A Little bLinking Love

Nov 13, 2013 by


It’s starting to get colder in Waterloo, though admittedly, not Winnipeg-cold. The snow has stayed on the ground, for now, and when I go out, I remember to put on a heavier coat and grab the cozy mitts my grandmother and I knitted together years ago. In the evenings, I cuddle my hot water bottle and burn an apple cider scented candle. I think of my balsam scented candle waiting in the cupboard, and I resist the urge to burn it. It’s not December yet. 




November turns a corner, and as I navigate through these final weeks of term, there it is waiting for me patiently, quietly, with a soft smile and a warm glow: Christmas, home-for-the-holidays, my dog Penny, hugs from my grandparents, the scent of a real Christmas tree thawing by my front door and ready to be stood up in the living room.

I’m comforted by these thoughts, but then my eyes focus a little nearer.


This week: lab evaluation. Next week: a lab exam and clinical techniques evaluation. The following week: a break; it’s the annual trip to Montreal, and all I can say is thank Christ. It’s about time I buy 500 dresses at Simons, eat poutine and speak bad French. Following that, I face the last hurdles: final exams, of which I have six. Although they may be the final hurdles, it’s really more like marathon hurdle jumping. So I’ll be stretching myself out in preparation, and much of that stretching is going to involve buying all the dresses in Montreal.

In the meantime, I would like to share a few things.


I’ve written several things over the past few months, and you should probably check them out if you haven’t already:

I wrote an article for my friend Audrey’s blog about my love for Saba and the time I spent there this summer. I’ve always seen Audrey as my blogging mentor, so I am overjoyed that she has taken the time to publish not one, but two articles I’ve written.

While I was taking the train through Russia and Siberia this summer, I also wrote an article for The Ultimate Train Challenge about my first ever overnight train experience and how I couldn’t have been more lucky. I’m quite proud of this piece, but I feel as though I wrote it for a black hole because the feedback I’ve received has been minimal. I’d like you to read it and comment! It’s a story of an interesting and very special character I met this summer, and it is the prequel to this post about Vladimir and Suzdal.

I was honoured to be featured as one of Suzy Guese’s last articles for her Stumbles Over Travel feature back in October with my article about the comfort found in a can of beer. Suzy has done an incredible amount of work on this feature, so she definitely deserves a break!

This week, don’t miss my contribution to my friend Maria’s blog and her weekly Wordless Wednesday feature. I shared a photo from Lake Baikal and Olkhon Island. It looks like a big blue expanse… but look closer. What do you see?

I would also like to draw your attention to a new project I’m involved in, the Travel Blog Traffic Exchange. Only certain blogs meeting specific criteria are included, so I am elated to be included in this fine group of people. Plus, some of my favourite blogs are also part of that list. I’m definitely in good company. Basically, if you click on the link, you will be taken to a list of very high quality, top notch blogs. It is a way for travel bloggers to share traffic and expose readers to other great blogs. Have a look!

When I started blogging in 2004 (through a very different and very embarrassing blog and format), I did so with the intention of sharing some stories with my family while I was away. Only one year ago did I decide to attempt to “promote” my blog, and in doing this, all I’ve done has been to comment on more blogs and share my writing more. However, in promoting my blog, I never did so with the intention of making a profit of any kind. I had just come to the point where I wanted to be able to reach more people with my writing. In the last year, I have met some fantastic friends online, people I could consider real friends, people I would think to visit the next time I am in France or Arizona or Korea. This is something I never saw happening, but it affirms my passion for writing and why I do it.

One of my most recent blogging connections is a friendly pair: Mike and Phoenix. Mike is one of the most thoughtful guys on the internet. We share a common love of animals, and when I commented on one of his posts that I had written 2 poems about road kill, he emailed me with a request to read them. He patiently waited while I finished midterms before I dug them up and sent them his way.

I bring up Mike and Phoenix because Mike emailed me to inform me of a giveaway on his blog: for 2 prizes of $100 to Amazon. Who doesn’t want that? It’s super simple to enter, so go and read about it at Mike’s blog. Also, you don’t want to miss those photos of Phoenix.

Lastly, because all I want is to connect with people, please please please like my Facebook page and follow me on twitter.

I just want to be friends.


All photos taken in or near Winnipeg.

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  1. Aww shucks Colleen – I’m thrilled to have you over for Wordless Wednesday – the photo you loaned me is inspiring, exhilarating and beautiful but damn girl, get that dog a sweater…or at least booties – honey it’s cold outside.

    • Colleen

      Haha! That’s funny, because in truth, I have never seen Penny more miserable as when we try to put booties or any other form of clothing on her. She cowers.

  2. I’m so glad we’re friends 🙂 I’m glad I read this today because I had forgotten about a) snow and b) balsam candles. At the moment I’m being eaten alive by sandflies in my house and it’s so hot that I’m wearing a bathing suit. I think I would like a Christmas break. Also gotta give kudos to my fellow Canadian for using “not Winnipeg-cold” as a thermometer. Totally.

    • Colleen

      I’m glad we are friends too! I would love to meet up somewhere. Go diving. Drink a bit too much. Likely eat all the food too. This is the stuff of real friendships. But seriously. All my best friendships in this world have in some way or other been centred around food.
      I’m glad I could remind you about some lovely Canadian winter things. It’s starting to amp up here. The wind is howling outside my window. I’m looking forward to getting back to Winnipeg for a real winter though. The slush and slop of southern Ontario just doesn’t cut it for me.

  3. Zhu

    Oh, I’m going to check out that giveaway, I need to buy new books to feed my Kindle!

    It’s getting cold and wintery in Ottawa too… Greyish meh November.

    • Colleen

      I can’t wait for the magic of December! I actually love this time of year!

  4. First and foremost thank you so very much for the shout out but even more so for your very kind words, Colleen! We are thrilled that school is progressing along. I’m a guy but I laughed out loud at, “It’s about time I buy 500 dresses at Simons, eat poutine and speak bad French.” Congratulations on the Travel Blog Traffic Exchange…how awesome! You are doing absolutely fantastic and stay the path because I know you will come up aces. All of these pictures are absolutely priceless but the last one with you and Penny has put a smile on my face just now that is beaming from ear to ear! Thank you again, our friend! 🙂

    • Colleen

      Thank you so so much for your kind words Mike! I’m glad I got a laugh out of you too! 🙂

  5. 1. Saba sounds like heaven.
    2. I cried reading the story about Vladimir. I don’t know why.
    3. Facebook page “liked.” And dammit – you better not stop writing once you become an optometrist.

    • Colleen

      1. It is. I want to go back ASAP. Let’s go?
      2. I’m so honoured that you took the time to read about Vladimir. He was so special. I will never forget him.
      3. THANKS! I plan to support my writing habits by being an optometrist… There, I said it.

  6. Good luck with all the exams and presentations, Colleen! I remember those times vividly and all I can say is the immense satisfaction and relief you get as soon as everything is over is more than worth it!

    • Colleen

      Thank you Pauline! All good, so far! I accept any and all good vibes coming my way. And yes, I am very much looking forward to a bit of relief come Christmas break. 🙂

  7. Sam

    You’ve been around a bit lately, haven’t you?! I’ve heard Winnipeg is nicknamed “Winterpeg” because it’s always winter there, apparently. Certainly looks cold from the pictures!

    • Colleen

      I am FROM Winnipeg! Those photos are from 3 years ago… can’t believe how the time has gone by. And NO it is not always winter there! Who told you that? Or is that sarcasm that I am not properly reading over the internet? We actually have beautiful summers. Stop by for one, and I will show you around! (It is called Winterpeg because our winters are very very cold… and yes, kind of long.)

  8. Your dog looks cute its aways good to see pets after being away for so long. And kudos for pointing out the $100 gift certificate I am going to go and check that out 🙂

    • Colleen

      I know… Pets are the thing I miss most when I travel. That’s why you will often see me chasing down street animals for a bit of love. I have no shame.

  9. You’ll get through these next couple weeks, because Christmas is waiting around the corner. That’s about the best incentive there is! 🙂

    • Colleen

      Tell me about it! Thanks for taking time to comment. I know how busy you are! Hoping you have a nice holiday too. Big hugs xo

  10. Aaaaaahhhhhh! You have (or at least have access to) a bull terrier! Love it—I had a bullie growing up and they are my very favorite dog in the whole wide world. I might even brave Canadian winter to cuddle one! 😀

    • Colleen

      A fellow bullie lover! Well it’s official, we are kindred spirits. They are definitely special dogs. Penny is actually my family’s second bull terrier. Before her, we had a white one (with little black eyebrows) named Winkie. Anytime you are in Winnipeg, stop by. You will have all the bullie love you want. Plus I’ll cook for you too. 🙂

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