Everything has changed

September 30, 2013 at 10:39 am (Family, Random)

Within the span of a weeks time, my entire world turned upside down. And it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

On Sept. 15, I said a tearful goodbye to the family known as Harvest Christian Fellowship. I have been involved with the church in varying degrees over the last decade, and my heart will always be at home in that sanctuary.

On Sept. 19, I left my home and native land. I crossed the border into the United States with the goal of becoming a permanent resident of this southern neighbour. Despite the move, I will always be a fiercely patriotic Canadian and devoted Ottawa Senators fan.

On Sept. 20, my three-year employment with the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder came to an end. It was an incredible experience to work full-time as a journalist in my hometown. I thoroughly enjoyed Monday evenings spent at city hall covering council meetings, delving into the arts community, writing about federal and provincial politics, and developing my skills as a photographer and reporter.

But the rainy afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 21, brought the most important change. I donned a lovely white dress, vowed to love and honour until death do us part, and became the wife of the most incredible man on the planet. It was a glorious day, despite the weather – I’ll be writing more about it later.

In the meantime, I’m adjusting to life as a married woman without a job in a new country. I couldn’t be happier.

we're married


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Polar plunge, check

December 6, 2012 at 9:06 am (Random)

91. Do a polar bear dip

Note: I plan to return to this blog to provide details of most epic of adventures, specifically those that allow me to cross another item off my life to-do list.

This one has come and gone – and come back again – to my “bucket list”. I watched some friends jump into a seriously cold river last year around this time and figured it wasn’t something I was really keen to copy.

But then I was asked to participate this year, and I couldn’t say no. The Chillin’ for the Children event was raising money for a home in Gulu, Uganda, that cares for kids with nowhere else to go. Talk about a good cause. So I collected a couple hundred dollars and signed the waiver.

To be honest, I was more nervous about this one than most of the other crazy things I’ve done. Diving out of a plane? Sheer awesomeness! Bungee jumping? How fun! But leaping into a freezing body of water? Um … painful.

But it wasn’t as shocking or terrible as I expected. I was pretty numb by the time our team made the run into the Raquette River in Postdam, NY, last Saturday, so the water wasn’t so bad. But then, I didn’t linger. Someone had to break the ice off the surface before the plunge, so there wasn’t exactly space to swim around.

I lost a shoe in the chaos, so I had to run barefoot to the crowded changerooms. I estimate it took roughly an hour before my toes were no longer tingling. Good times!

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The end, for now

November 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm (Random)

It’s been seven weeks since I last posted. U.S. President Barack Obama was reelected, the Prime Minister went to India, I took my first week of vacation this year, and a hurricane devastated the east coast.

I haven’t written about any of those or many other significant events. I think it may be a sign.

I love blogging … connecting to the world … sharing the news … ranting about things that matter to me. As a journalist, it’s a great forum to comment on current events beyond my coverage area.
But I no longer have the time or priority for this as I used to. I’m comforted by the fact that I’m not one of those people that starts a blog, writes furiously for two days, and then lets it die a cold death in cyberspace. I’ve been posting consistently for nearly five years.

And so, after more than 700 posts, I’m letting my aspirations of earning a book deal from a blog die for now (kidding). I’m removing myself from any guilt over whether or not I’ve updated in recent days. And I’m turning my attention to other things.

Thank you for your thousands of hits, your hundreds of comments, and your dozens of follows. I feel the love, blogosphere, and I am grateful for it.

Don’t despair; I’m sure I’ll be back again someday.

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2012 Olympics: the happiest volunteer

July 31, 2012 at 9:15 am (Random) ()

This is too good not to share.

A volunteer outside one of the Olympic venues provided a running commentary for people milling around. It’s hilarious.

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Festivals of SD&G

July 25, 2012 at 11:15 am (Random) (, )

Excuse me while I brag on my hometown for a minute.

When I lived in Ottawa, it seemed like there was a festival every weekend throughout the entire summer. There was always something to visit, experience, watch and do. JazzFest, Chamberfest, Bluesfest, Westfest, the list goes on. I think I made it out to almost all of them at least once during my several years there. It was pretty awesome.

But I’ve realized that Cornwall and the counties are not so far off. Admittedly, the calibre of performers and range of options will never quite measure up to what the capital can present. But this region holds its own pretty well. My only real complaint is that I never have time to attend everything I’d like to.


There’s the city’s signature event: Lift-Off. Three days of music, two nights of fireworks, and hot air balloons drifting over them all. It’s the only festival of its kind in Ontario, and it rocks. Then this weekend, a brand new event is being launched – Ribfest! Not going to lie, I’m pretty pumped about it. This one also includes a full line-up of (free!) entertainment along with the food vendors. Mmmm, ribs.

Next weekend is the rather spectacular Glengarry Highland Games. I covered it last year, and was thoroughly impressed. The tattoo is incredible, the competitions entertaining and the crowds hailing from far and wide. Again, a rather unique event for our area. Oh, and Waterfest is also next weekend, celebrating our jewel of a river with dragonboat races, and art and music exhibits.

Then on Aug. 10 to 12, the 200th edition of the Williamstown Fair. As the oldest annual fair in the entire country, this is another hugely important event for our region.

If those weren’t enough, there’s the tubie festival and Antiquefest – both in Morrisburg – and smaller community fairs in Chesterville, Avonmore, Newington, South Mountain, Winchester and Maxville. For those who just want to enjoy music, there’s Festival Alexandria and the Tapestry concert series. There’s the city’s free Arts in the Park events – which include music, theatre and film – all summer long. There’s also bluegrass and country music concerts from one end of our region to the other.

Don’t ever tell me there’s nothing to do around here.

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July 11, 2012 at 4:19 pm (Entertainment, Random)

My brother is super smart.

He developed an app (along with a few other people) that was recently approved for the iTunes store. It’s pretty brilliant actually – and I’m not just saying that.

The app allows users to share videos with specific groups with just a couple of clicks. So now, instead of posting clips of your dad making silly faces on your Facebook wall, where only two people are going to care, you can post it to your family group on CrewCam. That’s just one example. I’m part of crews for my church, my city, my relatives and select collections of friends. It’s a great way to communicate – and a far more compelling method of sharing stories and experiences than simply texting.

You should all go check it out. It’s already been named one of the top photo/video apps in Canada. It’s pretty much the next Instagram, which means it’s going places and you need to get on board.

Here’s a link to download the app, and here’s links to the Facebook and Twitter pages, which you should definitely check out to get updates on the awesomeness.

Ryan, you’re my hero. Remember me when you’re rich and famous, k?

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Playoff predictions 2012, round three

May 14, 2012 at 8:49 am (Random)

I did significantly better on calling winners of the second round of the NHL playoffs – my only miss was in not picking New Jersey. Let’s see how I do on the conference finals …

  • LA Kings vs. Phoenix Coyotes – Kings in seven
  • New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers – Rangers in six

I know the Rangers beat my team in round one, but I’m already rooting for them to take it all the way.

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The Lytro

April 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm (Random) (, )

I finally picked up my Lytro just over a week ago, thrilled to finally hold this piece of cutting-edge technology in my hands. I’m so excited to be one of the first to try out the original light field camera, an incredible piece of equipment.

The Lytro camera

It’s very Apple-esque in its design, even in the packaging. Everything is sleek, user-friendly and intuitive. The camera’s built-in software only works with Macs as well.

I’ve taken it out a few times, shooting both general pictures and also attempting to make use of the depth of field re-focus that makes the camera so unique. While it will never replace the versatility of my Nikon, it’s a fabulous item to carry around when I don’t want to worry about timing or setting exposures. The shutter is instant, and the options after are amazing.

I’m not able to post the photos here without taking away that opportunity to play with the focal point, so you’ll have to visit my Lytro gallery to check them out.

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Being a Big

February 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm (Random) ()

This weekend I participated in the annual bowl-a-thon to support the local branch of Big Brothers Big Sisters. As an active volunteer with the agency, I figured I should put in a team. My Little, Bethanie, joined me, along with a few other friends.

It was a cool experience, being one of more than 200 teams that bowled throughout the afternoon and raised more than $70,000 for the organization.

I’ve been matched with Bethanie for over a year now. I won’t lie – it has not always been the easiest experience, and I haven’t always been eager to invest the time in our activities. It’s been a challenge to connect, to ensure we’re all on the same page, to gauge expectations and to come up with new ideas for our weekly get-togethers. But there have been far more ups than downs. We’ve encouraged each other to try new things and had a lot of laughs. I hope I’ve become a positive role model, as well as a stable and comforting figure in Beth’s life. That’s the goal.

After we finished our game, the local head of BBBS pulled my Little to the microphone as they welcomed the next shift of bowlers. When asked about her favourite part of the program, Beth said, “I get to hang out with Cheryl.”

So yeah. It’s worth it.

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The soldier

January 30, 2012 at 8:00 am (Random) (, )

I know this guy. He’s American, but he’s one of the cool ones.

This morning he said goodbye to his friends, his family, his house, his town, and left for a year. In just over a month he’ll be on a plane to Afghanistan. After 15 years in the U.S. Reserves, this is his third deployment.

It’s one thing to read about the war in Iraq or the mission in Afghanistan; to mourn a loss, celebrate a victory, or debate the purpose of it all.

It’s another thing entirely to hug a friend before he dons his gear, packs up his weapons and heads to the Middle East. Listening to the Star Spangled Banner at a hockey game the other day meant a little more than usual.

Thanks for what you do, Joe. Come home safe.

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