evening. (Like that time we got the private visit to Harry Potter World!) After the first day of the conference, there are about six different industry dinners taking place. The idea is that by networking with people in similar industries, you’ll get to share solutions and processes.

This year, the manufacturing industry dinner was at Chateau Nightclub in Paris Hotel. We were shuttled over there from our hotel and made our way through the casino and nightclub entrance, up in the elevator and onto the rooftop.

When we walked out, we immediately noticed pool tables and decks of playing cards laid out on other tables. There was a huge version of Jenga set up in the middle. (The sounds of its collapse was terrifying!)

I’m sure my eyes lit up when I saw that there were also a couple of fortune tellers set up at separate tables – one read tarot cards and the other read oracle cards. I chose tarot. AND I LOVED IT.

I sat and talked with her for a long time and only left because a line started to form and it would be weird if I stayed there all night.

There were a couple of permanent bars and food stations situated throughout the space. There was caesar salad, macaroni and cheese, a legit cheese table, turkey and roast beef dinners. Desserts came out later and we grabbed some coffee to go.

We’ve been sticking pretty close to “home” since we left Vancouver so we decided to forgo the shuttle back to the hotel and took a walk across the street and over to Bellagio to see their fancy seasonal display.

First, The Strip.

We got to the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden and saw something just as joyful for me as seeing the card readers. This year’s harvest display is called Falling Asleep and it features a resting goddess of the harvest being watched over by some fairies.

It’s beautiful! 😍

After leaving there, we were going to take the tram back to our hotel so we walked towards the back of Bellagio before discovering that a new (to us) walkway had been built through Vdara and linking to our Aria Hotel. We explored the space between and got our legs moving.

Day 3’s agenda: more of the same. Kevin is hitting up a different pool and I am conferencing all day.

11.05.18

I’ll put it this way: the end of the day was way more fun than the beginning. (But it was all still good.)


Well. Day one was certainly a challenge. As I mentioned, we were stopping for a connection. The only problem? We left Vancouver much later than scheduled but not late enough that we’d miss our flight from Seattle. So, the only thing left to do was grab our stuff and hustle from one terminal down some escalators onto a train up some more escalators and only our flight. That was the point when a woman yelled, “WE’RE CLOSING THE GATE!” when we were clearly aware of that and trying to help the process along. Then she barked at two of the people standing around there, “that’s two of you that can’t go!” Uh, sorry guys.

Our flight to Vegas was pretty smooth and it wasn’t until we got off on the other side that we started to talk about the likelihood that our bags had made the flight with us. And they hadn’t.

To be completely honest, it was kind of nice that they hadn’t because if you can set aside the anxiety of will I ever see my stuff again?!?!? then there is some luxury in having your bags delivered. You just have to come to peace with not knowing when.

Spoiler alert: for us, that was at about 10:30 while we were in the middle of watching the latest (and superb!) episode of You on Lifetime.

I’d love to say we didn’t let this wrench in our plans slow us down, but Kevin was a little rattled and I was totally overdressed so we were, let’s call it aware of the inconvenience. Still, we made the most of the time in between our arrival and that of our bags.

We went for arguably (really, we argued it later) the best pizza in Vegas (the Five50 takeout counter), grabbed some juice from Pressed Juicery and I checked in for my conference.

We made another trip upstairs to our room and then decided to get something to eat for real. My brother and his girlfriend were also in town, their trip overlapped ours by just this one day, and they texted to let us know that they were coming over our way. We headed downstairs to sit in the sports bar lounge which is also, technically, Five50. This time, we opted for hummus, arancini, mac and cheese and shrimp and avocado crostini. All were very good, but the hummus platter looked the best.

We took a little more time to hang out together in the casino before we headed up to bed and the task of figuring out how we’d MacGyver our way through a night without our bags.

And, yes, if you don’t deliver my bags in time, I will sure as shit say yes, I need one of your toiletries bags ESPECIALLY now that I know they’re sponsored by Kiehl’s.