Under Pressure.

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I am attempting to complete my FINAL paper of my nursing undergrad. To say the least it is brutal. Not the content, the length or the thought process. Rather, the simple act of motivating myself to put words together to form sentences. The task should be easy: a personal reflection of sorts supported by some research. After four years of writing papers without my own story and thoughts though, the idea of being able to write my own story without referencing who said it first is strange. I am seven pages in. Just a couple more to go. I can do this. I can.

As a reward to myself for focusing more today than I did yesterday I am going to blog about my adventure. First however, I need to reassure some people (AKA my Mother and Nana): I am fine. I promise. Just a bit sore. No broken bones. I will be returning home in one piece. Promise.

So here’s my adventure: KICK SLEDDING!

Here is a kick sled.

You basically hold onto the bar part (covered by the coat) and push yourself along with one leg (“kick”) while your other foot is on the sled part. It’s amazingly fun for such a simple contraption.

 Our destination for today’s adventure was The Pressure Ridge. This spot is where the large part of the lake meets the smaller inlet of the bay. (By smaller I mean it is still massive). As a result of the force of freezing ice and moving ice part the ice sort of acts like tectonic plates. The ice shifts and pushes up at this particular spot where it is weakest. It makes for some incredible photographs and amazing colours. We took a TON of pictures and they will do a better job of depicting the scene than I could ever write. So here goes:

Just the beginning of the ‘Ridge
 
Pressure Ridge

Of course every good adventure can only be improved with a spot of tea. This is perhaps the most interesting spot I have ever drank tea at. And I have drank a LOT of tea in my day. Just ask my husband. I’m Scottish after all. Also, I have an inkling that green tea can improve, if not cure, all ailments. Try it.

Then we climbed onto the Ridge for some pics.

After more kick-sledding (we were out for about three hours) we stopped for a picnic. And by picnic I mean gourmet lunch on a rock. So cool.

So that’s melted Brie with apricot marmalade, herbed goat cheese, roasted whole garlic cloves, salmon, gluten-free crackers, chicken, homemade dehydrated grapes (not quite raisins, so much better), nutella and of course, TEA!

Such an amazing experience. I was very appreciative for the opportunity to take in the Pressure Ridge. Something many locals haven’t even done. It was a long and hard kick sled but I am so glad I did it.

Today I took it easy and worked on my paper and then went for a cross-country ski on the lake around an island. Very neat. I am thinking I need to obtain some used cross-country skis.

For now though, it is back to my essay. Unfortunately my life as a student isn’t over quite yet. But very soon.

Too Old for This…

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I am sore. It pains me right now to stretch out my arms to my keyboard to type this message to you all. Shoulder checking to the left at this point in time is completely out of the question. As is walking without feeling the need to stretch my lower back/upper back/whole body. I can just feel your pity seeping across the internet connection. Why, am I such an invalid you may ask? Well, let me tell you…

Today I ventured out to take on a common hike for visitors to this part of the North. I was told I just HAD to do to it and COULDN’T leave town without doing it. So off I went to Cameron Falls for a short few hour hike. I emailed my dear husband before we left and told him I would email him when I got back to tell him all about. I also told him it was a short hike and we would be back in a couple of hours. Six hours later he sent a few concerned emails before I got back to him.

We started the hike by stopping at a local bakery for some munchies. Of course while my fellow hiker was ordering a delicious looking sandwich I was perusing the vast (read almost non-existent) gluten free selection. Luckily there were two GF granola bars. Mmm cranberry and almonds. Off we went on our adventure out of town listening to some great iPod tunes and taking in the warm spring air.

The hike up to the falls was a little slick due to the melting of the top part of the snow during the day and freezing overnight. We managed to make it to the Falls with not much hassle. Unfortunately they were covered in snow so it pretty much looked like a hill of snow. There were some parts that were starting to open up though and the hike itself was really nice.

 

We decided to venture over to a bridge that crossed the river to see how things looked from the other side. Ever graceful as I am I completely wiped out on the stairs down and managed to break my fall with the back of my head, my left wrist and my upper back. Awesome. As I slowly got up and brushed off the snow I couldn’t help but think how sore I would feel tomorrow. Little did I know the abuse my body was still to take.

After making it back to the vehicle from the hike to the Falls we decided to drive a bit further up the road to see a smaller waterfall that opens into a small lake area. We pulled into the narrow road and parked. After peaking at the scenery and snapping a picture:

 

We headed back to the vehicle to head home.

That is when we got stuck.

We tried rocking it back and forth (a challenge in a standard).

I got out and pushed.

I pushed really hard.

We didn’t budge.

We tried to put the floor mats under the wheels.

It didn’t work.

 

 Stuck.

We hauled grocery bags of gravel from the road to the vehicle to put under the wheels. We made quite a bit of progress until we reached a huge hump in the snow that the vehicle sunk into. After almost two hours of pushing we figured we were in need of help. Knowing the road we were on wasn’t very well travelled we attempted to get some cell service to no avail. Trying to gain some service we ventured to the road and hoped someone would come by. Not even 45 seconds later a truck drove up. Two guys chuckled at our predicament and seemed to disapprove of how far we had driven into the road, but nonetheless agreed to help. Within 3 minutes we were freeeeeee! All we needed was a bit more muscle and we pushed the vehicle over the snow hump to more packed snow. Hallelujah! As soon as the vehicle started to move backwards I was gloriously happy that we were free and also making a mental note to improve my strength training (you never know when this could happen again, afterall).

So there you go. 1 horrific fall + 2 hours of pushing a vehicle in the snow = one very sore Triona. I will update you tomorrow if I am not too sore to type. Wish me luck!

My Parents’ Good Luck

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Today I received a VERY unexpected email that made me smile:

Hi Triona look at me all high tech. 

Dad

This was my reply to this shocking email:

Whoa. This doesn’t seem real. Is this like one of those phone scams where the bad guys pretend to be your family and ask for money? Haha. Well done Dad. Remember you don’t need to push so hard on the keyboard keys. It’s not a typewriter.

Love you!

You can never be too careful with those scams these days.

So proud of you Dad! Welcome to the world of email. No more getting Mum to send emails for you. I expect a timely reply by the way.

SO. Remember back a few posts ago when I told you that Ma and Pa are lucky and were so lucky on their trip up here? Here’s why:

Down in Old Town is a hill with a monument on top. It’s called the Pilot’s Monument and is dedicated to all the pilots that helped shaped the territory by flying for surveying, prospecting, bringing in supplies, moving people around and generally opening up the North. From there you can see the entire Old Town and down onto the frozen lake. Apparently there is also a light that lights up when planes land in summer so boaters know to get out of the way. This system seems slightly flawed to me, but I suppose I would have to see it in summer to give it a fair chance.

 We headed up the hill to the mountain expecting to get some good picture of the houseboats and Old Town. We climbed the stairs and were greeted by a rather chilly wind that made us all put up our hoods as we gazed out at the magnificent view.

 

Then, we heard a ruckus down below as a plane’s engines were getting revved up. We were able to watch it taxi out to the ice runway and take off! So neat to see!

 

Then, just after the plane took off two foxes trotted along below us – one red and one black with a white tip on its tail. We were able to watch them for quite some time chasing one another around.

 

After the monument surprises we headed over to the legislative building. We were able to look around at the symbols of the territory and learn some more about its history. Here is what the chambers look like.

Yes. That is a polar bear.

Of course Dad made another friend. This time it was the security guard! He was a wonderful older gentleman that had some great stories to tell. He may or may not have given us a not so little extra tour, but you’ll have to talk to one of us in person to hear all about it. Lets just say it was unreal and I was especially grateful that I was able to take part in Ma and Pa’s good fortune!

My time here in the North is coming to an end quite quickly. In just over a week I will be back in the South and back with my dear husband. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to come up here and can’t believe how much I have learned – both in the hospital and out! I’m really hoping I can make the most of my last week here.

Northern Style Shopping

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There’s this famous store in town. It’s located down in “old town” and has been here for decades. It’s quite the experience to behold.

For those who live by my parents or have been around there I will describe it as similar to the Caroline store, but double the size and triple the randomness and insanity. For those who don’t know the Caroline store is a place on the way out to the bush/mountains/hunting area that contains all you need for a weekend in the boonies. We’re talking food supplies from candy to sliced meat, to camping gear like chairs and stoves to hunting gear like duck caller doo-hickeys and hip-waders. Half the fun of the store is that everything is sort of mashed together. You start off strolling the snack aisle and end up in the camping section that ends in the gun rack. Actually now that I think of it the gun rack might stretch the entire length of the store. Regardless, anytime my family seems to be passing through Caroline we HAVE to stop at the store. It’s not even discussed prior to setting off, everyone just knows that the drive will include a stop at the store. Every time we go Mum and I discover something even more redneck and absurd in the store. My brothers and Dad always seem to find some great hunting/shooting apparatus that is just amazing. All in all the entire family is entertained.

Side note: Caroline is also home to the figure skater Kurt Browning. It is also the location of where I spilt an entire cream soda slushie on my shirt on the way to a Girl Guide camping trip in the mountains. Just thought you should know.

Anywho, back to the store in town. A couple of people had mentioned it to us when my parents got here and of course I knew it would be a hit with Dad the moment anyone explained it to us so off we went for a browse. Words cannot explain this store. I think we could have spent hours marveling over the treasures and random items located on the shelves.

Here is the first item I found.

 

I’m not sure why you need a pot specifically for beans, but if you do let me know and I will run down and pick one up for you.

Did you know you can get camouflaged snowshoes? Well you can. And in blue nonetheless.

This shot speaks to the randomness of the store. Looking for axes? Oh those are right next to the canned tomatoes. Obviously. Where else would you put an entire rack of axes?

A not so huge selection of fruit and veg.

Right down the aisle from the $9(!) box of Cheerios. PS. Milk was $5 for a 2 L.

At the end of the cereal/fruit and veg/cleaning supply aisle was this jackpot of goods. Yikes.

Upstairs though was a real gold mine! Rows and rows of parkas and mitts and toques and fur things and thermals. It was so fun to just browse the aisles. Mother tried to get me to buy some rabbit fur ear muffs that were dyed a horrific shade of purple but I just couldn’t do it.

Truly a unique store. I just realized there is cheez whiz in the veg/fuit cooler. That stuff doesn’t even need remote refrigeration so I’m not sure why it’s in there. Perhaps trying to pass it off as real cheese? Blech.

Got to see some ultrasounds today. Amazing imagery again. Felt a baby kick against my hand as I was trying to place the monitor on the mother’s belly. Apparently the little guy/gal didn’t like what I was doing!

Tomorrow I’m back in labour and delivery. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Something’s Fishy

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Something’s Fishy

Another exciting part of Ma and Pa’s adventure was our supper at Bullock’s. Apparently this is a world famous joint serving up glorious fish and chips. I’m not sure what they meant by world famous, but it was indeed great food. Add in some interesting visual aspects of the restaurant and the great atmosphere and you have a great night had by all. I was not convinced that they would have anything gluten-free (apparently I am becoming a gluten skeptic) but lo and behold they did!

I was never really a huge fish fan growing up but I am really enjoying all the fish we eat up here. It’s delicious! The salad dressing was a feta cheese-herby thing that tasted amazing. I wasn’t convinved the fries were fried in oil not contaminated by gluten so Dad did the chivalrous thing and ate them for me (like I had to convince him!).

Inside the restaurant there are stickers, business cards, badges and other paraphernalia EVERYWHERE! And by everywhere I mean roof, cooler, bathroom, tables, picture frames, you name it – it had something stuck on it.

After our delicious meal I of course had to partake in the grafitti decorating of the restaurant…

Here’s my masterpiece:

Yay for Blog shout outs!

Another weird/strange thing was that half of the other patrons were from southern Alberta. We saw them all again at the airport on Sunday. Small world.

Anywho, I’m off. I am observing ultrasounds tomorrow. I have already seen one and was amazed at all that you can see: ventricles in the brain, kidneys, stomach, chambers of the heart, femur length, face, fingers, lots!

Snow King and Ice Castle

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I just finished ANOTHER set of nights. I am in that hazy period trying to switch back to a normal routine. I was feeling pretty good up until about 20 minutes ago. Please forgive me for any poor spelling or grammar. They say it’s like you’re drunk when you get off a night shift. Your decision making and reaction time is extremely wonky. All I can think about on my way home from a night shift is how glorious my bed is going to feel. (I wonder if that is what addicts feel like between hits? Feel free to do your own research and report back). When I finally get to crawl under the covers I am so elated for about 2.5 seconds before I nod off into a coma-like sleep.

Anyways.

Mum and Dad were up for a visit this past weekend. I swear they were more excited about visiting up here than I was about coming. While I was stressing about whether or not to pack scrubs and what to do with a woman in rip-roarin’ labour my parents were googling the town and interesting facts. Dad was so excited he overcame his extreme detest for the computer and the internet and looked up flights so he could plan his trip immediately. Needless to say they were ready to explore the North! They arrived to a balmy minus 10 degree day with beautiful sunshine – a drastic change to my dear hubby’s earlier visit – Mum and Dad are like that though, horseshoes up their butts (this will also come into play later in the story).

Anyways.

Mum, as always, produced some great photos from their visit and I want to share as many as I can with you so I’ll probably have to split them up into more than one blog post. But let’s begin with one part of their visit: Ice Castle. Every year the “Snow King” (for real) and his crew create a castle out of snow and ice. They begin when the ice is still thin to create see-through windows and work all Winter up to March-ish. Then they open the snow castle to the public and a crazy amount of various events occur at the snow castle.

Here it is…

That’s the Snow King’s houseboat to the right. Tough commute to work.

Here’s some close-ups…

And of course, here is Dad making friends with the Snow King and learning about how it’s made. Apparently it involved a snowblower and some wood planks and such. Ask Dad for more details.

Later in the weekend they held an art show entitled “Iceolation” inside the castle and we got to take a gander at the inside:

Pretty neat hey? I would like to post more tonight but I am just pooped right out.

G’Night All!

An Adventure in Creativity.

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It is snowing today. The big fluffy white stuff that in December makes you feel warm and fuzzy and ready for Christmas but in March makes you irritated because you just shovelled snow for the 500th time and you wish it was spring. However, snow means it is getting warmer. It was only minus 7 today!

Anyways…

It’s time to post about my dear husband and I’s adventure in creativity and recycling glass. I do not use the word adventure lightly in this sense. ‘Twas indeed quite the adventure. The plan was to recycle old glass into something beautiful and perhaps useful. I think I described it to my Honey something like this: “Let’s make something really cool so we can put it in our house and say – ‘Oh that old thing? We made that on our little jaunt to the North’”. I’m not sure if he wholeheartedly agreed that this would be an awesome idea or just wanted to go someplace warm. Nonetheless we began the glass recycling adventure.

I really like the idea of recycling things into something more useful or prettier. As a child  I was always trying to create something cool out of cereal boxes and toilet roll tubes. I think watching Blue Peter and their ‘sticky-back plastic’ (Canadians read: Tape) creations sparked a fire of interest in this hobby. (Anyone who is unaware of what Blue Peter is should google it right now. Also, if someone from Blue Peter happens to be reading this I would be a really REALLY great candidate for a badge. Just sayin’.).

Anywho, although as a child I had the creativity spark, it never really resulted in anything spectacular. My mother went along with it and kept me well supplied with glue, sparkles, and other Crayola supplies but was constantly aggravated by the chitlings (Canadians read: little bits of cut up paper and cardboard) I left behind me.

My unproductive creativity in combination with my legendary impatience when it comes to crafting made me slightly nervous prior to beginning the glass adventure, but I chose to think positively.

So here it is: A tutorial in making cool things out of glass.

Step #1: Choose old glass to recycle. Imagine the possibilities!

Mine is the one on the right. Hubby’s is the left. This will be important to note later in the story.

Step #2: Decide what to make and cute to size.

They scratch around the oustide of the glass and then use this black little hammer thing to break the glass. Neat-o.

Step #2a: If you choose a weirdly-shaped glass in step 1 it must be cut using a horrific looking saw. This may cause it to smash and break. Go back to step 1 and choose again.

Step #3: smooth the newly-cut edge of the glass.

This beast is a 1950’s Hoover washing machine. Somehow it is rigged with water and things to smooth the edge of the glass. Like this…

Part two of smoothing the edges looks like this…

Step #3a: If you choose a strangely shaped glass AGAIN, it may fly off this spinning thing in the picture above at this point. Go back and choose another glass.

Tough luck. Choosing glass #3.

Step #4: Scrape off all the sticky gunk from the label.

Step #5: Stick on your chosen template.

Step #6: SANDBLAST!

Dad, after doing this we both thought it would be awesome for you to get a sandblasting machine. After more thought we agreed its probably one of those things that gets old fast. So we’re just sticking with the duck hunting for now. Thanks!

Step #7: Remove stickers

 

Step #8: Wash off the remaining glue in this contraption…

The black thing on the floor is an aquarium filter to filter the water and the white thing on top heats the water – its the warmer part of an old coffee maker. Adventure!

Step #9: Engrave the bottom.

Step #10: Admire your creativity.

They are MUCH better in person. I promise. Mine has inukshuks (of which there are NONE in town) and Derek’s is a bear and a wolf (of which there are NONE in town). Mine has Northern lights though which there are lots of.