Category Archives: Canada

Spring picnics – Swedish style

Classy picnics with tablecloths and everything

Swedish springtime can be cold and rainy, but folks are so eager to get out during the long days after a dark winter that picnics with heaters, blankets, and fires are pretty common. On my visit to BC last week, I had some Swedish-style picnics with my family.

Puffer jackets around the fire
Sometimes it was sunny enough for sandals!

We had a picnic (almost) every day and hardly got rained on at all!

We had some pretty awesome meals in the yard, since we didn’t have to carry anything very far

Plants

Five lovely little terrariums (terreria?)
Five lovely little terrariums (terreria?)

While in Bellevue we were gifted with lovely terrariums, and also sent with some to bring northward. Unfortunately, plants and soil are not allowed to be transported over the border. So, we had a little funeral for them and said goodbye at the waste disposal centre. We were allowed to keep the glass dishes, so we can start over with some new plants, and whispered memories of their former occupants. (haunted terreriums!)

We got to visit the International disposal area of the border
We got to visit the International disposal area of the border

Lost in translation

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I was pretty shocked to see this set of notes in a public washroom at the University. Who bags their poop? Is this really an issue? But relatedly (since we are talking about it), if only poop and toilet paper go in the toilet, WHERE DOES PEE GO? This will require more (and sturdy) bags.

Where does someone get the idea to bag and dispose their poop anyway?  If you’ve never traveled more distantly, it might seem like using water to flush human waste into sanitary sewers is a universal, and that combining pee, poop, and toilet paper with 5 gallons of water is just the obvious way to do things.  BUT(T)… this isn’t the standard everywhere.  Even some places where water is used, used toilet paper is not thrown down the toilet, but stored in a garbage can and incinerated, composted, or landfilled. That would take some getting used to if you are in that scenario for the first time, just like throwing toilet paper down the toilet for the first time must seem like a wasteful example of poor water stewardship.  So… if you’re in a situation where everything is already different and people are dealing with waste in a way you’ve never seen or heard of, you need to be prepared to adapt and keep up with local customs.  University of Saskatchewan has lots of international students, so ostensibly there are some people adapting to customs that are new to them.

With that in mind, enjoy the Uni-approved sign below, found inside the door of public washrooms.

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TOILET PAPER ONLY.  If that is all that goes in, then poop needs to go somewhere.   Really, we should feel lucky that shit was in a bag.

T-dot

Tourietiest tourist that ever touristed
Taken by the tourietiest tourist that ever touristed

In June I went to Toronto for the 2016 PREMUS conference. I have been to this conference 3 times before, and this was (probably) the best one.  Although it didn’t have an exotic location (from my point of view), it was really well-organized and the science was top-notch.  Well done team!

Arc de CNE
Arc de CNE

I packed very light so I didn’t bring my regular camera. My smartphone is going on 5 years old and this seems to be geriatric for a smart phone, so I only took a few slow-loading snaps. The arc above is at the entrance of the CNE. The conference was at the Allsteam Centre, which prides itself on being a ‘green’ facility. They encourage folks to bring their own water bottles and there was no printed schedule for the conference – folks were asked to download the program. This was ok for some things, but for quick reference between sessions a tiny view with lots of swiping to the right page my old phone wasn’t quite cutting it.

Ever since I left the city...
Ever since I left the city…

After the conference I went to visit Leif and Christina and their two little ones for a couple of days. This was a super fun visit, including some crafts, great meals, picnic, walk, and a visit to the Kensginton/Queen street shopping districts. It will be great to see them all again in Courtney for Einarson homecoming 2016!

Vancouver visits

My first morning in BC - waking up to major snowfall in Mission!
My first morning in BC – waking up to major snowfall in Mission!

So great to be back! My good flight-luck persisted to get me and my luggage to YXX with limited delays, and I got picked up at the airport by my parents. I was SOOO looking forward to paddling and running and doing other stuff outside. It has been awesome and warm, but the first days were filled with snow!

Solstice paddle on December 21
Solstice paddle on December 21

Since arriving I have been on some long walks, a few paddles, a hot yoga class at the awesomest spa yoga centre, and the Solstice festival.

Now onto some Christmas activities!

Mom and Dad out in the snowy yard
Mom and Dad out in the snowy yard

Conference in Whistler

The Olympic square
The Olympic square

 

I have not been to Whistler since before the Olympics, but it seemed like just the right thing to soothe my mountain-withdrawl. Happily, this year’s Association of Canadian Ergonomists conference was in Whistler the week before Thanksgiving, which meant there was time for Thanksgiving family visits as well.

Misty forest
Misty forest

I traveled up with Elizabeth, who also spent the week with me in Whistler. I attended the conference while she did paperwork and went hiking. We also got some hikes in together as well, including our first hike which featured 3 bears and a substantial detour to avoid getting eaten.

Hipster Scat on a trail.  They must be close by!
Hipster Scat on a trail. They must be close by!
Elizabeth with the first bear, Chompy.  He was too busy eating mushrooms to bother with us.
Elizabeth with the first bear, Chompy. He was too busy eating mushrooms to bother with us.
He was actually pretty far away.
He was actually pretty far away.

We also stayed with a new friend, Lynne from New Zealand. She was presenting her very interesting research on ATV accidents among New Zealand farmers.

Lynne and I on the 99
Lynne and I on the 99

Altogether it was a great trip, and finished off with 2 turkey dinners and 3 niece visits (2 little, 1 big).

Milling edge-cleared trees in the parking lot
Milling edge-cleared trees in the parking lot
Mini-hut on the slope
Mini-hut on the slope
Snow-cat!
Snow-cat!