What Day Is It?

 

IMG_0190-0

I bet that none of you are going to be able to guess what today’s blog post is going to be about…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!…pretty original right? In fact it is so original I actually just copied and pasted this introduction paragraph from last year because it happened to apply to this year yet again.

It also is kind of a special blog for me as this will be post number 150!  YAY for crossing yet another milestone.

Yesterday, as I scrolled through my friend’s Facebook pages I noticed a very common theme. I came across comment after comment from people saying how 2015 wasn’t such a great year, but it wasn’t bad either. It made me stop to reflect on my year and I began wondering what my overall feelings of the past year. There were a lot of changes in my world, and since I have the memory of a gold fish, I decided to go through my massive collection of photos to recall all the crazy things that happened.

January:

IMG_0124

As with every January, I started off with my resolution of blogging more, but as we saw that didn’t last very long. I did however pick up a new hobby of knitting.

IMG_0162

Mike and I also struggled with our mouse invasion and started setting up traps to try and evict our unwanted house guests.

February:

IMG_0222

Winter here gets so incredibly cold that the Red River freezes over completely. My family started off the celebration of my aunts birthday with brunch at the pop-up restaurant in the middle of the river.

IMG_0392

I also moved from knitting to crocheting as my crafting hobby grew and learned how to make slippers. I also finished off the month by getting hurt at work and ended up stuck in the house for the next six weeks.

March:

IMG_0442

Since I was unable to walk due to my injuries and had a lot of free time on my hands being off work, my crafting hobby moved up to a whole new level and I tackled my first baby blanket with matching baby hat which I gifted to Sarah and Jeff for their new little one.

IMG_0562

About half way through the month, I decided to move back out to the farm with my parents. It was awesome to spend some time with them and be able to cuddle Oskar, my puppy, every night.

April:

IMG_0663

I was finally able to return to work again progressing through reduced hours all the way up to full shifts as my body healed. As much as I complain about my job somedays, I sure am grateful for it cause overall I love what I do. Crafting became a much more slow process as I had much less free time, but I started on a full size afghan for my bed.

IMG_0621

April also brought with it springtime and the opening of the BDI (Bridge Drive-In) which meant the start of ice cream season.

IMG_0772

The snow had melted early and it was awesome to be able to enjoy all the outdoor activities.

May:

IMG_0978

I moved in with one of my best friends as being an adult living with my parents so far away from the city started to become tiresome. Shannon’s daughter had moved out and it was an awesome opportunity to move into the newly vacated space.

IMG_1018

Being single and having made a series of poor life choices, I finally hit my financial breaking point and had to make major changes. I said goodbye to my car and turned it over to the bank and have been carless since.

June:

 

IMG_1194

June started off with my birthday which this year was planned to be incredibly low key. Shannon, her brother, and Mama Mike kidnapped me to took me to the Half Moon out in Lockport, Manitoba.

IMG_1198

We had an amazing lunch together before we headed over for cake and a bonfire at Cori and Richard’s place. I am so blessed to have such amazing friends in my life that organized such a wonderful surprise day for me. June also marked the 100th subscriber to my blog (which really isn’t that big of a number when you look at most blogs, but it is still a huge blessing to know that 100 people have decided that my writing is worth actually following).

 

IMG_1484

June also is the month which we celebrate Pride. Shannon and I made Rainbow Jello Shooter Cake, but our annual before the parade brunch didn’t happen this year because I wasn’t hosting it (remind me that I am hosting brunch again next year). Shannon and I headed down to the parade anyway and had an awesome day together.

IMG_1491

I also started playing with my camera more and spent more time making videos for YouTube. I finished off June catching poison ivy. That was probably the worst part of my year because it was so incredibly itchy and took so long to heal.

July:

IMG_1894

I celebrated Canada Day (July 1) with Shannon and her family. We went over to her mom’s place to watch the fireworks from the top floor of their high-rise apartment.

IMG_1994

I also enjoyed the Bridge Party at The Forks with Jason, Jesse, Crystal, and some other friends which was a lot of fun spending the day hanging out on the bridge listening to awesome music.

IMG_2056

Then I broke my head open by running into a concrete beam. I ended up with a pretty bad concussion and spent most of my summer feeling way less smart after injuring my brain. That resulted in more time off work which meant the perfect opportunity to make another baby blanket as I found out my friend Mandy was expecting a new family member.

August:

IMG_2538

Apparently in August I developed a bit of a gambling addiction! Just kidding, I apparently had a whole stack of lotto tickets that I never checked. As it turns out, I actually won almost $100 on one ticket so that was a pretty awesome way to start the month.

IMG_2592

Then I went out to Calgary, Alberta to celebrate Jayme’s bachelorette party. It was awesome to see her and Tim and make some more new friends. We had a crazy weekend together and it brought back a lot of awesome old memories about living in Calgary the first time round.

IMG_2854

Shannon and I also couldn’t miss out on Folklorama which is the opportunity to celebrate all the different cultures in the world. Patrick, Tom, Adam and I also went to a few different pavilions later that week. August also ended with the beginning of the busiest time of year for volunteering for the board of Reel Pride as we started kicking everything into high gear for the annual film festival.

September:

IMG_3698

I can’t go a year without putting a 12 inch wiener in my blog at least once, and thanks to Mama Mike and a late night drive to Skinner’s out in Lockport, that mission was fulfilled.

IMG_0140

Reel Pride celebrated their 30th Anniversary of incorporation this year and thanks to Fame Night Club we had an amazing pearl themed birthday party to mark the occasion with the most amazing birthday cake from Chocolate Zen Bakery.

IMG_0179

Then I headed back to Calgary to visit Austin who has become a great friend and we had an amazing weekend doing things that I hadn’t done when I lived there like checking out Telus Spark and going to the Home Show at the BMO Centre.

October:

IMG_0696

Moving into October, I enjoyed two weeks of vacation from bus driving and spent two weeks volunteering to get all the last minute details organized for Reel Pride. The film festival was amazing and our programming committee selected some amazing films to feature once again this year. I am so excited to see what they come up with next year.

IMG_0698

I also had the opportunity to host David C. Jones and Paula Stromberg, two amazing short film makers who came from Vancouver to participate in the festival. It was awesome getting to be a tourist in my own city with them and enjoy eating at some of the fantastic restaurants we have here and touring the Manitoba Legislature, The Forks, and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

November:

IMG_1156

Patrick and I started out November with a road trip to the Whiteshell Provincial Park. We enjoyed an awesome snow-free day taking pictures of the amazing scenery provided by the park. November also marked for me an entire month of daily vlogging which felt like an awesome achievement to have accomplished. I feel like we were also extremely lucky last year as it didn’t snow until late November, which combined with the early spring resulted in a pretty awesome summer.

IMG_1255

Since I spent so much time vlogging, there is a definite lack of pictures to share with you for this blog, but you can check out my YouTube Channel to keep up with my adventures there as well.

December:

IMG_1514

After taking a month off from Reel Pride, it was time to step-up and start getting ready for next year. One of the biggest changes next year is the fact that we are probably loosing the Gas Station Arts Centre due to renovations. I took on the project of starting to scout out new venues for the board so that newly elected board at the Annual General Meeting in January will have the opportunity to have a confirmed space booked for the festival.

 

IMG_1652

I also finished one of the best kept secrets I’ve managed to pull off which was a hand made afghan for Brent and Chris as their Christmas/Wedding gift that I haven’t given them for the past two years. Between having to make sure all the pieces were hidden when they would visit and resisting the urge to post pictures about it, I managed to surprise them and I hope that they really liked it. I also decided to go back to knitting as I was getting bored with crocheting after doing a few large blankets.

Probably the most exciting part of 2015 is fact that I have moved into my own apartment solo back in Downtown Winnipeg. It was a little unexpected, but the opportunity to rent Mike’s condo popped up and I jumped at the chance to have my own space.

IMG_1764

I worked Christmas and Boxing Day, but enjoyed the traditional Boxing Day family dinner out at the farm with my extended family which is one my favourite part of the holiday season. New Year’s Eve was shared with Tracy and Sarah for Prime Rib Dinner at Club 200 for “One Night in Bedrock.” Unfortunately, I didn’t last until midnight as I am suffering from a bit of a cold and decided to go to bed early.

All things considered, 2015 was a pretty amazing year. There were absolutely highs and lows, but I have come to appreciate all the amazing people in my life so much more over the past year and can’t wait to make more amazing memories with all of you. Until then, have an amazing New Year’s Day, Happy 2016, and don’t forget to be kind out there!

Stuck in the Cold

It is another wonderful cold morning in Winnipeg. With the windchill, the temperature is around -31 degrees celcious (-24F). Sadly enough, I am starting to get adjusted to the cold and -31C doesn’t feel that cold anymore. 

I am not going to lie, I am ready for spring. As much as I hate the mud that comes from all the melting snow, I really miss grass. I am looking forward to being able to lay out in the sunshine and go swimming at the beach. I am looking forward to watching the trees get their leaves and the flowers PPP out of the ground. I can’t wait to see all the cute little squirrels and birds come out of hiding from the cold. There are a lot of awesome things that spring and summer bring that I am really missing this week. 

I haven’t gone on a winter vacation to anywhere warm in two years and I am feeling extremely land locked. I haven’t been on an airplane in almost a year and am feeling like a caged bird. I haven’t even been on a road trip since I moved back from Calgary and feel like I am suffering from a sever case of perimeteritis (a person from Winnipeg who doesn’t leave the boundaries of the city limits). 

Perhaps it is time to start planning an adventure. Even if it is just a day trip somewhere for a drive. I just need something to beat the winter blues. 

What is your favourite part about winter ending and spring starting?

Sitting of the House

This weekend, my parents left me responsible for taking care of the farm. I figured that the task couldn’t be that difficult. I grew up there, I managed to keep anything bad from happening in the past. I happily agreed and they packed up and headed east to Kenora, Ontario for a hockey tournament.

I grew up on a grain farm where we grew mostly oats and canola. We would occasionally have random animals such as chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys or cows, but my parents haven’t had any livestock since the neighbourhood foxes had dinner in our barn. Therefore, taking care of my parents farm really isn’t much different than taking care of a house in the city.

My only responsibility was to make sure that the dogs and cats had food, water, and got outside frequently enough to do their business (I think the cat might be running an illegal weapons cartel, but I don’t have any hard evidence yet to support my theory). Heating is also a major concern in the winter up here in Canada to make sure that the water pipes in the house don’t freeze and crack. Luckily, there wasn’t any major snow storms this weekend and the power kept the furnace roaring hot.

The weekend went off without any sort of a disaster. I managed to keep the animals alive which I consider a major accomplishment, and I didn’t burn down the house which I am pretty impressed with. All things considered, I think I might actually volunteer to watch their homestead again in the future.

There was only one issue that I had, the coffee maker. My mom still owns one of these perky, noisy, slow old school coffee machine that has to harvest the coffee beans from Columbia itself, then roast and grind them, then heat the water to the right temperature, all before finally deciding that it is ready to start dispensing my first cup of coffee in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, coffee tasted delicious. However, it would take an entire three minutes to make me a pot of coffee which is completely unacceptable. I really need to bring my mother into 2015 and get her a Keurig so I won’t have to endure the exasperating pains of the prehistoric technology in her house first thing in the morning ever again. That was painful.

ATR Gear Swing

Recently I have been going through old photos on my computer and came across this video I recorded. I had the opportunity to work as a flight operations co-ordinator for Calm Air International. Part of our job training included a tour of the ground operations based out of Thompson, Manitoba, Canada. While we were there, they had one of the ATR’s on jacks to do a test of the landing gear.

I bet you probably haven’t seen an airplane like this before!

As many of you know I am a flight dispatcher. One of the requirements of our job is to do an annual familiarization flight on our aircrafts to get a better understanding of how our job works together with the pilots in order to ensure you have a safe flight.

Last year, I had the opportunity to fly from Edmonton to Yellowknife, Norman Wells, Inuvik, and return. This run is busy for both passenger and cargo travel. As a result, we flew combi aircrafts which carry both cargo and passengers on the upper deck. This particular 737-200 aircraft was in a 3 pallet 34 passenger configuration on this specific flight, but can be changed into any combination from all passengers to 6 pallets and 6 seats.

As a result of the cargo being on the upper deck, the company uses the rear L2 door for boarding. Flying up to the arctic also creates the challenge of needing stairs as there are no bridges for passengers to board. The solution to this is flying with stairs built into the aircraft, known as air stairs.

This is a video of how the rear air stairs open and close on a 737-200 aircraft.

I survived a month of vacation



The weekend is rapidly approaching and I am falling behind in writing yet again. This time I am blaming it on returning to work.

Having a month off was perhaps a bit too much time away from the desk. I didn’t make any safety errors, but certainly was feeling a little rusty upon my return. It is wonderful how quickly our memory is able to retrieve skills and put them back into use. After a few small errors, I totally am back into the swing of things feeling refreshed.

The night shifts have been a bit more challenging to come back to. My sleep pattern has strayed very far away from staying up until 5am; and wasn’t helped at all by spending the weekend on time zone ahead in Winnipeg.

I had an amazing visit with friends, and thoroughly enjoyed celebrating my gay mama’s 50th birthday with his friends. On Sunday before I left, I also found myself able to enjoy a dinner party hosted by Désiré. Moving away was hard, but being able to take part in some of these events makes the experience that much more special for me.

I am also working on a new video project that you can look forward to being posted on YouTube as well very soon. I just need to take an hour to record the necessary audio component which is missing and then it will be ready to share with you.

I hope you all are amazing as always and I look forward to sharing the pictures from my vacation within the next few days with you. Until then stay fabulous.

Alberta Aviation Museum

20130722-104341.jpg

This past summer, Mike and I had the chance to tour the Alberta Aviation Museum located beside the Edmonton City Centre (municipal) Airport or YXD.  I found it while I was aimlessly driving around one day while he was at work.  As I passed the airport, I looked over and saw a retired Pacific Western 737 sitting behind the fence and knew that this was a place that we had to visit.

20130722-104404.jpg

Admission ranges from $6.00 for children up to $10.00 for adults, with discounts for seniors.  The facility features over 40 aircraft ranging in age from old wooden hulled prop planes up to military and comercial jets.

20130722-104432.jpg

It seems like the common trend in aerosexuals is that they are fascinated by military planes.  However, the Alberta Aviation Museum have a very neat collection featuring various sections and displays.  As you enter the museum, you will find yourself face to face with some of the original aircrafts to fly in and out of YXD.

20130722-104417.jpg

The displays then move into an entire wall dedicated to the various commercial and passenger airlines in Canada’s history.  With various cabin artifacts from playing cards and napkins to old flight attendant uniforms, this collection is one of the best I have seen so far.

There is also a large collection of various war medals and historical facts from both sides of the Second World War.  They also have restored several military aircraft in both indoor and outdoor displays.

The museum will take between 60-90 minutes to view and depending on the weather, you can also get up close and personal with several large aircrafts located outside the museum.  Groups can arrange guided tours by the volunteers that run the museum.

Happy Anniversary to Me!



Yesterday, WordPress informed me that my blog celebrated its first birthday!  I am a little disappointed that I didn’t remember that it was coming or planning a party, but alas one year of blogging has come and gone.

The last year has been filled with many changes and most of those I didn’t see coming.  I am lucky to be sharing a life and home with Mike in Calgary, I am glad to have accomplished my goal of returning to work for one of the two major airlines in Canada, I am happy to be driving bus again and seeing things that I wouldn’t have if not for this hobby made into a job, but most importantly I am blessed with amazing friends that I am able to share my story with.

I will admit that I had hopped that I would have been more dedicated to writing, but life got in the way and it is impossible to change the past.  Writing is one of my favourite creative outlets as it allows me the opportunity to organize my thoughts, share my experiences, and hopefully benefit you as the readers in one way or another.

Over the next year my blogging goals include to share more travel stories with you as Mike and I, along with friends, travel around the world and hopefully make some amazing memories together.  I would also like to be more dedicated to writing as I love sharing my thoughts, ideas, and experiences with you.  Lastly, I would like to make time to create video memories along with the written ones to share with you.

A day at Nikiska


This weekend I had the opportunity to drive a bus charter up to Nakiska for the day. It was for a group of international students that were in Calgary, Alberta, Canada studying oil and gas to work for various companies around the world.

Nakiska is located on Highway 40, about 15 min south of Highway 1.  The short drive 45 minute drive from Calgary makes this the perfect opportunity for a day of skiing.

Nakiska was one of the Olympic sites for the 1988 Winter Games.  It was named after the cree word “to meet.”  Featuring over 1,000 acres for you to explore, there are over 70 trails ranging in difficulty from beginner to black diamond runs.  There are four chair lifts and two magic carpets to take you up this 735 meter (2,412 ft.) slope.

There is a mid-mountain lodge available serving burgers, hot beverages, and most importantly beer.  At the base of the hill there is also lodge with plenty of seating for you and your family to enjoy a Starbucks coffee or something from the Slopeside Deli.

If you are after a proper sit down meal, the Finish-Line Lodge has you covered.  The menu has put a unique twist on some popular favourites.  I had the opportunity to try the chicken quesadilla, which was made with apples in the blend and served with a house-made cranberry salsa.  The staff was really friendly and made sure that everything was served to perfection.  Thankfully, my server also notified me of their “no-refill” policy on soda.  If only she had told me this before I spent $3 on my glass of Coke and drank half before my food came.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to enjoy the hill as I was working, but I look forward to making a trip out here skiing soon.   Have you been to Nakiska?  What is your favourite part of this hill?

I missed the one month mark again!

Well I should start by saying HAPPY NEW YEAR! I am so incredibly late. Life seems to be really good at distracting me from writing. I wish I had a valid excuse for it, but I don’t.

So much has happened since the last time I was online and actually wrote a valid post that I don’t even know where to begin. For the sake of getting this posted before next year, I am going to crack a bottle of wine and give you the Cole’s notes version.

Beginning of December brought a week of vacation which Mike and I used to go back to Winnipeg to visit family and friends. It was a rushed visit in which there were many hugs given to many important people in our lives. As always, there were friends that were missed, but we did get to share amazing food and gifts with both his and my families.

The holiday season is the busiest time of year in the travel industry, and as a result both Mike and I were working. We did have the pleasure of sharing dinner and way too many gifts even after we said we weren’t exchanging anything.

January brought more work as everyone tried to get home after the holidays. Luckily I was on days off for the majority of the Toronto ice storm so I can say I survived. Mike picked up a tonne of overtime this month and worked as many hours as he essentially legally could.

I feel like I have been working non-stop as well. I was dispatching almost every day it feels like in order to get myself 26 days of freedom from work. However, the bus driving has kept me busy and I feel like I am working full time for them even though I am supposed to be on holidays. I shouldn’t complain though as it will hopefully mean paying off Christmas and the last few pieces of furniture that we need for the house.

I did get the opportunity to go up to Edmonton for the last two days which feels like a bit of a wasted trip. Although I did get to see Mike, I was sick and felt like death. However, when I did venture out, I was involved in a minor car accident. I am okay and there is very little damage to my car, but I have to figure out how to deal with that tomorrow.

I have attached the video of the dashboard camera in my car. I am fully aware the date on the film is WAY off, but I sure am glad that I have it since she backed into me and I can prove it.

Hope you all are well!

XOXO

-Matt