It’s Time

goodbye bearI’ve decided to retire this blog. Not because I’ve run out of things to do or things to say – in fact, this blog has done wonders for me. Because of it, I’ve opened up my mind (and my world) to trying things that I may not have otherwise cared to try. And although I have stopped blogging, I have continued to live out the spirit of this blog and will continue to do so.

The truth is, I have a dozen or so posts at any given time waiting to be written. So my lack of keeping up with my blog isn’t because I’m not stepping out of the woods and trying new things but because I simply don’t want to spend the extra hours at the computer right now. I work on the computer all day for work and I simply don’t wish to spend the evenings on my blog.

I don’t think it’s goodbye – I’m sure that somewhere down the road, I’ll be itching to get another blog going. And when I do, I’ll post it here.

Thank you to anyone who has read my blog and been patient with my extremely inconsistent posts. You’re awesome.

Now get out there and do something crazy!


Photo Credits:
Copyright: angellodeco / 123RF Stock Photo & mathayward / 123RF Stock Photo
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Move Over, Bob Barker


Cost is CorrectGrowing up, I was that person who watched The Price is Right and dreamed of being called up on the stage by that booming voice that ushered all of the excited, wiggly people from the studio audience. I even (I can’t believe I’m admitting this in writing…on the internet…) wrote numerous fan letters to the show and each time received a response which always included tickets to the show and an autographed black & white glossy of Bob Barker and his “beauties” ( Janice, Dian and Holly).

So you can imagine my excitement when I learned that The Cost is Correct was taking place in Diamond Tooth Gertie’s in Dawson City, Yukon, as part of Thaw Di Gras. “We have to go,” I announced to Mike, Kat and the other Erin as soon as I learned it was happening. Fortunately, they did not fight me on it.

We submitted our names and received our giant signature name tags then sat back and enjoyed the show, sipping martinis (you can’t do that on The Price is Right), shouting out prices at the contestants, getting wrapped up in the whole thing.

Erins and Jasmine

The Erins with Jasmine in the middle – rearin’ to go on The Cost is Correct

Then it happened…Jasmine got called up! We all clapped and cheered and helped her along as best we could. She’d never even seen The Price is Right so it was rather cute to see her so bewildered. But she did an excellent job! Not only did she win a massive bag of dog food (for a dog she doesn’t have) but she even made it to the final Showcase Showdown!

Jasmine Wins!

Jasmine Wins!

Next, Erin got called up. It was so exciting that 2 of the people from our table got called up. She jumped up onto the stage and did her pricing magic and also cleaned up, having come away some great prizes – t-shirt, travel mugs, a beaver hat (a cotton hat with a beaver on it) and the prize of all prizes: To sit next to the (apparently very cute) fire chief in the Dawson City Canada Day Parade.

Guess how much all of these drinks cost? Of course Erin got it right!


Erin with her winnings

Erin with her winnings

It was time for the last contestant and you can imagine my astonishment when they called my name. I jumped out of my seat and sprinted onto the stage in utter excitement. I may as well have been on the CBS show.

I can honestly tell you I don’t remember what it was I guessed the price of. But I do recall that I went over by FIVE CENTS. So unlike my winning pals, I came away with no prizes. But it doesn’t matter. Truly. I had such an amazing time – especially cheering on my friends when on stage. And the fact that The Price is Right offers prizes such as appliances and new cars does not make a lick of difference. If given the choice, I would choose the Dawson version again in a heartbeat because what you can’t get from a Los Angeles studio is special Yukon welcome, an adorable gameshow host…and giant bags of dog food.

Is the cost correct? Nope!

Is the cost correct? Nope!




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We Came, We Saw, We Thaw Di Gras’d


Thaw Di Gras When I learned I was going to Dawson City, Yukon for 3 days, it also happened to coincide with one of their two biggest annual festivals: Spring Thaw Di Gras Carnival and the Dawson City Music Festival, which, by the way, my friend Matt Sobb will be starring in this summer with his band Monkey Junk. Just throwing that in there…

Now, I come from Wakefield, Québec, where we have quite a few annual festivals worth noting: Dragon Fest, Wakefest, Wakefield International Film Festival, Harvest Festival, Rupert Carnival, and others I know I’m forgetting. But Thaw Di Gras was one of the most engaging, seriously fun carnivals I have ever been to.

Small World

On Friday afternoon, I’d posted something on Facebook, mentioning the fact that I was in Dawson City. My aforementioned friend Matt Sobb commented that his stepdaughter was visiting her grandparents and to keep my eyes peeled for a blond girl with a pink Canada Goose coat. Dawson City is quite a small town and I knew that with the spring carnival happening, chances were pretty good that I might find her. I charged my group with the mission of helping me find the girl in the pink coat.

Barely 2 hours later, we were sitting down to dinner in The Drunken Goat restaurant when Mike caught my attention and nodded in the direction of a family who just settled into a corner table. I looked over to see among them a young lady with blond hair shedding her pink Canada Goose coat. I hopped over to the table and asked, “Are you Matt Sobb’s stepdaughter?” The puzzled look on her face made me laugh.

“Yeeess,” she said tentatively. “What’s going on?”

I asked her if I could get her picture for Facebook and then I’d tell her what’s going on. She agreed and then her grandmother slid out from beside her so I could have my picture taken with her. She’s an excellent sport is all I can say! After Kat snapped our photo, I explained that I’m a friend of her stepdad’s, from Wakefield. At that moment, a woman walked into the restaurant and piped up, “I’m from Wakefield!” It turned out she is the daughter of a local woman I know. It was a truly bizarre few minutes.

That's me with the blond with the pink coat! (AKA Olivia)

Here I am with Olivia – and this is before she knew what was going on.

After a filling dinner, we headed over to Diamond Tooth Gertie’s, a casino that, in its high season, features stage shows. On this particular evening, there was a lip syncing competition taking place as part of Thaw Di Gras. We knew it would be packed, so we draped our coats on 4 chairs around one of the dozen large, round tables that seated 10 or so and spent an hour losing money at the slots. When we were finished, we headed back to our table to settle in for the show which was going to begin soon. I was shocked to see Matt’s stepdaughter’s family sitting at our table!

The Erins having fun losing money

The Erins having fun losing money

We all took turns getting silly

We all took turns getting silly

Diamond Tooth Gertie'sOn Saturday we all dove right into the festivities. We began with the tricycle competition. Each participant raced a tricycle through a local bar known as “The Pit”. You climb on and wait for the “Ready! Set! Go!” and then pump those legs as hard as you can, following a course set out by masking tape arrows: through a sea of people holding heap beer while cheering you on, through a doorway into another room, around a pool table and back to the starting point. Part of the fun is having to dodge folks who walk through the door as you’re racing through, hoping they’ll hop out of your way so you don’t cause a tricycle/people pileup.

Thaw di gras - Trike race ErinK

I made good time but didn’t win. It’s not as easy as it looks! (But just as fun!)

Thaw di gras - trike race Erin M3

The other Erin – Doesn’t her face say it all?

Thaw di gras - trike Kat

Here goes Kat!

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Look at Mike go!

Next, we took part in the game “Minute to Win It”. Teams were as follows:
Awesome Dawson – Kat, Mike & Jasmine
Erin2 (Erin squared) – Erin & Erin
Adam was our photographer extraordinaire.

If you’ve ever seen the television show, “Minute to Win It” features tasks and activities that are mostly silly and often challenging. You must complete each task within one minute. Following are a few photos of us having way too much fun.

tdg - cookie E4 (640x480)

I had to stack 8 cookies on my forehead in one minute and I totally pulled it off.

tdg - cookies J1 (640x480)

…But Jasmine beat me!

tdg - Erin1 (640x480)

I had to throw ping pong balls at the clipboard taped to Erin’s waist, to get them into the buckets.

tdg - Erin lays egg (640x480)

Got one in!

tdg - Erin2 (640x480)

Erin Squared had fun…but lost this one too.

tdg - Mike2 (640x480)

Jasmine and Mike pulled it off – Jasmine with her steady throwing arm and Mike with his groovy hips.

tdg - cotton K (640x480)

Kat has dipped her nose in Vaseline and then must move cotton balls from one bowl to the other.

tdg - cotton E1 (640x480)

I finally kicked this one!

tdg - minute - tp2 (640x480)

Erin and Kat had to wrap themselves up as much as possible with toilet paper. Erin was ahead until the end when Kat pulled it off. We blame the cheap toilet paper.🙂

Final tally? Awesome Dawson kicked our butts! But after other teams played, neither of us landed first nor last place. But we all had such an amazing time, smiles were plastered on our faces for the rest of the day (still are a week later).

Stay tuned for more game show fun in my next post.

P.S. I must give credit to Erin and Mike who came up with the title, used in a Tweet; I had to steal it.

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Doing the Sourtoe Cocktail in Dawson City


In St. John’s, Newfoundland you kiss a cod. In Dawson City, Yukon, you “do the toe.” I’d like to tell you I don’t know which is more gross, but I will say that between putting a mummified toe to your lips versus kissing a frozen fish, the toe definitely takes the cake.

The story goes that an eccentric local named Captain Dick found a severed toe in a cabin and for reasons I’m not very clear about, he plopped the toe into a glass of champagne and dubbed it the Sourtoe Cocktail. Now, people use whiskey for their special toe cocktail.

Nowadays, you can find Terry Lee set up from 7-9 pm at the Sourdough Saloon at The Downtown Hotel in Dawson City. We were fascinated by Terry and his story.

In the early 70’s a friend convinced him he needed to go live in a Buddhist monastery in order to reign in his wild ways. He became a monk and even spent 6 months in Tibet where, under normal circumstances, westerners were not allowed to go.

Upon his return to Canada, he and a friend purchased a large boat and set off to sail around the world. While in the Caribbean he was approached by a guy who offered to buy the boat for more than twice what they’d paid for it.

They sold the boat and he headed up to Dawson where he stayed and eventually retired. And now, on special occassions, Terry Lee sits behind a small table in the pub, a box of blank certificates on the bench seat next to him, a registry of all people who have “done the toe” set out in front of him and the legendary toe sitting on a pile of salt on a silver platter, waiting for the next poor sucker to kiss the toe.

Terry Lee

Terry Lee, Toe Captain

Now, I must tell you that in the days leading up to this moment, the group I was with kept telling me we were going to do the Sourtoe Cocktail and when they told me that it involved having a drink in which an actual human toe sat, and where said toe must touch your lips, I could not, for the life of me, imagine what that would look like, why anyone would do it and why on earth I should do it.

I’ll tell you why I did it: peer pressure, plain and simple.

When I arrived and saw that famous toe for the first time, let me tell you, it was a disgusting sight – black and toey. For some reason, I thought it would be the texture of skin, but no. When digits no longer have blood coursing through them and they are kept in pickling salt – not to mention swished around in booze on a regular basis – they look very little like an actual toe. More like a nasty case of frostbite.

The Toe

The Toe

So the moment came and it was time. One of our group members (whose name also happens to be Erin) opted to go first. We watched as she readied herself at the table across from Terry while he recounted the instructions, including how you must not allow the toe to pass your lips and reminds you that there is a $2500 fine for swallowing the toe. Can you say, “EWWWW?” However, last year someone from New Orleans did swallow the toe. At the time the fine was $500 and he happily paid up. It was clearly not an accident. No one swallows that thing by mistake. But what it did do was put Dawson City in the spotlight by various media throughout the U.S. and Canada. In the end, aside from the fact that the pub was left toe-less for a little while, it didn’t hurt anyone – except the moron who decided to swallow it in the first place. That must give a person bad heartburn.

Sign on the wall next to Terry Lee

Sign on the wall next to Terry Lee

Terry and Erin sending kisses to the Toe

Terry and Erin sending kisses to the Toe

After Erin, I took the plunge. Mike, my host while in the Yukon, handed me a glass of whiskey – something I never normally drink, but you cannot even imagine having something any weaker than that if you’re doing to dip a dead toe in it and drink it.

I watched as Terry picked the toe up from the salt, where he had laid it after Erin braved it a few minutes earlier, and plopped it into my drink. I recall the words of a woman who had done it just as we arrived. “Just don’t look at it!” she’d said. A shame I didn’t listen.

I looked down at it and it was not a pretty sight. But Erin had done it and Kat and Mike promised to do it after us. The pressure was heavy. I had to bow to it.

Terry gave me the same short speech he’d given to Erin and with my pals cheering me on, I picked that glass up and put it to my lips, poured the drink down my throat, feeling it burning all the way down. The toe stayed at the bottom of the glass, which meant I had to tip the glass further up to ensure it slid down and touched my lips. I felt it hit my mouth and then I banged the glass back down on the table. Done. I did it. I did the toe. I actually did it. And it was surprisingly anti-climactic.

Here I am doing the toe

Here I am doing the toe

As he does every time someone finishes their Sourtoe Cocktail, Terry picked it up out of the empty glass and proceeded to wring it out in a paper towel, squeezing it for a minute or so with one hand before replacing it on the salt. Then it was Kat’s turn. Then Mike’s.

A couple of new friends who partner with the Yukon Convention Bureau (hosting this FAM tour), Adam and Jasmine, witnessed us doing this ridiculous tradition. We asked them if they’ve ever done the toe. “Oh my God, no!” was their response. Funny, but we met a few locals with the same response. I’m starting to think that maybe I’ve been suckered in.

Proud members of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club: Terry, Mike, Erin, Kat and Erin

Proud members of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club: Terry, Mike, Erin, Kat and Erin

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A Visit Back in the Time of the Gold Rush


When offered the opportunity to scope out the Yukon as a possible place to hold events, my boss made it clear I had to go. Can’t argue with the boss, right?

So I hopped on a plane, on which I sat for 7 hours, landed in Whitehorse at 10 pm and was whisked to a hotel where I fell into bed by 11 (2 am my body’s time).

Painfully early the next morning, my host, Mike, and the 2 other people on the tour, Kat (my colleague) and another Erin, and I all boarded a tiny plane headed for Dawson City. When we landed, we all convened in the one-room airport and waited for our luggage.

The Baggage Claim Area at the Dawson City Airport

The Baggage Claim Area at the Dawson City Airport

Look at that! Our baggage is ready!

Look at that! Our baggage is ready!

Friday was a day for touring Dawson City. It’s a quiet town this time of year. Many of the buildings are boarded up for the winter. Various shops, restaurants and inns have no hope of filling up during the cold months so they close up tight to return in the spring. But the buildings are well taken care of…just empty.

Klondike Kate's Restaurant is only one of many of the businesses closed up tight for winter.

Klondike Kate’s Restaurant is only one of many of the businesses closed up tight for winter.

This is not an example of one of the "well taken care of boarded up" buildings but clearly two abandoned buildings. I wish I was able to explore them...!

This is not an example of one of the “well taken care of boarded up” buildings but clearly two abandoned buildings. I wish I was able to explore them…!

But we were lucky to have been taken on a tour of some of the historic buildings in the town that are basically now just museums. They also stay locked up tight until a tour guide unlocks the door to usher you in.

Dressed in period clothing, Janice, of Parks Canada, gave us an unforgettable tour of some fascinating history in this unique little town. Following are a few of the photos:

The Palace Grand Theatre

The Palace Grand Theatre

The Dawson City Post Office

The Dawson City Post Office. These boxes are filled with replica letters based on real letters that have never been claimed.

One of the boxes in the post office holds newspapers from the late 19th century/early 20th century.

Our tour guide also allowed us to poke around the second and third floors of this historic building. They were largely empty – rooms built in wood from floor to ceiling, gathering dust. The building was beyond frigid, as it was not heated. And yet it is in places like this where some of the most fascinating unspoken history lies.

Part of the attic of the Post Office.

Part of the attic of the Post Office.

A lonely chair sits in the corner of the attic.

A lonely chair sits in the corner of the attic.

An old dusty magazine from August 15, 1943 sits in another corner, aging by the day.

An old dusty magazine from August 15, 1943 sits in another corner, aging by the day.

While in Dawson City, we are staying at Bombay Peggy’s Inn. This building used to be a brothel. I’m staying in the “Sweet Room”. But the other Erin is staying in the “Lipstick Room”. You can’t beat a guest room called the “Lipstick Room!”

Bombay Peggy's Inn

Kat and I in front of Bombay Peggy’s Inn.

Bombay Pegg's Inn

The sitting room (lobby) at Bombay Peggy’s Inn.

I have already heard a few ghost stories about this building and although all has been quiet and uneventful in my room, something a little bizarre did happen on Friday afternoon. Erin and I were sitting in the sitting room having a nip of port. The innkeeper sets up a bottle of port and a bottle of sherry for guests every afternoon. So while we waited for Kat and Mike, we sipped our port and chatted a bit when suddenly the cork from the sherry popped up from the bottle and then dive bombed or the floor. We looked at each other in bewilderment but immediately, (the other) Erin explained it away, saying she had taken the cork out just to sniff the drink and must not have replaced it properly.

I don’t know about you, but I have replaced a lot of corks in my day – both solidly and half-assed, and that has never happened to me…

The port and sherry bottles for the guests to partake in the afternoon.

The port and sherry bottles for the guests to partake in the afternoon.

Stay tuned for more adventures of Two Erins, a Kat and a Mike in Dawson City, Yukon.

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After 22 Years…I Got Back On That Horse

skiing#33 Today I put downhill skis on for the first time in 22 years. The last time I shoop shooped down a ski hill I ended up being carried down by a (very cute) ski patroller on a sled. If you’ve ever seen someone being pulled down a hill on the sled and thought, that looks like so much fun!, it’s not. The only reason one gets dragged down in one is because they’re injured. Pull an injured person downhill over hills and bumps, it’s unbelievably painful.

So two surgeries later for a torn-to-shreds ACL (anterior cruciate ligament – in other words *#&%#@! painful knee injury), I just could not face getting back on that ski hill. I had no desire whatsoever. Perhaps I’m far too wimpy for my own good, but it definitely scared me off the hill for many years. Then when I began to entertain the idea of getting back to it, I just couldn’t afford it.

But today I went back. I did it. I got on those skis, the chairlift scooped me up and delivered me safely to the top of the (baby) hill and I proceeded to snowplow my way down. What I didn’t expect was that it all came back to me. Before I knew it, I was past snowplow and shoop shooping my way down. I tried a slightly bigger hill. And then a bigger one still.

A friend joined me who also hasn’t been on skis in 20 years and we both did amazingly well. So although I don’t have any crazy drama to report, I can definitely say that I am proud, exhausted and soon-to-be sore. Thank goodness for baths and wine.


Fortunately, this was NOT me today!

Image credits: leks / 123RF Stock Photo

gudella / 123RF Stock Photo

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Swimming With the Sharks (Sort of…)

IMG_2711#32 For four mornings while down in The Sunshine State a couple of weeks ago, this was the view in the morning.

One morning, I braved the cool ocean water and enjoyed a beautiful swim out into the greatness. It was unlike most of my beach experiences. There were very few people and when you looked out, the only thing you could see was water. And the odd ship. It was true heaven.

So during my leisurely swim, I floated on my back and reveled in the moment of pure bliss and wished it could last forever. Then something interrupted my zen time. A rogue thought shoved its way into my quiet mind: I’m swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. And there are sharks in the ocean. It’s interesting how thoughts of sharks can alarm a person.

I tried to be logical. I reminded myself that people swim in the ocean off the coast of Florida all the time and sharks, I’m sure, never come close. But completely irrational fears defy such logic in these situations and I found myself swimming for the shore almost as if I was being chased by some blood thirsty shark.

When I arrived on land, I laughed at myself for being so silly and my father and his girlfriend shared a laugh at my expense as well. I learned a lesson that day: Do not think of sharks when you’re enjoying a lovely swim in the ocean.

THEN…fast forward a week or so. My father and his girlfriend were out swimming in the ocean as they frequently do and they were chased into shore by an actual shark. For real! Apparently, sharks do come around the Florida coast.

Then I googled it. According to an NBC article, Florida led world with 23 shark attacks in 2013. So glad I didn’t look this up before my trip south.

Guess my irrational fear isn’t quite as irrational as I thought. And yet I will still swim in the ocean again, but next time I will check on the shark sightings first and then force myself to think only of dolphins and goldfish during my zen floating time.


Image credit: artenot / 123RF Stock Photo

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