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Toronto Waterfront 10k…Again

A few weeks ago I ran in the Toronto Waterfront 10k with my blog pals Michelle and Casey, as well as Michelle’s friend.

Michelle convinced us to sign up with her back in March and I ran this same race last year with those two and my friend Melissa as well. I guess I didn’t hate it, ’cause there I was. Back again.

I didn’t really train for this race, and I probably should have. Whoops. I ran about 7k in Cuba with Casey, and that was the furthest distance in all of my “training” (and the furthest distance since this 10k race last year). Other than that I ran 3-4 times outside all spring, about 5k each time, and then the rest of my running took place at Orangetheory Fitness. OTF is HIIT (high intensity interval training) though, so while you may get 24 minutes on the treadmill per class, it’s different speeds and likely not running the entire time. I am not a natural runner at all and I do think that OTF has made me a bit faster, and I think it’s the HIIT that’s doing it.

Anyway, we ran it on a Saturday at 7:30 in the morning, right in the heart of downtown Toronto. It would have been the most perfect beautiful day for sitting on a dock on the water sipping some beerskis, but it was just BLAZING for running. It was hot hot hot and incredibly humid. I was already sweaty just walking from my car to the starting area — no exaggeration.

It was like running in Cuba. It was also quite busy.

Michelle and Casey’s plan was that Casey (the running speed demon who recently completed a 50k trail race) was going to pace Michelle to a 10k PR of just under one hour. I decided to run with them for a while to see if I could run at that pace at all, even though that would be shaving almost 15 minutes off my 10k time last year, which seemed impossible. I knew it would probably be too fast for me, especially without actually training for it. But hey, ya gotta try!

The big joke was that I would be good for about 24 minutes, since that’s what I’m used to running in OTF, and then I’d be dying. And that is not far from the truth. Michelle, Casey and I ran together for 4km at a pretty decent pace, and when I hit that 4k marker (24 minutes in) I had to slow it down. I told them to go on without me and just continued by myself at a slower pace.

A kilometre later I ran into Michelle again, who was also dying of heat. She said her initial goal was a cool and rainy April idea and maybe wasn’t going to be realistic during a heat warning. So we ran together until about 8k and then she pulled ahead of me again. I could see her several yards in front of me for the rest of the race though, and focusing on her up there kept me going!

I was music-free during the first half of the race but by the second I needed a push. I was running in the direct sunlight and there was no breeze at all, and I was feeling it hard. It was also around this time that I got a notification from my Runkeeper App (WHILE it was on and tracking my time!!!) that I needed to get out and run and the first step out the door is the hardest.

Get moving. How about YOU get moving, RunKeeper. I’m already f@$%ing running you idiots! The first step out the door isn’t the hardest, running for over an hour in a heat wave while my thighs chafe off is the hardest.

At least I got Casey’s notification at the same time, motivating because she a) had already finished and b) there were donuts at the finish line. That got me moving.

I didn’t feel great but I crossed that finish line in 1:11.05, almost four minutes faster than last year so I was happy with that!

Actually, it was my fastest 10k ever!

But only my second 10k ever, hahaha. So, Runkeeper tracked that but not that I was actually running while I was running?

Anyway, I got my medal and you know I got a donut.

Yay, the bloggers and joggers actually went jogging!!!

And then we went for food and lagers, as we do.

Of course AS SOON as we finish the race it got overcast and breezy. Of course.

Overall I really like this race. It’s pretty even aside for an uphill at the end, and very well organized at the start with the bag drop, etc. I did not bring water onto the course with me though, and I didn’t see a water station until about 4k — on a day as hot as it was I would have appreciated water sooner.

Ohh I’ll probably run this bad boy again next year. MAYBE I will actually train this time.

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Canadian Tuneage

On Sunday morning after our Canada Day wine fest, Evan, Sherrie, Will and I went out for breakfast and then did the typical Niagara Falls touristy stuff. We walked Clifton Hill where all the attractions are and then hit up the falls!

Nothing like photobombing this beautiful natural wonder with our big ol’ faces.

I actually didn’t even get a picture of the falls without us in front of them, so here’s one that Dawn got later on.

Just so you get an idea of their magnificence, you know. They’re quite a wonder.

Next up on our agenda was the Canada 150 Music Festival at Butler’s Barracks in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Heyyyy ya! Nothing says Canada Day like Canadian tuneage!!!

This was actually the reason we were in the area in the first place, but we were making a weekend out of it. I was so excited for that lineup! Blue Rodeo is probably my fave (our wedding first dance song was Lost Together) — Evan and I saw them last year also and they were wonderful. I saw City & Colour a few years ago with Sherrie, but I haven’t seen the rest of those bands so I was excited.

Butler’s Barracks is a historic military complex in a ridiculously lush and pretty area in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Commons is a huge field in the middle and the perfect venue for an outdoor concert. It was very well organized and overall I was really impressed with the venue. I waited in line max 5 minutes for a beer so that’s not too shabby at all! I heard parking was a mess, but we parked a bit away and walked in and had no problems getting out and we didn’t hit any traffic, so it was a dream day for us (not for the rest of our friends who arrived later, they had a hard time getting outta there).

We set up shop on a sweet patch of grass not too far from the stage.

I grabbed a poutine on the way in (a concert tradition for me usually) and then Evan and Will went on an adventure and brought us back fish tacos from the Food Dudes. Those were freakin’ amazing.

Dear Rouge was up first!

It wasn’t that busy yet — I think a lot of people planned on coming later for the headliners — and I’m so glad we got there early, got a good spot, and caught Dear Rouge. I LOVE THEM. Danielle has an amazing voice and just a really great frontlady vibe about her. I don’t know why they’re not more popular (probably because all Canadians get shafted unless they’re Drake).

So good. I also love Black To Gold (one of my fave songs to run to), I Heard I Had, and Tongues — just to name a few. They were great (but too short!) and Sherrie and I were loving our lives in that warm sunshine.

Next up was Stars, and I only knew two of their songs, Hold On When You Get Love and Take Me To The Riot, so I was glad they played both of those. They were good, too, but not exactly my style. The lead guy was saying he lived about 400 meters up the street – convenient!

It was starting to get busier by the end of their set.

Then The Srumbellas (LOVE!) came on and the rest of our friends arrived! There were 11 of us in total, Dawn, Mark and Scarlett, Emily and Corey, Renee and Dustin and of course Sherrie and Will.

It was SO AMAZING they could all make it! I can’t even think of a time a bunch of us have done something like this together. I loved singing along with everyone. And I was honoured to be there for Scar’s first concert!

I love how those two matched. She had a time!

By the time they all got there it started to get realllll busy. It was packed behind us all the way to the back of the park. Just crazy. I was thankful we had a clear spot for hanging out.

The Strumbellas were awesome, just as good as I hoped they would be! Some of my faves from them if you’re not familiar:

We Don’t Know (so good, love that violin!), Spirits (which you may know), Young & Wild, In This Life. Again, I don’t know why they’re not more popular (again, Canadian). Check ’em out!

And then my loves, Blue Rodeo, who took the stage just as the sun was setting.

Ah they were so good. Evan and I totally slow danced during Lost Together, and we definitely did when we saw them last summer, too.

Surprisingly they played a few songs that I didn’t know, but they squeezed a bunch of their hits in: Try, Hasn’t Hit Me Yet, and Evan’s favourite, Five Days In May (he actually wanted that to be our first dance song but it didn’t work quite as well so it got vetoed).

I was having such a love burst for the day, for our folky Canadian music, for our ridiculously fun friends, for our amazing country. I had a moment.

And then it was City and Colour time! I quite like Dallas Green’s voice, it’s so unique, but I will tell you, I have to be in the mood for that kind of music. It is a bit sleepy. Some of my faves: Wasted Love, The Girl, Fragile BirdComin Home.

They were also fantastic, and we were feeling rambunctious despite Dallas and friends’ sombre tone.

Oh it was such a fun time with those ladies. And our men.

We stayed at a big airbnb back in Niagara Falls that comfortably fit all of us, so we headed back there for a sleepover and a Euchre tournament. It worked out well. Like a big slumber party. It was such a great Canada Day weekend with some of my faves!

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Canada Day Wine Touring

Happy belated Canada Day to all my Canadian chums!

And happy Fourth of July to all you American minxes!

It was a big deal here this year since it was Canada’s 150th birthday — though, there is some controversy surrounding that…which I don’t want to get into. I will say this, Canada isn’t perfect. We’ve done some crap in our past and there is still a lot of work to do, but we are a great country and I’m so thankful and proud to be Canadian. I’m happy that I live in a country where we celebrate diversity, where I am free to love who I love, be who I am, make decisions about my own body without anyone’s interference, never have to worry about paying for healthcare, and my future is what I want to make of it. We are very lucky to live here, and I think there is a lot to celebrate.

I have had really great Canada Day weekends over the last few years, and this year was right up there. Yesterday was a holiday here so we spent Saturday to Monday in Niagara Falls. My favourite long weekends are the ones spent camping or at a cottage, submerged in a lake with cold beer and campfires, so this year was a bit of a change from that but it was a ton of fun!

Evan and I met Sherrie and Will on Saturday morning at our hotel by the falls (the Canadian side), and then took a shuttle to wine country, Niagara-on-the-Lake, for a full afternoon cycling tour with Grape Escapes. It was awesome, they picked us up down the street from our hotel on a school bus, dropped us off for the day in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and then brought us back to our hotel at the end. None of us had to worry about driving (except the bikes), so it was an ideal situation.

I was all festive in my Canada gear.

I love Evan’s silver patch of beard that’s coming in. He’s going to be a silver fox!

We hit some Canada Day traffic and had to make a stop to pick some people up, but we made it to wine country pretty quickly. We geared up and chose our bikes before heading on our way.

Helmets were optional but I ended up wearing one in the end — our tour guides mentioned we would be riding on some country roads and I just didn’t trust crazy Canada Day drivers. I also hadn’t ridden a bike in a while and didn’t trust my balance after a few glasses of the vino. Luckily, our group was accident-free.

It is such an absolutely gorgeous area to be riding in!

I have never done a wine tour in the Niagara region but now I can’t wait to go back. There are so many wineries and we were only able to go to four, so there is a lot left to explore! We rode for about 25 minutes along the Niagara River until we got to our first winery, Reif Estate.

We had a full tour of this winery and spent about an hour walking around with a guide and drinking all the wine. They had some good ones. They had a riesling I really liked, which was surprising because I am not usually a big riesling fan.

They also talked a lot about the process of making icewine, which I believe is mainly a Canadian thing since it’s made with frozen grapes. They harvest the grapes at the coldest time of year, at the coldest time of the night, when they are frozen solid on the vine. It allows for a more concentrated juice to be pressed from the grapes resulting in a smaller, more concentrated, very sweet wine. I don’t love sweet wines and I don’t usually like icewine, but I tried it at each winery we went to and enjoyed it all. Some people just pour it over ice cream and I feel like I could get down with that.

After Reif Estate we got back on our bikes and rode to the next winery, Riverview Cellars, a smaller family-owned winery about 10 minutes down the road.

We had cheese samplings here! So that was a highlight.

I think cheese and crackers are my favourite snack of all time.

I really liked the wine here and Evan and I got a bottle of their pinot grigio. We sampled various wines for about 20 minutes and then we were back on our bikes and onto the next.

I loved riding through the vineyards. It was so beautiful and peaceful.

Next up we went to Inniskillin Winery, one of the bigger and more well-known wineries in the area. I enjoyed the wines I tried there but most are available at the LCBO (Ontario’s liquor store) so we didn’t buy any. After the tasting we headed to check out the vineyards.

Lastly, we hit up Pondview Estate Winery, which was maybe my favourite because I really enjoyed the girl who did our samples and they had wine slushies! I scored one of those after our tasting. I got the lime one and it was delicious.

It had called for rain all day (what else is new, it’s been raining almost constantly the past few weeks) but until that point it had just been really hot and humid with mostly clear skies. While we were at Pondview a bit scary cloud rolled in and it was clear the rain was coming. Poncho time! The ponchos were a good call because it absolutely POURED on the way back, and we rode through it for about 20 minutes, which was just nuts. Oh well, it just added to our adventure. I think we were pretty lucky that the rain held off all day and only got us at the very end. We were totally soaked though.

I really can’t say enough good things about Grape Escapes Wine Tours. I LOVED the biking, and our two guides were great. I would highly recommend booking a tour with them. I was so happy we did that.

We got back to the falls around 6pm (we hit more Canada Day traffic), and after we got back to our hotel, cleaned ourselves up and relaxed for a minute the rain had stopped and we could patio it up for dinner! We went to the same restaurant Evan and I took Paula and Fabian to, Coco’s. The food isn’t THE BEST or anything but I love the atmosphere on that patio and the live music is fantastic. The guy was playing a lot of 60s/70s rock and Sherrie and I were in our element. That is our jam.

After dinner we walked down to the falls for FIREWORKS!!!

I love fireworks and had been looking forward to them all day but to be honest they were kind of disappointing. I was expecting them to be way over the top for Canada’s birthday, especially since it was the 150th, but I think they were just their regular weekend fireworks, with some more red and white added in. If I saw them somewhere else I probably would have been impressed, but in Niagara Falls for Canada Day? Eh, just okay.

We had big plans the next day too, with a bunch of our friends meeting up with us for a music festival, so more about that later. Hope you had a great weekend!

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90s Jack & Jill’s and Bacheloretting

Oh heyyyy, strangers!

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to desert you over the past couple weeks. It’s been busy times over here. Last week and the week before something was going on almost every evening that kept me out past my weeknight bedtime and I just could not get myself to spend any free time blogging.

Anyway, things have been happening, and things are slowing down this week so I can talk about those things!

It’s wedding season, and with that comes all the fun pre-wedding festivities. A few weeks ago Evan and I went to our friend Chris and Alicia’s Jack and Jill (I think it’s a Canadian thing, maybe even an Ontario thing, but basically a wedding fundraiser — I talked about this a little while ago because we also went to our friend Renee and Dustin’s just before Cuba). Chris and Alicia had a 90s theme happening, so we decided to dress up as the cast from Saved By The Bell.

Without Evan’s phone I don’t know if you could tell who we are, but Evan is obviously Zach Morris and I am Kelly Kapowski! I was channeling this Kelly vibe.

Minus the crop top though.

Emily and Renee were also part of our Saved By The Bell parade as Jessie Spano (hence the caffeine pills and) and Lisa Turtle (hence the leopard).

You know the caffeine pills…

It’s a classic scene and Emily killed her costume.

Evan had a really hard time finding a phone that would work for Zach Morris, and that was a key part of our group costume.

He looked for weeks and even put up a notice in the parking garage of our condo building with a picture of the phone on it and his phone number with a note saying to call him if you had said phone. No one called, unsurprisingly. Someone did rip off a strip with his number on it so that got Evan’s hopes up for a few days. In the end, Evan decided to make his own phone out of wood with the end of a paintbrush as the antenna.

He did a pretty great job. He is handy, I tell you.

A bunch of us started the night with a barbecue at Renee and Dustin’s and then headed over to the hall where the party was happening. I lost my wig pretty quickly once we got there. It was hot, and a lot of people genuinely didn’t recognize me in it. I felt like a stranger! Our friend Dylan was the Jesus from South Park and his wig somehow made it onto Evan’s head. It was attractive.

The groomsmen were all dressed as the South Park dads and the bridesmaids were the Spice Girls, which was fantastic. Alicia, the bride, absolutely slayed as Geri, and Sherrie was a great Baby Spice.

All of their costumes were amazing.

So, I think I found my calling in life. In the game of knock-over-water-bottles-with-a-tennis-ball-inside-panty-hose-that-are-attached-to-your-head (I don’t know what it’s actuallycalled) I somehow knocked over all my bottles in the fastest time of anyone who played.

I’ve never played before and I didn’t know what I was doing but I was on a mission and just charged through those bottles with my swinging tennis ball. I ended up winning!!

I was very excited about this. I’m always going on about Evan winning us free booze at things, but I won an entire bucket full of booze!

Not water bottles, three different types of rum in there! I can hold my own.

We played a bunch of other games that were actually 90s themed, like double dutch (which I have always been horrible at so I just watched everyone else get in on it — if I couldn’t do it when I was 12 there’s no way I’m going to be able to do it now), and pogs!

The pogs were super fun, although they brought back a lot of memories of my neighbourhood bully stealing all my pogs from me. I mean, he won them fairly and I kept gambling them trying to win them back with no dice, but still. It was a rough moment for me.

It was a really fun night. I loved the 90s and reliving them was a good time.

A week later we met up with basically all the same people and celebrated Renee’s bachelorette!

I’m too lazy to censor anything out this time. It’s a bachelorette. You know what goes on.

Renee is so cute. Don’t ask what I’m doing in that photo because I do not know.

We started the night at Sherrie’s place and then we all headed to the Edge bar in Ajax. It’s a fan favourite. We absolutely love the atmosphere there and the live music. We went for Sherrie’s birthday this year, and last year as well.

We had a lot o’ ladies and a lot o’ props and you know that is the makings of a great night. Alicia still rocking her Geri hair.

It was a hot tamale on that dance floor so it was a hair-up kind of night for me.

There is a man who frequents that bar who just kills it on the dance floor. Like he literally dances all night with no breaks and just gives it his all the entire time. Last time we were there he was dressed in a full Superman costume, so we obviously loved that. This time he was there as expected, but he was just wearing a regular shirt. We were disappointed about that and told him he needed to bring Superman back. He responded by ripping his shirt off to reveal a Superman t-shirt underneath, and we pretty much lost our minds.

Superman lives on.

We danced all night and it was wonderful. Such a good time.

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Goodbye to a Bonnie Lass

I have some sad news. On Sunday afternoon we had to put down little Bonnie.

Such a sweet little kitty.

If you’ve followed for a little while you know that we only got Bonnie about six months ago, at the age of 20, and she was completely deaf and only had one tooth. She was in a bad situation and needed a home or she probably would have been put down then, but it wasn’t her time yet! So, she came to live out her golden years with us. She spent a good few weeks at the beginning living in the guest room (and away from Tilly the bully), but for the past few months she has been a staple on our couch.

I never knew her in her glory years when she was young and spry and by the time we got her she preferred to spend most her days sleeping (as I hope to do in my retirement).

She also enjoyed trying to scam human food, particularly sausages and ice cream. If we were eating anywhere near her she would get really obsessed about it and the only time I saw her move quickly in an energetic manner was when she was trying to steal our food.

She also spent a good amount of time avoiding Tilly, because all Tilly wanted to do was play and it was annoying. So, she didn’t really do a whole lot but she was a good little kitty who enjoyed being around us and being pet…until she suddenly didn’t enjoy the petting and would turn on you with that one tooth of hers. We really grew to love her.

Although she wasn’t ever really energetic with us, this past weekend it was very noticeable that she was a lot more lethargic than usual and we knew that something was wrong. I thought we’d be able to wait until Monday to take her to the vet, but by Sunday afternoon she had rapidly declined. She had very similar symptoms to Winnie at the end and I recognized that it was not looking good: severe constipation, having trouble walking, she couldn’t jump up onto things or make it into the litter box, she was very weak, she was drinking a lot of water but as of Sunday she wasn’t eating. She lost a lot of weight in a very short period of time. Her eyes got really cloudy and wouldn’t stop watering. It was clear to us that she was suffering and we needed to take her to the vet immediately.

We went to the same vet that we took Winnie to, and it was the same deal. She was so small and frail, and the vet said she was likely in the final stages of kidney disease. We thought, and the vet agreed, that it wasn’t worth putting her through a bunch of tests just to find out what was wrong and possibly postpone her life. I said in the beginning when we got her that we wouldn’t spend a lot of money to keep her alive, we would just keep her comfortable until it was her time. It felt like her time. So, in the same room where Winnie took her last breath, Bonnie took hers. It happened even faster than it did with Winnie. It was quick and peaceful, and fortunately, I don’t think she suffered until the very end.

We only had Bonnie for a short time, but it was sad all the same. I thought I’d be able to hold it together, but when I saw Evan with tears in his eyes, and then the vet with tears in his eyes (he was really fantastic) I was done. I’m happy we could be with her until the end though.

She was a sweet kitty and we’re going to miss her little face around here!

I’m glad she got to bunk with us at the end of her life, and I knew she was never going to have a long time with us, but I really hope she had a good time with us.

 

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Life Lately

So, we’ve been home and back to normal for a few weeks now, settling into the married life. Everyone keeps asking me how that feels and I will tell you what I tell them. It feels the same as pre-married life. Evan and I have already lived together for several years and I feel like that is a bigger relationship change than actually getting married (I’m always in favour of doing what you feel but I do very strongly recommend living with your partner before you marry them — I think I’ve dodged at least one bullet this way). Oh, and kids. That is the big relationship change. I’ve heard. Not that I can speak from personal experience.

Of course, it is nice to know that we’re solid and both locked ALL THE WAY IN now, so that gives us the occasional romantic “OMG WE’RE MARRIED! You’re my actual wife/husband!” outburst. It’s cute. So, yeah, it’s the same, but it’s really good.

The first couple of weekends we just laid low and basically got our shit together. Everything that came up in the months leading to the wedding that wasn’t wedding related ended up being After Cuba Lindsey And Evan’s Problem, so we had some responsibilities to take care of once we got back. And Cuba was more of a trip than an actual vacation (in that it wasn’t exactly relaxing) so I was glad we got back on a Thursday afternoon and we both had Friday and the entire weekend to recuperate before it was time to go back to the grind. I really needed that weekend to regroup. And the next weekend. Right now our calendar says we don’t have a free weekend until September. Yikes. This seems to happen every summer but this year is even busier than usual. Busy with fun events for sure, but when do I leisure?! Okay, well, there’s a few cottage weekends planned in there so leisuring will happen.

I took a full two weeks off from any sort of gym situation (I did go for a run once in Cuba but that was it), but after I returned I was back to working out (OrangeTheory) fairly quickly. I’m pretty proud of myself about that because after vacation is usually when I fall off the bandwagon. But I was going to OrangeTheory very consistently after California and leading up to the wedding, at least 3-5 times a week, and I actually missed it. I genuinely really enjoy it, and I REALLY enjoy what it’s doing to my bod — I barely changed my eating, even before the wedding, but I can notice a big difference in svelteness and I overall just feel stronger. Evan actually joined once he saw how much I was liking it, and he now comes a couples times a week with me (I’ve been doing 3-4 now). It’s fun to work out with him!

I also signed up for the Toronto Waterfront 10k next weekend, the same one I ran last year.

I’ve only ran outside about three times this year, aside from OrangeTheory, which is only about 24 minutes of running each class. I’ve found that OrangeTheory has made me a bit of a faster runner though so I’m hoping I can shave a bit off of last year’s time. And if not, oh well. Lululemon is the title sponsor so I’m hoping I get a sweet shirt, at least. And I’m running it with Michelle and Casey of Bloggers and Joggers/Lagers fame, so it will be fun!

This past weekend we celebrated my friend Emily’s birthday and a bunch of us went to Laser Quest, so that was a good time. I haven’t been in years and years. Afterwards we all went out for dinner.

Oh Evan.

And on Sunday Evan and I saw Jack Johnson!!!

And I was close enough that I could take my own photos this time and didn’t have to steal them from the internet.

If you’ve been reading for a while you may know that I LOVE Jack Johnson. So much (I actually walked down the aisle to Better Together at both weddings). This is the third time I’ve seen him live, and each time has been better than the last. The first time I saw him I was behind a pillar, and the second time I saw him Evan and I were in the last row before the lawn. This time I was a part of the fan club pre sale and I stalked Ticketmaster for like an hour until I finally scored floor seats. So worth it, we were so close!

We were so close that I could tell what the band was drinking (all in reusable mugs of course, Jack Johnson is very against plastic), one of the guys had a steaming hot tea up there.

Jack played all my faves for more than two hours and I was loving my life.

What a dream he is.

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My favourite moment was when he went to kick a beach ball that had landed onstage back into the crowd, and his also kicked his sandal off in the process, so someone threw it back onstage directly into his guitar. He was a good sport about the whole thing.

We saw him at Budweiser Stage (formerly known, and maybe forever and always known, as the Molson Amphitheatre), and summer concert season has officially kicked off! My favourite.

Ah, it was so great.

So that’s pretty much it. The cats are good, the condo is good, my job is good, life is good. Oh and for anyone wondering, I did decide to change my last name. You know I really debated about it, but in the end us having the same last name just makes me feel really nice. Like I’m all in, we’re a family now. I’m more sentimental about it than I realized.

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