Beginning of the rest of my life…

May 19, 2013

I remember that I couldn’t wait to turn 21. Why? So I could drink* when I traveled to the US. It seemed important and I’m not really sure why because being Canadian, drinking starts early at 19 (18 in some provinces) and I didn’t travel that often to the US back then either. In fact, for my 21st birthday, I was in Holland. So I don’t know why it seemed like a great milestone but it did.

I also remember that 30 seemed old. I mean, ancient. My life would certainly be over at 30 – totally downhill from there. I thought 25 would be fun but dear God, 30 was just bordering the end.

I know that when I got to 30 it really was no big deal. Maybe cuz when you get there, there is no way to stop it and we’re mature enough to know that life isn’t over. Unlike many of my friends and family though, I had no crisis moment. I’m not really sure that I thought 30 was mid life at that point but everyone told me the dread of getting older would come – I’d have a “This is my life?!” moment and have some sort of freak out. My step-mom, for example, got her belly button pierced to deal with turning 30. I am still not sure how that helped but hoped that wasn’t my way of coping when the time came. Maybe I’d finally get a tattoo rather some ill-placed object. Well, happy to say I never poked a hole in my belly button but sadly I still haven’t figured out a design for my first tattoo.

Anyway, now 10 more years is about to pass me by this week as I turn 40! I’m still not in any holy crap “I’m old” mode. I think my 21 year old self has gotten over the age issue. I do find myself wishing I was doing more fun things but it’s hardly a crisis. I also used to write a lot and need to find some time to get back to it. So here goes, I’m traveling a lot over the next two weeks and thought, well here’s something to actually blog about!

The first stop on my “birthday week” celebration (I like to drag my birthday out for a week at a time – if your friends go along with it, then why the hell not!?!) is Seattle. I’m taking the train down and will spend the first weekend of my vacation just south of home and will meet up at the Hard Rock Cafe with some pin collectors. I have been trading pins with a few of them but haven’t actually met one particular trader face to face. “Seattle Paul” (so dubbed as there are a number of Paul’s in my life) has been extremely helpful in picking up the local cafe pins for me. I am hardly a pin collector – my shot collection will always surpass my pin one, mostly because there are just too many pins and they are vastly more expensive (I still do not know how most of the pin collectors keep up!). I did, for some reason, decide I’d collect each pin from the Seattle cafe since it is the closest cafe to me and I was able to start with the first one. And this is where Seattle Paul comes in. As I can’t make the 4 hour trip each time a pin comes out and since the dang cafe sells out of many of the pins super fast, Seattle Paul has been kind enough to be my dealer. If not for him, I probably would have quit long ago (hmmmm, so should I be thanking him or cursing him?!). So this trip I finally get to meet Seattle Paul and thank him for keeping me in the Seattle pin game by trading with me.

However since the train to Seattle doesn’t get me into the city before noon (the pin meet starts at 10 am with a free breakfast!), I’m heading down a day early and will spend the entire weekend. The city is a great, even though it is fairly similar to Vancouver in many ways (minus an NHL team that even Paul will lament but at least that makes us both Canucks fans. Yes people, I managed to throw hockey into this masterpiece of an entry!). I have many food haunts, places I always check out and of course Pike Place Market is always worth the walk through. There’s also the game of how many Starbucks do I pass in an hour or a day (there are toooooo many!).

I’ll blog about my visit with Seattle Paul and the other pin collectors next so stay by your pc! And as stated I’m going to be traveling the next 2 weeks so I’ll hit you up from London, Manchester, Paris and Brussels too. At least that’s the plan. This blog has been quiet for far too long and with no other willing participants, you’re going to have to suffer through my entries. If you get tired of me, ping me with your own story! There are many cafes out there and I know a bunch of you are hitting them this summer (come on, share your experience with us)!



* And a short editor note: Every time I bring up drinking I get comments that I sound like I may have a problem. I don’t know what to tell you – I’m a social drinker and that’s probably an exaggeration these days. It just seems to go hand and hand with the stuff I blog about, particularly when it comes to Hard Rock Cafe because well, I’m a shot collector. So for the record, I’m no more of a drinker than Floyd T. is… Does that make you feel better? Ok, ok, I’m no way at the same level as Floyd – he’s the King.


And a very Merry Ho-Ho-Ho!

December 25, 2012

I hope this post finds you all well!

It is Christmas afternoon here in Vancouver and I am getting ready to head out to my brother’s for his first hosting of the family Christmas dinner.  This could be good, this could be bad – but at least we’ll all be together to praise him or bug him (f-o-r-e-v-e-r, if the turkey is dry!).  I mean, this is the meaning of Christmas in my family, now that Santa has come and gone (you can only behave so long!).

We have a first Christmas to celebrate for a new addition in our family, little Avery isn’t even quite a month old.  So despite a potentially dry turkey (actually, I’m sure it will be superb) there will be a dozen or more of us cooing over spit up, her lack of hair, her tiny little feet and hands and so forth.  Then there is the first-born Kennadie, who will be spoiled rotten because she’s at the supreme age where absolutely every present is AMAZING, especially the box the expensive gift came in.  There is nothing more fun at Christmas than to watch kids open presents.  At least for me.

With a world that seemed to be rocked with tragedy in the weeks leading up to today, there isn’t a whole lot that can be said to make sense of any of it.  All we can truly take away from the anguish and let’s face it, cowardice, is that there is a lot more good in the world than evil.  Unfortunately, it’s the awfulness that writes the headlines and catches global attention more often than it should.  This doesn’t mean that good isn’t winning, so take that to heart.  God is out there.  Goodness is out there.  Love and peace and family/friends are all around.  Wrap yourself in the warmth of these things as we push on together to make our Communities better.

Getting back to the joy that is today, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  I remind you to be responsible – don’t drink and drive (I will kick your butt)!  Turn off the computer, put down the iPhone/Android, catch up on the emails later, tell work to stuff it and spend these moments with family and friends.   Cherish every moment going forward.

And of course remember, always take time to be kind.



Last call for the Dick Pruden collection

September 6, 2012

Well if you are hooping it up in Sin City for the annual PinSanity event or just hanging back at home, there’s an auction going on for the remaining shot glasses from the Dick Pruden collection!

The silent auction has opened and many of his shot glasses start at the bargain price of just a buck.  Yes for a loonie… er a  paper dollar, you can place a bid on some great traders and fillers for your HRC shot glass collection.

Check it out here:

Auction closes on Monday Sept 17 at midnight so don’t delay as this will be your last chance to pick up some great shots from a huge collection!




Welcome to H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D!

January 29, 2012

Ok, well this is overdue.  If you haven’t been reading the event information on the Yahoo group, here’s the gist:

UPDATE:  Attendance is free!  See below for additional event information.

Registration is open at:

The Hollywood Swaparazzi Event will be held Friday, March 30 – Sunday, April 1.

The schedule is:

Friday, March 30 from 6 pm to 9 pm  – Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd.

Shot Glass and Bear Collectors – be here!

6 – 9 pm Registration and package pickup

Meet and Greet with appetizers and cash bar

7:30 pm the shot glass will be released

9 – 11 pm Live entertainment / Rockeoke

Saturday, March 31 from 8 am – 4 pm – HRC Hollywood at Universal CityWalk

8:30 – 10 am Shake, Rattle and Roll Breakfast Buffet

10 am Pin Release

10 am – 4 pm Event Trading tables open

10 am – 3 pm Silent Auction /Ongoing Raffles

11 am – 11:30 am Presentation by APLA

4 pm Event ends for day

Sunday,  April 1 from 8 am – 2 pm HRC Hollywood at Universal CityWalk

8:30 – 10 am Shake, Rattle and Roll Breakfast Buffet

10 am Pin Release

10 am – 2 pm Trading Tables open

1 pm Raffle drawing

2:30 pm Event closes


The Event organizers have secured a discount at the Hilton Garden Inn on Highland Avenue for $149 a night.  Phone: 323-876-8600 and mention you are attending the HRC Hollywood Collectors’ Event to get the discount – book by March 9!

Alternatively, Priceline has never failed the group!

Pre-Event Party for Thursday, March 29 at 6  – 8 pm will be held at Buffalo Wild Wings in Burbank .  If you’re coming, please RSVP with Paul Hillgren.

We also looking at plans to attend a NHL Anaheim hockey game, road trip to San Diego as well as taking in the sights of LA and Hollywood… maybe even a stop at Sprinkles Cupcakes Bakery!  It’s a jam-packed weekend so hope you can make it!



Happy New Year!

December 31, 2011

Just a quick evening post before the year end festivities begin – Happy New Year!  Remember to toast to your health, to your family, your friends and your good fortune.  Life isn’t perfect… but there’s always a worse case scenario!

Enjoy the end of 2011 and bring on 2012! Oh, and don’t forget your designated driver and make sure to buy them some wings and curly fries to go with their soda! To the unsung heroes of tonight – thanks for getting us home safe!

Be responsible and safe tonight!  Cheers!


Event time!

September 2, 2011

So here we are, only a few days away from PinSanity 7!  Looking forward to meeting up with all the collectors.

Just a few reminders:

  • Meet and Greet Reception is Tuesday, Sept 6 starts at 5 pm.
  • Shot Glass Collector Party is Wednesday, Sept 7 starts at 6 pm.
  • HRC Strip Breakfast Buffet is Thursday, Sept 8 starts at 8:30 am
  • HRC Paradise/Harmon Breakfast Buffet is Friday, Sept 9 at 9 am

If you’re just attending the Shot Glass Collector Party, it’s free to attend.  If you want to participate in the other activities (including selling and trading) you will need to buy a ticket at!

After the event, some of us are driving down to the Phoenix cafe and expect to be there on Friday, Sept 9 at 7:30 pm.  We’re hoping others can join us so if you’re wanting to meet up with us, let me know by email (below).  There will be fireworks later that night after the ballgame so expect it to be a busy night downtown (read:  scarce pricey parking!) but I hope you’ll still join us.

On Saturday, Sept 10 we are invited to a pool party at Karen T.’s house.  If you’re in Phoenix and want to meet up with us for that, let me know by email (below) and I will provide more details to you.

After the pool party we’re heading to the ballpark to see the Diamondbacks!  It’s a World Series 10th anniversary night complete with an intro to the World Series team before the game and a replica ring to the first 10,000 fans!!

Anyway, I can’t wait to hit the slots, the pool and meet up with everyone.  Thanks to the Las Vegas Strip Cafe for inviting the shot glass group to the event – going to be a blast!


Denise – let me know if you’re coming!

Meet you in the Capital!

July 19, 2011


If you’re heading to DC for the Pindependence Event this weekend, you’re sure to have a blast!  There will be 4 (yes, that’s FOUR) event shot glasses and 1 exclusive shot glass as part of a 4 fairy pin set.  Going to be hard to get so make sure you pick yours up!

Make sure to say hi to Floyd for me while you’re there.  For a list of the event activities, see below.




Washington, DC GM AJ Laban and the incredible staff of the DC Hard Rock Cafe want to give you an experience this July that you’ll never forget! Join them the weekend of July 22nd for Pindependence 2011! A pin collectors’ event proudly sponsored by the Hard Rock Cafe Pin Collectors’ Club and the Hard Rock Cafe Washington, DC!

This is one event you don’t want to miss!

Schedule of Events:

Friday – July 22nd
6:00PM – 12:00AM

6:00PM – 9:00PM – Welcome Reception (Including complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a signature cocktail)
7:30PM – Pin & Bear Prototype Live Auction to benefit Flight 93 National Memorial (
10:00PM – 12:00AM – Riverboat Cruise on the Potomac to see the sights under the moonlight.
Saturday – July 23rd
9:00AM – 4:00PM

9:00AM – Breakfast Buffet with omelet station
10:00AM – Live Auction to benefit Flight 93 National Memorial (
11:00AM – 4:00PM – Pin Trading Floor Opens (Mezzanine level reserved for pin traders)
11:00AM – 2:00PM – Silent Auction to benefit Flight 93 National Memorial (
4:00PM – Pindependence event concludes

Charity Information:

Hard Rock’s 2nd Annual Pindependence pin collectors’ event will benefit the Flight 93 National Memorial. On September 24, 2002, Congress passed the Flight 93 National Memorial Act. The Act created a new national park unit to commemorate the passengers and crew of Flight 93 who, on September 11, 2001, courageously gave their lives thereby thwarting a planned attack on our nation’s capital. The memorial is outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed with the loss of its 40 passengers and crew. For more information about the Flight 93 National Memorial, please visit For information on how to support the building of the memorial, go to Please donate generously to help this great organization.